Eric Boehlert's recent article "Out of Control" on Salon.com attempts to make it clear to all that while Republicans have flown off the handle and denounced Gore and the Democrats with every breath, The Democrats have remained calm, collected, and professional. It's fortunate for Boehlert that he doesn't have to read the article aloud because I can't imagine that he would be able to keep a straight face. Apparently, Democrat histrionics have become so run-of-the-mill, that columnists like Boehlert don't notice it anymore.
It's astounding that while Jesse Jackson is running around accusing Republicans of disenfranchising voters on racial grounds, and leading protests for a re-vote, Joe Lieberman is busy denouncing Republicans as using the "rule of the mob." For years, the Democrats have been waving the bloody shirt of civil rights and poverty. Now, they are enraged that the shirt has been stolen from them and is now held aloft by Americans tired of being disparaged by bureaucrats, intellectuals, and politicians.
To hear the rhetoric coming out of universities and government agencies, one would think that there is not a decent human being living anywhere between New York and Los Angeles. That big piece of land between the urban areas is full of selfish ignorant gun nuts whose only wish is to subvert all the good that government does in order to protect their own self interest. They have been saying this for a long time, and unfortunately, a lot of people believe it. The intellectuals know that middle class self-hatred is the first step in introducing their new vision for America. As soon as they can get those middle America types to admit that they are loathsome, hate filled, oafish human beings, then they will be perfectly willing to just admit that the intellectual and government classes were right all along. Ordinary Americans will finally see that any resistance to the plans of the urban elites is simply bigotry that horrible people have learned from their even more horrible parents. Just as the French bourgeois classes were convinced to hate themselves and their country in the days before their bloody Revolution, it is the goal of modern leftist pundits and intellectuals that recalcitrant Americans would also learn to hate themselves, and thus surrender to the new America.
This was the type of conservative that people like Eric Boehlert were used to seeing. They like conservatives who know their place, and would never think that their ideas ever be taken as anything other than academic oddities. By taking to the streets, ordinary Americans have gotten "out of control". To liberal pundits, the realm of politics is to be left to the truly knowledgable and enlightened classes who see the true nature of politics and do not indulge in the idle fancies of things like private property and local government. Only moderate dissenters are to be allowed into what Boehlert calls "The respectable conservative media."
The problem that liberals now have is that conservatives (respectable and otherwise) have gotten uppity. That whole scam about diversity and the unique culpability of the American people worked for a while to keep those rural and suburban Americans back, but then they got tired of taking all that abuse. They got tired of having their history trashed, and their philosophies ridiculed. The young people who were fortunate enough to miss the brainwashing of the 60's got especially annoyed.
The liberal establishment has no one to blame but itself for all the anger circulating in conservative and libertarian communities. Not only have they been forced to endure the high taxes and rampant regulations imposed on them by intellectuals and bureaucrats, but everyday they must endure the condescending moralizing of megalomaniacal liars like Bill Clinton and Al Gore who declare in all seriousness that they are for the people and not the powerful.
The Clinton-Gore cabal is the author of its own illegitimacy. It is they who have mangled the Presidency so badly that many Americans have few qualms about openly calling the president and vice-president vicious and colorful names. Boehlert assumes a tone worthy of the haughtiest British Tory when incredulously reporting that the Weekly Standard "referred to the vice president of the United States as u2018the jerk' throughout the campaign(!)" These people which are so shocked and appalled about disrespect for the office of the president and vice-president should really get over themselves. They are the ones who have defended the notion that as long as "the public" approves, anything goes. Well it turns out that "the public" does not include all Americans, and those people who weren't included are now going to give the presidency the respect it deserves. (That is: no respect.) Clinton and his buddies have made it abundantly clear that the White House is there for the blunt usage of raw political power. Why shouldn't the quest for that power be equally raw and blunt? In the dominant media, deference to the mob has always been fine as long as it supported a clintonesque agenda. Now that the Democratic rabble rousing self righteousness has become a little stale, the call for civil and dispassionate politicking has arrived. The fact that this type of bloody shirt politics is their own creation is lost on them. They just hate being on the receiving end of it.
The liberal pundits believe that modern conservatives, like uppity women from days of old, need to be put back in their place. "Where's the conservative self loathing?" they say. Eric Boehlert's "there goes the neighborhood" attitude toward impassioned conservative rhetoric is ignorant at best and delusional at worst. To try to tell readers that Republicans have overstepped the bounds of civility while Democrats are content to win this battle in the halls of lofty ideals can hardly be taken seriously. Like all battles for immense political power, this fight is dirty and impassioned. The stakes are high because the leftists want them to be so. Now that it appears they might lose the game, they want to take their toys and go home. If only they'd stay home for good.
December 7, 2000
Ryan McMaken is a graduate student in American politics at the University of Colorado. He edits the Western Mercury.