The political commentator, Matthew Dowd, recently suggested that the Republicans have become a ‘Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ America. In light of the drubbing Gov. Romney and many Republicans took in the recent election, I think Dowd was mostly right. But the debacle for the Republicans, in my view, goes beyond being stuck in the era of Don Draper. I believe that the far-right wing in this country has managed to infect the Republican Party with a cultural form of neophobia– an irrational fear of new situations, places, or things. More broadly, the term may be used to describe a “fear of the modern”—for example, of recent changes in cultural attitudes, norms, or beliefs.
I claim no originality in reaching this conclusion. According to a report by Jodi Kantor in the New York Times (Nov. 7, 2012), several historians who have been meeting regularly with President Obama told him much the same thing.
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