I haven’t been on top of the blog for a bit, and hence have not gotten around to commenting about the 2010 elections yet. So, here goes.
The election results have been out for a while, so I’ll give them little attention. The Republicans won fairly big, and by a decent margin. The GOP now controls the House and has a good standing of the Senate. The big win was over 600 state legislature seats around the country, meaning that conservatives have had major successes in local campaigns and offices. Since this is where most of the governance should be coming from, this is a good thing.
But what I am interested in is not the office numbers or even conservative/ Tea Party reactions to the elections, but the reactions from the left. I am interested in them because they confirm the hubristic attitude that has been the primary complaint of the Tea Party, and show that the aristocratic elites on the left have opted to continue their pathologically narcissistic politics and ignore just why the people have rejected them.
John Hawkins at Right Wing News has a detailed sampling of some of the tastier reactions from the left-wing blogosphere:
Tuesday’s election, and months of Tea Party and other well-funded rebellions, brought back to power the F-You Boys, the F-You Men, and — if exit polls confirm a narrowing of the gender gap — F-You Women as well, exemplified by Sarah Palin’s “mama grizzlies.” Economic frustration is on the rise, and the results tracked it — in the Midwest, in the border South, and particularly in the Rocky Mountain West, states like Arizona and Nevada that once believed they were “recession proof” are now enduring unemployment rates well over 10 percent. But there were also F-You Billionaires, like the Koch Brothers, whose principal economic frustration is that their inherited fortunes might be modestly taxed; and the F-You Wall Streeters, who two years ago supported Barack Obama, and whose industry was saved by government bailout, but who now seem to have convinced themselves that they were the passive victims of a hostile takeover. — The American Prospect
Soir: Après le merde, le déluge
The Frenchified title is intended for the usual reasons, namely, to rub teabagger wingnut noses in their swinish lack of sophistication. I’d say I was just making a joke, but I’m afraid our right-blog friends have cracked that code, so why pretend?
Though apart from the obvious allusion to the fact that all Republican voters are dreadful unlettered hillbillies who poo in their trucker caps and only have sex with chickens because the goats move too fast and are probably gay Muslims anyway… — Firedoglake
I wonder what brand of champagne they’re drinking tonight at John Birch Society headquarters?
They really are the comeback story of the last two years. Not long ago, associations with the Birchers would have been the political kiss of death. Now they’re everywhere in the GOP.
The resurrection of the John Birch Society is one measure of the extremist takeover of the GOP — a resurgence that just happens to coincide with the election of our first African American president. Coincidence? — Little Green Footballs
The Right couldn’t have built a constituency that believes Obama is either a foreign-born alien, a secret Muslim advancing al Qaeda’s agenda, or a communist, unless countless conservatives held such intense prejudice toward blacks that they embrace patent absurdity as a pathetic rationalizing buttress for their enormous bias.
It’s psychologically easier for many to accept off-the-wall assertions than to openly blurt out, “I don’t want a (N-word) running MY country!”
Relatedly, Republican “Just say No!” strategy is designed to destroy Obama. But wouldn’t it also cause failure so severe that majority Americans would be disinclined to vote for any non-white office seeker again?
The decibel level of bigoted ranting at Tea Party rallies, or disrupted public forums, exactly measures how far we’ve yet to go to realize Dr. King’s dream.
…Reactionary talk radio and Fox Noise have so brainwashed at least one-fifth of our population that they’ll quickly respond with pride and honor to any future call for stormtrooper recruitment.
It’s that prospect that we have harrowing cause to fear the most.
Benito Mussolini once remarked that full fascism is achieved when it’s impossible to slip a cigarette paper between corporations and the state. Who can convincingly argue that we’re not perilously close to that status today?
Is there anything we can do about all this? — Dennis Rahkonen, The Smirking Chimp
Note that much of the rhetoric is standard leftist nonsense with no real substance: the Tea Party is racist, the economy didn’t get better because we didn’t give Obama’s policies enough time, conservatives are stupid, and those on the right are dupes of well-funded, and presumably evil and nefarious, special interests. At no point do any of them entertain the possibility that rational people simply resented the overreach of failed socialist policies into their lives. As is typical of the Left, self-reflection is anathema, and even considering the possibility that they might be wrong is beyond the pale. Obviously, what really happened is that those stupid, inbred, racist conservatives were just to ignorant to understand that the Left knows what’s best for them. And the irony, of course, is that this attitude is what spawned the Tea Party resistance to begin with.
Not only does Kristof credit Obama with apparently unmeasurable economic policy successes that the rubes are too dull-witted to discern, he then writes as if the GOP is ascendant because of social conservatism:
[C]onsider Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, freshly re-elected and the godfather of the Senate’s Tea Party faction. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Mr. DeMint advises new Tea Party members of Congress not to be co-opted and adds: “Put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.”
That’s a fight that should end with a knockout for Mr. Obama. Over the years, Mr. DeMint has spoken out against not only gay teachers but also female teachers who have sex before marriage. After a rally on Oct. 1, the Spartanburg, S.C., newspaper paraphrased him: “An unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.”
Mr. DeMint later clarified that this is an issue best left for local school boards. But I think most Americans seek a moral leadership that isn’t about wagging fingers at women who have sex with boyfriends. The moral imperative should be getting Americans jobs, decent schools, access to doctors and a measure of opportunity.
