Obama Derangement Syndrome goes viral

It’s a sign that Republican centrists are operating at a disadvantage against the party’s wingnut fringe. There is a reluctance to take on the extreme in a full-fledged confrontation, a fight for the future direction of the Republican Party, for fear of provoking grassroots retaliation in a GOP primary. And in this there a tacit admission that the fringe is starting to overlap with the party’s base, pumped up by talk radio and the Internet, bleeding over into cable news and now town halls…

Of course, it’s not the first time that what Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style in American politics” has reared its head. The original Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s was anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic while also waving the American flag, ultimately dubbing itself “the American Party.” And Obama Derangement Syndrome was preceded by liberals’ Bush Derangement Syndrome, a hysterical tendency to equate our then-president with Adolf Hitler…

The video is a glimpse at the ugliest underbelly of American politics: an angry and intolerant Nativism that appeals to people’s paranoid fears of “the other.” Its craziness is starting to seep in at the margins and affect our civil discourse. And its appearance so soon after the election does not bode well for the uniting of our country after the bitterly divided red versus blue decade, and the hope that something new might appear in the Obama era.