Reaping the whirlwind

The behavior of crowds at the Republican debates, which has so far included cheering first for executions and then for the death of hypothetical uninsured sick people, should have surprised no one. This is the same base that McCain’s campaign whipped into a frenzy in the final weeks of the 2008 campaign:

As we saw yesterday, John McCain’s latest gambit is to juice up his and Palin’s crowds into calling Obama a “terrorist“, hurling racial epithets at black reporters (presumably, there aren’t many in attendance as supporters), or just random calls for murder. This morning there was more

In the latest instance of inflammatory outbursts at McCain-Palin rallies, a crowd member screamed “treason!” during an event on Tuesday after Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama of criticizing U.S. troops.

“[Obama] said, too, that our troops in Afghanistan are ‘air raiding villages and killing civilians,'” Palin said, mischaracterizing a 2007 remark by Obama. “I hope Americans know that is not what our brave men and women in uniform are doing in Afghanistan. The U.S. military is fighting terrorism and protecting us and protecting our freedom.”

Shortly afterward, a male member of the crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, yelled “treason!” loudly enough to be picked up by television microphones.

Josh Marshall, TalkingPointsMemo, October 7, 2008

It’s hard to imagine a clearer example of the inflaming of ressentiment:

Ressentiment is a reassignment of the pain that accompanies a sense of one’s own inferiority/failure onto an external scapegoat. The ego creates the illusion of an enemy, a cause that can be “blamed” for one’s own inferiority/failure. Thus, one was thwarted not by a failure in oneself, but rather by an external “evil.” (source)

The whole thing is ironic considering that this is the same crowd that reveres John Galt, though cognitive dissonance doesn’t seem to bother them much. Perhaps they just need a Neitzsche/Rand Ultimate Cage Match so they can make up their minds.

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