Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guilt, Bloodlust and Presidential Politics

Ol' "Blood and Freedom" Thompson

"We must never forget that America has shed more blood defending freedom here and abroad than all the other countries in the world combined."

--Republican Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson

I heard Fred Thompson (on TV) make the above statement to his supporters after losing the South Carolina primary. It drew great applause, and struck me as one of the oddest utterances of the tedious 2008 presidential campaign. It is a risible assertion, patently impossible to substantiate, even if the term "freedom" were objective. Yet it drew wild applause.

As a search of the Internet shows, Thompson trots out this enigmatic and grisly phrase a lot. What can it mean? Why does it strike a chord? Here is a hypothesis: It at once assuages repressed guilt for the mass violence wreaked by our country on Iraq, and validates the collective bloodlust so prevalent among hardcore Republicans. It also implies that, in a manner befitting the Aztecs, the GOP - if returned to power - will continue to sacrifice humans as a talismanic ritual.