04 January 2010


Greg Sargent's question of the day:
If there continues to be a lack of a successful terrorist attack, at what point does the refusal by conservatives to credit Obama for it enter the media narrative, given that this is precisely the yardstick they use to extoll Bush’s counter-terror record?
Will the media simply ignore this double standard, or will conservatives redefine what makes for successful counter-terrorism? My guess is the latter: we're going to have a glut of memoirs by Bush administration officials in the next year, all of which we might expect to include some score-settling and attempts to revise the history of the Bush-era (DougJ at Balloon Juice proposes that we'll see a "concerted effort to rehab Dubya fairly soon." The upcoming books by Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, as well as both George W. and Laura Bush, will certainly feature efforts to rehab the Bush years, if not the former president himself).

03 January 2010

Black Shirts and Flared Skirts

The BBC has up a fascinating, but too brief, article on women and fascism in pre-World War II Britain.

The first fascist party in England--the British Fascisti--was founded in 1923 by a woman, Rotha Lintorn-Orman, and females flocked to Oswald Mosely's British Union of Fascists in the 1930s. Like Lady Diana Mitford, Mosely's wife, many of these female Blackshirts--along with the male fascists--were imprisoned during the war. The article reveals the guilt suffered by the children of these women, especially, poignantly, that of someone who, as a little girl, was instructed by her parents "to paint slogans on the walls with 'Britain Awake' and 'Perish the Jews.'"Since viewing Richard Dimbleby's reports on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen in 1945, she has felt complicit in the Holocaust.

The article gives a taste of an upcoming BBC Radio Four program, "Mother Was a Blackshirt," which, unfortunately, one can only access in the United Kingdom.

02 January 2010


Newsweek offers an overview of Stanford professor Morris Fiorina’s book, Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in American Politics, which argues that although political parties are becoming more fiercely partisan, the majority of Americans remain firmly in the ideological center. This might seem a questionable assertion, given the media emphasis on ultra-vocal ideologues. However, as Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and Stuart Taylor Jr. suggest, this perception stems from an insular feedback loop in which partisan “politicians are egged on by ever-more powerful interest groups and the attack-mode spirit of radio talk shows and cable TV.” Sadly, this loop locks out the vast majority of Americans’ interests, and there is no indication that it will widen in the near future. In other words, there will be only increasing bitterness on Capitol Hill, at least until voters get bored with the petty line-drawing and fallacious either/or arguments, and decide to remind politicians to whom they are supposed to listen (wishful thinking, eh?).

Anyways, do take a look at Newsweek’s discussion of Professor Fiorina’s book.