I don’t like fear driven politics, but we seem to be stuck with it. One of my ultra-conservative acquaintances sends me an e-mail now and then warning of the dangers of a far left wing, Socialist, criminally connected Obama administration. That last adjective is based on Obama’s Chicago roots amid the corruption of Chicago style politics. Chicago does have a well deserved reputation extending back well into the 19th century, and my smart ass side wants to send back an e-mail wondering whether people like Cunningham and Stevens might have learned their trade there. One could, of course, create box score of convictions of officials in each administration to come up with some sort of comparative index of moral turpitude, which could lead to a very interesting mud slinging contest. On sheer count alone the Nixon, Reagan, Bush era would win hands down, but there is a certain sleaze factor that would badly tarnish the Clinton interregnum. What I really wonder about is the enormity of the fear factor that is driving my very conservative friends up the wall. They are truly scared of an Obama administration. It isn’t just the Religious Right. Most of these people are not especially religious at all. I think a big part of it is racial and another part is their absolute conviction that it would mean the end of the market based economic system as they imagine it is. By that I mean that they honestly believe that the Reagan-Bush legacy has preserved national security, individual freedom, private property and the privileges of individualistic American entrepreneurship. The people they see coming to power are grossly exaggerated images of Pelosi and Reid, and those caricatures are given a sense of validity by the presence of ultra-liberals who have no more sense of reality than the ultra-conservatives. This kind of fear driven politics is, to my mind, extremely corrosive to American society and abusive of constitutional meaning and intent. And that is the source of my fear.