Whenever I hear Romney memorably sputter more of his counterfeit indignation or calculated malice--for example Obama should take his "division and anger and hate back to Chicago"--I think of other great rallying cries that were just as indignant, just as malicious, just as cold-blooded and disingenuous and diversionary, such as Old Southerners' whoops about the "War of Northern Aggression," or Europe's brownshirted little men who fumed about having been "Stabbed in the Back."
At their deepest level, such cries are the counterintuitive cries of refinement, cultivation and sophistication by brutes, bullies and barbarians. But not primitives. Primitives would be at an innocent loss if asked or inspired to twist the plainly absurd into the elaborately marketable, while expert brutes and bullies have been around the block--they know, they've studied, what their fellow and lesser barbarians might eagerly swallow.
They also drip with projection, or, in the vernacular, simple table-turning. After landing the first martial blow, Southerners girded for the "aggressive" North; after supposedly being "stabbed in the back" by domestic socialists and Jewish financiers, the little men betrayed everyone and drove a dagger into Germany's heart; and when Romney envisions "what an angry and desperate presidency looks like," we know what he means.
The Obama campaign reacted to Romney's latest neoconfederate Teutonism with the aptest of descriptions: "unhinged." For one can be refined, one can be cultivated, one can even spring from the very apex of worldly sophistication as one also teeters on the precipice of malicious incoherence and criminal insanity.
Mind you, I'm not suggesting a Romney administration would reauthorize human auction blocks or, as many a right-wing paranoid has charged the Obama administration with plotting, construct concentration camps. In Romney & Co. there exists, however, a dispositional similarity to those who did that is simply undeniable. We are still waiting for some monstrous line that Romney won't slither across, some verbal abomination to which Romney won't avidly stoop, some flicker of humanity from this deeply pious man. Still waiting.