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« Niece of a Man Called "L.D. Cooper" Comes Forward To Claim She's Solved The Mystery of D.B. Cooper | Main | Michael Goodwin: The Country Is Giving Up On Obama »
August 03, 2011

Civility, Liberal-Style

I won't do this all day again. I'll just recap what has been said and move on.

A good video compilation of the various slurs here, at Big Journalism.

Taranto first recaps the ghoulish joy with which liberals greeted the shooting of Gabby Giffords-- exemplified by Jonathan Alter, for example, plotting out future political strategy...

Sad to say, if Giffords had died, she would have been mourned and soon the conversation would have moved on. But Giffords lives, thank God, which offers other possibilities. We won't know for weeks or months whether she can function in public. If she can, she will prove a powerful referee of the boundaries of public discourse--more influential, perhaps, than the president himself.

...then turns to their current posture:

"Terrorist," "racist," "uncivil," "insane," the list goes on--in this context, these words have no real meaning. They are mere epithets. The Obama presidency has reduced the liberal left to an apoplectic rage. His Ivy League credentials, superior attitude, pseudointellectual mien and facile adherence to lefty ideology make him the perfect personification of the liberal elite. Thus far at least, he has been an utter failure both at winning public support and at managing the affairs of the nation.

Obama's failure is the failure of the liberal elite, and that is why their ressentiment has reached such intensity. Their ideas, such as they are, are being put to a real-world test and found severely wanting. As a result, their authority is collapsing. And if there is one thing they know deep in their bones, it is that they are entitled to that authority. They lash out, desperately and pathetically, because they have nothing to offer but fear and anger.

The House erupted in applause as Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to DC and voted in favor of the bill. It was her first appearance on Capitol Hill since being shot last January.

Meanwhile, some wonderful news: Thanks to America's superlative medical system, Rep. Giffords has recovered sufficiently that she returned to Congress last night to cast a vote on the debt deal. She looked frail and shaky as she exchanged greetings with colleagues from both sides of the aisle, but she also talked and waved and seemed completely alert. Even watching at home on C-Span, it was hard not to be moved. "The #Capitol looks beautiful and I am honored to be at work tonight," Giffords tweeted last night.

Giffords voted "yes" on the bill--the one to which the Tea Party "terrorists" had forced the president to agree.

Jen Rubin:

It’s almost hard to recall how the left howled about “civility” in the wake of the Tucson shooting horror. But that was then, and the standards the left sets for the right is one it hardly adheres to. We had Vice President Joe Biden’s now-denied comments casting Republicans in the role of “terrorists.” And then the hometown newspaper for liberal elites got into the act.

There’s no denying the depths — and hypocrisy — to which the New York Times opinion section has sunk.

Liberal (ish?) Charles Lane at the WaPo at least has the guts to call a spade a spade.

I'm omitting his various "to be sures" here -- his declaration of bona fides of opposition to the Tea Party agenda -- because they're not relevant, but they do paint him as part of Team Liberal.

If liberals believe anything, it is that the right is either solely, or mostly, responsible for the degradation of political discourse in America. And they are surely correct to condemn such ugly rhetorical excesses as the Obama-is-Hitler placards that flowered across the land in the summer of 2009.

But liberals are in deep, deep denial about their own incivility issues. Consider the “terrorism” analogy now being aimed at the Tea Party by Democratic members of Congress — in the acquiescent presence of the vice president, no less — and by some journalists who sympathize with the Democrats. To pick just one example of the genre, today’s New York Times carries Joe Nocera’s column, “Tea Party’s War Against America.”


I’m puzzled. The Times editorial board only recently condemned “many on the right” for “exploit[ing] the arguments of division,” and “demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats.” Right-wingers, The Times notes, “seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.”

So how can it be okay for Times columnists to demonize the Tea Party and try to persuade Americans that they are not just misguided, but the enemies of the people?


There are real terrorists out there: Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, Iran’s rulers. Yet some of the same people who are slapping the “terror” label on the Tea Party and condemning Obama for dealing with them also advocate outreach to Mideast terrorists, if not to negotiate with them, at least to understand of what makes them tick.

Nocera’s colleague Tom Friedman, for example, has excoriated the Tea Party as the “Hezbollah faction” of the Republican party but has also argued that the U.S. must not isolate Mideast radicals if they are “change agents who are seen as legitimate and rooted in their own cultures.”

