13 November 2007

Norman Mailer on the American Bipolarchy

Mailer had a lot to say about American politics, but this bit from one of his 1955 Village Voice columns amused me:

"But the curious contradictions of power and party politics are such, that if I were to vote on this principle, I wouldbe forced ever so slightly toward the Republicans. Not because I like them, mind you -- I rather dislike them, they are such unconscionable hypocrites. Yet the disagreeable fact of power in these politically depressed years -- like it or leave it -- is that the Republican Party is a little more free to act, precisely because it does not have to be afraid of the Republicans, whereas the Democrats do."

Since he was still publishing and making public appearances until a few months ago, Mailer was clearly aware of the behavior of Democrats in 2007. I doubt he would have felt a need to revise or retract his comments of half a century ago. The only thing different is that, in our time, many Republicans are afraid of themselves, to the extent that an ideological faction holds the power of career life-or-death over aspiring Republican officeholders, and that an ideological media has the perceived power to discredit Republicans and Democrats alike if either fails to toe the ideological line.

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