Ed Driscoll

'The Left has Collapsed'

As Bill Kristol writes, “The left has collapsed;” it is “unpopular, undisciplined, and ill-tempered:”

Its claim to intellectual integrity has collapsed. Paul Krugman—Ivy League professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel laureate (the holy trinity of the liberal establishment)—has humiliated himself with a startlingly dishonest attack on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Krugman, called out by Ryan, rebuked by honest analysts, and unwilling to concede his errors, has retreated into uncharacteristic abashed silence.

Its Leninist discipline has collapsed. Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs complained about the craziness of the “professional left” in the punditocracy. “Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs explained. “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality. .  .  . They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” Members of the professional left hit back at Gibbs, dubbing the Obama White House the “amateur left.”

Its democratic credibility has collapsed. In recent weeks, the left has the arbitrary rulings and sophistic arguments of federal judges who have overturned an immigration statute that mirrors federal law passed by the state legislature in Arizona, and a constitutional amendment, defining marriage as it has been defined for all of American history, enacted by the citizens of California. The left has also heaped praise on New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he, having bought his way to a narrow reelection, showered disdain and contempt on the majority of his fellow New Yorkers who object to a mosque next to Ground Zero.

And its good humor (such as it was) has collapsed. As Politico’s Ben Smith reported last week,

the Agenda Project, a new, progressive group with roots in New York’s fundraising scene and a goal of strengthening the progressive movement, has launched the “F*ck Tea” project, which is aimed, the group’s founder Erica Payne wrote in an e-mail this morning, “to dismiss the Tea Party and promote the progressive cause.”

“We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea,” Payne told Politico.

Is Erica Payne a loony nobody? No, she’s a lefty somebody—a former Democratic National Committee official, a veteran of many progressive groups, and one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, the group of big donors who have spent over $100 million to fund “progressive” organizations like the Center for American Progress.

Payne says she launched her effort to push back against “the rhetoric over results paradigm that is holding our country hostage.” She wasn’t being ironic. As the estimable Allahpundit commented, “Because, you see, if there’s any movement that’s about results over rhetoric, it’s clearly the f*ck tea movement.”

The “f*ck tea” movement—that’s what the left has come to. They can’t defend the results of Obama’s policies or the validity of Krugman’s arguments. They know it’s hard to sustain an antidemocratic ethos in a democracy. They realize they’ve degenerated into pro-am levels of whining and squabbling. So they curse their opponents.

There’s a familiar saying that, despite its religious origins, has usually been associated, presumably because of its odor of condescension and smarminess, with the modern left: Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Well, that was before the Left invented Earth Hour, a “Weekend without Oil,” and modern-day dam busting.

While there’s much truth there, I hope Kristol isn’t jumping the gun by boldly predicting:

Public opinion polls point to a historic repudiation of the president and the Democratic party this fall—something on the order of a 60-seat Republican gain in the House. The GOP has an outside shot at taking the Senate as well.

Though the Democrats’ internal polling could certainly explain why, as Ace wrote yesterday,”Usually Democrats wait until after an election to begin insulting the public that turned them out as stupid, racist, ignorant, and emotionally sour-pussed.  Now they’re doing it three months before one.”

And speaking of circular firing squads, Ed Morrissey spots the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus attempting to circle the wagons by calling leftwing bloggers “deranged.”

This isn’t the first time in recent years that the Washington Post has attempted to triangulate back to the center by using the far left fringes of its diverse readership as cannon fodder — remember this piece, and its infamous photo from 2006? But as Ace noted in early 2007, such triangulation by the MSM is something of a futile gesture:

Liberal media outfits do loves them their unhinged-leftist hate-mail. Because they use it again and again as proof positive that they must be reporting straight down the middle to incur so much wrath from the left.

Although Allah points out the speciousness (and convenience) of that claim, let’s also note that most of the liberal media’s criticism on the right comes from mainstream Republicans representing the great mass of right-leaning thought, whereas those who think the WaPo is a part of the Vast Right Wing Noise Machine are unabashed, unhinged lefties, “undecided” voters only the sense they’re undecided between Ralph Nader and Hugo Chavez.

Which means that the criticism of the paper comes from the hard left and center-right, which means, in turn, the paper is somewhere in between. And what is in between center-right and hard left? Ah yes: establishment liberal. Which is what everyone who’s not batshit crazy understands the WaPo is, its support of the Iraq War notwithstanding, and its quite-praiseworthy attempts towards true political balance notwithstanding. Yes, the WaPo is less blatantly agenda-driven than the NYT, but it is still, on the whole, establishment liberal, and its reporting reflects that deep institutional bias.

And that was written before the Post’s ombudswoman noted in late 2008 that everybody at the her paper (including herself as admitted) supported Obama, their sister magazine announcing that shortly after he took office that “We Are All Socialists Now”, and of course, before the JournoList scandal broke this summer. It’s awfully hard to triangulate yourself  away from the rest of the left, when your offices are Ground Zero for President Obama’s self-described “Non-Official Campaign” staff.

Related: Investor’s Business Daily on President Obama’s “Cabinet From Another World.”

Related: As Jonah Goldberg writes, “Race Card Payment Coming Due.”

Update: To build on the comments from Ace about the MSM and the reader mail they choose to publish, this is a classic: “Reader Scolds Washington Post: There Are No ‘Liberals’ on the Supreme Court.”


Brent Baker writes at Newsbusters:

Crazies on the left allow journalists to see themselves as under siege from both sides of the spectrum, and thus must be playing it down the middle. To wit: Saturday’s Washington Post carried a letter from a reader upset the newspaper had reported the Supreme Court has “four firm liberals.”Robert B. McNeil Jr., of Alexandria, insisted “there hasn’t been even a single ‘liberal’ on the court in years.” He recommended:

The Post should recognize philosophical reality and refer to the “moderate” and “conservative” wings of the court, although “moderate” and “radical-conservative” would be more accurate.

McNeil’s ridiculous contention that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens are not liberal, headlined online “There are no ‘liberals’ on the Supreme Court” and in the real newspaper with the blander “Mislabeling the high court,” appeared on the “Free for All” page – an extra full page of letters run each week in the Saturday newspaper.

I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more material along those lines between now and November, both to allow newspapers to triangulate, as Ace and Baker and written, and because the left will be venting plenty of spleen as well.