Posted by: BetsM
Written by Leonard Pitts Jr.
Not hope, nor patriotism, nor progress, nor any of the nobler emotions and impulses by which human beings are driven. Nope. None of those.
Instead, fear. Again.
We’ve seen this movie many times. So there is little that is surprising about the Republican National Committee fundraising document recently reported by Politico, the one that offers strategies to get donors to part with their money. Donors can, it says, be persuaded to give by appealing to their egos, by offering them tchotchkes, or by promising them access. And some, the small donors, the $5 and $10 Janes and Joes, can be persuaded if you play to their fears. The sole surprise is that someone actually wrote it down as a PowerPoint presentation and was absent-minded enough to leave a hard copy in a hotel.
Here, then, is the smoking gun, concrete validation for those of us who contend that since Sept. 11, 2001, fear has been the GOP’s leading export, that under the aegis of George W. Bush’s political guru Karl Rove, the party’s message boiled down to a single command: Be very afraid.
And some of us have eagerly complied, fearing Muslim terrorists, Muslim-Americans, Latino immigrants, gay people, black people, even “salespeople,” if they say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Some of us see socialists around every street corner.
The use of fear as a political expedient is neither new nor limited to the GOP. In the ’60s, Democrats ran an ad suggesting a nuclear holocaust would ensue if Americans elected Barry Goldwater. A GOP ad from the ’80s suggested Willie Horton would kill you if you voted for Michael Dukakis.