The Right Gets Its ’60s

tags: Republican Party, 1960s



Bill Keller is a writer for the New York Times.

“Something’s happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

— Stephen Stills, 1966

The right-wing campaign to sabotage the Affordable Care Act has driven a lot of normally temperate people past the edge of exasperation. Pundits have described the crusade as crazy, stupid, arrogant, dishonest, cynical, ridiculous and politically suicidal. And that’s not just liberals talking. Jennifer Rubin, who blogs from the right for The Washington Post, says of the defunding obsessives, they “have absolutely no idea what they are doing.” Fox News seems perplexed, and eyes are rolling at The Weekly Standard. Big Business is appalled. Elders of the Republican right, like Karl Rove, are harrumphing their disapproval.

And yet the zealots press on, threatening to hold the rest of the government hostage to kill a health care reform that (a) is the law and (b) shows every sign of being a good thing for the country.

What’s happening here ain’t exactly clear. But I have a notion: The Republicans are finally having their ’60s. Half a century after the American left experienced its days of rage, its repudiation of the political establishment, conservatives are having their own political catharsis. Ted Cruz is their spotlight-seeking Abbie Hoffman. (The Texas senator’s faux filibuster last week reminded me of Hoffman’s vow to “levitate” the Pentagon using psychic energy.) The Tea Party is their manifesto-brandishing Students for a Democratic Society. Threatening to blow up America’s credit rating is their version of civil disobedience. And Obamacare is their Vietnam....



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