Green Room

Legitimate Criticism

posted at 2:46 pm on August 10, 2009 by

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, wrote an interesting op-ed column in USA Today, calling the increasing numbers of Americans who are asking tough questions about the Democrats’ health-care scheme “un-American.” I know “interesting” probably isn’t the first adjective most people reading this would choose to describe it. It is interesting, though. It’s a desperate play by nervous politicians to extinguish resistance to a massive takeover they’re drooling with eagerness to complete. It’s the arrogant response of a political elite that sees itself as royalty, clad in the unimpeachable moral authority of democracy – a ruling class of philosopher-kings that only expects to be challenged once every couple of years, in carefully controlled local races they have a 90% chance of winning. Pelosi was elected from San Francisco in 1987, while Hoyer has been perched atop the 5th Congressional District of Maryland since 1981. To say that neither of them is used to sustained, energetic, effective resistance to their agendas would be an understatement.

The most interesting thing about Pelosi and Hoyer’s brand of McCarthyism is how pathetically ineffective it is. To their great surprise, calling the protesters “un-American” isn’t shutting them up. Today’s USA Today op-ed is the latest variation on one of the oldest plays in the Left’s playbook: painting their opposition as fundamentally illegitimate. It’s time for them to replace that page in their playbook, because it will never work again.

Declaring your opponents to be illegitimate is a lazy way to avoid having to debate them. No one expects powerful political leaders to lower themselves to debates with fringe lunatics. Much of the public will automatically ignore the ravings of madmen, without feeling any need to examine their arguments at length. If you discount the illegitimate opinions of all those insurance company shills, Republican party operatives, and racists thronging the town hall meetings, why, ObamaCare enjoys overwhelming support!

You can see this cynical ploy running in reverse, if you watch the dim light flickering behind Janeane Garofaolo’s eyes. Only racist Nazis could possibly oppose the magnificent agenda of Barack Obama, the modern Prometheus who dares to snatch universal health care from the evil gods of the insurance industry… therefore, everyone who opposes Obama must be a racist Nazi. Thus, the Tea Party movement stands revealed as a cleverly disguised Klan rally, with brainwashed race traitors distributing “Don’t Tread On Me” flags. Ken Gladney might have been black on the outside, but he had pools of Red State neo-fascism leaking out of him, by the time the SEIU goons were finished questioning his legitimacy.

The Democrats are accustomed to deploying this strategy without much effort, since they had the enthusiastic support of the media. When you have total control over camera placement, it’s easy to film someone like Cindy Sheehan and her tiny band of crackpots as a huge grassroots movement with absolute moral integrity. It’s equally easy to point the cameras away from gigantic pro-life rallies in Washington, and pretend they didn’t happen. Unfortunately for them, Democrats now live in a world where they don’t have complete control over the cinematography, script, and soundtrack of the American epic any more… and they will never get it back.

They began losing it during the 2004 election, most notably in the case of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. It was remarkable to watch Democrat media shills take to the air within minutes of the Swift Boat Vets being thrust into the national spotlight, declaring them “discredited” and floating the usual dark insinuations about their character and motives. For the first time in recent political history, it didn’t work. The 2004 campaign ended with those Democrat operatives weeping in frustration, unable to figure out why repeatedly calling them “the discredited Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” didn’t discredit them. Frustration turned to horror when the rising alternative media had the impudence to question the legitimacy of Dan Rather, the designated heir to Walter Cronkite, and bring his phony National Guard document scam crashing down in flames.

The cultural and media landscape has changed enough to deprive Democrats and their media allies of the power to rule their opponents out-of-bounds easily. It’s darkly amusing to watch them fumble across this new, less slanted landscape, shrieking the devil words they think will scare voters out of questioning them. If you look beyond the squalid little insinuations about swastikas and un-American fifth columns, even the less hysterical challenges to the legitimacy of their opponents are revealing. The accusation that people asking questions at town hall meetings are paid operatives of the insurance companies supposes the superior virtue of politicians to private industry. When Obama’s political staff sends out marching orders to supporters, along with scripts for how to look credible and concerned while advocating state-run health care, it is considered to be noble “community organizing.” If insurance companies were to assist with any kind of organized resistance to Obama’s agenda, it would be denounced as sleazy and sinister.

