Blame the Predecessor, Not the Ideology: A Historical Leftist Tactic
I witnessed this strategy in the Soviet Union, and now I see it at Occupy Wall Street. It always fails.
October 31, 2011 - 12:00 am
The doormat at the entrance to the office of Democratic Party’s national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, depicted the U.S. president and it read “Give Bush the Boot.”Democratic Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader, called President Bush a miserable failure. Retired general Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander who became a leader of the Democratic Party with an eye on the White House, asked Congress to “determine whether President Bush was a criminal by advocating a war against Saddam Hussein.” The 2004 Democratic National Convention focused almost exclusively on political necrophagy. In fact, except for Senator Joe Lieberman, all other speakers denigrated the U.S. president.
Two days after that convention ended, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Democratic nominee for the White House, stated that four more years of the Bush administration meant four more years of hell for America. Like her, I am also an immigrant. I have spent my 33 American years under six presidents — some better than others — but I have always felt that I was living in the best country on Earth. In fact, that is how the overwhelming majority of Americans also felt during that election year.
President Bush was re-elected, but the Democratic Party’s political necrophagy had sunk the United States’ international prestige so unbelievably low that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had to certify to the rest of the world that the United States had free elections in November 2004.
Now we have important new elections coming up, and the Democratic Party is resorting to a new form of political necrophagy. “Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes” has become the new slogan of the Democratic Party. The result: Occupy Wall Street encampments.
American citizenship used to be the highest dream for millions of people striving for freedom who made it to the United States — as it was mine. Now, however, the Democratic Party is replacing American citizenship with a generic Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam (the people want to bring down the regime). “Bring an open mind and a sleeping bag,” the organizers of Occupy Wall Street posted on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s going to be big, it’s going to be global.”
This anarchist movement generated by the Democratic Party’s political necrophagy has indeed spread to over 200 U.S. cities and to 82 other countries.
Khrushchev’s political necrophagy shattered the Soviet Union’s image as the workers’ paradise. The Democratic Party’s political necrophagy and its Occupy Wall Street encampments are shattering the United States’ image as the leader of the Free World.
I could write a whole book about political necrophagy, and maybe someday I will. Here I would only like to say that, in my experience, political necrophagy is a dangerous game. It hurts people’s national pride, and it usually turns against its perpetrator.
On October 14, 1964, Khrushchev became the first Soviet leader ever to be dethroned. The Soviet Politburo considered his political necrophagy so erratic and dangerous that it kept him under house arrest, guarded by the KGB, for the rest of his life. When Khrushchev died, Brezhnev decreed that his predecessor had badly harmed the country’s historical respect for the Kremlin, and that he was not worthy of being buried in the Kremlin Wall next to the other former leaders. The Soviet government even refused to pay for Khrushchev’s gravestone. In 1972, when I visited Khrushchev’s grave in the Novodevichi Cemetery, there was only a small, insignificant marker identifying it.
Leonid Brezhnev, who deposed Khrushchev, ended up being seen by the Russians, and by the rest of the world, as a self-aggrandizing cartoon. His political necrophagy and his cult of personality damaged the Soviet Union’s international standing to such a degree that the KGB decided to take over the Kremlin.
Yury Andropov, the first KGB officer to be enthroned in the Kremlin, began the process of transforming the Soviet Union into a country in which, behind a facade of Marxism, the ruler’s political police took precedence over the original tool for running the country — the Communist Party. Already terminally ill, Andropov died before accomplishing his task.
Mikhail Gorbachev, whose glasnost and perestroika were depicted as an act of political necrophagy intended to change Russia’s historical traditions, ended in exile.
In December 1989, Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu was executed. The Extraordinary Court that sentenced him to death decided that his political necrophagy and his subsequent outrageous cult of personality had dishonored Romania’s traditional respect for its leaders, and that he did not even deserve a coffin and grave. Ceausescu corpse was therefore dumped into a bag and tossed into the trash at a soccer stadium.
The Soviet Union and Communist Romania were extreme cases. But political necrophagy will not work here either. The United States has a long tradition of respecting its elected leaders. During World War II, 405,399 Americans gave their lives in order to defeat Nazism and the Holocaust, but the U.S. remained sturdily united behind its president. The United States held elections during that war, but no one running for office had even thought about harming the country’s unity in a quest for personal victory.
No political necrophagy and no Occupy Wall Street demonstrators mobs will be able to change that American tradition.