How the Left lost it: They need the lies
The accusation that the tea parties were linked to the Tucson murders is the product of calculation and genuine belief -- a belief that the Left need to prop up their self esteem and self-righteousness
There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left's reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: "Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"
The "you" would be his audience, and the answer is yes, they thought that in these times "something like this" could happen in the United States. Other media commentators, without a microbe of conservatism in their bloodstreams, have rejected this suggestion.
So what was the point? Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.
The calculation flows from the shock of the midterm elections of November 2010. That was no ordinary election. What voters did has the potential to change the content and direction of the U.S. political system, possibly for a generation.
Only 24 months after Barack Obama's own historic election and a rising Democratic tide, the country flipped. Not just control of the U.S. House, but deep in the body politic. Republicans now control more state legislative seats than any time since 1928.
What elevated this transfer of power to historic status is that it came atop the birth of a genuine reform movement, the tea parties. Most of the time, election results are the product of complex and changeable sentiments or the candidates' personalities. What both sides fear most is a genuine movement with focused goals.
The tea party itself got help from history —the arrival of a clarifying event, the sovereign debt crisis of 2010. Simultaneously in the capitals of Europe, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and elsewhere it was revealed that fiscal commitments made across decades, often for liberally inspired social goals, had put all these states into a condition of effective bankruptcy.
This stark reality unnerved many Americans. The tea partiers' fiscal concerns were real. Despite that, a progressive Democratic president and congressional leadership spent 2009 and 2010 passing the biggest economic entitlement since 1965 and driving U.S. spending to 25%, or $3.5 trillion, of the nation's $14 trillion GDP. A public claim of that size hasn't been seen since World War II.
They expected to take losses in November. What they got instead was Armageddon. Suddenly an authentic reform movement, linked to the Republican Party, whose goal simply is to stop the public spending curve, had come to life. This poses a mortal threat to the financial oxygen in the economic ecosystem that the public wing of the Democratic Party has inhabited all these years.
The stakes for the American left in 2012 couldn't possibly be higher. If then, and again in 2014, progressives can't pull toward their candidates some percentage of the independent voters who in November abandoned the Democratic Party, they could be looking in from the outside for as many years as some of them have left to write about politics. A wilderness is a terrible place to be.
Against that grim result, every sentence Messrs. Krugman, Packer, Alter, the Times and the rest have written about Tucson is logical and understandable. What happened in November has to be stopped, by whatever means become available. Available this week was a chance to make some independents wonder if the tea parties, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner are all part of the same dark force.
Who believes this? They do. The divide between this strain of the American left and its conservative opponents is about more than politics and policy. It goes back a long way, it is deep, and it will never be bridged. It is cultural, and it explains more than anything the "intensity" that exists now between these two competing camps. (The independent laments: "Can't we all just get along?" Answer: No.)
The Rosetta Stone that explains this tribal divide is Columbia historian Richard Hofstadter's classic 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Hofstadter's piece for Harper's may be unfamiliar to many now, but each writer at the opening of this column knows by rote what Hofstadter's essay taught generations of young, left-wing intellectuals about conservatism and the right.
After Hofstadter, the American right wasn't just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.
"American politics has often been an arena for angry minds," Hofstadter wrote. "In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority."
Frank Rich, Oct 17: "Don't expect the extremism and violence in our politics to subside magically after Election Day —no matter what the results. If Tea Party candidates triumph, they'll be emboldened. If they lose, the anger and bitterness will grow."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Tuesday in the Huffington Post: "Jack's death forced a national bout of self-examination. In 1964, Americans repudiated the forces of right-wing hatred and violence with an historic landslide in the presidential election between LBJ and Goldwater. For a while, the advocates of right-wing extremism receded from the public forum. Now they have returned with a vengeance—to the broadcast media and to prominent positions in the political landscape."
This isn't just political calculation. It is foundational belief. So, yes, Tucson has indeed been revealing. On to 2012.
The dishonest NPR
Not that that's any surprise
The movement to defund public broadcasting has done very well over the past several months. In the wake of the firing of Juan Williams from National Public Radio (NPR), it seems as if the effort to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including NPR, is finally within reach.
Inside of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has been fighting to get legislation that would completely stop public broadcasting from receiving any taxpayer funding. Rep. Lamborn attempted to pass legislation last year, but in the Democrat-controlled Congress it fell flat on its face. With the new GOP-controlled Congress though, Lamborn’s legislation H.R. 68 and H.R. 69 have a solid chance of success.
This increased chance of success has now led NPR to fabricate and release bogus information to the public that is solely aimed at discrediting the legislation that Rep. Lamborn has brought forth. NPR, realizing that the days of living off the taxpayer dime could well be coming to an end by 2013, released a bizarre response to The Hill indicating that Rep. Lamborn was attempting to regulate the news desks at NPR and public broadcasting radio stations nationwide.
According to NPR, "Congressman Lamborn’s legislation is an intrusion into the programming decision-making of America’s public radio stations. His legislation will disrupt and weaken the free and universal public media system that serves 170 million Americans each month… This legislation would ultimately dictate the daily editorial schedules and news programs of nearly one thousand public radio stations across America.”
Apparently they have not read the 7 pages of legislation, which you can read here H.R. 68 and H.R. 69 for yourself. You will notice there is no such language that NPR reports to have read.
Nowhere inside of H.R. 68 or H.R. 69 is authority granted to Rep. Lamborn or any other government official to regulate the program decision-making at NPR. The legislation strictly calls for a complete “prohibition” of taxpayer dollars to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting including NPR.
To be more specific H.R. 69 more explicitly bans any funneling of federal money through non-Federal entities back to NPR.