To appreciate this mindset, you must embrace the central tenet of socialism: the State is caring, compassionate, and wise, far beyond the vile and money-grubbing businessmen of the private sector. The insurance industry couldn’t possibly know anything useful about insuring people, could it? Of course not. Only their greed prevents them from showering Americans with cheap, universal coverage. The same dynamic is at play when liberals sneer at the idea of allowing energy companies to have any say in energy policy. It’s also why the Left loves to extol the virtues of “working Americans,” while offering only hatred to the business owners who employ them, and arrogant contempt for the consumerist culture that purchases the products they create. On any given topic, the only legitimate voices belong to politicians and their supporters. Businessmen are expected to sit quietly in their cells and await judgment.

The Left’s challenge to the legitimacy of its opponents stands reality on its head. In truth, there is no greed as boundless and vicious as a politician’s lust for power… and unlike the energetic pursuit of the profit motive, the greed of a Nancy Pelosi produces nothing useful as a side effect. There is no class of people less qualified to run any industry than the political class, whose priorities never include the health of the industries they run into the ground. No one cares less about their “employees” and “customers” than a liberal politician. No one should be allowed to “buy” controlling interest in any industry with a stack of ballots, because the Constitutional restraints on government were not meant as minor inconveniences for the State to navigate around. Elections may have consequences, but the suspension of anyone’s right to property or free speech should never be among them.

In the end, health insurance is like any other commodity. There are only two ways to obtain it: buy it, or force someone else to give it to you. The people who understand this cold truth do not sacrifice the legitimacy of their dissent by acting outraged in the face of an outrage.

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Comments

The most interesting thing about Pelosi and Hoyer’s brand of McCarthyism is how pathetically ineffective it is.

At least McCarthy’s aim was to destroy Communism not promote it.

Disturb the Universe on August 10, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Dr. Zero is a national treasure.

Ragspierre on August 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Great Job DZ!

I think the point needs to emphasized though …

The Democrats are upset … and crying their little eyes out because they say we’re being rude. That “shouting down” your opponent’s ideas is wrong because a Democracy is based on the honest discussion of those ideas.

I agree – but this isn’t an honest discussion.

They have come forward to us under the guise that we need to reduce health care costs – yet they have put forth a plan that will throw us into deep debt even according to the CBO’s optimistic projections.

They’ve come at us saying that we need competition for the insurance companies and we will have more choices and can keep our current insurance if desired …

Yet we have countless examples of them telling their own supporters how this bill will exterminate the insurance companies and leave Americans with a single payer.

They are lying – you cannot have an “honest” debate with a liar. You can shout him down, call him names – ridicule him – but you can’t have an honest debate with someone who’s not being honest about their intentions.

In such an instance – verbally tarring and feathering the liars is completely “American”.

Which makes the protesters patriots and Nancy and Steny nothing more than …

LIARS

HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 5:17 PM

At least McCarthy’s aim was to destroy Communism not promote it.

Disturb the Universe on August 10, 2009 at 3:24 PM

He didn’t say anything about McCarthy’s intentions.

Per Wikipedia …

McCarthyism is the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.

That has nothing to do with promotion of any political philosophy.

HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Until there spoke the doughty son of Gloin,
Gimli the Dwarf, one hand upon his axe:
‘This wizard’s words do stand upon their heads!
In Orthanc’s language slaughter means salvation,
And help means doom — so much at least is plain…’

J.R.R. Tolkien

acat on August 10, 2009 at 6:05 PM

The most interesting thing about Pelosi and Hoyer’s brand of McCarthyism is how pathetically ineffective it is.

Not to nit pick Doc, but since McCarthy was right, we anti-Communists ought to stop using him as a boogie man. Just a thought.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Not to nit pick Doc, but since McCarthy was right, we anti-Communists ought to stop using him as a boogie man.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Fake but accurate?

Jim Treacher on August 10, 2009 at 7:59 PM

HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 5:17 PM

+a whole [email protected] lot! 🙂

Liars are liars. So make them prove every single word they say through deeds. Until then, they don’t get the privilege of having their council heard.

