While most Americans take some satisfaction in the death of Osama bin Laden, the event must be creating some cognitive dissonance for birthers and their ilk. This bloodthirsty terrorist is dead because a man with an Islamic middle name gave the order to apprehend him.
Tea Baggers or political fundamentalists were strongly inclined to believe that Barack Obama was a Muslim. This meant he was the hated "Other," was not a real American, was not a legitimate president, and was not committed to the war on terror.
Now it is clear that President Barack Obama is responsible for the death of the hated Osama bin Laden.
This fact must be hard for a political fundamentalist to swallow. It is all the more of a jolt when we note that days before this event, Barack Obama released his long form birth certificate. Obama proved that Donald Trump and the birthers had been entirely wrong about him.
It is hard to guess how the Tea Bagger political fundamentalists will respond. Maybe they will become "Deathers," and demand to see a Pakistanian death certificate for Osama. They could simply deny both the birth certificate and what seems to be the well-documented death of Bin Laden. But to do so will require mental gymnastics that would defy all reason and may even be too much for many of the Tea Baggers to sustain.
Should they accept the realities of the Obama birth certificate and the death of bin Laden, it might be possible that some of the afflicted will slowly withdraw from the political fantasyland that is political fundamentalism.
They might come to question the unsupported claims that Obama's stimulus program and health care reform somehow were responsible for joblessness. The madness and mental fog induced by political fundamentalism enabled the Republicans to successfully sell these notions in 2010. Republicans were even were able to claim that TARP was an Obama idea, and we still hear that today.
Political fundamentalism descends upon people when they face multiple crises and fear that their nation is in sharp decline. They think someone did this to us. They fear they are being punished for straying from the nation's established wisdom or "givens." They seek emotional solace in embracing simple, all-encompassing explanations and whatever they think is the conventional wisdom. They grow impatient with complexity, ambiguity, and outlooks that require facts and careful thought. It become a matter of relieving emotional stress. This is why people voted in 2010 to go back to the very policies that nearly wrecked the financial system and economy.
Political fundamentalism is also a tribalistic reaction--Dionne says extreme nationalism, so they reject "others," like homosexuals, blacks, immigrants, Muslims, and progressives. People under the sway of political fundamentalism are attracted to the charges and scapegoating offered by demagogic figures like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann.
Until a week ago, it was hard to see how the tied of political fundamentalism could be stemmed. Maybe that is why so many Democrats have had so little to say of late.
The appearance of Obama's long form birth certificate and now the death of Osama bin Laden at Obama's orders should interject enough reality to the American consciousness to help some people escape the grip of political hysteria and irrationality.
This is the time for Democrats to come forward with facts and explanations.
They need to show that Obama has had a strong track record going after terrorists. He brought "the surge" to Afghanistan, ramped up efforts against terrorists in Pakistan itself, and now has nailed Bin Laden.
Democrats also need to begin the hard task of restoring some sanity to the economics debate.
1) The fact is that the Great Recession and near destruction of the financial system was the resupt of Republican policies. Yes, some Democrats went along with some of it, and this must be admitted.
2) The stimulus headed off a recession and brought what recovery we now have.
3) Cutting spending does not create jobs. This idea does not come from the study of economics; it comes from political ideology. No one has shown how that can possibly happen.
After these facts have been established. Democrats can start describing the Ryan Plan.
The key to derailing it is to convince senior citizens that it would be immoral for them to accept its benefits in return for scutting the benefits their children and grandchildren deserve. The issues are morality and community.
There is much more to be done to restore some reason and reality to our political
The Democrats have an opening here. If they miss it, there may be disaster for them in 2012. This opening gives them an opportunity to off set a long list of advantages the Republicans will enjoy in 2012.