Something strange has happened in America in the nine months since Barack Obama was elected. It has best been summarised by the comedian Bill Maher: “The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to a mental hospital.”
The election of Obama – a black man with an anti-conservative message – as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right’s view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.
When this image was repudiated by a majority of Americans in a massive landslide, it simply didn’t compute. How could this have happened? How could the cry of “Drill, baby, drill” have been beaten by a supposedly big government black guy? So a streak that has always been there in the American right’s world-view – to deny reality, and argue against a demonic phantasm of their own creation – has swollen. Now it is all they can see.
Since Obama’s rise, the US right has been skipping frantically from one fantasy to another, like a person in the throes of a mental breakdown. […] This tendency to simply deny inconvenient facts and invent a fantasy world isn’t new; it’s only becoming more heightened. It ran through the Bush years like a dash of bourbon in water. […] But the ordinary Republican base believe this stuff. They are being tricked into opposing their own interests through false fears and invented demons.
Read the rest of the article for a lot more of a pretty clear description of how crazy all this looks to the rest of the world.