The money to fund Obamacare is just not there
Lost amid the partisan posturing over the proposed repeal of ObamaCare is a stark, unavoidable fiscal reality. Put simply: Our leaders have no choice but to scrap this socialized medicine monstrosity and start from scratch with a free-market approach.
Not only are ObamaCare’s unprecedented infringements on our civil liberties clearly unconstitutional, but American taxpayers cannot afford the new law’s expanded entitlements — particularly not in light of our current debt crisis and the impending Baby Boomer crush.
The federal budget is caught in a pincer — leaving no room for ObamaCare or any other new spending. In fact the only way to escape the trap is to dramatically reduce the size and scope of government — immediately.
Also our economy is clearly in no position to absorb hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases — something President Obama seemed to understand last month when his lame duck Congress extended Bush-era tax relief to all income brackets.
The question Obama and his diminished D.C. legions now must answer is this: If it was wrong to raise taxes during the lame duck session in December, what makes it wise to do so now?
With even the most optimistic Keynesians (such as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke) now predicting that the U.S. economy could take as long as five years to achieve “sustained declines in the unemployment rate,” ObamaCare’s tax hikes loom even larger as job killers. This is particularly true of the tax increase on upper income earners — many of whom invest their money in partnerships and LLCs that in turn fuel small business growth.
Astoundingly, the same fiscal liberals who added more than $4 trillion to the national debt over the last two years are now not only raising taxes through ObamaCare — but feigning outrage over the “deficit spending” that would result if the program were repealed.
In support of this twisted logic, the Keynesian number-crunchers over at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced last week that repealing ObamaCare would add $230 billion to the national debt over the coming decade.
Think about that statistic for a moment — what the CBO is saying is that the largest expansion of government in decades is not only free, but will actually save taxpayers $230 billion. Talk about “something for nothing.” Obviously these assumptions are pure fantasy — like the numbers the CBO released in March 2010 on the eve of ObamaCare’s initial passage. But how were they computed?
First, the CBO is assuming that the $770 billion worth of “revenue enhancements” included in ObamaCare will have no adverse impact whatsoever on the nation’s economy — which is betting against history. Second, the CBO presumes that Congress will actually follow through on its promise to cut $540 billion from Medicare — which is betting against common sense.
Additionally, the CBO estimates double-count Medicare savings, CLASS Act revenue, Social Security revenue and fail to incorporate the impact of so-called “doc fixes,” which erase billions of dollars in additional “savings.” “Garbage in, garbage out,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said of the CBO report.
He’s not the only one voicing skepticism. “The CBO, CMS, and even the IMF have all discredited the idea that ObamaCare would reduce the deficit, because they all question the sustainability of ObamaCare’s spending ‘cuts,’” writes Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. “The spending cuts (actually, reductions in future spending growth) in the law were never going to take effect anyway,” Cannon adds.
Finally, when did our leaders decide that blocking a tax hike was somehow a net cost to government? Have they deluded themselves to the point that they think new programs and new taxes cannot be eliminated because doing so would be “too expensive?”
Obviously so — or else we wouldn’t be where we are today, staring down a fiscal Armageddon the likes of which human civilization has never seen.
If our Republic is to survive this fiscal storm, then our leaders need to stop fabricating numbers and start confronting them. For example, they could recognize that the elimination of entitlement spending produces savings — not costs. And more importantly, they could recognize that in light of government’s mounting debt and the millions of new Medicare and Social Security enrollees projected over the coming decade – there is simply no room for any additional spending.
Make the system work for you rather than against you: "I think I won’t be looking for a white-market job whereby I work half of the year to pay taxes. Rather, I’ll continue to work in the black and grey markets, and shop there when I can. If I am unable to make ends meet, then I say bring on the food stamps. If I go to the emergency room again, I’ll have the County pay for it. And then I’m going to rub it in the noses of those who work half the year paying taxes by reminding them that this is their system. If they don’t like it, they can always pull a John Galt and let the whole system come crashing down."
Your 401k is a sitting duck: "[Kirchner's Argentinian] government expropriated ('nationalized') the $24 billion private pension funds industry in order to save the public system, forcing citizens to trade their savings for Argentinean Treasury bills of dubious creditworthiness. I suggested then that such a thing might happen in the US, where Americans have many billions put aside in various retirement vehicles — a tempting target for any cash-starved government. I think that dark day is growing closer."
Corporations and the federal government’s bass ackwards priorities: "Many people have come to believe that to be pro business, pro free market is tantamount to being pro corporation. This is not so. In fact, I believe just the opposite. I think that being pro corporation is being anti business. I think that being pro corporation is being anti free market, in fact it’s tantamount to being anti freedom in general."
Honor for a man with no honor: Jack Murtha: "Mabus' decision has unleashed a continuing torrent of opposition from many former sailors and Marines. They say that naming a vessel for Murtha rewards a lawmaker who called for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq in late 2005 during the war's toughest days, and one who was implicated in bribery and pork-barrel politics. And that isn't the worst of it, according to sailors and Marines: putting Murtha's name on an amphibious warship designed to carry 700 Marines is outrageous, they maintain, given Murtha's 2006 charge that Marines in the Iraqi city of Haditha "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Blame for the tragic Arizona shooting was premature, misplaced: "As soon as the tragic news broke, and before any clear details or evidence of the gunman's possible motivation had emerged, progressives swiftly and reflexively moved to hold Sarah Palin and the Tea Party responsible. Conspicuously absent, was the level-headed, fact-based, critical thinking, unmarred by prejudice, that so many progressives insist they exemplify."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)