I started out a little scared of Dick Cheney. And of Karl Rove. Further back, even of Newt Gingrich.
I was scared of them because it felt like they were working the levers of a system that I couldn’t perceive.
Even as a teenager it seemed so transparent that Mr. Gingrich was a thundering hypocrite, about both economics and personal morality, that he had to be playing a deeper game within American politics. That some hidden power was pulling the strings and trying to nudge America into a particular shape.
The early days of the Bush administration felt the same way. That there were hidden agendas that may have been kleptocratic, but that still required a basic societal stability from which to profit.
For a Progressive, the opposition felt evil, in the way that a Bond villain is. Or Doctor Doom.
Man, I miss those days.
Now when I look at the politics of the right, there doesn’t seem to be any hidden agendas. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of comforting, comic-book, evil, just inchoate rage from some (Ms. Angle, Mr. DeMint) and the desire to stay one step ahead of that rage for others (Mr. Boehner, Mr. McCain).
Now, not only do the ideas not make sense, but it doesn’t matter that they don’t make sense. There seems to be no fear of ruling over ashes.
I’d like my comic-book bad guys back.