Thursday, February 23, 2006


A Disturbance in the Force.

This week, the Oregon Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision on a ballot measure we passed in '04. The measure guts Oregon's landmark land-use planning and creates a development free-for-all here. There are many grim details, all of which are fascinating case studies about group insanity, but that's not what I wanted to mention.

What I thought was most interesting were the comments we got on BlueOregon on two posts (news announcement and analysis) discussing the decision. As I write this, there are a combined 151 comments, and at least half are by right wing nuts. (By comparison, we normally get something like 30 comments on a post and just a few right wing nuts.)

What were they saying? Well, mostly, it was far over-excited gloating. At first I didn't think too much of that, but it was so apoplectic, all out of proportion to the actual decision, which puts into place a law that many rural, red Oregon conservatives also despise. (It was rammed through by wealthy developers and opposed by almost everyone else.) The language they were using was so piercing that I started to pay a little closer attention.

Boiled down, I think it was the displaced rage of righties being ripped from power. For over a year, almost every news story details some way in which a Republican has been incompetent, stupid, corrupt, or greedy. It is in such stark contrast to the alternate, bizarro world reality so carefully tended by Karl Rove over the previous four years. And a bizarro world, clearly, that the righties have bought into lock, stock, and barrel.

Righties are now in painful, psychic conflict as they try desperately to hang onto the bizarro world in the face of intrusive, abusive fact. All they have left is power, and so political victories amount to a kind of proxy validation. Thus do the Oregon righties stomp their tiny feet with glee--the Supremes' ruling in Oregon allows them to stop up their ears and continue to screech, for a few more months or years, "la la la cuts do create jobs, invasions do create democracy, Saddam did have la la."

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