Friday, July 06, 2018

The Nub of It

So I'm reading my FB feed and the word came down that Scott Pruitt was out at EPA. Many of my college classmates were on the thread and the common theme was the physical violence they wanted to inflict on Pruitt. I'm not going to reproduce it here, but apparently Pruitt needs to be kicked in the head, throat-punched, and more. Mind you, most of the people proposing such a course of action are in their mid-50s.

Then you have this guy:


This happened at a Whataburger in Texas. Charming fellow.

So why are people behaving this way? As usual, Victor Davis Hanson gets to the nub of it:
In 2009, Obama seemed to usher in a progressive revolution for a generation.

Democrats controlled the House. They had a supermajority in the Senate. Obama had a chance to ensure a liberal majority on the Supreme Court for years.

Democrats had gained on Republicans at the state and local levels. The media, universities, professional sports, Hollywood, and popular culture were all solidly left-wing.

A Republican had not won 51 percent of the popular vote in a presidential election since George H.W. Bush’s 1988 defeat of Democrat Michael Dukakis. Before 2016, Republicans had lost the popular vote in five of the previous six presidential elections.

And then visions of a generation of progressive grandeur abruptly vanished.
It was all supposed to have gone so differently. The Democrats had a tremendous opportunity, but it all went wrong. And the Democrats aren't taking things well, primarily because they're nursing rage more than anything else. Back to Hanson:
To progressives, Trump became not an opponent to be beaten with a better agenda, but an evil to be destroyed. Moderate Democrats were written off as dense; left-wing fringe elements were praised as clever.

Voters in 2016 bristled at redistribution, open borders, bigger government, and higher taxes, but progressives are now promising those voters even more of what they didn’t want.

Furious over the sudden and unexpected loss of power, enraged progressives have so far done almost everything to lose even more of it.
If the Democrats had a better agenda, they'd offer it. Instead, they're letting their freak flag fly and embracing full-on socialism. And they're harassing people. Even in 2009, when all looked lost, I never felt the rage or underlying despair that I'm seeing today. Put simply, like many conservatives I hold the tragic view of mankind (original sin, all that rot) but I am generally optimistic in my own worldview. The liberals I know think mankind can be perfected but seem to be falling into rage and despair because they can't break enough eggs to get that tasty omelet they ordered 9 years ago.

7 comments:

Bike Bubba said...

Yes, the Democrats are going nuts, but Pruitt wrote his own resignation by playing games. We conservatives need to learn that we cannot play by the Democrats' rules and get away with it, and that is a good thing. I like a lot of what Pruitt did, but I hate the way he did it.

Mr. D said...

I like a lot of what Pruitt did, but I hate the way he did it.

Of course. But people my age fantasizing about throat-punching him is more worrisome for me than Pruitt’s venality. There’s a strong odor of madness in the air now and it’s reaching people I care about. That scares the hell out of me.

R.A. Crankbait said...

I'm old enough, barely, to remember the hate that was poured out on Nixon by the Left and media, back when there was still some risk to "speaking truth to power". This unholy alliance cut it's teeth on bashing Nixon and discovering the power they had to shape the culture and it's representations in all forms of media. It became the unquestioned standard and all authority was assumed to be with them - and then Rush Limbaugh came along and revealed that there might be something to that silent majority thing after all, and the Silents were getting restive.

Interesting that no one at the time compared Nixon to Hitler, as far as I can remember. Today the "Trump is Hitler" trope is overused and stretched too thin. I'm a little surprised that the liberal elders haven't tried to tie Trump to Nixon, unless they know they've already done too good of a job at stripping historical relevance and understanding from the generation that's threatening to run away from them.

Mr. D said...

I'm old enough, barely, to remember the hate that was poured out on Nixon by the Left and media, back when there was still some risk to "speaking truth to power". This unholy alliance cut it's teeth on bashing Nixon and discovering the power they had to shape the culture and it's representations in all forms of media. It became the unquestioned standard and all authority was assumed to be with them - and then Rush Limbaugh came along and revealed that there might be something to that silent majority thing after all, and the Silents were getting restive.

I was pretty young during Watergate; I was 10 when Nixon resigned, but I remember it pretty well, because my dad was tuned in to local politics. I do remember the muscle flexing going on at the time. I’m surprised at the reaction of my college friends, though, because we all came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s and my alma mater was fairly apolitical at that point. I remember politics being an occasional topic of conversation on campus, but it was a bit of a interregnum; Beloit had a reputation for being a leftist campus in the 1960s and it is now hard left, but not in the mid-80s. All these years later, it’s surprising to see that my largely apolitical classmates have turned hard left and that it’s a well-nigh universal sentiment among them. And the rhetoric has been ramping up. It’s frankly a bit unnerving.

Bike Bubba said...

Good point, gracious host. Perhaps the flip side of what I should have said (oopsie?) is that we have a great opportunity to show the difference in how life can be if we mind our manners. In other words, if we're not the ones being perp-walked after making terroristic threats and they are, we might get somewhere as a country.

R.A. Crankbait said...

A large part of the reason, IMHO, things have gone to the edge emotionally is that there is no limit to those online who wave the bloody shirt/bloody steak to fire up the base. I'm thinking, though, that it's no longer about the base - the practitioners have become addicted to the fire.

When my "liberal" friends were going off on Trump-this, Trump-that and flooding FB with every meme I tried to tell them - as someone who had been through 8 years of Obama - that they were going to burn themselves out getting excited about every story that promises that is is the one that is going to send Obama/Hillary/Trump to jail. "Don't chase the cape," I'd say, "Or you won't see the guy selling tickets to the bull fight."

They chased the cape.

Gino said...

what do the democrats have left? they rode the blue-collar man for generations. those blue-collar people have been stolen by Trump. their governing coalition is dead in middle america.
I saw this coming, and was calling it throughout 2016.

the GOP was effectively dead (deservedly, so) until Trump hijacked it and put it on the road to ascendency