“They may not be America’s cup of tea,” Friedman instructed. “But we need to know about them, and understand where our interests converge — not just demonize them all.”

Shouldn’t progressives extend the Tea Party that same courtesy, given that they are at least, you know, Americans?

Terrorists are not terrorists, and must be understood, but non-terrorists are in fact terrorists, and should be treated as "the Other," demonized, and dismissed.

Got that?

Bill O'Reilly and Krauthammer debate whether this is all orchestrated and coordinated. Krauthammer doesn't think so (video at the link).

“Well, it certainly is a spitting and the sputtering of people who are, who’ve been deeply defeated,” Krauthammer said. “I mean, they were routed. They were up against a small minority of one half of one-third of the Congress and they got — they lost everything. They got routed. Look, this was their Agincourt, you know, Henry V outnumbered by the French, three to one. The opposition, the liberals, hold the Senate. They hold the White House. They hold the media, which had been leaking and parroting the White House line all the way through, and they still got defeated.

“I think this is sort of a pathetic response. If you have no arguments, what do you do? Ad hominems. You attack, you throw names out. But I have one slight disagreement with you [about this] being a conspiracy [coordinated through left-wing mailing lists of a type similar to Jornolist]. I don’t think these people have the wherewithal to orchestrate a three-car motorcade. The reason for the repetition is lack of intelligence and lack of originality. These are people who are slothful.”


“Look, what it means to me is you’ve got people with no intelligence, no originality, no imagination,” he said. “They are sputtering. They have lost. No arguments. What do they do? They want ad hominems. They want epithets. So, somebody uses it on the air — ‘Ah ha, that’s a good one. I’ll use it.’ I don’t credit them [with] the intelligence or the sort of, what it takes to put together a conspiracy.”

I don't know if it's a conspiracy so much as a stupid meme spreading like wildfire through weak minds who seize on it because they have nothing else. One example that that may be the case is Maureen Dowd's latest vapidity. She gives it the "Dowd Spin" -- and by Dowd Spin, I mean she just starts analogizing things to movies and TV -- for her own Tea Party Terrorists column (safe link to NRO, which rebuts her):

They were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in “Alien” flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner’s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.

It was stupid and hateful in its earlier incarnations; Dowd also decides to make it cutesy-trivial, as usual.

Sarah Palin has a very effective rejoinder to this terrorist talk (vid at the link):

If we were really domestic terrorists, shoot, President Obama would be wanting to pal around with us wouldn’t he? I mean he didn’t have a problem with paling around with Bill Ayers back in the day when he kicked off his political career in Bill Ayers apartment, and shaking hands with Chavez and saying he doesn’t need any preconditions with meeting dictators or wanting to read US Miranda rights to alleged suspected foreign terrorists. No if we were real domestic terrorists I think President Obama wouldn’t have a problem with us.

That's a good answer. The left has opened the door on this issue: Let us walk right through it, and proclaim that while they are discussing metaphorical terrorists, these bastards do in fact "pal around with" and make nice-nice with actual terrorists.

And what would their response be?

You know what response I'd love? If they accused Palin of incivility in this response. That would be delicious.

I'd push this talking point just to see if we could get them to make that claim.

As far as our civility-minded President, his spokesman Jay Carney says, in response to a reporter's question, that such talk isn't "appropriate," the lowest level of condemnation possible.

Allah says he "checks the box" here and that's precisely right -- he offers a weak, perfunctory, obligatory statement it's not "appropriate," then says nothing more; if asked later, they can point back to this weak statement to demonstrate their "consistency" on the issue.

But this isn't consistency. We had three weeks of claims the right caused murder in January based on lesser Discourse Offenses than what we've seen in the last 24 hours; simply chiding one's side with the nothing word "appropriate" is hardly genuine consistency.

Consistency would be Obama making a five minute speech, of his own volition, not in response to a question, specifically condemning the left for its excesses.

But this is how Obama always plays it. His surrogates and his media enablers peddle venom and racial appeals, and then he issues a terse statement that he finds such talk "unhelpful" or whatever. He enjoys the fruits of the venom but claims to be above it himself.

Since the media still loves Obama, we can tell how much they believe his slight criticisms by how they behave: If they thought he was on the level, they'd stop. They love him, after all.

But they know he's giving them the Obama Wink, so they continue indulging.

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posted by Ace at 01:55 PM

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