In his revealing memoir, Blinded by the Right, former rightwing hatchet man David Brock argues that for much of the second half of the last century, the Republican party's various factions was held together by one thing: hatred of communism. When the cold war ended, the right was suddenly left without a unifying issue and more importantly, without an enemy to rally against. So, Brock, argues, they made Clinon that enemy and emnity for him and Hillary came to replace the hatred they had felt for communism. Monday night, it was clear that terrorists have become the new rallying point for the GOP. In one sense, I guess that's progress, Osama Bin Laden is more worthy of loathing than Bill Clinton. But the lusty boos, the nudge-nudge-wink-wink moment when Giuliani recounted a construction worker telling Bush in with lurid, foul language, what he'd like to do to the terrorists and Bush saying, "I agree" were part of a broader reactionary ethos that is, at its bottom dependent on violence, or the ever-present threat thereof. The choice of this election is the choice between a party that needs violence and enemies to give itself meaning one that doesn't.
Christopher Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. He is an editor at large at the Nation and a former senior editor of In These Times.