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October 21, 2008

Politics of Fear, II

I would like to comment on something that was just said on the Politics of Fear post:

ENOUGH with the call to get behind the next far left, usa hating socialist politician and give him our support. HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS? I am not advocating violence, I am advocating resistance in every possible manner. I do not want to be "nice" and "support" a man that is bent upon destroying my country....and believe me, his intents will cause this country to be unrecognizable.

I think that there is resistance, and resistance.

If you are talking about principled opposition to his policies, of course. There is nothing wrong with writing or speaking out about what you think is wrong with them from a philosophical or economic standpoint and doing so in the most vigorous terms.

Nothing whatsoever. Comity does not require that we muzzle ourselves, if Barack Obama is elected in November.

What I am suggesting, however, is that an usual degree of self restraint is needed for two reasons, and I'm going to be frank here:

1. The past eight years have been long and contentious. In my opinion, the far Left have gone way overboard in their opposition to this administration.

They have gone past what I'd consider principled political opposition into some rather deranged behavior which we have allowed to go on way too long:

As long as a politician is popular in his pursuit of policy priorities affecting the American people, his status as a good or bad man by our own lights is irrelevant. Any personal outrage we might feel about his private conduct is more a reflection of our own intolerance and prejudice than of any failing in the officeholder. That was Phase I.

Phase II followed almost immediately. It's the converse of Phase I. If we disapprove the polices and positions of a politician and regard them as, in some sense, immoral according to our own ideology, then absolutely everything about that politician is fair game for attack, including private and personal matters that would be exempt from rebuke in a politician whose politics we approved. That's how it came to pass that George W. Bush, his wife, daughters, extended family, and all members of his administration and party were acceptably in the eyes of the public subjected to almost inconceivably vile, vicious, and pornographic libel from brand new institutions like Moveon.org that were founded for the express purpose of mounting such assaults. As Phase II intensified, two additional effects surfaced. The MSM learned, much to its delight, that any prohibition which once existed against a clearly political double standard was also gone. Republicans could be pilloried, judged -- in advance of trial or any legal proceeding -- guilty of, yes, sexual misconduct that would never be -- and had never been -- career ending for Democrats, and there would be no public outrage.

So far, at least two Republicans have been destroyed and reduced to lewd punchlines for ultimately unproven allegations of homosexuality while Barney Frank continues to hold office and MSM respect despite having dalliances which involved obviously illegal conduct -- one with a page who ran a prostitution ring from Frank's house and the other a Fannie Mae executive who was as involved with subprime mortgage shenanigans as he was with Barney Frank. Phase II embodied the elegant simplicity of dividing the world in two. Democrats who committed lascivious private acts were protected by the natural right of privacy all well intentioned people share. Republicans were not protected because any such acts made them hyopcrites. The final flowering of Phase II was the MSM discovery that they, too, could trade in rumors, abusive characterizations, and an unabashedly obvious double standard without receiving any real rebuke from anyone. Hence the MSM-orchestrated gang rape of Sarah Palin that's been ongoing since her nomination.

In the current election cycle, we have advanced to Phase III, which is the direct opposite of Phase I. If a politician with whom we agree has a reputable private life, then it's acceptable and even necessary to overlook all and every evidence that he is profoundly, politically and/or morally corrupt. Obama looks nice, he sounds reasonable, he presents himself as a selfless idealist, and his family is handsome and untainted by scandal. Therefore, it is appropriate to give him a complete pass on his two decade-long alliance with black-nationalist racists posing as religious leaders, his ties to organized crime figures in Chicago, his associations with avowed marxists and anti-American revolutionaries for whom he funnelled funds to other dubious organizations during the only part of his career that can be said to involve action of any sort, his incredibly suspect fundraising practices as a presidential candidate, his McCarthyite alacrity for demonizing all opponents and critics as racists, AND his tacit acceptance of the -- dare I say the word? -- outrageous leftist abuse of Sarah Palin's motherhood, her womanhood, and basic human dignity (even including her private parts) since the Republican Convention

Worse than all this, the MSM are blatant activists in all three phases of the "death of outrage." Even ten years ago, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews would have been run out of their profession for the appalling misconduct they have committed during the past two years. Polls indicate that a majority of the public is aware that the MSM is heavily biased toward Obama and against the Republicans. Yet they have been taught to feel no outrage, at least not sufficient outrage to declare that they will not vote for a party which thinks it's acceptable to make jokes about a mother's vagina and her Down Syndrome baby.

