Fredericksburg.Com has a series of 22 continous photos of blogger/activist Mike Stark pushing his way through to George Allen. Stark accused Allen's staffers of manhandling him. Captain's Quarters says "he assaulted one staffer in his attempt to get to Allen, something that the CNN cameras wouldn't have caught." AJ Strata says he is old enough to remember what happened to Robert Kennedy and says "someone busting through security and staff may not be there just for a partisan prank."
One word often applied to politics today is "passionate", which I vaguely remember as having arrived in the public policy lexicon via the food and art reviews. If the Hatfields and the McCoys had known the word they would have found it advantageous in describing their rivalry. It makes the condition of unrestrained hostility sound so much more genteel.
Neo-neocon agrees with Anne Kornblut who argues that modern politics has poisoned personal relationships in America. "American politics have always been contentious ... But if people stopped speaking over politics, it was the rare exception. Now it seems, if not the rule, certainly a fairly commonplace phenomenon." I guess one could take comfort in recollecting the far worse enmities of the civil war. But on second thought, that direction is fairly unpleasant to contemplate.
The question of course is not simply whether politics is so much more "passionate" these days but why it has become so. William Niskanen, former acting chairman of Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers, argues that a divided government is empirically better for America because it keeps each sides excesses in check. That may be true, but is there not some point at which the benefits of enmity experience the law of diminishing returns? So far it has not shown any signs of bottoming out. It is still in the stage of "more is better" or at least" more leads to more". But wait, when can we expect a conservative blogger to crash through a Democratic Senator's cordon of staffers?