Why do I have to wait for a genre book editor at a medium-sized press to point this out to me (while he takes a break from worrying about his ill wife) when he have thousands upon thousands of well-paid "journalists" in Washington? Some of the answer is that it makes me physically ill to read the WSJ editorial page, so I don't see Thomas Frank's columns there http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122100226859616967.html. But this should have been a major part of the zeitgeist:
Making Light: Mmm, "good people": Posted by Patrick [Nielsen Hayden] at 10:00 AM * 57 comments: Sarah Palin, accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for Vice President of the United States:
A writer observed: “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity.” I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman...
Who was this anonymous “writer”? Funny you should ask. Evidently, as Thomas Frank points out, it was the avowed anti-Semite Westbrook Pegler, a newspaper columnist popular from the 1930s to the 1960s, whose many distinguished accomplishments included publicly regretting that would-be FDR assassin Giuseppe Zangara “hit the wrong man,” writing in 1963 that it is “clearly the bounden duty of all intelligent Americans to proclaim and practice bigotry,” and, when Robert F. Kennedy first began considering a run for President, expressing his hope that “some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.”
Honesty! Sincerity! Dignity! Good people! (Thanks to Stephen Leigh http://sleigh.livejournal.com/212163.html for pointing out this story, which I missed entirely while falling behind on the news.) (Oh, and for what it’s worth, Harry Truman regarded Pegler as a “guttersnipe.”)