Thursday, May 15, 2008
Because "liberal" just doesn't have enough sting anymore
For the past two decades, hell, since Ronald Regan ambled through the White House like it was a backlot studio set, conservatives have been spitting out the word "liberal" with such invective and with a fulmination so pronounced that the word was transformed into a short-hand malediction, with poison tentacles. You couldn't have called me worse if you said I was a motherfucker, and meant it.
But it ain't working anymore.
First of all, most Americans aren't looking down their noses at liberals anymore. It isn't the liberals who got us into this war. It isn't the liberals who got us into the subprime mortgage crisis. It isn't the liberals who have created a disastrous healthcare system. It isn't the liberals who have delivered us a diminished dollar, a $4 gallon of gas, and an ugly recession. It isn't the liberals who gave us No Child Left Behind.
I'm a liberal and you sure as hell can't blame me for that mess.
So, to call the Democratic presidential candidates, or their supporters, "liberal" simply does not throw fear into the hearts of Joe Sixpack the way it once did.
Now, as Emeril Lagasse says, the conservatives have turned it up a notch. Bam. Barack Obama is suddenly a socialist, a marxist, a red. They've pulled out the Karl Marx boogeyman mask. They've drawn a fictional dotted line between Barack Obama, Joe Stalin and Hitler's Nationalist Socialist Party. Welcome back to 1956. The spirit of Joe McCarthy is alive and well. First it was the folks at Accuracy in Media, a cabal of right-wing nuts who wouldn't know accuracy if it was hand delivered by Charles Darwin. Then it was Bill Kristol in the New York Times.
Then, quickly following it was a near dodge by Creepy Joe™ Lieberman, who infers that Obama's a socialist by claiming that he's not a Marxist, but "far to the left of me, and I think mainstream America." I heard local talk show host Jim Vicevich say it several times (until I complained to his program director, and suddenly the phrase stopped emerging from his lips, though he allows callers to make the slur). Then there was the unholy trinity of Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and Ken Blackwell.
And the pile on began and continues. Grover Norquist. Newt Gingrich. The freepers. Karl Rove. Britt Hume and Charles Krauthammer. Jeff Kinkaid.
Considering the source, Obama ought to be happy to be called red by this group of slime-mongers and cut-rate economy-grade sensationalists.
But let's not forget, that calling someone a socialist is the same as calling them a communist, and calling them a communist is calling them an enemy of the United States. Which, of course, is patent nonsense. But calling someone a Socialist is exactly what Joe McCarthy did, and in the process he ruined lives and careers through smears and innuendo.
Unfortunately, it's the best we can expect from this debased set of mouthpieces currently reading the conservative script, right off the hatemonger TelePrompter.