Politics is a contact sport.
The originator of that statement is illusive, but at no time in recent history have we seen it’s truth demonstrated more than today. The year long debate over health care created an epic widening of the political divide in this nation, with our elected officials operating the heavy machinery. From Republican lawmaker Joe Wilson shouting “You Lie!” during a Presidential speech to Congress, to the President of the United States openly criticizing a Supreme Court ruling during his State of the Union Address, the ugly side of American politics is splashed across the media on a daily basis and distributed worldwide within seconds.
One aspect of this divide that is particularly troubling is the willingness of elected officials to launch direct attacks on the very populace they were presumably elected to represent. A portion of this frontal assault is somewhat justified as a result of the excessive public vitriol displayed at speaking engagements and town hall meetings. However, attacks by Democratic leadership on the Tea Party have taken on a tone and a degree of dishonesty that reflect a new and unsavory direction in national politics. One year ago the President claimed to be unaware of the Tax Day Tea Parties. Since then we have Nancy Pelosi calling the Tea Party movement “Astroturf”, unsubstantiated claims of spitting and shouting of racial epithets, and a concerted effort by the Democratic party to discredit and minimize those involved with the movement as a “fringe” element. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) expressed concern about the Tea Party flag waving and their “hateful tone”, and Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) likens the Tea Party fight against the health care bill to attacks against the 60’s civil rights movement:
“I was involved in the civil rights marches in the ’60s. And I have been badgered, cursed at and spat at by groups in the South and I want you to know and your viewing audience to know that the group that were in Washington fighting against the health bill and fighting against the President, looked just like and sounded just like those groups that attacked the civil rights movement in the South.”
Terms such as “battleground”, “target”, “in the crosshairs” and even “fight”, commonly used in politics for decades if not centuries, suddenly are claimed by the left to be incitements to violence. Methinks thou doth protest too much. What is the left so afraid of?
Personal Responsibility – The antithesis of a liberal ideology that is more concerned with the “greater good” than with the individual. The uber-liberal Democratic leadership currently in power is determined to establish their Nanny State as quickly and completely as possible, Constitutional or not. Those demonstrating and promoting a high level of personal responsibility stand in the way of that goal, in fact probably represent the largest roadblock of all to their success. Redistribution of wealth associated with the Nanny State becomes largely unnecessary with increased enabling of personal responsibility – the two cannot coexist.
Sarah Palin – John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 election shook the US political world, and the after-shocks continue. There is something about this plain-talking conservative woman from Alaska that causes many liberals to foam at the mouth. Maybe they fear her ability to wolf hunt from a helicopter, or field-dress a moose. Maybe it’s her fearsome good looks. Or maybe it’s just her common sense, support for the Constitution and ability to connect with the masses from the flyover states that causes Democrats to stock up on garlic and wolf bane. Whatever it is, keep it up Sarah!
Conservative Talking Heads – Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter…..boogity boogity, the list goes on. The daily diatribes from these folks, designed to embolden conservatives, enflame liberals and in the process create enormous mounds of cash, cause severe overreactions from those on the left who insist these are the political leaders of the right who are inciting violence against our elected officials. Beck is a loon, Limbaugh a racist, Hannity a hater of all things Obama and dear Ann just down right mean. Setting liberal’s hair on fire is paid entertainment, but the real problem for Washington is that beneath the tirades designed to sell books, t-shirts, coffee mugs and advertising lurks an element of …
Truth – No doubt there have been instances of fact-stretching, selective data mining and in some cases outright lies by folks on the right in their mission to defeat major pieces of the current administration’s radical agenda. Comments such as “Death Panels” and “Kill Grandma” have received more air time than reruns of Gilligan’s Island. The real salt water corroding the armor of the Democratic majority, however, is the truth beneath the fiction. While some of the words chosen by Republicans, right-wing pundits and Tea Party activists may be designed to fire up the conservative base, the fact that it has resulted in a resurgence of political awareness by the general public not seen in recent times is what sends real thrills of fear down the legs of statists. An epidemic lack of trust in both Washington politicians and the dinosaur media has voters flocking to alternative sources of information in an attempt to find some semblance of truth. As a result, a recent survey by Rasmussen found that:
“52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation.”
To be sure, finding truth on the internet or FNC can at times be as illusory as a clear reference from Dennis Miller, but more voters searching means more voters becoming educated. The truth is out there, even if it means wading through thousands of pages of legalese drafted by staffers who specialize in obfuscation, picking apart reports from the Congressional Budget Office and researching prior legislation for obscure references. Whether it be to understand the true, potentially devastating impact of health care legislation on our economy and our freedom, or to thwart attempts at granting amnesty to illegal aliens and passing cap and trade legislation, voters are doing their own research. Despite the ardent claims of increased transparency by the White House and Democratic leadership, the facts tell a different story, creating at least the appearance that this administration has something to hide. Back-room deals, closed-door meetings and legislative shenanigans do not engender the trust of the American people, and those with something to hide truly do have reason to fear voters on a fact finding scavenger hunt.
They fear for their jobs.
At the opening of the Capital Visitor’s Center in December 2008, Harry Reid (D-NV) said:
“In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it’s true.”
Maybe so, Senator, but come November the great unwashed will be ever so respectfully removing you from office. We smell your fear, and to us it is the sweet smell of victory.