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August 08, 2006

Lanny Davis: McCarthyism Has Found A New Home On The Left

Sorry for the second Drudge link in a row, but this is pretty damned interesting.

Liberal McCarthyism
Bigotry and hate aren't just for right-wingers anymore.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON--My brief and unhappy experience with the hate and vitriol of bloggers on the liberal side of the aisle comes from the last several months I spent campaigning for a longtime friend, Joe Lieberman.

This kind of scary hatred, my dad used to tell me, comes only from the right wing....

Now, in the closing days of the Lieberman primary campaign, I have reluctantly concluded that I was wrong. The far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony. Here are just a few examples (there are many, many more anyone with a search engine can find) of the type of thing the liberal blog sites have been posting about Joe Lieberman:

• "Ned Lamont and his supporters need to [g]et real busy. Ned needs to beat Lieberman to a pulp in the debate and define what it means to be an AMerican who is NOT beholden to the Israeli Lobby" (by "rim," posted on Huffington Post, July 6, 2006).

• "Joe's on the Senate floor now and he's growing a beard. He has about a weeks growth on his face. . . . I hope he dyes his beard Blood red. It would be so appropriate" (by "ctkeith," posted on Daily Kos, July 11 and 12, 2005).

• On "Lieberman vs. Murtha": "as everybody knows, jews ONLY care about the welfare of other jews; thanks ever so much for reminding everyone of this most salient fact, so that we might better ignore all that jewish propaganda [by Lieberman] about participating in the civil rights movement of the 60s and so on" (by "tomjones," posted on Daily Kos, Dec. 7, 2005).

• "Good men, Daniel Webster and Faust would attest, sell their souls to the Devil. Is selling your soul to a god any worse? Leiberman cannot escape the religious bond he represents. Hell, his wife's name is Haggadah or Muffeletta or Diaspora or something you eat at Passover" (by "gerrylong," posted on the Huffington Post, July 8, 2006).


And these are some of the nicer examples.

One Sunday morning on C-Span I debated Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel on the Lieberman versus Lamont race. Afterwards I received a series of emails--many of them in ALL CAPS (which often suggests the hyper-frenetic state of these extremist haters)--that were of the same stripe as the blog posts, and filled with the same level of personal hate.

Welcome to the party, Pal. And I don't mean that in a nasty way. I just mean, well, yeah, you are finally getting a taste of what so many others have been seeing and documenting for so long.

The left now routinely engages in the sort of Jew-baiting that even Pat Buchanan would find repulsive.

The hatred is born out of a sense of powerlessness and futility. And the incoherent, foam-flecked rage is designed, yes, to "chill the right to dissent" of anyone who fails to match their level of ideological purity and partisan fury.

Is there a similar impulse on the right? It hardly seems so to me. I'm a blue state conservative, less concerned with social issues than many of my readers, and leaning more to the center or left than them to the extent I do care, and while we have sometimes sharp disagreements, none of social conservatives here have ever sought to mau-mau me. The worst epithet hurled at me came from Bart, who called me "a libertarian."

Hey, I don't like being called a dirty filthy pot-smoking wife-swapping bi-curious hippy libertarian, but that's pretty weak beer compared to the venomous smears calculated to cow everyone into lockstep compliance with the Kos agenda.

The Democrats have been groping in futility for an answer to their problem -- the essential unpopularity of liberalism -- that they've finally decided to Give Peaceniks A Chance. It's an interesting experiment, I guess, and I'm curious to see how it works out. I could see it being anything from a fiasco to a moderate "people powered" success.

I guess their own brain-trust had proven time and time again to be inadequate to the task at hand; it's not then totally insane to take a chance on Kos. He couldn't do any worse than Bob Shrum.

Except, you know, he actually could do worse than Bob Shrum. Kos could, possibly, lose not only the coming elections, but the next three or four. Which is something Bob Shrum, for all his brilliance at repeated electoral failure, could never manage himself.

Politics always evolve. But the left seems to have metastisized into a creepy hybrid of identity politics and not-so-covert antisemitism, antiamericanism and transnational anarchism, pacificism abroad and rumors of war at home, and an otherwise unprincipled, endlessly malleable non-ideology consisting of little else than "we must take power."

It's partisan fury in search of a program.

Will this work? I sure hope not, and not simply because it may presage bad things for the Republican Party; it might also herald a very ugly chapter for American politics and culture generally.

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posted by Ace at 11:05 AM

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