The Hoffman phenomenon has crawled so far into Democratic heads that they are tearing their hair out trying to get rid of it. The theme du jour is that supporters of Hoffman are paranoid.
The always intolerant and closed-minded Frank Rich accuses Hoffman supporters of being "a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama." Rich cites to a Harper's Magazine article written by Richard Hofstadter in the early 1960s about the John Birch Society, and uses that supposed analogy to refer to the Hoffman phenomenon as being "Stalinist." Actually, if intolerance of others is the problem, a more modern name for the disease would be "Frank Rich-ism."
Blogger Charles Lemos at MyDD also writes that supporters of Hoffman are paranoid, relying as well on Hofstadter's description of political paranoia:
"The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms--he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point."Lemos then quotes
"The clock is ticking 11:59. This is our liberty and tyranny moment. This is about patriotism and manning up." - Representative Michele Bachmann, October 30, 2009 on the Sean Hannity ShowLemos concludes from this that the Hoffman supporters are turning the Republican Party into "the party of the paranoid," and that "I'll brush up on my Richard Hofstader."
"Our nation is at a crossroads, and this is once again a "time for choosing." - Sarah Palin in her endorsement of Doug Hoffman on October 22, 2009
Why did you wait so long? By this definition, the nation has been gripped by paranoia for over two years. One of Obama's favorite campaign themes was to repeat Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "fierce urgency of now" line, and to insist that the nation was at an historic moment:
I am running for President, right now, because of what Dr. King called the fierce urgency of now. This moment is too important to sit on the sidelines. Our country faces determined enemies abroad, and definitive challenges at home....We need your service, right now, at this moment - our moment - in history. I'm not going to tell you what your role should be; that's for you to discover. But I am going to ask you to play your part; ask you to stand up; ask you to put your foot firmly into the current of history. I am asking you to change history's course.
Throughout his campaign and presidency Obama repeated this theme of the nation being at a turning point on which the future of the nation depended:
By Lemos' standard, Obama is a raving paranoiac, and Obama's supporters are enablers. Or does Hofstadter's deep insight into the human soul only apply to Conservatives?
It's not like Conservatives have been running analyses of Obama's letters looking for hidden curse words. Now that would be truly paranoid.
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