The Lou Dobbs variety of nationalism is particularly dangerous.
CNN’s commentator, Lou Dobbs has found his niche. He’s the populist jingoist who’s not on Fox. From a business point of view I’m sure the CNN big wigs tell themselves he’s part of their strategy to compete with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly et al. I’m already on record bashing Fox but I haven’t blogged about Lou Dobbs.
Dobbs is an asshole because he appeals to base nationalism. He’s against free trade, blaming it – incorrectly – for all our country’s economic woes. He’s against immigrants (he saves his most vitriolic comments for “illegals” but his sentiments are clear just below the surface) – the human face of free trade and globalization. He rails about the “war on the middle class.” He accuses politicians of being traitors because they won’t erect a bigger wall along the Mexican border or because they favor this or that trade agreement.
He’s against the war in Iraq but not because of any sense of outrage about the war itself or even because he opposed it from the start. Rather he opposes it only because of how it has played out. He not against invading countries for no good reason. He’s against not winning. He’s completely ignorant about the constitution but rails about Americans’ “rights” and how we deserve a “government that works.” He constantly confuses the policies he likes with objectively perfect policies that only a cynical crook or a traitor would oppose.
The Lou Dobbs variety of nationalism is particularly dangerous. While he doesn’t have the animated flags waving all over his TV studio, he’s appealing to the same base prejudices and hatreds as the Fox News flag wavers.
At the same time, he encourages the kind of bitter resignation and frustration often expressed by US West. By so convincing intelligent people to give up, he leaves the country in the hands of the true cynics.