Funny thing about that DeMint op-ed: Nowhere does he mention gay people, premarital sex, or anything at all having to do with social conservatism.
If Kristof and his ilk genuinely seek understanding of what happened Tuesday, it would start with entertaining at least limited self-doubt about their economic-policy assumptions, and realizing that the political juice fueling this revolt has much more to do with fiscal conservatism than Terri Schiavo.
And we see another trope that the Left likes to use against the Tea Party: that’s it’s all about moralizing and not about finance. Of course, the fact that Tea Party principles don’t focus at all on social issues, but issues regarding limiting spending and government growth won’t get in the way of a good smear.
The Democrats in power view anyone that does not support them with utter disdain, contempt, and condescension, and because of that, they will continue to ignore just what the people are trying to tell them. Observes R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., at the American Spectator:
The reason that it is difficult to deal with many of the defeated Democrats is that they do not recognize that Republicans even exist, or for that matter Independents who broke 55% for Republicans. These Democrats think history is with them, and that the whole world is going their way, adopting huge stimulus policies, cap and trade, and variations of Obamacare. They do not realize that there is no way to pay for their extravagance. Moreover the civilized countries of the world, for instance Great Britain and France, are paring back entitlements and cutting budgets because they recognize they cannot pay for them.
One of these popinjays’ favorite judgments is that the Republican Party has no very well defined alternative to Obama’s governance. They are the party of anger and you cannot govern from anger. Yet this too is nonsense. The conservatives are not particularly angry, and they do have an alternative to Obama. The conservatives in the Republican Party and their re-enforcements from the Tea Party have a perfectly workable alternative to Obama’s socialism. It is Congressman Paul Ryan’s Roadmap to America’s Future. It is a plan to grow the economy, cut spending, and in general revive America. We shall be hearing more about it in the months to come.
In 1994, when Republicans took control of Congress, President Clinton took the hint and shifted his policies more to the center. The result? He was reelected in 1996, and is known for promoting policies such as welfare reform that were Republican ideals that Clinton implemented and pretended were his own. Obama, however, has shown himself to be quite the narcissist, and doesn’t appear to be taking the hint or considering any course of action that to continue to patronize the American people by talking down to them from his teleprompter.
In short, few people see a humbled Obama; instead, they see a man who “learned the wrong lessons.”
The Obama administration’s inability to cope with the grave implications of the Democrats’ “stinging defeat” at the ballot box was summed up by two who survived the onslaught, Reps. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Peter DeFazio of Oregon. As reported by ABC’s “The Note,” they wrote: “Following the loss of our majority, we should fully understand the causes of our historic losses before we begin the process of rebuilding. If we do not to learn from our losses we will remain in the minority until we do learn.”
More and more observers are concluding that the president is incapable of understanding the reasons for the public repudiation of his policies; further, they think he is unable to learn the lessons of 2010.
Ben Shapiro, in a Creator’s Syndicate article, describes recent photos of President Obama as alarming, “They depict a man boiling over with rage. Have we ever witnessed a U.S. President so pugnacious, so incensed and inflamed by his own people?” Answering his own question, Shapiro declares that we are not the president’s people; instead he sees Obama following his mother’s isolation. His mother, according to Shapiro, “reinforced and celebrated their misfit status” and did not socialize with other Americans in Indonesia when Barack was a boy because “they are not my people.” In addition to all of the non-American, “hate-America” people who had influence on the president during his formative years, Shapiro also notes the socialists and other “hate-America” mentors that the president chose as his friends and associates later in life. America’s supposed decline, Shapiro believes, is for our president — in accordance with all he was taught by his hate-mongering pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright — a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost.”
Clearly, the election of 2010 was a rejection of Mr. Obama’s ideology and agenda — a matter of the president’s chickens coming home to roost. The Obama presidency — with its anti-exceptionalism, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom emphases — is a wake-up call for America. The president’s rhetoric may continue to resonate with those who want big-government solutions to all of their wants and needs, but if we have learned nothing else, we now know that our nation will survive and thrive only with a fully informed and actively engaged electorate who can tell the difference between truthful analyses of the challenges facing America today and mere demagoguery about “enemies” and divisive appeals to emotion.
Michelle Malkin has also noted Obama’s reaction to the Democrat losses: to blame the American people for not being smart enough to understand how awesome his policies are. Malkin’s response probably sums up that of the Tea Party movement and conservatives in general: this is just round one, and we shall show no quarter nor give no compromise.
As voters who have been maligned by the ruling majority as stupid, unwashed, racist, selfish and violent headed to the polls Tuesday, Democrats released “talking points” attacking Republican leaders who “are not willing to compromise.” But “no compromise” is exactly the message that un-American Americans delivered to Washington this campaign season:
No more compromising deals behind closed doors.
No more compromising bailouts in times of manufactured crisis.
No more compromising conservative principles for D.C. party elites.
No more compromising the American economy for left-wing special interests.
No more compromising transparency and ethics for bureaucratic self-preservation.
Let us be clear, in case it hasn’t fully sunk into the minds of Obama and the trash-talking Democrats yet: You can take your faux olive branch and shove it.