Jerrold Nadler historically was not a despicable person. For conservatives like me, his politics always dismayed and even repulsed me. But the man historically had a sort of fundamental decency. I come from a time in America when you could disagree vehemently with a political opponent’s ideas and programs while still acknowledging his or her fundamental decency, albeit wrong-headed. Thus, for example, I made it through four years of Columbia arguing ideas and politics in the dorm TV lounge at the end of Carman Hall and in the classrooms in Alexander Hamilton Hall, and then going out to Mel Brooks movies like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles at the old Olympia Theater, where you could see two older films for a buck. I would go with my Barnard girlfriend, later to be the wife I should not have married, and we would go with our two pals, the radical leftist and the outright communist who maintained his beard like Trotsky, just without the accompanying axe in the head. We would watch, laugh, glance regularly at each other as people do when experiencing great humor, then go for ice cream. (Culturally, I don’t incline towards social drinking.)
Joe Biden used to be like that. He would work with Republicans and acknowledge their decency. He worked famously with his fellow racist Democrats in the Senate. Likewise, Tip O’Neill, the Democrats’ Speaker of the House, would fight President Ronald Reagan by day and then would drink with him after hours, exchanging tales and legends of Ireland. That was America. Maybe when the current crop of snowflakes grow up, get out of the campuses, and experience reality, they will find a way to be like that. Otherwise, that generation just will have to die out, and then perhaps the next one, and if the star-spangled banner yet waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave, America will yet be humanity’s shining city on a hill … because there is no hope anywhere else except in Israel and perhaps in the former Eastern bloc countries that pulled out of the Warsaw Pact with the fall of the Soviet Union. Western Europe is on the road to demise, as its native citizens age and retire while continuing to rely on importing masses of young working-class Arab Muslims to pay the income taxes that finance its national “Social Security-like” retirement systems and government-managed single-payer socialized medicine plans.
So America once was a place where you could disagree on public policy and still be courteous, even friends. But the Nadler who conducted the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment circus last winter was not that Nadler of yore. Rather, like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, he had become a Satan. He may have looked the same, sounded the same, consumed the same number of meters, expelled the same amount of carbon dioxide. But he no longer was a man with a soul on display.
During this week’s New York primary elections, it became clear for all to see what had transmogrified Nadler from a man of true decency to a despicable slime. The evidence was evident just one borough away, in the New York 16th Congressional District represented until next January by one Eliot Engel, outgoing chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel was primaried out by an Ocasio acolyte, Jamaal Bowman, a Black man running in a district comprising the north Bronx and part of Westchester that once had been lily white. But the deeply liberal and progressive Whites of the district, whose hearts beat “Black Lives Matter,” have fled to the lily White suburbs over time, fearing that their sanitized ways of living, their safe neighborhoods, and their coveted real estate values would plummet because, as they might have put it, Black lives matter. So Engel, who once belonged, now found himself akin to a carpetbagger, running in a district that has become close to 60 percent Black and Hispanic. And he had the misfortune to be competing amid the frenzy and hysteria of “Black Lives Matter.” Thus, his life did not matter on election night, and now he is out.
Nadler did not face the jeopardy Engel faced because Nadler’s district remains heavily White with only comparatively minor Black and Hispanic demographics: In a district of 711,678 people, the New York 10th Congressional District numbers 495,680 Whites; 91,548 Hispanics; and 22,645 Blacks. Compare that with the demographics Engel faced in the 16th district: 732,981 people; 334,077 White; 239,144 Black; and 197,260 Hispanic. Nevertheless, Nadler risked no chances and did something more to win his primary easily. While putting on the façade last December of investigating whether or not anyone had engaged in a “quid pro quo” in Ukraine, Nadler back home was reaching his own quid pro quo with the Ocasios: they do not challenge him meaningfully in a primary, and in return he out-hyphens Ocasio during the impeachment hearings and becomes as morbidly radical-left and totalitarian as he morbidly can be.
Ocasio has become a Democrat political force as Obama did — sheerly by pure media hype. She is not a complete idiot, but she is no genius, not by a long shot. She does not know American history, though she spouts on it. She does not know the difference between Stormtroopers, Dachau, and Auschwitz, on the one hand, versus American customs officials caring compassionately on our southern border for people risking their lives to get in here, even illegally, on the other. (For those who, like Ocasio, do not know this, a free history lesson: Unlike those who desperately risk everything, even their lives and those of their children, to sneak into America illegally, Jews and other 1930s Hitler Undesirables did not risk their lives, at all costs, even violating laws, just so that they somehow could manage to sneak into Dachau and Auschwitz.) Ocasio does not understand economics. To the degree that anyone besides me remembers that she asserted 18 months ago that the world will end by January 2031, early signals are that she does not have much mastery over eschatology or teleology either. But the media made her their star. That’s all it takes.
A concerted media campaign can make anyone significant until reality catches up with them. Eventually reality does catch up, but not always quickly enough to avoid major harm. Consider: Use as a clinical control the case of Greta Van Susteren. Not all that long ago, she was famous and probably absorbed a certain amount of your time. Consider how quickly she became irrelevant, disappeared, yet how many of your life hours retrospectively were wasted by her. And she was not really all that bad. But that is the power of the media. If they decide to make Obama king, they just might pull it off, despite all his incompetence and unworthiness, if just boosted a bit by Republicans clearing the way for him by proffering John McCain or Mitt Romney as alternatives.
And so it is with Ocasio. The media decided to create her as the anti-Trump who also checks off all the right boxes: identity politics, intersectionality, “woman of color,” ostensibly quasi-educated, the face of the future. They put her on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper. Not exactly the same as subjecting Mitt Romney to Candy Crowley. They highlighted her every foolish tweet with page one significance. If the focus solely were reality, she would be seen for what she really is: a kid of Puerto Rican ethnicity who rode her way to a primary victory by getting some ethnic Puerto Ricans and a bunch of gullible 20-somethings to come out to vote for her in a sparsely noticed primary while the old White guy barely campaigned. So she got a minuscule vote, but his was even “minusculer.” From there, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post had all they needed: “OK, pals, we’ll take it from here.” And they catapulted her into prominence, even as she cost her district 25,000 good-paying jobs in no time.
They did it for Avenatti. They did it for Marie Yovanovitch and for Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. They did it for Robert Mueller. Heck, they have done it for Al Sharpton, a two-bit racist with so much documented and filmed hate for Whites, for gays, and for others that it would take no effort nor research to have him canceled from society if the media deemed anti-White racism objectionable.
That is what the media do. They create fantasies from reality, fabricate facts, insert irrelevancies into the daily conversation, and blacklist those who have far more legitimacy to be in the spotlight but who propound the wrong ideas. They do it in their entertainment wings, and they do it in their mirroring “news” wings.
With Ocasio ascendant — for now — Nadler assessed which side his bread is buttered. One would assume it is buttered on both sides. So he “quidded” and he “pro’d” and he “quo’d” throughout impeachment, and he will do whatever else Ocasio wants, and he will remain secure. By contrast, Engel did not genuflect enough. He failed to advocate Ocasio’s Green New Deal. Engel never endorsed tearing down a statue of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington.
Too bad for him. He never had a chance.