Written by Daniel Knish
In January of 2009, huge numbers of eager liberals made the trip down to Washington D.C. to celebrate the inauguration of Hope and Change. The mood of the day was optimism. The big change had finally come. Nearly two years later, they returned to Washington D.C. on buses for Jon Stewart's clownfest, but the mood had changed. Contempt had replaced optimism. The left wing of the Democratic party had reverted to its Bush era sneers and jibes.
The mocking costumes and signs had been staples of Anti-War rallies and Anti-Bush rallies from 2001 to 2008. But this was not a rally against a war or any specific policy, it was something far more unique. It was a rally held by the dominant political ideology with no other purpose than to mock the opposition party that they were about to lose to. Broken down to its core elements, it was nothing more than a stunningly expensive and widely hyped sore-loser fest. And it will probably go down in history as the highest profile temper tantrum ever thrown in Washington D.C.
If the American people needed any more convincing that there were no adults in charge on the left, spending unknown amounts of money to gather people at the Washington Mall in order to sneer at the opposition-- during an economic depression, should have done it. (The bill for the Huffington Post buses alone ran to a quarter of a million dollars.) The entire media backed production was a stunning testament to the pettiness, the meanness and frivolousness of the left. To its deficit of ideas and its surplus of spite.
Dealing with public rejection and looking political defeat in the face, liberals reached into their handbag of ideas and came up with a middle finger and a clown mask. The "Too cool for school" attitude of the emotionally stunted who can't deal with rejection, let alone learn anything from it. Rather than understanding why they're losing, their immediate response is to prematurely ridicule the people who will vote against them as stupid and irrational. And that is not just the attitude of the two middle aged nerds who took their best shot at a celebrity studded High School talent show in the nation's capital, but of the rest of the liberal media which pathetically looks to them for guidance.
Victory has many fathers, but defeat is an orphan. In this case it's an orphan tossed in the dumpster of the post-election narrative. And the spin is already coming. The narrative is that liberalism didn't fail the American people. The American people failed liberalism. The voters made their choices for emotional reasons. Too many people were worried or afraid. Obama is guilty of speaking "too far above" the level of Katie Couric's Great Unwashed populations. That Republicans didn't do as well as they should have. That Right wing TV and radio hosts fed on fear and paranoia. The people didn't have enough patience for the Summer of Recovery to turn into the bitterly cold Winter of Recovery. And then maybe wait around for the Spring of Employment and then the Autumn of Profit.
But the best metric of media hypocrisy, is that the same talking heads who will take the elevator up to the 12th floor studio where they will mournfully explain why the Democrats lost, used these same explanations when Obama won. Except then they endorsed kicking out a party that fails to immediately address economic problems and calm voter doubts. They were quite gleeful over voters making an emotional decision to support Obama. And they were more than happy to inject heavy doses of fear, paranoia, photoshopped pictures, smear campaigns and lies into the big picture. And to give high profile coverage to anti-government protesters. But when the Democrats get the boot, for the same reasons that the Republicans did, then suddenly the same Rust Belt voters who were on the mark when picking Obama, are irrational and crazy for going another way.
While the talking heads will dig through their thesauruses looking for polite synonyms for Temper-Tantrum, the truth is that they are the ones throwing the temper tantrum. They may do it with comedy skits and wacky costumes, accompanied by the likes of Cat Stevens, but a more cynical and sophisticated tantrum, it still a tantrum. And what it really displays is an inability to come to terms with the cause of their own failures. Calling the voters names, no matter how cleverly, betrays a fundamental lack of maturity. A giant hole where skills such as communicating with other people should be.
And those are rather crucial skills to have when trying to take power in a democracy. Because they allow you to actually know what other people are thinking.
The left has excelled at telling people what to think. They are great at assembling a set of talking points, distributing them through the media, and then grinning proudly when they can get stupid people to repeat them back to them in opinion surveys. But it's not that hard to do when you already control most forms of communication. And that kind of power breeds complacency and arrogance. A state of mind that cannot envision of tolerate defeat.
Like generals who assemble a battle plan and assume that it will carry them to victory through superior force alone, they tend to lose exactly when they're supposed to win. Because their plans don't allow for setbacks. Adjusting to setbacks, requires a flexible command structure that can adjust to changing conditions. And the more radical the ideology, the less its followers are capable of adjusting their battle plan. Instead they ride into the cannons and the valley of death of ObamaCare, without asking why. Until it's too late.
Liberals love to go on listening tours. Hillary Clinton and Katie Couric both did them. But to them, listening only means listening to themselves. People who are certain that they are both right and culturally superior are incapable of hearing and understanding dissenting messages. Instead they filter out the negative. Marginalize it and ridicule it. Until suddenly the entire situation is trending negative and they have no idea how it got that way. Like companies who go bankrupt because they refuse to listen to legitimate complaints by the people on the ground floor, liberals keep losing because they just don't listen.
And that isn't about to change. Washington D.C. will not stop being an echo chamber in a bubble now. It will just become more of one. Feeling isolated, the Democrats will keep on trying to fortify their base, reaching out to unions and left wing groups. Having never stopped blaming the Republicans in the two years that they controlled two out of the three branches of government, it'll just be more of the same. In the first two years, Obama masqueraded his deficit spending as economic stimulus plans. In the next two years, he'll try to pass them off as deficit reduction programs. (If you think this is farfetched, ObamaCare was promoted as a way to save money.) The game won't really change, because the top players don't think they did anything wrong.
To learn from your mistakes, you must first admit to making them. If you can't do that, then you throw tantrums. You dress up in clown suits and stick out your tongue. And if you can't listen the people, only talk at them, then your only resort is brute force. Trying to brainwash them, intimidate them, buy them off, organize them and otherwise dehumanize them becomes your only option.
And that is what makes the American liberal so frightening. It is not only his ends that are bad, but also his means. His ideology is populist, yet his methods are elitist. He campaigns for socialism, while demonstrating anti-social tendencies. He wants us to feel, yet the only emotions he can feel are his own. Democracy dooms him to be a perennial sore loser. Only by destroying a system in which people can choose their own leaders, rather than being driven to vote like cattle by class, organization and race, can they ever truly win.
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