A LIB­ERAL’S LAST REFUGE: THE OLD BIG­OTRY CHARGE

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - OPINION - CHARLES KRAUTHAM­MER

Lib­er­al­ism un­der siege is an ugly sight in­deed. Just yes­ter­day it was all hope and change and re­turn­ing power to the peo­ple. But the peo­ple have proved so dis­ap­point­ing. Their re­cal­ci­trance has, in only 19 months, turned the pre­dicted 40-year lib­eral as­cen­dancy (James Carville) into a full re­treat. Ah, the peo­ple, the lit­tle peo­ple, the small-town peo­ple, the “bit­ter” peo­ple, as Barack Obama in an un­guarded moment once mem­o­rably called them, cling­ing “to guns or re­li­gion or” — this part is less re­mem­bered — “an­tipa­thy to­ward peo­ple who aren’t like them.” That’s a po­lite way of say­ing: cling­ing to big­otry. And pro­mis­cu­ous charges of big­otry are pre­cisely how our cur­rent rulers and their vast me­dia aux­il­iary re­act to an ob­streper­ous cit­i­zenry that in­sists on in­cor­rect think­ing.

Re­sis­tance to the vast ex­pan­sion of govern­ment power, in­tru­sive­ness and debt, as rep­re­sented by the tea party move­ment? Why, racist re­sent­ment to­ward a black pres­i­dent.

Dis­gust and alarm with the

fed­eral govern­ment’s un­will­ing­ness to curb il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, as crys­tal­lized in the Ari­zona law? Na­tivism.

Op­po­si­tion to the most rad­i­cal re­def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage in hu­man his­tory, as expressed in Propo­si­tion 8 in Cal­i­for­nia? Ho­mo­pho­bia.

Op­po­si­tion to a 15-story Is­lamic cen­ter and mosque near ground zero? Is­lam­o­pho­bia. Note what con­nects these is­sues. In ev­ery one, lib­er­als have lost the ar­gu­ment in the court of pub­lic opin­ion. Ma­jori­ties — of­ten lop­sided ma­jori­ties — op­pose Pres­i­dent Obama’s so­cial-demo­cratic agenda (e.g., the stim­u­lus, Oba­macare), sup­port the Ari­zona law, op­pose gay mar­riage and re­ject a ground zero mosque. What’s a lib­eral to do? Pull out the big­otry charge, the trump that pre-empts de­bate and gives no credit to the se­ri­ous­ness and sub­stance of the con­trary ar­gu­ment. The most ven­er­a­ble of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the tea party arose, a spon­ta­neous, lead­er­less and nat­u­ral re­ac­tion to the vast ex­pan­sion of govern­ment, the lib­eral com­men­tariat cast it as a mob of an­gry white ya­hoos dis­guis­ing their an­tipa­thy to a black pres­i­dent by clev­erly speak­ing in eco­nomic terms. Then came Ari­zona and SB 1070. It seems im­pos­si­ble for the left to be­lieve that: (a) il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion should be il­le­gal, (b) the fed­eral govern­ment should not hold border en­force­ment hostage to com­pre­hen­sive re­form, i.e., amnesty, (c) ev­ery coun­try has the right to de­ter­mine the com­po­si­tion of its

im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion. As for Propo­si­tion 8, is it so hard to see why peo­ple might be­lieve that a judge over­turn­ing the will of 7 mil­lion vot­ers is an af­front to democ­racy? And that see­ing merit in re­tain­ing the struc­ture of the most an­cient and fun­da­men­tal of all so­cial in­sti­tu­tions is some­thing other than an al­leged ha­tred of gays? And now the ground zero mosque. The in­tel­li­gentsia is near unan­i­mous that the only pos­si­ble grounds for op­po­si­tion is big­otry to­ward Mus­lims. This smug at­tri­bu­tion of big­otry to two-thirds of the pop­u­la­tion hinges on the in­sis­tence on a lack of con­nec­tion be­tween Is­lam and rad­i­cal Is­lam, a propo­si­tion that dove­tails per­fectly with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pre­tense that we are at war with “vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists” of in­scrutable mo­tive and in­dis­cernible be­lief. Those who re­ject this as both ridicu­lous and po­lit­i­cally cor­rect are de­clared Is­lam­o­phobes. It is a mea­sure of the cor­rup­tion of lib­eral thought and the col­lapse of its self-con­fi­dence that, find­ing it­self so widely re­pu­di­ated, it re­sorts to the cheap­est race-bait­ing. In­deed, how can one rea­son with a nation of pitch­fork-wield­ing mobs brim­ming with “an­tipa­thy to­ward peo­ple who aren’t like them” — blacks, His­pan­ics, gays and Mus­lims — a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it suc­cinctly, “just down­right mean"? The Democrats are go­ing to get beaten badly in Novem­ber. Not just be­cause the econ­omy is ail­ing. And not just be­cause Obama over­read his man­date in gov­ern­ing too far left. But be­cause a come­up­pance is due the ar­ro­gant elites whose undis­guised con­tempt for the great un­washed pre­vents them from con­ced­ing a mod­icum of se­ri­ous thought to those who dare op­pose them.

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