The Tree of Crazy Blooms in Moments of Liberal Ascendancy

Rick Perlstein has a terrific piece providing some historical context for the right-wing rage we're seeing today.

WHERE THE CRAZY TREE BLOOMS.... The estimable Rick Perlstein has a terrific piece in the Washington Post, providing some historical context for the right-wing rage we're seeing today. It's ugly and it's painful, but it's not new. Perlstein explained that the "crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy."

There are quite a few branches. Republicans of the 1950s described the FDR and Truman eras as "20 years of treason." Nixon, after becoming Ike's vice president, said Republicans "found in the files a blueprint for socializing America" in the White House. Civil rights leaders were accused of being a Soviet plot. The Civil Rights Act was believed to be intended to "enslave" whites.

A prominent right-wing radio host insisted that JFK was building a political prison in Alaska to detain critics of the administration. As the president noted yesterday, when FDR proposed Social Security, the conservatives of the era not only screamed about "socialism," but told the public Roosevelt would force Americans to wear dog tags.

So what's different?


Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018