Friday, September 03, 2004

It's the standards, stupid

Both of America's major political parties like to lay claim to having the highest standards, and to one extent or another they perpetually battle over their claim. Yesterday in the wake of Zell Miller's RNC speech we were shown yet again that only one party can claim to have the highest number of standards - our dear old Democrat party.

Democrats were as confused, hurt, and angry as children slapped without cause today, from one end of the dial to the other. You see, Miller actually had the audacity to tell Republicans that his party has become a disappointment to him; this was as bewildering to Democrats as it is manifest to anyone who's left the party in the last 10-15 years. Nevermind that Democrats have spent the months since the release of his book salving themselves by chanting that he wasn't really a Democrat anymore; nevermind that it's been public knowledge that he was booked as RNC keynote speaker for weeks; the fact that he'd actually do what he said and continue saying what he's been saying came as a bolt out of the blue to them.

When Jumpin' Jim Jeffords left the Republican party to become unaffiliated, that was an action that had Democrat support. Leaving the party after 35 years over a tax cut was a perfectly principled decision, they said. The fact that he tipped the scales of the party balance (and therefore budgeting) in the Senate was merely fortuitous, and any highly prized Democratic committeeships he might have obtained were fair barter for mutual benefit. It wasn't as if he was bought with those committeeships - after all, he didn't actually become a Democrat. He only promised to vote with the Democrat party in every procedural vote, so what? He's still a man of integrity! Zell Miller refused to leave the Democrat party because his ideals haven't changed, and they screech that he's a traitor. His castigators find no hypocrisy in calling him a "Zellout", even though he receives nothing in exchange for simply maintaining the scruples he's held for years.

Folks - if you call bartering your allegience "probity" and sticking to your principles "selling out", it's time to explore yourself for a bit. I don't claim to say this as a friend - it's a statement of fact.

Odd notions of what constitutes betrayal aren't what have aroused the most Democratic ire, however. The most common complaint of the affronted today was an inflamed disappointment with Zell's "anger". Read that again if you need to - the raging, red-faced, ranting party of Al Gore, Howard Dean, and Robert Byrd denounces Zell's anger. When the right Democrat does it, it's righteous indignation; when the wrong Democrat does it, it's bitter anger. I guess the only thing we disagree on then is who the right and wrong Democrats are.

Not so long ago, model of composure Hillary "I AM SICK AND TIRED!" Clinton penciled time into her busy schedule of assaulting her own Secret Service protection in order to grace the adoring little urchins Young Democrats of my own humble city with an opportunity to worship her rhetorical clarity and wisdom. After informing them that "This is the most radical, reactionary administration we've ever had in Washington" (which is akin to a sopping, parched towel, I suppose), she went on to fume that "President Bush may not be on our list of America's best presidents but he should be on anyone's list of America's best magicians. The budget surplus - then you saw it, now you won't. Good jobs - then we had them, now we don't. George Bush's disappearing act is getting a little old to me." Conspicuously forgetting whole swathes of American history, she declared "This administration risks becoming the first generation of American leaders to leave our country worse off than when they found it." Jimmy Carter must have been pleased to hear that his administration had officially gone down the memory hole.

However, she eventually got to the thrust of her incensed oration: "I think we have to ask ourselves - do we want an angry minority to reverse the result of a legitimate election?". The context? She was expressing her disdain for democracy in the impending recall of California Governor Gray "22% Job Approval" Davis. The "angry minority" of Californians who did not approve of the way he made jobs and budget surpluses disappear was polled at 58% in favor of recall. The angry minority who actually voted to recall was 54%. That's like the angry minority of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in this country who think there's nothing wrong with the phrase "under God", but get overruled by the overwhelming majority of the 9th circuit and ACLU. So to parse St. Hillary's message: we should respect constitutionally enacted democracy, but constitutional electoral processes are illigitimate, voters are wrong to get mad about jobs and budgets going sour (but they should also get mad about it), more than half can be a minority, and the same administration occupies both polar extremes of the political spectrum.

No wonder kids today are so messed up; we keep exposing them to liberals. If you didn't know to expect doublethink, it could get confusing. Maybe we need to stick warning labels on them - for the children.

We should probably also apply some kind of rating system to protect impressionable kids from Democrats. Cheney and Kerry have each once dropped the f-bomb, but decorum incarnate Pete "You Whore!" Stark has embraced execration as a way of life. The relish with which he blares discourtesies draws the admiration of dockworkers. For brazenly attempting to vote on a bill, he challenged Scott McInnis to a fight, taunting him with a litany containing "wimp", three instances of "fruitcake", and a slur that sounds similar to "rocksucker". This is the Pete Stark who once called Secretary Louis Sullivan "a disgrace to his race" for having a differing opinion on health care, said welfare director Eloise Anderson would "kill children if she had her way" when she disagreed with his vision of entitlements, and routinely refers to President Bush as "a recovering alcoholic" (he's never reserved the same for Ted Kennedy, though admittedly Ted may not qualify as "recovering"). I can't but imagine that ordering lunch is an NC-17 experience with Pete Stark. And Democrats think Zell was angry?

Yesterday was another day of affirming my suspicion that liberals reject the notion of an objectively knowable reality. I don't know another way you could maintain the rich array of standards liberals enjoy without considering all of creation to be a completely subjective experience. Those who recognize that A is A, and that A continues to be A regardless of their opinions, have trouble managing more than one set of standards at a time. Democrats - once again, you're the champs.


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