Now we're likely to have a situation in which, for the first time, we have a black man as President of the United States.

No matter what he does, the mere fact of his race will bring some very ugly tensions to the surface and will make it easy for his opponents to be accused of all sorts of nastiness on the slightest of excuses. Therefore, their behavior needs to be beyond reproach.

Also, his policies (which already rely on the threat of class warfare and resentment) will aggravate other tensions. What I'm trying to say is that it is unlikely that conservatives will win any converts by being in your face with their arguments.

Instead, they might actually try appealing to the intelligence and self respect of the American people. These qualities do exist, and as time wears on the inevitable consequences of some of Mr. Obama's policies, should he be elected, will begin to reveal themselves as the perverse incentives they create begin to encourage unintended consequences I believe will be unacceptable to the American people.

We can act like buffoons and overplay our hand (in which case we will only be disregarded) or we can make compelling, well reasoned arguments with logic and restraint and let our character and the force of our arguments speak for themselves.

Posted by Cassandra at October 21, 2008 11:11 AM

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Restrained by self-constraint is the usual condition of conservatives. Were I to release the rage I feel toward Big-Money-Media and an accumulation of elected and appointed political hacks, it would be murderous. So, I read, discuss, seek truth, and take my beatings from both the clue bat and the clueless, trying to give as good as I get. Every conversation I have had with an Obama supporter has ended with me being told that I am filled with hate, and by the way, I'm also racist. I tell them, yes, I'm filled with hate for the "C" word, but it's not "Colored", it's "Communist".

Posted by: twolaneflash at October 21, 2008 12:04 PM

Well, phooey. I just spent a week with friends who are all voting for Obama. I managed to remain fairly calm by clinging to my new philosophy: If Obama is elected and proves to be as disastrous as I anticipate, I will at least have the pleasure of spending the next four years saying, "I told you so."

Somehow, I suspect that's not living up to your advice to "make compelling, well reasoned arguments with logic and restraint and let our character and the force of our arguments speak for themselves." You sure know how to spoil a good time with, like, rationality and all.

Posted by: Elise at October 21, 2008 12:16 PM

That made me laugh out loud :p

Posted by: Cass at October 21, 2008 12:21 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that the repetition by the most vocal community (dems/media) that President Bush was not their president and they would not support or follow him was a direct invitation to our enemies to attack....not a doubt in my mind. I will not follow their model. I will however make sure anyone and everyone in my vicinity hears about our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution (which Obama refers to as talking points but not the bones of our republic) and the capitalist versus socialist economic comparisions, the destruction of our families and our very culture....oh yes, I will be very vocal, but I will not invite our enemies to attack my country.

Posted by: Judith at October 21, 2008 01:05 PM

Good plan.

It's hard to think of a better call to action than the words which animated the Founders. They still hold true today.

Posted by: Cass at October 21, 2008 01:21 PM

Why can't I just say that I won't vote Obama because I am a small businessman and fervent capitalist, and Obama's tax plans amounts to redistribution of wealth and centrally planned socialism? Why can't I just say that I am a imperial strategic militarist, and that Obama is an appeasing weenie likely to become a international doormat by next April (so warns Biden). Why can't I just say that I believe that Obama is an intelligent man and a superb rhetorician, but that he is also a snake oil salesman that cannot possibly believe in half of what he says (or else he is not as intelligent as we have been led to believe). Why can't I just say that, in my opinion, Obama may be the worst thing to happen to this country since Jimmy Carter?

Because. That's why.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 21, 2008 01:33 PM

Why can't I just say that, in my opinion, Obama may be the worst thing to happen to this country since Jimmy Carter?

Don't let 'em *tell* you that you can't. And if they insist on getting "in yo' face", just smile at them -- drives 'em nuts.

