2011: Year of Payback and Beyond: Monitoring Political Group-Fantasy

By Dervin, Dan | The Journal of Psychohistory, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

2011: Year of Payback and Beyond: Monitoring Political Group-Fantasy


Dervin, Dan, The Journal of Psychohistory


After tracing a disturbing trend of political and social bullying in 2010,1 began discerning different trends in 2011: call them recoils or counter-balances. Starting in the spring, I monitored these for the next two years.

At the outset, the prior tendencies held up. New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, echoing New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's threat to take a baseball bat to Albany, instructed reporters to "please take the bat out on her," referring to a widowed grandmother who had gotten on his nerves (New York Times, 16 Apr 11, p. A14). Much to Christie's credit, however, and to the chagrin of fellow Republicans, he revealed a more humane side while touring the hurricane damage along the Jersey shore with President Obama. True to type, Donald Trump came out swinging for the presidency like a mob boss, only to collect his chits and cash out. The surprise wasn't that he soared to 40% among Republicans, but that his time at the plate was so brief. Yet if he struck out, heavy-hitter Newt Gingrich stepped into the batters' box, only to have strikes called for his flailing rhetoric and financial extravaganzas (half a mil bill on Tiffany diamonds for his wife Callista); he would rally later and attack his fellow Republican candidates in 2012 before his final swings.

Setting the stage for a no-holds-barred campaign, the Human Rights Watch and the Poverty Law Center traced a steep rise in militias and hate groups since Obama's election; that trend continues. In California, an Orange County Republican official had sent out an email with Obama's face on a baby chimpanzee (New York Times, 19 Apr 11, p. A13). On Halloween, a Virginia GOP committee email had Obama as a "zombie with part of his skull missing and a bullet through his head (Wash. Post, 1 Nov 11, p. B4). A few weeks later in November, Ramiro Ortego-Hernandez of Idaho told friends Obama was the anti-Christ and he needed to kill him; he was arrested after firing shots at White House windows (New York Times, 18 Nov 11) The country looked primed for the kind of "evangelical apocalyptism" that erupted over FDR's Statism in the 1930s, according to Matthew Avery Sutton, "but without the moderating voices that had previously held it in check and more safely channeled its energies (Int. Herald Tribune, 27 Sep 11).

Emblematic of these fractious times, a prominent figure in a neo-Nazi group was shot to death at 4 AM as he slept on his living-room couch. The alleged killer was his ten-year-old son who was being initiated into his dad's National Socialist Movement. Police were at a loss for motive. The boy had displayed pride in the hate group; however, his dad was engaged in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife (New York Times, 11 May 11, p. Al). A comparable incident occurred a few years ago when an eight-year-old boy shot and killed his father who was also involved in a custody dispute. But even allowing for Oedipal motivations, one can ask what in the culture conspired to give the boys "permission" to resort to so violent a solution to their emotional dilemmas.

Sarah Palin's provocative lock-and-load rhetoric, which the Tea Party finds so invigorating, received a bizarre comeuppance in Tucson. One member of Congress who appeared in ads targeted in a weapon's crosshairs was Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded by a seriously disturbed shooter, Jared L. Loughner, in a mass killing. He too may have been driven by delusional motives, but he had collected campaign literature on Giffords and attended her rally, singling her out for the first shot. A violence-friendly group-fantasy may have conspired to nudge him over the line. Apart from cheerleading political rallies and appearing on FOX TV, Palin had been keeping a relatively low profile until a late May testing-the-waters trip across the country; simultaneously, a member of her inner circle from 2005 to 2009 spoke of his former ideal politico as manipulative of her family, vengeful toward would-be enemies, callous toward her own staff, ill-informed and indeed indifferent to political issues beyond boosting her own career. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

2011: Year of Payback and Beyond: Monitoring Political Group-Fantasy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.