Fighton03 on August 10, 2009 at 8:03 PM

If speaking out at a town hall meeting makes one “Un-American”…then what does writing an Op-Ed piece make one?

No soup for you!

doctor horton on August 10, 2009 at 8:07 PM

That has nothing to do with promotion of any political philosophy. HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 5:19 PM

It perpetuates a political myth: that McCarthy was wrong, and that he knew it. It’s the basic assumption of this eponymous term. If we want to rehabilitate the word McCarthyism, we should use it to describe people who are villified for telling the truth about the Left.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 8:09 PM

Fake but accurate? Jim Treacher on August 10, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Mapes and Rather were McCarthyite in the traditionally understood sense.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 8:10 PM

They are like the politburo of the Soviet Union.
When the people rose against them they fell.

NeoKong on August 10, 2009 at 8:16 PM

Doc, whoever you are—you are not paid enough.

3/3 last 4 days.

Strong work.

ted c on August 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM

a ruling class of philosopher-kingspseudo-intellectual morons

FIFP (Fixed it for Plato)

venividivici on August 10, 2009 at 8:21 PM

It perpetuates a political myth: that McCarthy was wrong, and that he knew it. It’s the basic assumption of this eponymous term. If we want to rehabilitate the word McCarthyism, we should use it to describe people who are villified for telling the truth about the Left.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 8:09 PM

Point taken, although I think the term is pretty well locked into the public imagination, in the sense I used it. I think the definition HondaV65 quoted sums up the popular understanding. If one wishes to do some justice to McCarthy’s memory, it’s probably better to focus on why he was largely correct in his conclusions, rather than attempting to rehabilitate the methods that made him infamous.

I must admit like the idea of accusing someone like Pelosi of McCarthyism, then hearing her explain what she thinks it means, and how she’s not guilty of it.

Doctor Zero on August 10, 2009 at 8:23 PM

It’s human nature, that when someone isn’t listening to you, you yell louder.

Congressmen, especially Democratic ones haven’t been listening to the citizens for years.

MarkTheGreat on August 10, 2009 at 8:25 PM

Dr. Zero is a national treasure.

Ragspierre on August 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

As a writer with unusual clarity and expressiveness, Dr. Zero ranks with Steyn and Krauthammer. I am most grateful to Hot Air for introducing me to the good doctor.

Terrie on August 10, 2009 at 8:26 PM

It perpetuates a political myth: that McCarthy was wrong, and that he knew it. It’s the basic assumption of this eponymous term. If we want to rehabilitate the word McCarthyism, we should use it to describe people who are villified for telling the truth about the Left.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 8:09 PM

I agree – I was not defending the definition of McCarthyism – simply stating what that definition is.

HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

[Ragspierre on August 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM]

Ditto.

Dusty on August 10, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Management should just put Doctor Zero on the front page – it’s where he ends up anyway.

Great work as usual sir!

massrighty on August 10, 2009 at 8:38 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on August 10, 2009 at 8:44 PM

McCarthy should never have attacked the Army. That crossed a line.

Ted Torgerson on August 10, 2009 at 8:54 PM

Great piece. Who IS Dr. Z???

Anyway, why not flesh this out into a book and call it…

The Mapes of Rath(er)

J.J. Sefton on August 10, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Nicely done. I could see what you did there and it makes sense.

MarkABinVA on August 10, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Dr. Zero is a national treasure.

Ragspierre on August 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

He is is a dangerous tool of the criminal founding fathers and their insidious beliefs. We are the New Order and will crush them all.

DasObamaReich on August 10, 2009 at 9:08 PM

The cultural and media landscape has changed enough to deprive Democrats and their media allies of the power to rule their opponents out-of-bounds easily.

I hope you are right, but I think you are too optimistic. Only a small segment of the American public read the blogs, especially the conservative blog. If the media did not still dominate, The One would not be the Won.

The Left’s challenge to the legitimacy of its opponents stands reality on its head.

That is happening now and that why I was so alarmed by it. I do not want the American public, who pays scant attention to current events and would be focus on superficial acts, instead of the underlying message. The left wing media, the blogs and Pelosi certainly will be fanning the misinformation and the sleight of hand.