Posted by: BillT at October 21, 2008 03:00 PM

It's funny spd should say "...in my opinion, Obama may be the worst thing to happen to this country since Jimmy Carter".

The other day when I was reading Powell's endorsement of Obama, a long, long of logical nonsequiturs too long to fisk here culminated in the ne plus ultra of head exploders: "the last time Powell voted for a Democrat was 1976".

We all remember how well *that* turned out :p So much for his judgment.

Posted by: Cass at October 21, 2008 03:25 PM

As the 'mystic ties that bind us' slowly dissolve in the caustic rhetoric of what passes for modern debate and Mass Media hogwash, it may be worthwhile to remember where the logical (or illogical) endstate will be, as they say "...if this goes on much longer...."

I've been physically attacked by my brother-in-law, been insulted and ridiculed by family and people that I thought were my friends, almost lost my job momentarily disputing the president of my company who is a "truther" about 9/11, so yeah, I know where you are all coming from.

There is a well of hate inside me that sometimes turns me inside out. My wife doesn't understand it, and thinks I've grown strange. What to do?

I put a cap on it, because I'm NOT 6'5" tall and able to beat the living shit out anyone who bothers me, so I've got rise above what I can't shut out. It's part of being a mature adult, I guess.
The past is prelude: if you thought the last four years were ugly, wait until we live through the next four, whether Obama wins or not.

There is a word of defiance at the end of the movie "Colossus:The Forbin Project", when the supercomputer that now rules the world, tells Charles Forbin that he will some day come to regard the computer with awe and worship.


Thanks for letting me share, and thanks for not smoking.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 21, 2008 04:43 PM

Well, I guess I really gloomed it up and killed that thread.

Sorry about that, things aren't as bad as you think.

Don't worry, be happy?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 21, 2008 09:51 PM

No you didn't, Don.

I have just been busy, and thinking too. You always make me think. That is your gift.

We need to laugh more. I have been remiss in that regard lately. A lot of it is because I've been so busy, but also b/c I really don't have time to keep up with judging contests and making them up all the time. I will think of something so we can have more fun around here like we used to.

Thank you for reminding me :)

Posted by: Cass at October 21, 2008 10:01 PM

It's even harder when it's family. When your kids are singing the "elect Obama" rap song - and you try to point out that almost all of the "drama" out there is stirred up by murderers, thugs, and oh, leftist protesters. But facts don't maater - O is cool....

When your wife, who in many ways is a social conservative, looks at the gas prices or the Fannie May collapse and tells you THAT's why a person cannot in good conscience vote Republican. When replying that McCain and Bush actually acted to stop this, but were cut down by House/Senate Dems (including Obama, the second highest recipient on the FM Pac payroll) who were protecting their buddies and campaign advisors, or pointing out all the factors that affect the price of oil, I'm told I'm being "dismissive."

Same goes when I point out how I find O's disrespect of the military offensive in the extreme (12 years in the Navy here). Or that he has already broken his promises.


Given the attacks - physical, verbal, and public humiliation in the media, that have been directed against conservatives or anyone who criticizes Obama, and the attempts to re-instate the "Fairness Doctorine", I seriously worry that we won't have a chance to reverse this.

Posted by: Darius at October 21, 2008 10:58 PM

Take the lessons learned in Iraq from the Sunnis and Shia and apply it to the Democrat party.

What was Iraq for if not to save America?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 21, 2008 11:15 PM

We will. We will reverse it because that is the nature of these things. There is always a backlash of some sorts, and that was certainly true after Truman lost. Nearly twenty years of Democratic leadership...Eisenhower was elected, then the Kennedy and Johnson admins, the taint of Nixon's Watergate, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Cinton, Bush and now we are poised to either go in a completely new direction or still cling to our values, happily.

I am thinking about Reconstruction after the Civil War for some reason, and how in some parts of the south it was worse than others, and it was odious everywhere. But those who survived did so because to give up, was to lose. See Cassandra's post about Lydia Bravo. I read that from time to time because it is a fantastic piece of writing, but it also reminds me that I have a lot to live and fight for.

