Friday, August 07, 2009


Peggy Noonan today, writing about the health care war:

But most damagingly to political civility, and even our political tradition, was the new White House email address to which citizens are asked to report instances of "disinformation" in the health-care debate: If you receive an email or see something on the Web about health-care reform that seems "fishy," you can send it to The White House said it was merely trying to fight "intentionally misleading" information.

That's right -- to Noonan, this is what did the most damage to civility this week. Not swastikas and SS symbols on protest signs, or a threat to kill a Democratic congressman, or the hanging of another Democratic congressman in effigy. Not protesters and protest organizers openly and avowedly setting out to shut down dialogue at every town hall meeting possible, and boasting about it.

Noonan goes on:

All of this is unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative. They are mocking and menacing concerned citizens. This only makes a hot situation hotter. Is this what the president wants? ... You really, if you're president, ... cannot allow your allies to call people protesting a health-care plan "extremists" and "right wing," or bought, or Nazi-like, either. They’re citizens. They're concerned. They deserve respect.

The Democrats should not be attacking, they should be attempting to persuade, to argue for their case.

Does she have any idea how preposterous this is? Democrats are attacking? Democrats are "unnecessarily and unhelpfully divisive and provocative"? Democrats don't understand that their opponents "deserve respect"?

But the problems with this column start with the title: "'You Are Terrifying Us.'" Who's Noonan's "you," and who's her "us"?

The passions of the protesters, on the other hand, are not a surprise. They hired a man to represent them in Washington. They give him a big office, a huge staff and the power to tell people what to do. They give him a car and a driver, sometimes a security detail, and a special pin showing he's a congressman. And all they ask in return is that he see to their interests and not terrify them too much. Really, that's all people ask. Expectations are very low. What the protesters are saying is, "You are terrifying us."

Apparently I actually have to explain to Peggy Noonan that her ideological soul mates are terrifying us.


But that's a standard right-wing debate point: I'm rubber, you're glue. Everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you. Right-wing Republicans, for instance, have long attempted to argue that Democrats and liberals are the real racists because Southern segregationists were Democrats (leaving out the inconvenient fact that those segregationists mostly fled the Democratic Party and ran into the welcoming arms of the GOP); when that argument fails, the "Southern strategy" party accuses the party of JFK, LBJ, and Barack Obama of running a "plantation" (the phrase "Democrat Party plantation" even appeared in the 1992 GOP platform).

More recently, we've been told that murderous neo-Nazi James von Brunn was a liberal. And now we're hearing, from Jonah Goldberg and others, that liberals are to blame for the persistence of Obama birtherism. And of course it was Goldberg who wrote the quintessential "I'm rubber, you're glue" text, Liberal Fascism.

I'm sure if Goldberg ever writes a sequel, it will recount the fascist totalitarian way liberals tried to shut down the decent patriots who were succeeding in shutting down the town halls by force.

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