Shun­ning the party of the whin­ers

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - Opin­ion by Wes­ley Pru­den

We’re not yet a na­tion wholly of whin­ers, but some of our con­gressper­sons are work­ing on it. Democrats who should have been tak­ing a victory lap are cow­er­ing in fear of the con­tents of a tea cup. No won­der real men — mostly but, by no means all, white — are shun­ning the Democrats.

The polling gu­rus are find­ing that mil­lions of the white men who helped put Barack Obama in the White House are leav­ing the Democrats in great num­bers, and this could lead to re­ally bad news in Novem­ber. Gallup finds that white male sup­port for a Demo­cratic Congress has fallen 8 per­cent­age points since last sum­mer, while the sup­port of women has re­mained re­mark­ably steady. White women who voted for Mr. Obama con­tinue to sup­port him, but only 38 per­cent of white men sup­port him now. Un­less the pres­i­dent and his party find a way to re­verse this trend they must pre­pare for an epic bath nine months hence.

Ac­com­plish­ing such a turn­around would re­quire first of all for Democrats to pipe down about what a tough life they have. Life is real, of­ten hard, and, as Da­mon Run­yon fa­mously said to a whiner at the poker ta­ble, “three out of three peo­ple die, so shut up and deal.” Democrats in Congress who got their way in the health care “re­form” de­bate are fright­ened now that the peo­ple they abused are an­gry and de­ter­mined to do some­thing about it. With the help of the com­pli­ant “main­stream” me­dia, they have cre­ated the specter of a tsunami of hate, big­otry, racism, slan­der, rock-throw­ing, spit­ting, ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome and sev­enyear itch. Sarah Palin has got the Democrats par­tic­u­larly spooked.

What the Democrats ac­tu­ally got were dirty looks, cat­calls, and cries of “shame!” They ac­cused their con­stituents of hurl­ing naughty words, in­clud­ing “the N-word” (which has be­come more ter­ri­ble than the Abomb in mod­ern us­age) as well as sticks, stones and oc­ca­sional bricks. Rep. Bart Stu­pak of Michi­gan, who be­trayed his anti-abor­tion al­lies who be­lieved him when he vowed never, ever, to vote for leg­is­la­tion to make tax­payer-funded abor­tion eas­ier, even in­sists that his life was threat­ened by uniden­ti­fied evil­do­ers.

Ex­ag­ger­a­tion is the coin of pol­i­tics, of course, and it turns out that nearly all of the threats of may­hem, dis­mem­ber­ment, death and rude­ness cited by fright­ened Democrats were merely man­u­fac­tured for ef­fect. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Mis­souri, who said he was spat upon at the Capi­tol, on dry­ing off changed his story. He told The Wash­ing­ton Post that, umm, well, ac­tu­ally the heck­ler was, ah, “the man who al­lowed his saliva to hit my face.” Any­one who has sat in the front row at the the­ater knows that drench­ing spit­tle, un­pleas­ant but in­no­cent, of­ten ac­com­pa­nies dra­matic speech. An ex­am­i­na­tion of video­tape finds no ev­i­dence that any­one at a cer­tain Tea Party rally ac­tu­ally shouted the “Nword” at black Democrats, and the cof­fin that was sup­posed to have been left on his lawn to threaten an­other Mis­souri con­gress­man was ac­tu­ally dis­played at a prayer vigil against abor­tion down the street.

In­ci­vil­ity is the name of the game in mod­ern pol­i­tics, and the In­ter­net has made the gra­tu­itous in­sult as Amer­i­can as the ba­nana-cream pie so tempt­ing to smash into the face of some­one who de­serves it. But any­one who ex­presses a pub­lic opin­ion must ex­pect dis­sent, col­or­fully ex­pressed. Oc­ca­sion­ally a threat is real and should be de­nounced and if need be pun­ished. But the vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Barack Obama is no more pas­sion­ate than the vil­i­fi­ca­tion of Ge­orge W. Bush. Ex­tremes beget ex­tremes. Alec Bald­win promised to leave the coun­try if Ge­orge W. was re-elected pres­i­dent in 2004, and by 2008 Sean Penn was scream­ing that crit­ics should die in agony from rec­tal can­cer. (What is this Hol­ly­wood ob­ses­sion with the south­ern ter­mi­nus of the al­i­men­tary canal?)

What most Demo­cratic whin­ers don’t un­der­stand — and what some of their bet­ters un­der­stand very well — is that peo­ple get mad when they’re ig­nored and pun­ished by con­se­quences im­posed on them. Barack Obama un­der­stands it, and is con­temp­tu­ous of the back­lash, as any­one knows who saw the curl of his lip and heard the dis­dain in his voice when he cel­e­brated the sign­ing of Oba­macare.

The Democrats know they have shoved an un­wanted and de­spised health care “re­form” down the throats of Amer­i­cans, and they un­der­stand that ar­ro­gance, like elec­tions, some­times in­vites con­se­quences. Once upon a time the lib­eral es­tab­lish­ment — now the ter­ri­fied whin­ers — didn’t have to worry about con­se­quences, since it had si­lenced the great un­washed. But the un­washed have found their voice, and they’re not giv­ing it up.

Wes­ley Pru­den is ed­i­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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