With the 2006 elections ten months away Karl Rove pulled back the curtain on some key GOP campaign themes recently. Hidden amongst the themes of the Democrats' "pre-9/11 worldview" and tax cuts was his statement that Democrat Senators looked "mean spirited and small minded" during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings of Judge Sam Alito. After decades of allowing themselves to be branded the bullies of American politics, might Republicans now have an opportunity to turn the tables on their liberal adversaries, both in the other party and in the media?
It seems as though no matter how crazy the Democrats become, Republicans always wear the black hats. Even after countless "Bush is Hitler" parades in Washington, almost $300 million in liberal 527 negative advertising, and a phony memo scandal that almost brought down a whole network, the big story out of the 2004 election remains those nasty Swift Boat Veterans who "slandered" poor John Kerry, who simply was merely "reporting for duty."
Of course, being mean and nasty isn't necessarily a negative trait for a politician to have, given that lunatic Islamist terrorists are trying to kill us. But that point notwithstanding, I do believe it is time the Democrats start wearing the black hats in the popular caricature of our nation's political drama.
That Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, Chuck Schumer, and the rest of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee made fools of themselves regarding the Alito nomination is axiomatic. Their race-baiting berating of Judge Alito brought his wife to tears and caused her to walk away from the committee room in dismay and disgust.
Left-wing "activists" have launched an organized campaign to "graffiti-ize the covers" of popular new conservative books such as Kate O'Beirne's Women Who Make the World Worse and Fred Barnes's Rebel-in-Chief. For example, one subversive Photoshop expert replaced the title of Barnes's book with "Felon-in-Chief." Hardy-Har-har.
Even worse were some of the online "reviews." Here's one:
American hero? Fearless leader? Naaaah. More like: Torturer. Liar. War Criminal. Dry Drunk. Immoral Christian. English-language Incompetent. Loser Businessman. Mediocre Human. Apocolypse Pox on American Politics. Bad book about a worse person. May both disappear from the face of the earth.
Bravo. It would be easy to blow this fringe lunacy off if it wasn't, more or less, the official Democrat Party line about our president.
And don't forget Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's reaction to left-wing reader "feedback" to her columns about Jack Abramoff:
Nothing in my 50-year career prepared me for the thousands of flaming e-mails I got last week over my last column, e-mails so abusive and many so obscene that part of The Post's Web site was shut down.
Yes, we are dealing with a very nasty group here. But the Alito smears and the tasteless web chatter are small chips when we hold them up against liberal public policies. It is there that the liberals demonstrate just how mean and callous they really are.
CONSIDER THE SUBJECT OF EMBRYONIC stem cell research. In recent years, America's insurgents have assailed President Bush and Republicans for being "against science" because the administration's official policy holds that the United States should not use taxpayer dollars to finance the cloning and killing of human embryos for the purposes of conducting scientific experiments. It really shouldn't be that controversial a public policy. Just replace "embryos" with "people" and I imagine you'd approach something near unanimous consent in favor of discontinuing any such program.
But the radicals have been filling the hearts of the aged and infirm with false hope about "the promise" of embryonic stem cell research. As 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards argued at a campaign stop:
We will do stem cell research. We will stop juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other debilitating diseases. America just lost a great champion for this cause in Christopher Reeve. People like Chris Reeve will get out of their wheelchairs and walk again with stem cell research.
Elsewhere, 58 U.S. Senators -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- urged President Bush in a letter to reverse his position on federal funding for clone-to-kill programs in part because the United States was in danger of falling behind South Korea in realizing the miracles of embryonic stem cell research. Didn't he know that this research "might hold the key" to curing 100 million Americans, including former President Ronald Reagan (if Bush hadn't already killed him, that is)?!
Alas, it was all a lie. The appropriately named South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk, upon whose shoulders all this "promise" rested, turned out to be as fraudulent as Mary Mapes's documents. He faked his cloned stem cell lines. And the enthusiasm for his work expressed by the "scientific community" has made a joke out of the concept of peer review.
Lest you think this is just some isolated hoax with no implications on the larger field of embryonic stem cell research, consider the words of one of Dr. Hwang's peers, Joseph Itskovitz: "The bottom line is that it's a major disaster to our whole field because the expectations were so high and now we are back to square one."
This is Jonas Salk faking the vaccination for polio. The hopes of 100 million Americans have been shattered because of the callousness of liberal promises.
AND LET'S NOT DISREGARD the looming (and increasingly inevitable) financial disaster that will strike when swarms of baby boomers storm the pay window to collect what they've been promised. The politicians in Washington and American interest groups spent the first half of 2005 debating the creeping crisis as it relates to Social Security and whether we can or should do anything about it. President Bush and some Republicans wanted to introduce personal retirement accounts. Democrats (sadly with the help of more than a few RINO's) demonized the plan. But what is most notable about the debate is that the Democrats' official position was that we had nothing to worry about. Don't be fooled by Republican tricks, they told Americans. Everything is going to be just fine.
This false sense of, ahem, security, over the years has resulted in millions of soon-to-be-on-the-dole Boomers making the disastrous decision to not put money away for themselves. And so now we have the most prosperous generation in human history prepared to retire without a penny to their names, fully convinced that the government checks are on their way; "guaranteed" in a "lock box," as the liberal parlance goes.
But what happens when the bill comes due? Ask the city fathers in Duluth, Minnesota. Since 1983, that city has promised lifetime health care for all retired municipal workers, their spouses and their children up to age 26. The result? Well, according to the New York Times:
No one really knew how much it would cost. Three years ago, the city decided to find out....The total came to about $178 million, or more than double the city's operating budget. And the bill was growing....For years, governments have been promising generous medical benefits to millions of schoolteachers, firefighters and other employees when they retire, yet experts say that virtually none of these governments have kept track of the mounting price tag.
Now, replace "Duluth, Minnesota" with "the United States" and "retired municipal employees" with "everyone" and you begin to see the sheer heartlessness of the liberals' empty promises. Many retiring Boomers will be turned away at the pay window. Still others will receive something much smaller than they were promised. And the rest of us are going to have to pay more in taxes.
There's liberal compassion for you.
If Karl Rove and the Republicans pursue this mean meme throughout 2006, I hope they extend it past trite anecdotes about liberal tomfoolery. They ought to make the point finally and convincingly that liberal policies break hearts and destroy lives.