I don’t incline to conspiracy theories. They let people off too easily. Conspiracy theories assume that, behind every malign event, is an evil directing mind. He only bears the guilt, everyone else is a mere cypher.
That absolves too many people. With something like the IRS scandal there are lots and lots of people to blame. In fact, I’d be surprised if Obama said anything like “will no one rid me of these troublesome Tea Party Patriots.” The point is, he didn’t have to. In Washington, in the now famous Cincinnati field office, throughout the country, it was in the air we breathed.
By which I mean, hatred for the Tea Party, for conservatives. For the Left, they were what Jews were for Anti-Semites, in Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew. A reason for being, a definition of themselves as members of the Left. For the New York Times‘ Frank Rich, they were cockroaches; for the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson, they spewed racist poison. It was de rigeur to hate them. And after that, are we surprised at what happened?
The amusing irony is the vindication this gives to the Tea Party movement’s argument that constituional liberties were under attack. The Left’s response turned out to be, “This is such an outrageous thing to say that we’re going to have to suppress your constitutional liberties.”
So what will happen now? Either one of two things. First, the excesses of the Left will produce a reaction that strengthens our values. Alternatively, the matter will die away, after a certain amount of huffing and puffing, and the scandal will come to be accepted as the new normal. The Left will say, “That’s just what they did — or would do.” Or else, “The bigger issue is a woman’s right to choose.” Or else, “What do you want? Politics ain’t pattycake.” By which what they’ll really mean is “Welcome to Costa Bananas.”