The Impoverished Debate

Politics, said Henry Adams, “has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.”  In recent months, best-seller lists have helped to prove Adams’ point, by featuring many vituperative political tracts from the left and right.  The undisputed queen of the genre is Ann Coulter, whose overheated book Slander sold like hotcakes in 2002; lately, she has been joined by Sean Hannity (Let Freedom Ring) and Daniel Flynn (Why the Left Hates America), among others.  On the left, stupid white man Michael Moore denuded numerous forests with sales of Stupid White Men (also in 2002).  Joe Conason, of and the New York Observer, now enters the fray on Moore’s end.  Big Lies has risen up the New York Times best-seller list, in spite of being released in the shadow of Al Franken’s much more heavily hyped and similarly themed Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

In focusing on the Bush administration, the Republican Congress, and their shock troops in the punditocracy, Conason has found a worthy set of targets.  The President is a Fortunate Son who took repeated falls before he stumbled into the most powerful job in the world, owing largely to family connections.  His supporters, having made “conservatism” synonymous with world domination by the U.S. government, now brand...

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