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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Angry Left in the Spotlight
Maimon Schwarzschild

Last week may have been a turning point in one way, almost regardless of who wins the election, but certainly if McCain actually wins.  The week brought into the open - in a way that almost no one in the country could ignore - some of the craziness that has taken over among many liberals and Democrats in the past eight to ten years.  Not necessarily crazy policies so much as a crazy spirit: a kind of extremist temper, a John-Birch-Society-of-the-left atmosphere.

It's an atmosphere rightly associated with college and university campuses, where a hectoringly intolerant political orthodoxy took over, in many cases, years ago.  (See above.)

Most of the mainstream media share it as well - in diluted form certainly, compared to the full nuttiness on campus.  The media have been important in promoting it: directly by telling only one side of the story (the leftist narrative, to put it in leftist jargon); and indirectly by covering for the growing craziness - almost never mentioning what's going on at Kos or Democratic Underground or Harper's or even in the ordinary conversation of a growing number of ever-more-wildly-talking ordinary liberals across the country.

The frenzy about Sarah Palin has changed things, maybe permanently.  It was (and is) a reflex spasm of hatred, coming from people - obviously including lots and lots of the media - who had never heard of Sarah Palin until McCain announced her.  (Just a week ago Friday: it seems longer ago than that, doesn't it?)  It almost instantly went far beyond an inquiry into her qualifications and fitness for the vice presidency - about which reasonable people can certainly differ.  The unhinged animus (good word; nothing to do with pigs) is too obvious for anyone to miss.  And instead of carefully ignoring it or smoothing it over with public-relations cover, as the media usually do with anything ugly on the left, this time the media openly joined in and led the crazy charge.

For once, there seems to be a price to be paid.   Suddenly the political race is tied, or Obama is even falling behind.   Ballistic left-liberalism hasn't been politely ignored this time.  It's as though the country is suddenly asking "Do we really want to be ruled by armies of people with this outlook, whom Obama would bring in, all up and down the federal government?"

If the fallout - dangerous, if not fatal, to their political hopes - helps bring mainstream liberalism back to a less paranoid, less angry and sneering, and generally less crazed way of talking and feeling, it will be a very good thing for the country and for all concerned.  Crazy political talk, after all, can start out as just a fashion, a way of talking that nobody necessarily means very seriously.  But words, and ways of talking, take on a life of their own: after a while you start believing what you say, and even acting on it.

It's all much more in the open now than it was a week and a half ago.  That's a good thing.

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Maimon Schwarzschild


Only someone like Palin could have drawn this much publicized fear and loathing from the left and media while simultaneously electrifying and thrilling a very large segment of the population from her sheer genuineness and likability. The problem for the media is while they are in the tank for Obama (who is aggressively unlikable), Palin is such a huge and immediate star they cannot NOT cover her. In covering her and the lies/smears, the media has awakened the entire country to a madness on the left. It is on full and shocking display.

The only thing going for the Dems was a demoralized Republican base and they were counting on it. Lieberman as McCain's veep would have been the nail in our (conservatives') coffin. Palin has upended this and it's like watching rabies spread on the left. There's no quick cure for this. It only really came into full being with Bush (and I thought his ability to drive them insane was unique). It has a long way to go, possibly a generation.

Posted by: Peg C. | Sep 11, 2008 6:53:32 AM

Maybe someone should tell them that hate is not a family value.

Oh wait...

Posted by: jblog | Sep 11, 2008 6:54:55 AM

"helps bring mainstream liberalism back to a less paranoid, less angry and sneering, and generally less crazed way of talking and feeling"

Unfortunately, the real result of a McCain victory would almost assuredly be the exact opposite. The entire Left, including the Left media, will be more paranoid, more angry, more sneering, and very, very much more crazed.

Posted by: AustinRoth | Sep 11, 2008 7:00:24 AM

Indeed, Obama's Brownshirts would demand their place at the table (of which the light Denver civil disobedience was a polite reminder to the DNC). There is no material difference in ideology nor process in the ACORN, Kos, DU, Code Pink and related radicals and the thugs used in previous totalitarian movements to intimidate the masses. The problem becomes that once in office, the thugs need a target to continue their violence and intimidation, which ends up with issues like concentration camps, reeducation camps and other unfortunate outcomes of progressive ideology matured to its potential.

Posted by: redherkey | Sep 11, 2008 7:06:52 AM

I really think that the liberal media is an advantage to Republicans. Imagine if in the 1950s the media and Hollywood were run by John Birch types who made no secret of their views. How many elections do you think the Republicans would have won? The media and Hollywood endlessly embarass the Democrats and discredit their policies. They make the Democrats look elitist and out of touch with ordinary Americans. They also prevent the Democrats from fully testing and vetting their candidates by wrapping them in a cacoon of fawning coverage during the primaries. Had the media been less biased, Obama's or Kerry's weaknesses would have been more obvious before the election.

