Primal Scream

This does seem to be a fine day for glimpses into the wingnut id. Right after I finished a post on the weird but interesting projection of totalitarian imagery onto Occupy folk by anti-choice activists, I stumbled on a long, long cri du coeur from The American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord about the eternal perfidy of Repubican moderates as revealed in their disdain for Newt Gingrich.

Lord, you might recall, got himself into news coverage of the GOP presidential nomination contest last week when he dug around in old congressional speech archives and revealed that neocon warhorse Elliot Abrams had mischaracterized remarks by Gingrich about Ronald Reagan back in the day.

Anticipating his hero’s imminent defeat in Florida, no doubt, Lord got up very early this morning and delivered himself of the definitive blast against his intra-party enemies, who, it appears, have been conspiring to control the GOP on behalf of liberalism since the beginning of the last century, mainly by promoting the infernal myth of “electability.” Showing off the research skills he brought to bear on old issues of the Congressional Record in his earlier screed, Lord gives us very extensive helpings of the utterances of Thomas Dewey, that ancient nemesis of the Old Right. Gerald Ford also comes in for extensive abuse, though I am shocked Lord did not mention Ford’s elevation to the vice presidency of Dewey’s successor as the incarnation of Eastern Establishment Republicanism, Nelson Rockefeller.

What’s really eating Lord is revealed in his citation of Sarah Palin’s complaint about the Establishment’s use of the “politics of personal destruction” against Newt, followed by his own complaint that said Establishment refuses to apply the same tactics to Barack Obama. This is the meme that led Palin-inspired conservatives to disrupt John McCain’s 2008 general election campaign rallies out of fury that the nominee refused go after his opponent personally as a Kenyan Muslim socialist. It’s a clear sign we can expect similar incidents at Mitt Romney’s events this fall.

By the end of his tirade, Lord is extensively quoting William F. Buckley about liberalism even as he gets offended by the contempt he feels from Buckley’s successor as editor of National Review, Rich Lowry (yes, the Establishment conspiracy has reached that citadel of movement conservatism!). But don’t read this remarkable essay for its logic; it’s most interesting as an expression of the rage and frustration of the hard-core Right before it “settles” for Mitt.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.