In early September of 2011, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “This Sunday’s 10th anniversary commemorations will evoke some semblance of the unity then in the face of an enemy attack on U.S. soil. But make no mistake: It’s gone.” What happened?, asked Henninger:
The accord that emerged in the post-attack period had no chance of standing up to the most powerful force in American life now: party politics.
For activist and professional Democrats, the most ignominious day in their collective political lives occurred a year earlier—the Florida presidential recount. The 2000 election ended only when the Supreme Court resolved it in favor of George Bush. Republican and independent voters moved on, but many Democrats never did; they were now being governed by an illegitimate president. The chances that any Bush policies would retain their support were minimal, with or without 9/11.
The aftermath of that schism lingers on in a million different ways. Before he self-immolated over RatherGate, Dan Rather — or whoever wrote his copy that day — sought to immediately poison the well even before George Bush took office. On Sunday, November 26, 2000. As Tim Graham of the Media Research Center wrote the following day, “Last night in live coverage on CBS, Dan Rather identified Harris as a Republican at least six times, and questioned the finality of her finding at least ten times:”
Flash-forward to today, where DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz describes yesterday’s historic recall election against anti-Second Amendment Democrats in Colorado as “voter suppression, pure and simple.”
But then the left views every election where they don’t win as illegitimate in one form or another.
Meanwhile, despite his years of service to President Obama, CUNY college students heckle retired General David Petraeus on his way to his first day of class:
Petraeus was reportedly on the way to teaching his first class at CUNY’s honors college, entitled “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?” He took on the teaching gig as part of rehabilitating his image following an extramarital affair scandal that led to his resignation from the CIA.
The students can be heard yelling “War criminal!” at the retired military officer who played a key role in the “counterinsurgency” strategy of the Iraq War. “Every class, David!” the students shout, suggesting they plan to protest him on a weekly basis, before every lecture.
“Petraeus out of CUNY” and “Fascist” were some of the other chants.
You use that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.
In his latest column, Jonah Goldberg explores “The Myth of Live-and-Let-Live Liberalism:”
There is a notion out there that being “socially liberal” means you’re a libertarian at heart, a live-and-let-live sort of person who says “whatever floats your boat” a lot.
Alleged proof for this amusing myth (or pernicious lie; take your pick) comes in the form of liberal support for gay marriage and abortion rights, and opposition to a few things that smack of what some people call “traditional values.”
The evidence disproving this adorable story of live-and-let-live liberalism comes in the form of pretty much everything else liberals say, do, and believe.
Social liberalism is the foremost, predominant, and in many instances sole impulse for zealous regulation in this country, particularly in big cities. I love it when liberals complain about a ridiculous bit of PC nanny-statism coming out of New York, L.A., Chicago, D.C., Seattle, etc. — “What will they do next?”
Uh, sorry to tell you, but you are “they.” Outside of a Law and Order script — or an equally implausible MSNBC diatribe about who ruined Detroit — conservatives have as much influence on big-city liberalism as the Knights of Malta do.
Seriously, who else do people think are behind efforts to ban big sodas or sue hairdressers for charging women more than men? Who harasses little kids for making toy guns out of sticks, Pop Tarts, or their own fingers? Who wants to regulate the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the beverages you drink? Who wants to control your thermostat? Take your guns? Your cigarettes? Heck, your candy cigarettes? Who’s in favor of speech codes on campuses and “hate crime” laws everywhere? Who’s in favor of free speech when it comes to taxpayer-subsidized “art” and pornography (so long as you use a condom, if liberals get their way) but then bang their spoons on their high chairs for strict regulations when it comes to political speech? Who loves meddling, finger-wagging billionaires like Michael Bloomberg when they use state power and taxpayer money to herd, bully, and nudge people but thinks billionaires like the Koch brothers who want to shrink government are the root of all tyranny?
At the national level, who bypassed Congress to empower the EPA to regulate the atmosphere? Oh, and who pushed Obamacare on a country that didn’t want it? Who defends bending the entire country — including religious institutions — into a national health-care scheme dedicated to the proposition of live and let live so long as you live the way the Department of Health and Human Services says you should?
As they say at David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine, ”Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out,” and November of 2000 was a key benchmark along the way, particularly given the events of the following year, which required a rare interregnum (with notable exceptions) in the culture war from the left. Four years later, it would lead to what Charles Krauthammer dubbed “the Pressure Cooker Theory of Hydraulic Release,” in August of 2004:
The loathing goes far beyond the politicians. Liberals as a body have gone quite around the twist. I count one all-star rock tour, three movies, four current theatrical productions and five bestsellers (a full one-third of the New York Times list) variously devoted to ridiculing, denigrating, attacking and devaluing this president, this presidency and all who might, God knows why, support it.
How to explain? With apologies to Dr. Freud, I propose the Pressure Cooker Theory of Hydraulic Release.
The hostility, resentment, envy and disdain, all superheated in Florida, were not permitted their natural discharge. Came Sept. 11 and a lid was forced down. How can you seek revenge for a stolen election by a nitwit usurper when all of a sudden we are at war and the people, bless them, are rallying around the flag and hailing the commander in chief? With Bush riding high in the polls, with flags flying from pickup trucks (many of the flags, according to Howard Dean, Confederate), the president was untouchable.
The Democrats fell unnaturally silent. For two long, agonizing years, they had to stifle and suppress. It was the most serious case of repression since Freud’s Anna O. went limp. The forced deference nearly killed them. And then, providentially, they were saved. The clouds parted and bad news rained down like manna: WMDs, Abu Ghraib, Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill, Joe Wilson and, most important, continued fighting in Iraq.
With the president stripped of his halo, his ratings went down. The spell was broken. He was finally, once again, human and vulnerable. With immense relief, the critics let loose.
The result has been volcanic. The subject of one prominent new novel is whether George W. Bush should be assassinated. This is all quite unhinged. Good God. What if Bush is reelected? If they lose to him again, Democrats will need more than just consolation. They’ll need therapy.
And lots of it: “More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks,” according to JournoList member Ben Smith, summarizing a 3006 Scripps-Howard/Ohio University poll. But then paranoia, anger, ideology and a self-righteous belief that you’re part of the anointed class make for quite a dangerous cocktail: