The Right Opinion

Sore Winners

By Mona Charen · Nov. 27, 2012

Post-election season is a time for healing, for putting aside the rancor of a long campaign and rediscovering what unites us. It has not been that way this year.

Prudence, one would think, if not generosity of spirit, should impel Democrats to be magnanimous in victory. Romney did receive about 48 percent of the vote. A little modesty among the winners would seem to be in order.

Instead, the gloating has been extravagant. Worse, liberals have gorged themselves on the same junk food they enjoyed during the campaign and cannot seem to resist under any circumstances – slandering their opponents. The smears are so casual and commonplace that we become weary of responding. But we must protest, or someone new to politics may assume that we concede the point.

Appearing on “Meet the Press”, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns attributed conservative unhappiness with the election to racism. “Race is always there in America,” Burns opined. “It's always something we don't want to talk about. Do you think we'd have a secession movement – a faddish movement – if this president wasn't [sic] African-American? Do you think the vitriol that came out of some elements of the Tea Party?”

Ken Burns is a fine filmmaker. I met him once, and I found him to be engaging and amiable. It's painful to see him descend to this kind of defamation. Some disappointed Republicans are talking secession in Texas and elsewhere. This is proof of racism? Is this the standard of evidence Burns employs for his films?

Secession talk is the overheated emotional venting of the disappointed. It is not the exclusive province of Republicans. In 2004, Jonathan Gurwitz of the Houston Chronicle reminds us, Democratic talking head Lawrence O'Donnell suggested that George W. Bush's reelection would provoke “a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years.” When a fellow panelist on the TV show in question asked, “Are you calling for civil war?” O'Donnell replied, “You can secede without firing a shot.” Bob Beckel was for kicking the southern United States out of the union that year. “Really, I think they ought to have their own confederacy.” Alec Baldwin, among others, had threatened to leave the country if Bush were reelected.

Burns' flippant reference to the “vitriol” emanating from “some elements” in the Tea Party is nothing but an oft-repeated slur. The late Andrew Breitbart famously offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who could produce audio or video proof that the “n” word was hurled at black members of congress as they moved through a Tea Party protest on Capitol Hill. The accusation of racism was broadcast far and wide. The lack of proof – though hundreds of people had video cameras recording every moment – is the untold story. Someone as sophisticated as Ken Burns should know that the Tea Party protests were multiracial, multiethnic affairs, featuring speakers of every background. What united them was concern that the government should stop spending money it does not collect.

False accusations of racism are an attempt to delegitimize those who disagree with you. Promiscuous use of the word also defangs it for actual instances of racial bias. Honest liberals should further consider that flinging the charge protects them from having to defend their ideas. It's simultaneously ugly and lazy.

Kathleen Geier of the Washington Monthly writes that conservatives use abstractions because they are attempting to conceal positions that “a hefty chunk of the population” finds “icky.” That's the reason, she explains, that they talk of “small government, right to life, states' rights, free markets, right to work, judicial restraint, family values.”

I can't recall the last time a mainstream American politician referred to “state's rights,” but I'm pretty sure that whoever it was, he was a Democrat. It was the code term southern Democrats used to defend Jim Crow laws. Three quarters of the nay votes on the 1964 Civil Rights Act came from Democrats. Conservatives, as Ms. Geier would know if she actually read them rather than relying on cartoon depictions, do talk of federalism. If Geier thinks the constitutional order providing for state and federal governments is “icky,” she should say so.

As for the “right to life,” isn't that a great deal more honest than the liberals' habit of disguising a policy of unrestricted abortion up to and including birth as “women's reproductive health”?

Geier further confuses her readers by explaining that “judicial restraint” means “no rights for women, gays, or nonwhites.”

On reflection, I take it back. What liberals like Geier need is not humility or magnanimity. It's basic information.



Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

"Honest liberals..."? An oxymoron if I have ever heard of one! If there ever was such an animal (and I would dare say that most liberals likely think that we are animals), it became extinct years and years ago. And though I've been around awhile, I have never even seen one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Mark E. Edmiston in Fullerton said:

Liberals wouldn't recognize truth if it came down in person and was nailed to a cross.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:33 AM

Scholar in North Carolina replied:

Hate to admit it, and I know all of you fierce conservatives think that we just make this stuff up, but the truth is the most educated individuals in our society are consistently liberal. Scientists who strive for objective truth beyond all else are a majority liberal. You don't say that we don't know truth when we find a cure for your erectile dysfunction or make a vaccine for polio, so I find it incredibly insulting that you think that we can be clever enough to discern the workings of the natural world which I assure you are beyond your comprehension, yet we cannot discern the basic facts about governmental policy, I think thats the fundamental difference between us. I can in fact see truth even if its hidden in the nitrogenous bases of your genome, but you can see in front of you every day and will ignorance of it in favor a of more sensational and satisfying lie. Hyperconservatism in this country is an abysmal tool used by the establishment to manipulate and control the vast majority of people who would in fact benefit from the policies they are so ardently opposing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA replied:

A real Scholar would Know the difference between any Natural science and Political "science", you equate the two and the methodology to derive solutions. There is no Truth in your tirade. Your Post must be a requirement to obtain government Grant research funding.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:10 PM in sc replied:

Hey Scholar, Are you by any chance related to Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans fame??????

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 8:18 PM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

Sorry, Scholar, but you better check your history. You said:
"Hyperconservatism in this country is an abysmal tool used by the establishment to manipulate and control the vast majority of people who would in fact benefit from the policies they are so ardently opposing."

REALLY. There have only been two conservative presidents in the last 100 years. Progressives, not conservatives, ARE the establishment and have been doing the controlling. That is exactly how we got where we are, just another tweak or two from financial collapse and economic disaster. Since the left is so much more intelligent than the rest of us, why do you favor policies so obviously lacking in reason? The most basic example is the spending of money we do not have. But the one I cannot fathom is your overwhelming embrace of secular humanism and its associated, socialistic, deceived notion that man can accomplish utopia. If the left are atheists, why do they not just say they are atheists? If you agree there is a God, why would you want to use your gift of free will to push Him into a corner, eschew His love and blessings, and with distant stares shout, yes WE can? Well, you cannot; not without His help.

And, as for "benefiting from policies we so ardently oppose"...let me put it this way: I have eyes to see and a brain for discernment and I have not seen any benefit that your side offers, and if there is one, I do not want it. So, have a ball with this one, Scholar... all I want is my Bible, my Constitution, and my guns. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

George Rogers Clark in Ohio replied:

Well, especially not in that scenario. They are in fact, SECULAR-liberal-progressive-socialists. As such, they are BLIND and without reason.

Ummmm.. that was fun! I should try it more often.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Ken Burns and other liberals, have a blind spot, or a mental block, when it comes to actually seeing loss of LIBERTY!!! Blind sheep just do not see FREEDOMS fading, the way Tea Party conservatives do. What aspect of the PPACA2010 will be good for Health Care? They say everything is covered AND do not care about cost, or physician-to- patient ratio! LOL Mona.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:52 AM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

Its not gloating that they won, its gloating that they think they've gotten away with massive voter fraud, can you say is mathametically possible in so many precincts?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:06 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA replied:

"can you say 0% is a mathematical possiblility in so many precincts?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

Sometimes I wonder when I make a post and it doesn't get thru the way I typed it if I am not being spot censored by the Googleoids.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 1:12 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

What Liberals fail to comprehend, an easy task for a Liberal, is that We Conservatives speak of Abstractions, it is because we are capable of original abstract thought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM

enemaofthestatistquo in Monroe, GA said:

Speaking of Secession, Liberals may threaten to do so when they don't get their way, but they can't because We Conservatives keep the nation going, we do the heavy lifting, the real work, the earning of incomes, the paying of taxes, the thinking in abstracts required in a dynamic growing society. They can not do without US, but we can do without Them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 5:20 PM