Ed Driscoll

Paradise Lost

As P.J. O’Rourke wrote this weekend, tolerant compassionate nuanced progressive open-minded liberals really really hate our guts:

They don’t just hate our Republican, conservative, libertarian, strict constructionist, family values guts. They hate everybody’s guts. And they hate everybody who has any. Democrats hate men, women, blacks, whites, Hispanics, gays, straights, the rich, the poor, and the middle class.

Democrats hate Democrats most of all. Witness the policies that Democrats have inflicted on their core constituencies, resulting in vile schools, lawless slums, economic stagnation, and social immobility. Democrats will do anything to make sure that Democratic voters stay helpless and hopeless enough to vote for Democrats.

It may be hard to believe now, but for one brief shining moment, the left was willing to put their anger on hold. “America was great, once (in November 2008)” — Jonathan Last looks back in bemusement at the descriptions of the country proffered by Gentry Liberal pundits just two years ago, versus today:

The American people are in for it. When Republicans lose elections, they blame each other: Talk radio blames the RINOs; the squishes blame the pro-lifers; the social conservatives blame the Big Business types, and so on. Each faction maintains that their party will never find acceptance with voters until the rest of the movement looks just like them.

When Democrats lose, on the other hand, they blame America. They tut-tut about gullible voters being way-laid by crafty messaging. Or rubes foolishly voting against their self-interest. Or middle Americans being a bunch of fundamentalist crazies. (Remember the “Jesusland” map after 2004?) With a Republican wave about to wash over the Obama administration, the public is due for a good talking-to. On the nation’s op-ed pages, it’s already started.

What’s particularly striking about the 2010 version of this ritual exorcism is that just 24 months ago, many of these same scolds were telling us how America had (finally) become a pretty enlightened country.

Take the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. He’s exasperated by the American people these days. “According to polls,” he writes, “Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue.” The fact that Americans aren’t going to vote for his preferred political party means that, in Robinson’s view, “The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”

In another column Robinson shakes his head in unbelief at what a crazy country this is:

Okay, I want to make sure I understand. Two years ago, with the nation facing a host of complex and difficult problems, voters put a bunch of thoughtful, well-educated people in charge of the government. Now many of those same voters, unhappy and impatient, have decided that things will get better if some crazy, ignorant people are running the show? Seriously? .  .  . This isn’t politics, it’s insanity.

But America’s mental instability is a sometime thing. Just 24 months ago, Robinson was basking in the wisdom of the great and good American people. The day before the 2008 election, with Obama ahead comfortably in most polls, Robinson wrote that African Americans “can all have a new kind of pride in our country.” After Obama won the presidency, he was even more bullish:

[S]omething changed .  .  . when Americans​—​white, black, La-ti-no, Asian​—​entrusted a black man with the power and responsibility of the presidency. .  .  . For me, the emotion of this moment has less to do with Obama than with the nation. Now I know how some people must have felt when they heard Ronald Reagan say “It’s morning again in America.” The new sunshine feels warm on my face.

And so does the boiling rage that Robinson is walking around with these days, so it all balances out — but still, take two cups of schadenfreude, and read the whole thing. Don’t miss the last two paragraphs, which highlight that while the president may well “actually believe my own bull****,” as he told a biographer, and that of the pundits in his orbit when they’re whispering sweet nothings in his ear, our punitive leader is more than willing to draw the line at their all-too-rare praise of their readers, and his own constituents.

(In other news from the world of Ruling Class punditry, be thankful you’re not a production assistant for ABC’s newest smash hire, Christiane Amanpour.)

Related: “Obama’s turnout pitch to Latinos: Get out there and punish your ‘enemies.'”

As Jonathan Last wrote above, say what you will about the president, but he was never as momentarily soft-hearted as his cheerleaders.