The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Donald Douglas goes completely insane

November 5, 2008

Exhibit A: Donald’s post-election screed, in which he interprets the price mechanism effects of a cap-and-trade system (also advocated by Donald’s hero, John McCain) as a threat to tear down ideologically nonconformist energy companies, continues to believe that think tanks such as the Center for American Progress are radical leftist organizations, and may or may not threaten violence against our own government in the context of accusing Obama of being a Manchurian candidate.

I’m not entirely sure about the threat of violence, as Donald’s prose becomes rabidly convoluted at the point that he mentions the 2004 bombings that helped topple Spain’s center-right government. So judge for yourself:

Oh sure, Obama will govern from the center: He’ll have to, lest he risk a violent conservative reaction. But the tide has turned for this moment, and traditionalists just better hold on tight. This next four years will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Lyndon Johnson did not have the nihilist netroots blogosphere to harass his administration into conformity; and Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats weren’t delivered to the progressive hordes who seek to break bread with our mortal enemies. No, things are different today. Meet the new boss.

Now, let me disabuse my relentless left-wing critics: Barack Obama is not a communist in the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist mold, as seen in the widget above-right.

He is, however – whether folks want to acknowledge it or not – deeply in solidarity with many of the forces arrayed against the U.S. This I believe of Barack Obama: Not imminent physical destruction of our nation (though not completely discounted), but destruction nonetheless. Destruction of the moral light that never lets the malignant growth of evil roll across the land. No, America’s enemies will get a respite, where they can regroup and reconsider what they want from America. There will be a reckoning, at some point, of course. Because even those who have been hoodwinked by the hope-i-ness of change will not long tolerate the yoke of Third World despotism and terror over this proud nation. A despotism seeking to behead the American individual, and the culture that bore him – all of this, dearest Americans, faster than you can say Madrid 2004.

In private exchanges with Donald over the years, he’s repeatedly discussed his use of “red meat” rhetoric to drive up his readership and implied that one should not take that rhetoric too seriously. He’s even, to his credit, blogged about this–which also means I’m not inappropriately revealing the content of private correspondence.

But that creates two alternatives: either Donald believes what he writes in post like these, or he’s just cynically trying to get traffic, inbound links, and attention by pandering to the basest urges of the right-leaning blogsphere. I’m not sure which is more troubling. The latter displays utter contempt for his non-heckling readership, but at least holds out the possibility that he’s not suffering from paranoid delusions.

At some level, this is all rather amusing. Donald’s been on a self-styled crusade to reveal the pathological hate spewed by the left blogsphere, one in which he repeated proclaims that nothing on the right compares. But it ceases to be amusing in the context of reasonable fears that cries of “socialist” and “terrorist” may incline some to action. John McCain’s moving speech represented an attempt to reverse the dangerous slide of Republican partisans towards a dark abyss of hatred and fear. But Donald, after spewing out the exact kind of propaganda that McCain at last unequivocally decried, has the gall to invoke McCain’s words to justify his rant.

In any case, as John McCain would say: Stand with me, my friends! Fight with me! Fight for what’s right for our country!

Dave Noon’s reaction to Donald’s meltdown–admittedly long signaled in his increasingly vitriolic denunciation of the left as a fifth column intent on destroying this country–is one of amusement. But I find it both sad and frightening.

Donald is a trained political scientist and a college teacher (by all accounts, an excellent one). He knows, or at least should know, that a 4% variation in the marginal tax rate for the highest income bracket is not the difference between communism democratic socialism and capitalism (John McCain does, as he said on video before the last days of the 2008 campaign), that both McCain’s and Obama’s policies “redistribute wealth,” and… well, I could go on and on. If he does know, he has an obligation to pass this knowledge along to his credulous readers. If he does not, then there’s little left to say.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.