Rich, re Arizona...
Reading from abroad, one gets the impression that the States have completely lost their shit. One hopes that the recent, increasingly foul convulsions will be short-lived, but bleak, deadening, decade-long swathes of appalling governance seem to be the norm. Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes... Perhaps Palin? Romney? It's unthinkable, but not impossible.
Frank Rich addresses Arizona's truly fucked immigration law, its cultural context and reverberations, and America's dire bummer vibe in today's Times.
From the piece:
Outbreaks of nativist apoplexy are nothing new in American history. The last derailed George W. Bush’s apparently earnest effort to get a bipartisan immigration compromise through the Senate in 2007. At the time, the more egregious expressions of anti-immigrant rage — including Arizona’s self-appointed border-patrol militia, the Minutemen — were stigmatized as a fringe by the White House and much of the G.O.P. establishment. John McCain, though facing a tough fight for the Republican presidential nomination, signed on to the Bush reform effort despite being slimed by those in his party’s base who accused him of supporting “amnesty.”What a difference the Tea Party makes. This time McCain endorsed his state’s new immigration law as “a good tool” and “a very important step forward,” and propagandized in favor of it with his widely ridiculed televised canard that illegal immigrants were “intentionally causing accidents on the freeway.”