There’s no question that today’s GOP acts much crazier than the GOP of 2008. I hate counterfactuals — leave that shit for Niall Ferguson and BloggingHeads wankfests — and I know this is the second Hillary-based one I’ve busted on you, but I wonder if they would have gone as crazy if Hillary had become president.
On the one hand, Hitlery and the Clenis, on the other, well, teh black. I think the anti-Clinton stuff of the 90s was weirder than the anti-Obama stuff of today, at least insofar as conspiracy theories about mass murder and drug running are inherently weirder than conspiracy theories about birth certificates.
Maybe the biggest difference between anti-Clinton hatred and anti-Obama hatred is that anti-Clinton hatred was driven by elites. The Village hated Clinton for being Big Mac-eating, blowjobs-from-interns-getting white trash, whereas their criticism of Obama is more the usual where’s-my-pony. Somewhat to my surprise, no one in the Village ever latched onto birtherism (I had assumed Kaplan or Slate would eventually write a highly counterintuitive “I’m not a birther but reasonable people blah blah blah” piece about the phenomenon).
In other words, the anti-Obama hatred is organic in a way that the anti-Clinton hatred was not. And there’s nothing more organic than racism. I noticed this in a Times piece today:
So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
Chauncey De Vega has a long piece about how racism is what’s driving the insanity of the anti-Obama hatred. This struck me:
For the first time in its history, the pristine AAA credit rating of the United States has been downgraded. Through the Great Depression and two world wars America was able to remain first among nations, a sure bet for investors, and the gold standard for following through on a promise that it would pay its debts in full, on time, and with interest. Apparently, the credit rating of the United States could survive all these perils, but not the tenure of its first Black President.
So back to my original question: would the Tea Party have come into being if Hillary were president? Would the Republican party have gone as stark, raving mad without a black president?