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The Party Of Spaz

When I was in fifth grade, there was this kid named Matt who was the Kid With the Temper. Three or four times a year, he'd spaz out to comic, theatrical effect--throwing things, kicking desks, roaming the hallways, and, once, locking himself in a closet and emerging with a black eye. With the sort of cruelty unique to 10-year-olds, classmates used to goad the poor kid when it looked like an outburst was near, circling around him in the knowledge that we'd soon glimpse what we all knew was inside. The scene described in Seyward's post from Columbus, and depicted on any number of YouTube clips, seems remarkably similar. Camera-equipped Obama supporters outside McCain and Palin rallies wave signs and ask questions in the certainty that their very presence will unleash the ugliness that appears to be inside all too many of the GOP faithful. Of course, Matt was a little kid in school and these folks are adults out in the world, so I'm not saying I feel any particular sympathy for those who just can't seem to keep themselves from shouting racial or ethnic epithets or just dumb-ass Cold War jingoistic nonsense, at their tormentors. But what amazes me is how little provocation it apparently is to reduce a lot of solid middle American Republicans to a bunch of hysterical fifth-grader.

--Michael Schaffer