Atrios reads Bobo so you don’t have to (italics is Bobo, non-italics is Atrios):
I was also struck, as in New Hampshire and Iowa, by the mood of this year’s rallies. Republican audiences this year want a restoration. America once had strong values, they believe, but we have gone astray. We’ve got to go back and rediscover what we had. Heads nod enthusiastically every time a candidate touches this theme.
I agree with the sentiment, but it makes for an incredibly backward-looking campaign. I sometimes wonder if the Republican Party has become the receding roar of white America as it pines for a way of life that will never return.
And never was, unless what you’re pining for is segregation and lack of rights for women. Which, for some, is what they’re pining for, though most are just indulging in Leave It To Beaver fantasies.
If you read Corey Robin’s “The Reactionary Mind”, you’ll see a convincing argument that conservatism is mostly about preserving power for the aristoracy du jour and that nostalgia for a time that never was is one of its most powerful weapons.
It is no coincidence that the end of Jim Crow happened exactly before the beginning of an era of conservative dominance. Most revolutions only end the power and privilege of a reasonably small number of elites, but the Civil Rights Act ended (to some extent!) an apartheid system that millions of white southerners had supported. That creates fertile ground for conservative indoctrination.
I suspect Atrios is right, that many Republicans are just indulging in Leave It To Beaver fantasies that are not openly racist, and some might even wish explicitly for a less racist version of how they remember the 1950s, but a lot of what makes Leave It To Beaver so appealing is that everyone knew their place.