The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.
The dismaying truth is that birtherism is part of a larger pattern of rejection of reality that has taken hold of intimidating segments of one of the two political parties that alternate in power in our governing institutions. It is akin to the view that global warming is a hoax, or that the budget can be balanced through spending cuts alone, or that contraception causes abortion, or that evolution is just another theory, on a par with the theory that the earth is six thousand years old.
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
[T]he enduring problem for liberals, as for everyone else, is not whether history will judge them wise or foolish regarding the war on terrorism; it is, rather, the way that the past decade has splintered them away from other Americans. This fracture comes with a steep price: in today's toxic atmosphere, liberals are no less cynical, shortsighted, and parochial than anyone else, and they understand their fellow-Americans just as badly as they themselves are understood. When liberals look at red-state voters, they see either a mob of pious know-nothings or the insensible victims of militarism and class warfare. Yet.... [such people] defy fixed categories, which means that they have to be figured out the hard way--on their own terms.
If your party serves the powerful and well-funded interests, and there's no limit to what you can spend, you have a permanent, structural advantage. We're averaging fifty-dollar checks in our campaign, and trying to ward off these seven- or eight-figure checks on the other side. That disparity is pretty striking, and so are the implications. In many ways, we're back in the Gilded Age. We have robber barons buying the government.