Post Convention Thoughts

Some loosely-connected observations . . .

* Sarah Palin . . .The surprise pick exposed a putrid sea of ugliness that usually stays hidden beneath a thin fog of smiling condescension on the Left.The fact is, there is a wide streak of self-righteous viciousness running through much of the left-liberal culture in this country–one that has no real corollary on the right. Both elements (the self-righeousness and the viciousness) were on spectacular display in the first 72 hours following McCain’s announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

The viciousness is perpetually present at places like The Daily Kos, The Democratic Underground, The Huffington Post, and in Keith Olbermann’s spittle-flecked, rage-fueled “Special Comments.” But it was the accompanying sense of self-justifying holy purity that was particularly striking this week.

Here, for example, are two commenters at the Daily Kos explaining why unfairly destroying Bristol Palin was a righteous act:

I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to destroy the Republican Party as it exists today as well as everything it stands for.If health insurance for all, an end to the Iraq War, an end to torture and illegal wiretapping, and a sane energy policy can be obtained at the price of destroying one teenage girl, her family, and the surrendering our self-respect I see that as a cheap trade.Go talk about nobility of purpose to those 4,000+ dead American soldiers in Iraq.

And this commenter chimed in in agreement:

This is about Power . . . How it is obtained—and how it is wielded in ways that affects all of us.Are you telling me that you would not use character-destroying lies to ensure a war against Iran does not occur? Are you telling me you would not spread lies about a man’s integrity, even if it defeated a candidate who take away the right to choose? Are you telling me you would not destroy the love a family holds for one another, even if it meant letting someone who would destroy the constitution become president?

None of use would use these tactics in a perfect world. It is not a perfect world. It is a fallen world. We have to judge costs and benefits, not moral absolutes. I know this is the way to fanaticism and destruction—believe me I do. But, when we face opponents such as the ones we face . . . what else is there for us to do? What choice do we have?

When faced with monsters, we have to be monstrous ourselves.

(emphasis added; hat tip: Joseph Bottum at First Things)

These comments reflect refreshing honesty. They also duplicate perfectly the reasoning of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse Tung.  (Vladmir Lenin’s famous response to causing the deaths of innocent people was to shrug: “If you want to make an omelette, one must be willing to break a few eggs.” Self-righteous viciousness, you see, has been around a while.

Over at the excellent site “First Things,” Jonathan Last wonders “Why They Hate Her” and comes up with four pretty revealing reasons. In summary they are:

  1. Trig Palin’s Down’s Syndrome is a challenge to their ideas about what represents worthwhile life.
  2. Palin’s family is a double-rebuke to the culture of abortion.
  3. She is a lifelong Christian who belongs to an evangelical church. No further explanations should be needed about the provocations which emanate there from.
  4. Finally, there’s the fertility. The Palin family’s five children would have been unexceptional forty years ago, but today constitute something of a fertility freak show.

Do read the whole thing.

* Evangelicals . . . Many lefties were genuinely perplexed when evangelical Christians didn’t immediately denounce Sarah Palin for failing to have her daughter bound and dragged into the town square for a good public flogging after she turned up pregnant. (See, for example, Newsweek’s Sally Quinn in the first paragraph here.)

The source of that expectation? Many have clearly begun to believe the Hollywood scriptwriter- caricature of how evangelical Christians think. They’ve been portraying Christians as humorless, puritanical, heartless scolds for so long, they’ve actually begun to believe their own propaganda. Thus, they’re genuinely startled when Christians behave like . . . well, Christ–compassionate, forgiving, redemptive.

*FNDS (Fox News Derangement Syndrome)Lefties sincerely rationalize that Keith Olbermann is just their answer to Bill O’Reilly. Few seem evenly vaguely aware of the following:

  • O’Reilly isn’t a so much a conservative as he is an old-school populist.
  •  O’Reilly is only rarely as worked up, humorless and mean as Olbermann is in “default mode.”
  • O’Reilly seeks and invites people who disagree with him to appear on his show. Olbermann almost never. And most importantly . . .
  • Fox News doesn’t let O’Reilly within a mile of its straight news coverage and analysis of the election. That’s left to a world-class team of serious journalists and pundits that includes fomer ABC White House correspondent Brit Hume (right-leaning), the encyclopedic and universally respected Michael Barone (right-leaning), Fred Barnes (right-leaning), Mortaon Kondracke (left-leaning), Mara Liason (left-leaning), Juan Williams (left-leaning).
  • MSNBC, in contrast, sticks Olbermann–a former sportscaster and current blogger for the hyper-liberal/nutball “Daily Kos”–front and center in its supposedly serious election coverage. Around him you’ll find Chris Matthews (left-leaning), David Schuster (left-leaning), Andrea Mitchell (left-leaning), and Tom Brokaw (left-leaning). At least  Brokaw knows to be embarrassed by the presence of a ultra-partisan hack like Olbermann on a serious news set.

Tim Graham at NRO rightly calls Olbermann “the nation’s televised face of sneering, drooling Bush hatred.” So, tell me again how Olbermann is the liberal corollary of Bill O’Reilly?

* * *

Following Al Gore’s close loss to Bush in the 2000 election, the dominant media elites went to great lengths to assure the election of John Kerry in 2004. The tactics included the nearly-successful fabrication of the infamous “fake but true” Air National Guard memo on the eve of the voting. Overall, however, these elites avoided crossing certain lines with an eye toward maintaining semi-plausible deniability of bias.

This time, all pretense of objectivity and fairness has been cast aside. This is war. Supposedly respectable publications like Time and Newsweek have put Obama on the cover so many times now it’s starting to get embarrassing.  Trashy rags like Us and Rolling Stone are doing their part, too. Oprah has put the full weight of her star-making machinery into the cause. Of course, the network news organizations can always be counted on to spend what little credibility they have left to advance the preferred narratives.

With President Bush’s popularity ratings still in the cellar, these folks thought they had the White House in the bag just a few weeks ago. Now with the polls tightening they are facing the very real possibility of losing yet again. And this is inducing a incendiary mix of panic, rage and desperation.

In other words. . get ready. It’s going to get ugly. Very ugly.