Saturday, September 25, 2004

Weekend guest essay 

This site is normally untouched on the weekends. I usually don't even touch blogs on Saturday or Sunday before dinner. I've been playing for awhile with the idea of offering someone else a chance to post over that period, and a couple of weeks ago Libertarian Tom asked about the NA and how you join. Now membership doesn't permit me any rights to invite other members -- that's the function of the commissioner -- but having seen some of Tom's work I thought I might ask if he wanted to send something in, particularly since he was a magna cum laude graduate of SCSU during my first year on campus and so qualifies as an "SCSU Scholar". He did, and it appears next.

Democrats, Drunks and Denial
by Libertarian Tom

I once knew a guy -- I'll call him Fred -- who was an alcoholic. Drank himself into oblivion with alarming frequency. Amazingly, all of the problems in Fred's life (according to Fred) were someone else's fault: lost his job (again)? The boss was a jerk. Wife left him? She was a -- well, as they said about Leona Helmsley, "rhymes with rich." Kids didn't want to be around him? His ex-wife, the, uh, witch, turned them against him. And so on. Fred lived a miserable, failed life because he never look himself in the mirror and admit that any of these problems might be of his own making.

I can't help but think of Fred when I look at today's Democratic party. They've now lost the White House, congress, the Senate, most of the nation's governorships, and why? Because mainstream U.S.A. is rejecting their high tax, big government, extreme pro-abortion, radical environmentalist, excessively regulatory, terrorism-is-a-law-enforcement-issue policies? No, because Republicans are mean. Republicans are relentless with their dirty tricks, that's why they keep winning: it has nothing to do with the public's embrace of a positive, ownership-oriented economic plan and confidence in our war on terror. Or the failed policies of tax-spend-regulate-sue. No, it's just nasty campaigning.

In recent Newsweek piece, Jonathan Alter decried what he called the Democrats' "toughness gap." According to Alter, Democrats lose because they are unwilling to engage in the kind of dirty tricks the Republicans are so good at. "The toughness gap is the Democrats' own fault. Because liberals are temperamentally self-critical, they tend to see more grays than black-and-whites" Ah, that nuance thing. "Republicans offer 'red meat,' a sense that they share the resentments of their audience. Democrats, schooled in political correctness, tiptoe around...ever anxious not to offend." Oh really?

The Dan Rather forged memo affair, covered so comprehensively by Powerline and Hugh Hewitt, wasn't a counterexample, surely. Democrats just don't do this sort of thing. It would just be so out of character for them, and the Republicans are so good at, that the Democrats are now blaming Memogate on...Karl Rove!

And the "discovery" of George W. Bush's 1976 DUI arrest in Maine, just days before the 2000 election -- that wouldn't be example of Democrats practicing the partisan dirty tricks they now decry, now would it. Nah.

Any notion that Democrats lose because they are much too nice, and Republicans win because they're mean, should be obvious bunk to anyone with an IQ above room temperature. Two recent posts from Michael Moore's web site demonstrate this quite clearly. (Wait, you object, Moore is on the fringe -- he's not representative of the party! Okay, both parties do have their fringe elements; on the Republican side, we had the Clinton-ran-drugs-through-Mena-before-he-had-Vince-Foster-killed ranters -- but we never allowed the party to be infected by this. Republicans keep their fringe element on the fringe, not in the center of the party. To the Democrats, however, Moore is no fringe element -- he is emblematic of the party. Scads of powerful Democratic elected officials (and their major donors) attending the opening of Moore's propaganda screed Farenheit 911. Tom Daschle hugged him. Moore sat next to former-president Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention.)

In this posting by Moore, he writes that "They (Republicans) are never finished -- they just keep moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying...It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet." He actually makes the claim that polls are misleading because they rely on "likely voters." And he closes with an entreaty to "defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face." Don't you just love the civilized, intellectual tone here?

In another post on Moore's site, Garrison Keillor (author, National Public Radio personality, and liberal sage of Minnesota) is even more high-minded and philosophical: "The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong�s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt�s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk...Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of." (Find yourself in there? I think I'm a "misanthropic frat boy" aspiring to become a "Lamborghini libertarian.) Like Moore, Keillor also uses the e-word, as in Republicans have become "the party of Newt Gingrich's evil spawn." Ronald Reagan (the "Evil Empire") and President Bush (the "axis of evil") used "evil" to refer to autocratic, mass-murdering regimes that subjugate their own people and menace their neighbors; Moore and Keillor use it to describe a guy whose public policy they disagree with. Clearly, an indication of the nuance and discernment of the Left.

The name-calling and refusal to address real issues remind me of alcoholic Fred. But remember, it's Republicans, not Democrats, who are mean.

Keillor would seem to be at home with this type of sentiment: "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States;" and to be duly appalled by a President who would say about war, "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it," and about income inequality, "Property is the fruit of is desirable...a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." The first quote above is from the Chicago Sun-Times -- November 20, 1863, referring to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The second two quotes are from Lincoln himself. Perhaps we are not so far from the "party of Lincoln and Liberty" as Keillor suggests?

Keillor himself gets to the real reason the Democrats will once again lose in this fall's elections, when he writes "it's 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn't the 'end of innocence,' or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security." A lapse of security. If airport security at Logan had just stopped those box cutter-wielding terrorists from getting on those planes that morning, we'd be just fine, back in Clintonian nirvana. All nineteen of them would have just told Osama that it didn't work, and they were going back to their old lives. Al Qaeda would have just thrown in the towel. The Left is in la-la land on this, and the voting public knows it, and that's why they are doomed again this November.

In his Newsweek piece, Alter did get one thing (almost) right: "If Kerry loses, the Democratic establishment may be done, too. Fire-breathing liberals, mirror images of the ideologues on the right, will take over the party, likely dooming it to yet more defeat in a country that is fundamentally moderate." Too late; the fire-breathers already rule their party. Keillor and Moore are the Democratic party, and they aren't losing because they're too nice.

The author can be reached, by Democratic apologists or by "hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists" etc., at