Now is the time at Ed Driscoll.com when we juxtapose!
Michael Gerson’s latest op-ed, “None Dare Call It Desperation:”
It is difficult to overstate how offensive elected Republicans find the sabotage accusation, which Obama himself has come very close to making. During the run-up to the midterm election, the president told a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis.: “Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that if Obama fails, then we win.” Some Republican leaders naturally took this as an attack on their motives. Was the president really contending that Republican representatives want their constituents to be unemployed in order to gain a political benefit for themselves? No charge from the campaign more effectively undermined the possibility of future cooperation.The sabotage accusation, once implicit, is now direct among panicked progressives. Part of the intention seems to be strategic — to discourage Obama from considering Clintonian ideological triangulation. No centrist concessions, the argument goes, will appease Republicans who hate the president more than they love the country. So Obama should double down on liberalism, once again.
It is very bad political advice. It also indicates a movement losing contact with political reality. When an ideology stumbles, its adherents can always turn to alcohol — or to conspiracy theories. It is easier to recover from alcohol. Conspiracy thinking is not only addictive, it is tiresome. It precludes the possibility of interesting policy debate or genuine disagreement — how can you argue with a plot?
In 1964, John Stormer, a sabotage theorist of the right, came out with the book “None Dare Call it Treason,” which asked: “Is there a conspiratorial plan to destroy the United States into which foreign aid, planned inflation, distortion of treaty-making powers and disarmament all fit?” Stormer’s progressive descendants are just as discrediting to the ideas they claim to serve.
Far left radio talker Mike Papantonio to MSNBC anchor/fellow leftwing talk radio host Ed Schultz:
Ed, when [Obama] came into office, remember what he did. We saw Geithner, we saw Summers, we saw Eric Holder, we saw all the folks who’ve been tied to the Chamber of Commerce forever. And what he’s forgotten is, when he makes nice with the Chamber of Commerce, you know what he’s really doing? He’s making nice with a bunch of inheritance babies, an inheritance, the billionaires who want politics in America to be run according to the American Crossroads agenda or the insane Heritage Foundation agenda. It’s the Koch family, the Richard Mellon Scaife group, the inheritance babies who could care less about democracy, all they care about, can we squeeze another dime out of the American public.
In his run-down yesterday of even more examples of vitriolic leftwingers melting down over their president’s losses at the polls this month, James Taranto caught a New York Times journalist making an inadvertendly revealing Freudian slip: “Real life has a way of intruding on Barack Obama’s presidency.”
Real life has a way of intruding on the left as well from time to time; the near-nuclear reaction it can cause can be quite astonishing to watch, except that the rest of us are caught in the crossfire. While the left are having meltdowns over the president’s losses last month, it’s worth remembering that his party still controls the White House, the Senate, numerous state houses, academia, Hollywood, the news media, two-thirds of the auto industry and increasingly, the health care industry. They’re playing a very long game, one that makes an occasional election loss surprisingly tolerable, media histrionics not withstanding.
Related: For the gals at the View, “National Opt-Out Day No Better Than a Terrorist Attack.”
(Concept H/T: SDA.)
Update (11/27): Stacy McCain believes that “Michael Gerson’s invocation of John Stormer’s 1964 book None Dare Call It Treason is unfair to John Stormer, a patriotic American whom I interviewed in 1999.”