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Ed Driscoll

Collapse Into Crass

April 6th, 2008 - 2:26 am

Jim Geraghty wonders how the far left reached the point where Air America hostess Randi Rhodes could call a former first lady, sitting US senator and first viable female presidential candidate “a f***ing whore” (train wreck video here, for the curious):

In and of itself, it’s shocking, but it’s otherworldly when we think about what Hillary Clinton has meant to liberals for most of the past sixteen years.Maybe Bill Richardson owes James Carville money, because that would help explain the bitter jihad the former Clinton strategist seems to be on, so relentlessly decrying the New Mexico Governor as “Judas” that Richardson stopped doing media appearances. It didn’t take much for Obama-backing General McPeak to declare Bill Clinton the equivalent of Joe McCarthy. And if you’ve read any Hillary vs. Obama thread on a liberal blog lately, you know that there have been friendlier back-and-forth exchanges in snakepits.

There’s something vaguely reassuring about all this, from the view of sitting on the right. It reveals to conservatives that the nastiness exhibited in our earlier disagreements with these folks was never personal; these people are clearly nasty to anyone who disagrees with them. Geraldine Ferraro’s long service to the Democratic party means nothing to many Obama backers; she’s a racist, “David Duke in drag,” as Rhodes put it. I’m sure Senator Patrick Leahy thought his decades of work on the left side of the aisle had bought him some street cred from feminists, but no, he was called sexist when he called on Hillary to leave the race.

Hillary gets called a “monster” by Obama’s surrogates; Hillary’s surrogates wonder out loud if Obama ever sold drugs. Today Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell speculates that Americans know only half the story of Barack Obama. Day in, day out, in this race it continues.

Is there nastiness on the right? Sure. But it’s hard to imagine somebody being the equivalent hero to the right the way Hillary was a hero to the left, so suddenly and severely pitched overboard – no, that’s not it, denounced and demonized — when somebody else came along.

Last night I said to Cam, “I like our base.” The right had a vocal, mostly policy-oriented fight earlier this year, and tempers did flare. But bit by bit, week by week, those on the right are either making their peace with McCain. And in some cases, some righties aren’t; but you rarely if ever hear them calling McCain a “[badword]ing whore” on the airwaves. By and large, a sense of decency and respect permeates conversations on this side of the aisle. There are exceptions, obviously, but the GOP race (thankfully) never turned into this bile-strewn mess.

As Jim writes, the GOP “may be the stupid party, but they’re also the decent party.” His comments remind me of the contrast in tone that Steven Den Beste highlighted immediately after the 2006 midterms:

2000, Democrats: “We wuz robbed!”
2002, Democrats: “We wuz robbed again!”
2004, Democrats: “We wuz robbed yet again!”
2006, Republicans: “Bummer. Oh, well, we’ll do better next time.”