Was Richard Nixon too normal? Abraham Lincoln exceptionally deranged? Why we should look for a little bit of crazy in our leaders.
By now, the 2012 Republican presidential contenders have all been tattooed by the opposition, branded as boring, damaged, or even insane. The entire GOP is “barking mad,” as The New Republic recently put it, and the party’s White House hopefuls display what The New Yorker calls “crackles of craziness.” This kind of talk flows both ways, of course. But what if the big problem with Washington—the real reason that voters are responding with a mixture of disappointment and panic—isn’t nuttiness so much as a lack of it?