Carl Paladino, New York's gay-bashing, racist email-sending gubernatorial candidate, may be the most "clownish" illustration of American rage, but he's no anomaly, writes Frank Rich in the New York Times. And, like the "farcical" Christine O'Donnell, Paladino is a "political loss-leader" whose probable defeat lets us laugh off the anger "coursing, sometimes violently, through our national bloodstream."
But dismissing Paladino and O'Donnell as election-year amusements ignores the troubling fact that extremism in American politics will not disappear on November 2. "If Tea Party candidates triumph," Rich writes, "they’ll be emboldened." If they don't, "bitterness will grow." The only answer, he says, is an end to economic suffering. And so far, neither party can promise an antidote to that pain.