Hmmm....I think I will drag out my dog-eared, battered and beloved copy of 'Gone With The Wind' again just to read the passages dealing with Reconstruction.

Then I will read my Bible, the passages where Elijah is the lone prophet...the thunder and pathos of Isaiah, and the sweet promises of the Gospels.

Yeah, that's it.

Posted by: Cricket at October 21, 2008 11:15 PM

Now we're likely to have a situation in which, for the first time, we have a black man as President of the United States.

Likely, you say? Heaven forfend; perish the thought.

My decision to vote for McCain is ideological, not racially motivated. I strongly suspect that I needn't go into detail about that. Anyway, 2 out of my 3 co-workers in the shop where I work on third shift, deep in the bowels of the (evil and insidious) Military-Industrial Complex™...are Black. One of them has been vocal in his support for Obama, which I believe is racially motivated, but I give him a pass. I can certainly understand his position, even though it is a "Black Thang". I've explained my reasons to him for my intention to vote for McCain, and he didn't even mention the McCain t-shirt I'm wearing at this very moment, although he can scarcely have missed it, as we had a lengthy (work-related, believe it or not!) conversation today.

Having said all of that, I seem to recall that the polls were projecting a win for the Democrats' candidate the last couple of Presidential elections. Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, those polls turned out to be incorrect...

Posted by: camojack at October 22, 2008 03:43 AM

A ray of sunshine:

If Obama wins, Jon Stewart will be out of a job, as will all of the other formerly funny "comedians" that have allowed themselves to become addicted to the cheap, easy "Bush is an idiot" and "Cheney is a heartless, Satan-worshiping, evil..." laugh lines.

They will have no material in the speech squelched Land of Milk & Honey that they agitate so proudly for.

I won't miss them.

Posted by: daveg at October 22, 2008 11:23 AM

It's hard to think of a better call to action than the words which animated the Founders. They still hold true today.

And to what actions were those Founders called?

-- Applying liberal quantities of boiling hot tar and feathers to the skins of political opponents. Can we say attempted murder? especially given the state of treatment for massive burns in the 1770's?

-- Destruction of those opponents' property.

-- Killing from ambush those agents of the state who were too zealous in carrying out their duties.

And of course, not being too concerned when those activities splashed over onto the family members, including women and children, of their opponents. There's a reason that Tories fled to Canada.

The Founders were well aware that under an autocratic system, violence was a necessary evil to throw off the yoke. Does anyone want to contend that socialist governments, such as the O! and his cronies want, have been, are, or will be less tyrannical than the British Crown of the 18th century? Ask Stalin's kulaks, or Pol Pot's teachers, or Hugo Chavez's opponents, or the farmers in Mugabe's Zimbabwe if they would agree!

The Founders were well aware that the sacred honor they were prepared to sacrifice in that Declaration had to include the willingness to commit acts that in normal times would be considered the ultimate in dishonorable. To pretend otherwise is to ignore history. They decided that to establish a new nation free from tyranny was worth that price. Can we do any less?

Posted by: SDN at October 22, 2008 05:07 PM

There is such a thing as throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

There is also such a thing as becoming such a zealot that you close your eyes to the very types of acts which aroused your opposition in the first place.

I would like to think we've learned a few things since then, so I suppose you can number me among the folks who would say yes - we can afford to do less. We can stand up for what we believe in without becoming that which we hate. I'm not in favor of being paralyzed into inaction (if it comes to the point of true exigency) by overnice moral considerations but just because a thing is difficult does not make it unworthy of the doing.

If the day comes when I look in the mirror and can't tell myself I'm any better than the people I oppose, I would have to seriously question what I was doing.

Posted by: Cassandra, Brunette-American at October 22, 2008 05:31 PM

There is also such a thing as becoming such a zealot that you close your eyes to the very types of acts which aroused your opposition in the first place.

Or you can call them a tool. A tool gets used the way the user decides because the user has free will and the tool does not. When a tool is created to fight injustice, how do you expect that tool to know the difference between justice and injustice, Cass, on its own? It can't know the difference because it is a tool. Now apply that thinking to the Left.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 23, 2008 08:46 PM