The Corner

To Hell With Dan Pfeiffer

A little over two years ago I wrote this post, titled “To Hell With You People,” about the sickening and near bottomless hypocrisy of the media and the Democratic party when it comes to violent rhetoric. It went wildly viral. Every now and then I am compelled to revisit the subject. It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the climate of sanctimony, self-righteousness and outright mob mentality the Democrats and the media created in the wake of the Tucson shooting. This wasn’t mere opportunism, it was mass psychosis, magical thinking with unconcealed rage at conservatives for using killing words at liberals. The editorialists and reporters at the New York Times, NBC, CBS, ABC et al. weren’t merely convinced that Republican rhetoric was to blame for the murder spree — even after the evidence beclowned them in every regard — they were convinced that Something Must Be Done. A few idiots and hysterics talked of the burning need to scrub martial metaphors from our language. Then the president gave his celebrated speech. As I’ve always said, it was a good speech. Probably the only domestic speech he’s given that I’ve said that of. An excerpt:

If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate — as it should — let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point-scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle. 

The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better. To be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors and coworkers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy — it did not — but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud. 

Well, said. Of course he didn’t mean it then, and he doesn’t believe it now. Whenever President Obama says anything about how to make this country better, it’s always about how other people need to change. We desperately need people willing to compromise in this country, he loves to say, and that’s why I won’t negotiate with Republicans. We need people who care about the common good, he insists, that’s why you all need to agree with me. We need a new tone, which is why the hatemongers and ignoramuses in the Republican party should talk nicer about me. 

Consider Dan Pfeiffer, a White House adviser sent out to carry the president’s message. Here he is rambling about the GOP being arsonists with suicide vests and blah blah blah. It’s all so so stupid and hackneyed it’s not worth quoting at length. But it is worth noting that Dan Pfeiffer doesn’t say boo without it coming off a script. And, the partisan pawn that he is, if a Republican used this kind of language you know his script would have him mouthing all sorts of sanctimonious treacle about how offended he was by such violent rhetoric and how there’s no place for such incitement in politics. And, you can be just as sure, Andrea Mitchell and the rest would leap to the airwaves and the op-ed pages to decry the “eliminationist rhetoric” of the Right. 

To Hell with Dan Pfeiffer.

UPDATE: Oh, and to Hell with Senator Harkin, too. From the Hill (with h/t to Mark Hemingway for pointing it out to me):

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Friday said that the Tea Party movement is just as dangerous for America as the Civil War.

“A small group of willful men and women who have a certain ideology about how our country should run and what we should do cannot get their way in a normal discourse and votes,” Harkin said. “Since they can’t get their way, they’re going to create this confusion and discourse and hope the public is so mixed up in who to blame for this that perhaps they’ll blame both sides.” 

“That is the path they see for taking over the government. It’s dangerous, very dangerous. … Every bit as dangerous as the break up and the Civil War.”

He goes on to say some very stupid stuff about anarchism too. (The topic of my column today.)

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

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