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Who are the ruffians whose violence is suddenly so feared?

By 4.1.10

The Talmud tells of a scholar who was imprisoned by the Romans on two criminal counts, one for teaching the Bible and the other for conspiring in armed revolution. When the judge asked him for his plea, he responded in Aramaic: "I safra lav saifa, I saifa lav safra." In English, keeping the alliteration, this could be rendered as: "If the word not the sword, if the sword not the word."

This comes to mind when examining the campaign by Democrats to cast Republican backers as vendors of vitriol and violence. If one person called Representative Lewis a name -- quietly enough to elude the ubiquitous journalistic microphones -- or spat at Representative Cleaver or insulted Representative Frank, Democrats assert this reflects on Republican mores nationwide. Apparently the demonstrations against President Bush so admired by Pelosi and friends featured no such rambunctious utterances.

The question then arises: were we not told throughout the health-care debate that ordinary hard-working Americans needed the overhaul? That it was only opposed by insurance executives and those rich so filthy as to resist having their money laundered by taxation? The profile of the anti-reform opiner was assayed by your local Democrat fearlessly-fighting-for-the-little-guy Congressperson as two parts Casper Milquetoast and one part Bertie Wooster. This guy in the three-piece suit does not appreciate the travails panging the earnest laborer who struggles for his keep. We had to defend the have-naughts against the naughty-haves, the Three Little Pigs against the capitalist pig in the three-piece suit.

Who then are the ruffians whose violence is suddenly so feared? Surely insurance executives are not out there waving pickets and hurling epithets. Those earning a quarter-million a year are not spending their leisure time threatening politicians with bodily harm. Yachts are not swaying gently on their moorings while their owners stomp angrily through the alleyways of the nation's capital. The two competing slanders of the Democrat party cancel each other: "If the cash not the crash, if the crash not the cash."

THE TRUTH, AS IS EVER THE CASE, is the polar opposite of the propaganda. Almost everyone who backed the health-care reform was someone who was already covered. The aged had Medicare already, the poor had Medicaid, the children had SCHIP and the insane had SSI. The middle-class and those young enough to control their own destiny were the only ones who occasionally went without insurance, and they are almost unanimously opposed to this intrusion into their zone of volition.

The Democrats cannot afford to have this central truth known: the people they "helped" were the same people clamoring outside their offices. Please don't save us, they begged, but the leftists are not dissuaded by uncooperative victims. It is the Stockholm Syndrome, no doubt, people so used to abuse they fight for its preservation.

This measure is opposed not by the violent, not by the moneyed, but by the little guy, the regular Joe, the guy who is ready to work hard, to navigate ups and downs, asking only to be assured no one removes the pot of gold before he can get done climbing the rainbow. This individual senses that the government by meeting him halfway has set up a roadblock barring his further progress. Equality of result can only be achieved by stealing opportunity from those of greater ambition.

Proving this contention, Rasmussen has issued a new poll in which respondents were asked if they feel closer to Tea Party members or to members of Congress. The Tea Party, which is not even a real party but a synecdoche for people who feel government is working counter to our interests, whipped Congress handily by a 20-point gap. Subtract people with political jobs from the poll and the Tea Party beats Congress by 62 to 12!!! In any other country, numbers like this would topple a sitting government.

All of this points out the fraudulence of the media pose offered by Democrats, and further highlights the utter gracelessness of Pelosi's march through the protesters on the way to the "historic" vote. Who were these rearguard reactionaries who deserved a defiant slap in the face on the way to the forum? They were none other than the mainstay of our culture and industry, the middle class, the solid citizenry, the Men-on-the-Street. By walking arm-in-arm with Congressman Lewis Speaker Pelosi sought to demonize Main Street. No Wall Street, no Main Street, what is left? Obama says Easy Street; I suspect we shall see soon enough.

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About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is deputy editor of The American Spectator.