I posted last night to plead that we do not give them that opening. I agree with you submitting a question and wait for an answer is not going to work, and in the meantime the Dems will just ram things through. But I still favor arguing based on merits and be persistent without letting emotions and rage take total control. Dr. Krauthammer and Mark Steyn are just as outraged by the the content of the bill as well as the abusive tactics employed by the Dems, but you do not see them raising their voices and shoving at the Town Hall meetings. The goons tactics employed by the Dems and the unions bullies will backfire on them if we can show the often silent majority those are all they have as arguments.

I may be a minority in holding that view, especially on this Board, but I certainly am not cowering nor should my thought be taken as being condescending to people on our side.

bayview on August 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM

“Unfortunately for them, Democrats now live in a world where they don’t have complete control over the cinematography, script, and soundtrack of the American epic any more… and they will never get it back.”

…….. ain’t that something?

Great job Doc……

Seven Percent Solution on August 10, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Mapes and Rather were McCarthyite in the traditionally understood sense.

Akzed on August 10, 2009 at 8:10 PM

From what you’re telling us, so was McCarthy.

Jim Treacher on August 10, 2009 at 9:26 PM

I will say this, most liberals that I run across on a daily basis, will not read ANYTHING you find supportive of your views. It is best to present it as “I know this Right Wing hack on HotAir that seems a bit over the line. Can you tell me if he’s off base on this?” You have to go covert if you want them to read anything. Me, on the other hand tried to watch Maddow tonight. They won’t be exercising their right to self-torture as I did watching that manufactured piece of Obama warship by viewing shows opposite of their views. Yet I hear all the time, them rant about O’Reilly. I just laugh and say “If you think Bill O is a right-wing hack, I’m Jesus”

MarkABinVA on August 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM

Dr. Zero is a national treasure.

Ragspierre on August 10, 2009 at 3:59 PM

As a writer with unusual clarity and expressiveness, Dr. Zero ranks with Steyn and Krauthammer. I am most grateful to Hot Air for introducing me to the good doctor.

Terrie on August 10, 2009 at 8:26 PM

Doc, you really are a talented writer. You should write a book someday!

Susanboo on August 10, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Declaring your opponents to be illegitimate is a lazy way to avoid having to debate them. No one expects powerful political leaders to lower themselves to debates with fringe lunatics.

But those “fringe lunatics” don’t want to debate at the town halls. From the videos I’ve seen they are drowning out any debate with their shouting over the Rep and the person asking a question. That reminds me of the brown shirts.

Bill Blizzard on August 10, 2009 at 10:44 PM

You always deliver, Dr. Zero.
I am a fan!

redridinghood on August 10, 2009 at 11:17 PM

Doc — that is one hell of an op-ed.

directorblue on August 10, 2009 at 11:22 PM

This Green Room thingy has produced some real gems.
Bravo Dr. Zero

Pole-Cat on August 10, 2009 at 11:47 PM

“Unfortunately for them, Democrats now live in a world where they don’t have complete control over the cinematography, script, and soundtrack of the American epic any more… and they will never get it back.”

Yes! Technology advances and the fourth estate crumbles beneath the weight of the their own bias.

Great as usual Doc. Keep up the good work.

Browncoatone on August 11, 2009 at 4:25 AM

agree – I was not defending the definition of McCarthyism – simply stating what that definition is.

HondaV65 on August 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Old Country Boy on August 11, 2009 at 7:37 AM

To continue with my post above that did not get completely posted – HondaV65 assumes that the wikipedia definition is correct. All wikipedia entries are suspect. Because of this, I think they should be banned and filtered from HA. If someone wants a definition, they should get it from a dead tree book, which is not easily changed when there is sometihing defined in a way that is not favorable to liberals.

Old Country Boy on August 11, 2009 at 7:40 AM

You want Pelosi to engage in an honest debate. I am reminded of two statements made by other famous females from the left coast . . . “I’ll get you my pretty” – Wicked Witch of the West and . . . “Off with their heads” – the Queen of Hearts. Either would be an improvement over the intellectual capabilities of our beloved Speaker. Hoyer constantly looks like he just took a huge hit of a bong and has no idea where he is. If that is the best the Dems have – bring it on.

georgeofthedesert on August 11, 2009 at 8:54 AM