News - Lefty's lament

Chill, liberals — the sky's not falling

Who knew Henny Penny was a Democrat?

Since Nov. 5, when liberals were hit on the head with election results, they've been loudly lamenting that the sky is falling — that, with the GOP large and in charge, the world as we know it is quickly coming to an end. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one reader even expressed the fear that barbed wire would soon go up around Midtown, with the folks inside forced to wear pink triangles. Bill Moyers of PBS went beyond pique into apoplexy, warning of a "right-wing agenda" that includes "giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment" and "secrecy on a scale you cannot imagine." And, of course, Barbra Streisand had to weigh in, warning of "a horde of extremist federal judicial nominees" who are "guaranteed to threaten our civil liberties, a woman's right to choose, civil rights and environmental protection."

Mercy. How do any of us sleep at night?

Now, as fun as it is to see you liberals out there writhing in discomfort, my advice to you is to just chill. Take a deep breath. You will discover — as we conservatives did during the dog days of B.J. Clinton — that your day-to-day lives will continue much as they have, in spite of the political tragedy that has befallen you.

From the salons of Manhattan to the saloons of San Francisco, left-wingers simply cannot understand why the Democrats' attempt to caricature President Bush and his supporters as scary right-wing nuts didn't work. Frustrated, they've now taken to warning Americans they will someday be sorry for putting the GOP in power.

But what liberals refuse to understand is that their caricature didn't work because most Americans don't buy it. They see Bush as a plain-speaking, temperate conservative and a strong leader, not a destructive ideologue who wants to drill oil wells in Yellowstone Park, throw Grandma out into the snow and establish a Christian theocracy on the Potomac. Demonizing Bush got them nowhere — and it will get them nowhere.

It is the particular hubris of people passionate about politics (and I put myself in that category) to believe what goes on in Washington has cataclysmic effects on us all. Is it important? Yes — particularly in the long term. (For example, 50 years of Democratic taxing and spending left the country in such economic malaise that Ronald Reagan had to come in and successfully clean up the mess.)

But even the most political among us must admit that most aspects of our lives operate outside the political sphere. And while hysterical Democrats are overestim ating the potential effects of political change, they're also overestimating the degree of change we're likely to see. Take, for instance, abortion — the defense of which has become a central tenant of liberal orthodoxy. Much of the kvetching since the election has rested on the premise that Bush's federal court nominees will overturn Roe v. Wade. Moyers went so far as to charge Republicans with wanting to use "the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives." This ignores the fact that seven of the nine people now sitting on the Supreme Court were appointed by Republican presidents — and Roe still stands.

But suppose, for the sake of argument, that Bush did nominate Supreme Court justices who tipped the balance toward reversing Roe. Would women be forced into back alleys with bloody coat hangers, as pro-abortion forces breathlessly contend? Not a chance. Reversing Roe would not automatically make abortion illegal. It would simply mean it would be up to state legislatures to decide how, or whether, to regulate the practice. Given that the majority ethos in this country finds discarding inconvenient children an acceptable practice, abortion would remain legal in the vast majority of states.

Of course, pro-abortionists would have to win their argument through the democratic process, rather than achieving their aims through judicial fiat. One wonders why they seem so afraid of this, if they are really so confident in the virtue of their position.

The dilemma of the dithering Democrats was brought into focus by one of Moyers' more over-the-top assertions. Alluding to Bush's popular tax cuts, he accused the GOP of using tax policy "to transfer wealth from the working people to the rich." So, not only do liberals want to redistribute money from the people who made it to the people who didn't, they also apparently believe lower-income people are entitled to this money — that letting people keep more of the money they earned is somehow unfair and immoral.

To most Americans, that sounds like something someone who once worked in the Kremlin would say, rather than someone who once worked in the White House. If Democrats actually believe that, they'll never get back in power. No wonder they're hysterical.


Richard Shumate participates in a secret right-wing conspiracy to eviscerate the environment and rob the poor — but only between beers.??

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