Jonathan Chait

Conservative Victimization

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Thomas Frank is in top form today:

In 1876, for example, Colonel Robert Ingersoll urged the Republican convention to choose James G. Blaine as its presidential candidate because, in the course of his many skirmishes with the Democrats, Mr. Blaine had "torn from the throat of treason the tongue of slander" and had flung "his shining lance full and fair against the brazen forehead of the defamers of his country."

Contrast that with the cravenness of so many of today's conservatives, whose first rhetorical instinct is to seize the mantle of victimhood. This is how modern political genius expresses itself, with even the biggest bullies contorting themselves to claim injury and persecution. No longer do they boast of having speared their defamers; instead they instinctively depict themselves as the skewer-ee, their innocent foreheads wrongly and unfairly pierced.

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