It is a problem. Hollywood and the media give a lot of money to the Party. But they have become dogmatic and parnoid to the point of going insane. What is a Democrat to do? You can't kick them out. But, you can't control them either.

Posted by: John | Sep 11, 2008 7:13:45 AM

"What is a Democrat to do? You can't kick them out. But, you can't control them either."

You can make them leave your party by moving your party to the right of the GOP on social issues.

Posted by: Gregg the Obscure_ | Sep 11, 2008 7:22:28 AM

When the election is over, and Obama's campaign lies in ashes, then the left of today will seem positively genteel by comparison.

I fully believe a McCain victory in 2008, followed by a Palin victory in 2012, would completely unhinge the left in almost exactly the same way as white liberals just absolutely abhor Clarence Thomas. Or any other person of color or woman who has advanced as a direct result of their being Republicans.

Thomas epitomizes what can be achieved by black Republicans. Palin epitomizes what can be achieved by women if they vote Republican. A Democrat woman can never be President (as evidenced by Obama being nominated even though Hillary got more votes). But there's nobody in the Republican Party trying to stop Sarah Palin in the same way that Democrats stopped Hillary.

And so Democrats can see what's happening. It's their mantra that blacks can only advance through their affiliation with Democrats. Women can only break the glass ceiling if they are Democrats. That's the way Democrats see it, and when reality comes crashing down on them; when it becomes so obvious that it was Democrats (and not Republicans) who built Hillary's glass ceiling and that a Republican might be the first to crash it, they become, by necessity, delusional.

One Chicago professor today wrote in the Washington Post that Sarah Palin isn't really a woman.

And I'm sure that this professor truly, truly believes that Sarah Palin can't be a woman.

Can't possibly be.

That's how unfkinhinged these people are going to become. They're about to go insane.

Posted by: voter | Sep 11, 2008 7:35:44 AM

And a problem on the Right, as redherkey demonstrates, is that when they get in a lather they can't keep their thoughts from drifting into Lenin / Stalin territory...

The 1960s cadre isn't Leninist. There won't be political camps. Obama's lot are Alinskyist (Maoist-urban), based in the communities which they "organise". Expected scenario is for mid-size and large-size businesses to ratchet up their HR departments and to fill them with ideologues. There will be more, and more virulent, "diversity workshops"; and avoiding them will be harder if you're in the managerial or technical portion of the middle class. But that's just annoying; anyone with a brain knows how to practice taqiyya by now.

Also, with the advent of card-check and abolition of "right-to-work" statutes, there will be more strikes and direct action, gumming up day-to-day workings of government. Depending on how bad all THAT gets, there might be fascism here just to make the trains run on time again. But it won't come from Obama's lot. That'll most likely be a right-wing reaction.

Posted by: David Ross | Sep 11, 2008 7:50:26 AM

As someone who has spent the past 28 years in Seattle (i.e., the belly of the beast), it has been interesting (as well as disconcerting) to watch this phenomenon unfold. Simply put: those who honestly think of themselves as open-minded, progressive, and liberal, are, in fact, the most close-minded, unprogressive, and illiberal people that I have had the misfortune to come in contact with. You have to keep a sense of humor, or you will drive yourself nuts. A small example (which I'm sure others have experienced): in the office in which I work, the sense of gloom and disbelief that followed Bush's victory in 2004 was something to behold, especially because the true believers could not comprehend how he had won since "everybody that I know voted for Kerry!" They are well and truly oblivious to the fact that they live in a bubble. The palpable desperation and outrage over Palin are, unfortunately, par for the course. When they cannot get what they want, out come the redneck, gun-nut, and religious fanatic slurs. It is, overall, a sad commentary on the fundamental immaturity, lack of basic decency, and incomplete education on the part of a large segment of the baby boom generation. Come on boys and girls, grow up! Isn't it about time to get over Viet Nam, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush? I fear not. I agree that what has happened to Palin exposes to some (who had not seen it up close before) the lunacy and hatred of many [il]liberals and [un]progressives. However, they will not change because (1) they are (of course) smarter than the rest of us, and (2) they have no shame or decency. (I will not use up further space, but it is important to note their must telling flaw: a non-existent sense of humor. Exhibit One: Barack Obama.)

Posted by: Blockhead | Sep 11, 2008 7:54:49 AM

If their ObaMessiah does not win, I suspect the deranged segment of the Left will grow, and be much more outrageously unhinged. THe Bush Derangement Syndrome we saw take hold several years ago will look pale in comparison.

Am I still allowed to use 'pale' in that way?

Posted by: krome | Sep 11, 2008 8:02:07 AM