REQUIRED READING

The funky background makes for difficult reading, so you may want to temporarily cut and paste the text into a word-processing page. It’s worth the trouble, if only because it helps explain the continuing appeal of Sarah Palin. A couple of excerpts:

It is the ultimate standard of Idiot America. How does it play to Joe Six-Pack in the bar? At the end of August 2004, the Zogby people discovered that 57 percent of undecided voters would rather have a beer with George Bush than with John Kerry. Now, how many people with whom you’ve spent time drinking beer would you trust with the nuclear launch codes? Not only is this not a question for a nation of serious citizens, it’s not even a question for a nation of serious drunkards.

Nothing that the administration of George W. Bush has done has been inconsistent with the forces that twice elected it. The subtle, humming engine of its success — against John Kerry, surely, but most vividly against poor, cerebral Al Gore — was a celebration of instinct over intellect, a triumph of the Gut. No campaigns in history employed the saloon question with such devastating success or saw so clearly the path through the deliberate inexpertise of the national debate. No politician in recent times has played to the Gut so deftly. So it ought not shock anyone when the government suddenly found itself at odds with empirical science. It ought not shock anyone in the manner in which it would go to war.

Remember the beginning, when it was purely the Gut — a bone-deep call for righteous revenge for which Afghanistan was not sufficient response. In Iraq, there would be towering stacks of chemical bombs, a limitless smorgasbord of deadly bacteria, vast lagoons of exotic poisons. There would be candy and flowers greeting our troops. The war would take six months, a year, tops.

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