R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. documents a political suicide — the Infantile Left and Stealth Socialism.
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The details of the Liberal autopsy begin immediately, with Dr. Tyrrell walking slowly around a figurative steel table examining the lifeless political corpse, diligently recording the life of the deceased. Just who were these Liberals, anyway? After 40 some odd-years of experience, Tyrrell knows them well. Liberals:
…who began as the rightful heirs to the New Deal, have carried on as a kind of landed aristocracy, gifted but doomed. They dominated the culture and the politics of the country, unchallenged from the beginnings of the Cold War to the first Nixon Administration. So dominant were they that they could totally pollute the culture with their prejudices and their views. In its place they created Kultursmog, a Kultur whose contaminants were everywhere in the media, among the literate classes, even among illiterates — everywhere. Kultursmog is the only form of pollution to which the Liberals never object. In fact, they deem it healthy.
While Tyrrell doesn’t say it here, the saga of Liberals is not unlike the saga of the late Whitney Houston. At one time the very essence of raw talent refined, polished, sparkling and dominant. Followed by the inevitable results of decline evident after years of what might be called snorting political cocaine — the dependence on sheer racism, a culture that glorifies sexual gratification, a wild addiction to the idea of feel-good emotions replacing hard science, economics and plain common sense. Followed by the inevitable…political death.
No, one does not crap on a police car to make a point about economics.
Rational political actors do not get drunk and leave a girl in a car to drown then resume a lifelong Senate career as if nothing untoward had happened. One doesn’t fan riots or anti-Semitism that results in death and destruction of property, gain fame by making preposterously false allegations of a racial rape — and get to host an MSNBC television show as a reward. Paying off a pregnant mistress with tax-deductible funds after exhibiting one’s streak of anti-Semitism by musing aloud to a reporter about New York City as “Hymietown” shouldn’t make one a serious player in a serious political party. Not to mention that fiddling with an intern and lying about it to a grand jury should cause more than an “ahem” from a party that insists it is fighting some grand war for women. As Tyrrell documents, the list of infantile behavior by the left is long, well beyond the specifics of behaviors by the late Senator Edward Kennedy, the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and, of course, President Bill Clinton. Not to mention the monkey business of one-time presidential hopeful Gary Hart with Donna Rice and the still imploding reputation of ex-Senator and 2004 vice-presidential nominee John Edwards. The plagiarism scandal of Joe Biden has elevated him to the vice-presidency.
But there is more to this behavior that has caused the Death of Liberalism. There are those pesky fundamentals called issues, approached by Liberals with what Tyrrell correctly calls the real objective of the “Stealth Socialist.” (Interestingly, Tyrrell points out that when Republicans are presented with political leaders who engage in likeminded personal misbehavior, they reject them — two of the more prominent examples being the presidential run of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the exploded career of South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford.)
One by one Tyrrell examines issues and events that served as the proximate cause of Liberalism’s death . And the Stealth Socialist issues and events are as momentous if perhaps not as memorable as the personal behavior is tawdry.
• Henry Wallace: The rise and fall of FDR’s Liberal Vice President Henry Wallace, whose Liberalism even in 1944 touched off alarm bells with the powers-that-be within the Democrats’ own party hierarchy. Replaced by Missouri Senator Harry Truman (and in the nick of time — FDR died a bare four months after being inaugurated, placing Truman, not Wallace, in the White House) Wallace set about leading the opening round of what became the Liberal civil war within the party. Eventually, Wallace departed, becoming the 1948 nominee of the Progressive Party.
• The Big Lie: Combined with a laughable yet disturbing sense of moral superiority, the Big Lie is now routinely used as Pickett’s armies used the bayonet. In hand-to-hand political combat the sharp end is pointedly used to accuse of racism those who question Liberalism’s latest panaceas or by shrieking, as Tyrrell notes, that “anyone questioning their latest scheme of alleviating poverty hates the poor.” This use of the Big Lie began with the fiction that Alger Hiss was not a Communist, something that has now been positively affirmed by the release of the Venona files. The longer Hiss lied, the angrier Liberals became at those charging him with lying. More recently when Bill Clinton as president lied under oath about Monica Lewinsky, the Big Lie was employed to insist that “it was a minor infraction of the law, like double-parking one’s tractor in downtown Little Rock.”
• McGovernism: In 1972, a young delegate to Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party convention of 1948 was South Dakota Senator George McGovern — the Democrats’ presidential nominee. Tyrrell examines a now obscure but key moment for the Liberals, that being the formation of the “McGovern Commission.” Formed after the pitched battle between Liberals and the battered remnants of the old FDR-Truman Democrats in 1968 — and it was a battle, with Infantile Liberals taking to the streets of Chicago during the party Convention and getting into a furiously bloody battle with the police of the old line Mayor Daley — McGovern’s task was to reform the party’s delegate selection process. He did — by obliterating the idea that individuals should be elected as delegates to the party’s national convention and replacing it with the now-sacred cow of identity politics. If you were black — and X percent of your state’s population was black — you have a delegate’s seat based on skin color. Ditto with gender, etc. Running himself four years later, using the rules he himself had engineered, McGovern not only trounced the party Establishment and won the 1972 nomination but permanently ousted the dwindling remnants of what FDR historian and ex-JFK aide Arthur Schlesinger once termed The Vital Center.
• Class Warfare: If FDR employed a bit of class warfare during the Great Depression, it was McGovern who immersed the party in this pernicious cycle of greed and envy. The greed for government money — taxpayer money or “free” money as it is called today — combined with the envy of those who achieved without it. McGovern proposed three policies in particular that caught Tyrrell’s eye in his autopsy, three policies he notes that “stand out as beyond the wildest hallucinations of Henry Wallace” — began instantly to clog the Liberal artery that normally channeled a sensitivity to the sensibilities of working Americans. They were:
— “a government grant of $1,000 annually for every man, woman, and child, rich or poor”;
— ” a 37 percent reduction in the Pentagon budget…the savings going to social welfare programs…”;
— “a rise in taxes, most strikingly on inheritance — no one would be able to receive more than half a million dollars from one’s family in a lifetime or at the time of one’s death!”
Richard Nixon, not an especially lovable public persona and while conservative in some respects was not even a figure (as was Reagan) of the conservative movement, made chopped liver of all this. He buried McGovern in a 49-state landslide, a decided change from Nixon’s narrow loss to JFK in 1960 and his narrow win over Hubert Humphrey in 1968. McGovern not only lost his home state, he didn’t even win the “youth vote” — the supposed core of his support.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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