Friday, April 22, 2005
Rick Perlstein wrote the best book we have seen on the rise of the modern right-wing machine, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. (His latest is The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo: How the Democrats Can Once Again Become America's Dominant Political Party.) The following comes, via Altercation, from an e-mail he sent to John Cloud, author of the now-notorious Ann Coulter puff piece in the current issue of Time:
I have a pretty decent understanding of the right. That's why, I humbly submit, when I wrote my book about Barry Goldwater, it got glowing reviews in every right-wing publication, from the Weekly Standard to a white-supremecist quarterly.
This is the point I want to convey. People who spew hate rhetoric, talk violence, and make things up have nothing to do with Michael Moore, Eric Alterman, and David Brock.
What they have to do with is this. The last time figures like Coulter were being mainstreamed for public consumption in this way was 1994-95. People like Gordon Liddy--who, recall, was "joking" to his listeners to shoot federal agents in the head.
This pushed the limits of the acceptable far to the right, and vulnerable, nutty people felt licensed to blow up buildings because of it.
There will be right-wing violence in the next year. Of that I have no doubt. And people who've served to push the limits of the acceptable far to the right by mainstreaming people who spew hate rhetoric, talk violence, and make things up will bear some measure of responsibility.
You've made a series of very grave lapses in moral, professional, and intellectual judgement. You have no idea what you're dealing with.