Ever since the late ABC anchorman Peter Jennings diagnosed Republican gains in the 1994 midterm elections with the deathless phrase “The voters had a temper tantrum,” every midterm setback for a Democratic president has inspired mainstream media pros to let loose their inner Sigmund Freuds. There have been “angry white males,” there’s been “tea party wrath,” there have even been plain old “spoiled brats.”
Clearly an election that doesn’t go the way you want is a phenomenon so mysterious and unprecedented that it can only be explained through crackpot distance-psychoanalysis. So what rage explains the 2014 returns, which saw Republican gains across most categories of gender, class, race and shoe size? A white male at Yahoo News, whose name I can’t figure out but who looks pretty angry himself, takes a stab at it:
I think “self-loathing electorate” may hit the bull’s eye. There’s certainly plenty of self-loathing in these here modern United States. Many Americans loathe themselves, and in my experience many of them have good reason to feel that way. It’s not the kind of phrase that seems likely to win a lot of elections, but as a campaign promise, “I will loathe you even more than you loathe yourselves” has the virtues of 1) never having been tried and 2) being true of nearly all elected officials.
Chris Matthews, by the way, is not angry. It’s just that he expected more of us:
And by the way, Yahoo News, this white male is pretty angry that your goofball Katie Couric/David Gregory event at the Capitol Lounge not only filled the street outside National Review’s office with a Hollywood-worthy phalanx of production trucks (for an online video event whose stream didn’t even work on my brand new computer with a good connection), but closed down that legendary bar just when I felt like wetting my whistle. That is definitely cause for loathing.