Is GOP the Party of Hate?


There’s no disputing that the Republican Party is the party of anger these days. Tea party anger. Libertarian anger. Social conservative anger. Hate Obama anger. But Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is trying to brand the GOP as the party of hatred. In a fundraising email for his political action committee, he writes:

I was targeted by the Nixon White House, and the smears of 2004 were no picnic, but something’s happening right now in our politics that’s disturbingly different than anything I remember.

Hatred is a word mainstream candidates don’t use, period. But when Sharron Angle’s campaign announced her fundraising totals, they said, “This is a testament to the hatred of Harry Reid.” Scary words from a campaign of a candidate who said people would resort to “second amendment remedies” if the rightwing didn’t get their way.

Something’s afoot. Another Congressman said, “We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats,” while Michael Steele called on activists to “get Nancy ready for the firing line,” talking about the first woman Speaker in our nation’s history.

This politics is dangerous.

In my household, we teach the kids that “hate” is a big word, one that should be used sparingly. But there is plenty of Obama hatred out there—and it extends to Democrats and others. (Remember when furious tea partiers gathered at a Capitol Hill rally organized by the House Republican leadership to protest the health care reform law then under consideration by Congress, and the crowd, referring to Democrats, chanted, “Nazis, Nazis”?) Kerry’s point is sound: there’s plenty of over-the-top detesting going on in Republican and conservative circles. But the political question is, can Democrats and independents be whipped up to oppose Republicans by worries of rightwing extremism? What’s a more powerful motivation: hatred or fear?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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