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News Opinion

The great right wing freak-out of 2012

President Obama's re-election has caused right-wingers to become completely unhinged. They are purple-faced and apoplectic, convinced that an ignorant horde of government-dependent social leeches have destroyed traditional America and banished God from the country.

The craziest comments came from certifiably loony celebrities. Gun-crazy rocker Ted Nugent tweeted that "Pimps whores and welfare brats and their soulless supporters hav (sic) a president to destroy America," while former "Saturday Night Live" goofball Victoria Jackson let loose a series of tweets, saying in part, "Thanks a lot, Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me ... In the Good vs. Evil battle, today Evil won."

Egomaniacal rich guy Donald Trump simply called for a revolution.

Various tea party leaders, who thought they had already launched a pretty good revolution, could not fathom the election results. Cincinnati Tea Party President George Brunemann said, "The easy two-word answer for what happened Tuesday is: America died."

On Fox News, political has-been Sarah Palin, sporting a big Loretta Lynn hairdo, looked positively baffled, wondering why the American people would willingly abandon the Constitution. Bill O'Reilly had an answer for her: "People feel they are entitled to things." And those "people," Mr. O'Reilly made clear, are not "traditional" Americans or members of the "white establishment"; rather, they have skin that is brown.

Ann Coulter echoed the view of numerous conservative pundits: "If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it's over."

All of this doomsday blather hearkens back to Mr. Romney's infamous characterization of 47 percent of Americans as "victims" who only want to be coddled by government. As it was when Mr. Romney said it, this portrait of America is not only demonstrably false, it is a scurrilous slander with a racist tinge.

The most numerous voters dependent on government to keep them economically afloat are retirees who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. This was the cohort that went most heavily for Mr. Romney. The people who put Mr. Obama over the top in the electoral vote, on the other hand, were autoworkers in Ohio; not exactly a dependent bunch.

They were also young people who do not grow faint at the thought of gays getting married or women using birth control. They were middle class white Americans -- as many as voted for Bill Clinton, by the way -- who think it is unfair that all the economic benefits in this country flow to the richest 1 percent.

And, of course, they were blacks and Latinos who voted for Mr. Obama in overwhelming numbers. When Ted Nugent emotes about pimps, whores and welfare brats, we all know who he has in mind -- and it isn't the white establishment living off corporate welfare.

Right-wingers will not let go of their own misleading mythology. They have a constricted vision of who the "real Americans" are and who they are not. Until election night, they still believed that people like themselves constituted a majority in this country. Now that they are faced with the truth of their own diminishing numbers, they are re-jiggering reality. Incapable of accepting that the millions of people who voted for Mr. Obama are overwhelmingly hard working, family-loving, patriotic Americans, they have to imagine them as the "takers" that Ayn Rand warned them were coming.

This is a necessary self-deception. Otherwise, conservative crazies would have to face an inconvenient truth: on Election Day, a majority of real Americans rejected them.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. Go to latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/ to see more of his work.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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