Repetition compulsion

A quote from the first page of Jodi Dean’s Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009):

The end of the Bush administration and the crisis in capitalism confronting the world economy are opportunities not simply for reflecting on the bankruptcy of conservatism but also for addressing the yet more significant failures of the left. They present opportunities, in other words, for confronting the ways that the true believers in the Republican message were actually leftists and Democrats. For many of us on the American left, the election of 2000 indicated less a divided populace than it did the consolidation of conservative hegemony. We read George W. bush’s assumption of the presidency as exposing the underlying truth of the country, despite the fact Al Gore won the popular vote and the election’s outcome rested with the Supreme Court. A Bush presidency seemed inevitable, almost foreordained. Trapped in what appeared as one enormous red state and overlooking the pervasive blue and purple, we wallowed in our misery. That over half the voters did not want Bush somehow seemed unimportant. That the Republicans remained significantly behind the democrats with respect to voters’ party identification barely registered. We were convinced that the country was Republican, conservative, capitalist, Christian fundamentalist, and evangelical (as if these were all the same). It’s almost as if we believed in their strength and unity, their power and influence, more than they did themselves. So we submitted to what we loudly lamented as our worst nightmare. We turned a split election into the fact, the victory, of conservatism.

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