Progressive Insurance
The right ideological credentials mean never having to say you’re sorry


Victor Davis Hanson

Lisa Jackson, the former EPA director, left the agency abruptly after it was disclosed that she had created a fake e-mail persona, among other things, to give herself (a.k.a. “Richard Windsor”) an EPA award for being a “scholar of ethical behavior.” Apple rewarded such ethical behavior by giving her a six-figure income as its new environmental liaison. Note well: Had Lisa Jackson Windsor expressed doubts about man-caused global warming rather than fabricated a false identity, then she might not have landed on a lucrative Apple perch — and might have been advised by Apple’s CEO to dump her Apple stock.

Does a poor record of achievement in helping minorities get one fired? Not really. In terms of minority income and employment, Barack Obama’s five years in the White House have been an abject disaster.

Is being rich, then, a class liability? That too depends on whether you bought progressive insurance. If you are a Silicon Valley billionaire who is loudly cool, hip, and left-wing, then offshoring and outsourcing is OK. No one worries that George Soros is a European pariah speculator who was convicted of insider trading in France in 2005, or that the fully insured Steyer brothers seek to trump the Koch model of giving millions to pet political causes.

The president deplores the Supreme Court’s striking down limits on campaign donations. He can do that because he hits the 0.01 percent up for quid pro quo cash in pursuit of noble causes. John Kerry married a millionaire, then a billionaire, and then tried to avoid sales and excise taxes on his huge yacht. That was a disturbing fact, but it was not brought up on the Senate floor — in the manner that Mitt Romney was falsely accused of being a tax cheat by Harry Reid. Reid long ago took out a huge progressive umbrella policy that so far has insured him against his libelous allegations, dubious financial entanglements, and racist statements.

Perhaps the most amply progressively insured operator in the world today is Al Gore. He pays high premiums for nonstop left-wing slurs (such as suggesting that a sitting president is in cahoots with Brownshirts). Yet it pays off when someone might lodge a claim against you. Imagine the following liability and the sort of ideological insurance necessary to defend against it: First, you hype a supposed climate disaster and then offer remedies for it — with your profit margin based on the degree of hysteria you have whipped up. Second, as a big-government, green liberal guru, you sell a failed cable-television network to a carbon-spewing, Islamist Gulf sheikdom, and rush the sale to beat a new hike in the capital-gains tax rate. Third, you ignore questions about why something so worthless might be worth so much to a mostly homophobic, misogynist, and religiously intolerant Middle East monarchy.

Gore’s insurance policies guarantee that he will never be shunned as a tax-dodging robber baron eager to grab petrodollars.

Sometimes progressive insurance involves far more than just liberal rhetoric. Perceptions, however superficial, matter as well. Had George Zimmerman just insured himself by taking his mother’s maiden name and Latinizing his first name, Jorge Mesa would not quite so easily have incurred liberals’ wrath in the Trayvon Martin case. Even the New York Times would have been stumped in its crude attempts to whip up racial hatred by reinventing Zimmerman with the neologism “white Hispanic.”

A Barry Dunham would not have had the resonance with liberals that the exotically multicultural brand of Barack Obama conveys. Even a preppy-sounding President Barry Obama would have had trouble playing golf so incessantly, in a way Barack does not.

Plagiarism is usually an absolute career killer. But you can take out progressive insurance against that as well. Just ask former plagiarists Joe Biden, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Juan Williams, and Fareed Zakaria.

Instead of paying monetary premiums, one supports the proper causes, says the properly cool things, joins the right organizations, and votes the correct way, and by those means purchases a liability policy against the careless mistakes, plagiarism, offhanded lapses, sexual peccadillos, gaffes, and bad jokes that otherwise could prove ruinous.

Complain about racists with the racist Jay-Z, blast the oil companies with the petrodollar billionaire Al Gore, frolic about with a young girl in the Oval Office with Bill Clinton, copy someone else’s work with Maureen Dowd, oppose the anti-abortionists with the eugenicist-sounding Justice Ginsburg — and you will never have to say you’re sorry.

For most people in the media, entertainment, politics, sports, and academia, taking out ideological insurance is a no-brainer.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.


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