The Corner

The Present Madness

 

On the radio this morning, Bill Bennett and I had a discussion about the Arizona massacre, and the political use of it made by the Left in this country. A few observations.

In a way, they have won. “They”? I mean, the Krugmans, the Sullivans, the Olbermanns: “They.” They’ve won because we are on their turf, where they have dragged us, or enticed us.

The shooting in Arizona has nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with Republicans, nothing to do with conservatism. It has nothing to do with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, you, or me. From what we know, a young psychotic got it into his psychotic head that he would shoot the local congressman, who happened to have a “D.” after her name, rather than an “R.” But the goons and ghouls have pretended that the Republicans spurred this.

And here we are, talking about the massacre and the Republicans, the massacre and national politics, as though there were any connection between these things.

A psychotic described by his classmates as a left-wing pothead shoots a bunch of people. And in the dock is that famous left-wing pothead Sarah Palin. Great, just great. May I pose a question? If the wounded congressman were a Republican instead of a Democrat — I believe the dead judge was a Republican — would we be having a discussion about the massacre and national politics? Would anchormen be running to the scene of the crime?

Jeff Danziger has drawn another odious cartoon, the kind he has long specialized in: Out of a steaming teapot arises an assassin. Get it? The Tea Party. Cool! That’s the way the likes of Danziger want it to be, and practically need it to be. That’s the way they wish it were — no matter what the reality.

I am speaking of the following attitude: A right-winger, instead of a Communist, should have shot Kennedy. A right-winger, instead of a Palestinian immigrant, should have shot Bobby. A right-winger — a Tea Partier! — instead of a young, untreated schizo, should have shot Giffords and those others. I believe that is the attitude on display in that cartoon, and elsewhere.

To say it once more, the Left has kind of won: because we are having a discussion about the Arizona shooting and Republicanism, the Arizona shooting and Sarah Palin, which is not much different from having a discussion about the Arizona shooting and, oh, I don’t know: the price of eggs in Dakar.

Chances are, the Arizona massacre will hurt the Republican party and the Tea Party, stopping or slowing their momentum. Because the Left, “respectable” and not, has, I believe, succeeded in associating the massacre in the public mind with the “Right.” A “veteran Democratic operative” told Politico that President Obama and his team “need to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers.” Oh, I’m not sure they have to be so deft about it. The Danziger-Krugman way will probably work just fine.

What the irresponsible Left has done in this instance — in its exploitation of a massacre — is so low, so foul, so disgusting, I barely have the words. I mean, turn Paul Wellstone’s funeral into a political rally if you want to. But this? As I said on the Bennett radio show, I’m not a blushing violet, and I know that politics is rough. But to pretend that a murder spree by a psychotic has something to do with those of us who oppose the Democrats’ health legislation and other measures — this is beyond the pale, way beyond it.

I’ve said it before: There are angels and demons on both the right and the left. Neither side has a monopoly on virtue, or its opposite. I’ve made some people chuckle by saying, “Most of the worst people I have known have been on the right. Why? Because I have known so many people on the right! My jobs have seen to that.” I know a lot of angels and demons — of different political stripes.

But the Left’s reaction to this Arizona massacre — “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin,” and all that? Very, very hard to take. It is indeed hard to share a conversation, a political culture, a society, with such people.

(To see my previous posts on this subject, go here, here, and here.)

Most Popular

Elections

Put Up or Shut Up on These Accusations, Hillary

Look, one 2016 candidate being prone to wild and baseless accusations is enough. Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton suggested that 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was a “Russian asset,” that Republicans and Russians were promoting the Green Party, and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren Is Not Honest

If you want to run for office, political consultants will hammer away at one point: Tell stories. People respond to stories. We’ve been a story-telling species since our fur-clad ancestors gathered around campfires. Don’t cite statistics. No one can remember statistics. Make it human. Make it relatable. ... Read More
National Review

Farewell

Today is my last day at National Review. It's an incredibly bittersweet moment. While I've only worked full-time since May, 2015, I've contributed posts and pieces for over fifteen years. NR was the first national platform to publish my work, and now -- thousands of posts and more than a million words later -- I ... Read More
Economy & Business

Andrew Yang, Snake Oil Salesman

Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur and gadfly, has definitely cleared the bar for a successful cause candidate. Not only has he exceeded expectations for his polling and fundraising, not only has he developed a cult following, not only has he got people talking about his signature idea, the universal basic ... Read More
Culture

Feminists Have Turned on Pornography

Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the feminist movement has sought to condemn traditional sexual ethics as repressive, misogynistic, and intolerant. As the 2010s come to a close, it might be fair to say that mainstream culture has reached the logical endpoint of this philosophy. Whereas older Americans ... Read More
White House

The Impeachment Defense That Doesn’t Work

If we’ve learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it’s that the “perfect phone call” defense of Trump and Ukraine doesn’t work. As Andy and I discussed on his podcast this week, the “perfect” defense allows the Democrats to score easy points by establishing that people in the administration ... Read More
Elections

Democrats Think They Can Win without You

A  few days ago, Ericka Anderson, an old friend of National Review, popped up in the pages of the New York Times lamenting that “the Democratic presidential field neglects abundant pools of potential Democrat converts, leaving persuadable audiences — like independents and Trump-averse, anti-abortion ... Read More
PC Culture

Defiant Dave Chappelle

When Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special Sticks & Stones came out in August, the overwhelming response from critics was that it was offensive, unacceptable garbage. Inkoo Kang of Slate declared that Chappelle’s “jokes make you wince.” Garrett Martin, in the online magazine Paste, maintained that the ... Read More