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Works and Days

The Politics of Liberals Bashing Obama

August 10th, 2011 - 7:11 pm

3) They Will Be Back. I predict we will soon see a renewed anti-war movement and perhaps sudden anger about the Obama anti-terrorism protocols, albeit couched at the official level in terms of the budget and defense cuts.

The Left lost credibility that it was principled on such matters, when the chorus of anger about Predator drone targeted assassinations, Guantanamo Bay, tribunals, renditions, preventative detention, wiretaps and intercepts, and Iraq simply stopped around February 2009, at the very moment when Obama— himself one of the prior foremost critics of these policies — either embraced or expanded all of them. And now that far more Americans have tragically died in Obama’s first three years of stewardship of the war in Afghanistan than during the seven of Bush, and we have killed about five times more through airborne assassination missions than was true during Bush’s two terms, and given that we are now in a third war against an oil-producing, Muslim, and Arab Libya, which Obama joined without congressional authorization, the anti-war exemption may be over.

Indeed, if the Left once in 2009 turned on a dime, silencing criticism over these wars and the war on terror, given their worry of damaging Obama; and if they now don’t care much whether they damage Obama; expect then in 2011-12 to see a renewed criticism of everything from Afghanistan and Libya to Guantanamo and renditions. If politics once trumped principles to give Obama a pass, then it can do so again to give Obama a headache. Those who lose their veneer of principle resent most deeply the perpetrator who exploited their partisanship and hypocrisy.

Idiot Beat

On the idiot beat, last week I dealt with a puerile rant from one Jakob Augstein in Der Spiegel. Here is a more pathetic cry from a Mark Adomanis, again a young blogger whose books and essays I am not familiar with. He titles his hit piece “The eternal wretchedness of Victor Davis Hanson.” From that title, I surely expected something both eternal and wretched, but instead got only the following tidbit. First, he quotes me thusly:

In Britain, politicians contemplate the use of water cannons as if they were nuclear weapons; and here the mayor of Philadelphia calls on rappers to appeal to youth to help ease the flash-mobbing that has a clear racial component to it (is the attorney general’s Civil Rights Division investigating?). His appeal is perhaps understandable, but many of the themes of rap music — violence against the police, racial chauvinism, and nihilism—may well be some of the cultural catalysts behind the flash violence, though to suggest as much would be seen as more racist than the racist profiling used by the flash beaters.

And then he proves my eternal wretchedness with this penetrating analysis:

Now it just so happens that I hail from Philadelphia and that I have actual read a number of articles on the shameful and appalling episodes of “flash mob” violence. If one read Hanson’s post and knew nothing else about what has recently transpired, one would inevitably come away with the conclusion that the city’s mayor was a weak-willed coward, a milquetoast so bereft of leadership that his only answer to the problem of rampaging youths was to appeal to rappers. In other words, you would think that Michael Nutter was a prime example of the rottenness and corruption of contemporary liberalism, and perfectly emblematic of its failure and of the broader “loss of confidence in Western society.”

Note: I was reacting to a CBS news item of August 9th titled “Mayor Nutter Calls On Hip-Hop Artists To Help Battle Flash Mobs.” Of course, I did not write that the mayor was weak-willed, a coward, a milquetoast, etc., but simply thought that his initial appeal as reported on August 9th was “perhaps understandable,” but misplaced. The hyperbole and unhinged adjectives are not mine, but belong to the hysterical Adomanis himself.

I am glad that it was also reported elsewhere (and apparently mostly later) that the mayor in fact had also seemingly dropped his emphasis on rap music, and had also given a courageous speech reminding black youth of their own responsibilities. But that was not the initial news story I was referring to; indeed, one could write a number of posts on all the news items about the flash mobs that were being disseminated at various times. And of course, I retract nothing: it really is most unwise to enlist hip hop and rappers, given that many of the themes of that genre — anti-police bigotry, racial prejudice, misogyny, and violence — are more part of the problem than the solution.

But I do admire Mayor Nutter for his brave address that amplified (and I hope superseded) his strategies. And I expect that he will rely more on such traditional appeals to self-reliance than enlisting the rap community.

So? The only thing eternally wretched is Mr. Adomanis’s inability to make a single, coherent point.

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