The Left: “Dissent” Is Now “Hate” Again

Joe Gandelman provides a highly selective “history” to justify the sentence I’ve emphasized in bold:

Democrat Bill Clinton had his big share of professional Clinton haters (both prominent and not so prominent would say things such as “He’s not MY President…”) and Democrats decried it and some Republicans defended it. Then came Republican George Bush who got his share of haters, then Republicans decried it (the most typical defense was to try and go on the offense and lump those who’d strongly criticize the President on policy with the professional Bush haters as suffering from “Bush derangement syndrome” — a tidy way to try to discredit all critics suggesting they were all unreasonable and not having legitimate grounds for strong criticism) and some Democrats who decried the lack of respect for Clinton defended it.

But here in December 2008 we ‘re seeing a special kind of political hatred — way early in the game.

President Elect Barack Obama has not put his fanny in the Oval Office chair for one second yet, and there is an intensity now among some Republican conservatives to push frantically push hot buttons — a probable haringer of what is likely to come. Amid reports that the economy is not just bad but is on the brink of tanking, their emphasis is not on policy but overt or slightly disguised overt political demonization. Using whatever they feel can stick to rally their audience and/or readership.

I have to wonder where Joe was in the aftermath of the “selected, not elected” 2000 election. To pretend that what we’re seeing now is a “special kind of political hatred” is to further pretend what we saw and heard from the left, before George Bush ever stepped into the Oval Office, never happened.

Certainly, part of the anger derived from the loss by Al Gore and the false belief that the Supreme Court had handed victory to George Bush – but to pretend any political hatred now is more than then just doesn’t pass the smell test. And, of course, you’d have to be blind, deaf and addled to forget the 8 years which followed that election and the vicious, visceral and unrelenting hatred that was poured on everything ‘Bush’ during that time.

While his point about Clinton is well taken it further dilutes his claim that what may be happening now is any sort of “special kind” of political hatred. And it’s just my opinion, but it has a long way to go before it even approaches the level of malevolence the hatred for George Bush manifested among the left.

Gandelman claims that the attempt to demonize Obama isn’t working though:

The good news: the bulk of Americans aren’t buying the idea that at a time when stores are pulling out all stops trying to attract frightened buyers but signs now point to it being the worst in decades, it’s time for not just politics as usual but an expansion of political hatreds based on party or personal background.

It would have been nice to hear the same sorts of appeals to unity and moderation from the left when the nation was involved in two wars. But instead we heard lectures about dissent (and apparently name calling) being the highest form of patriotism.

Apparently that’s no longer in play. Now dissent is again “hate”.

It’s one of the things about the left that’s always amazed me. All’s fair and nothing is out of bounds when they are out of power, but as soon as they achieve it, it’s time to play “let’s all get along”. And they do so by attempted demonization of their political opposition.

In reality, all of Gandelman’s prose is aimed at building the case that right-wing talk radio is the hate-machine and the right should reject both the venue and its message. Not a word about the MSNBC’s of the last 8 years and what they managed to air. Nope, this is a lecture for the right:

[T]he GOP and the bulk of Americans need to reject those who try to spread a talk radio political culture that tries to whip up resentments and hatreds at a time of crisis when unity and serious criticisms of policy proposals and policies as they’re put in place is what’s needed. If the new administration’s policies are inadequate or incompenent, they’ll need to be so in specifics.

Resentments and hatreds? Talk about Rick Warren, Joe, and who is whipping up “resentments and hatreds” there.

The fact remains that right-wing radio is able to draw an audience and put huge holes in the left’s talking points without the left being able to shout it down. That rankles them badly.

As to the other point made in Gandelman’s article, it so happens that even before Obama’s “fanny” hits the Oval Office chair, I’ve found an abundance of policy and issue “specifics” to criticize without the help or research of right-wing radio.

I don’t consider that any part of a “special kind of political hatred”. Unlike the left of the past 8 years, I don’t plan on descending to the sub-basement level of hateful “dissent” they exhibited daily. I won’t resort to the level of vitriol and viciousness they did.

But the lecture on what the right should or shouldn’t do falls on deaf ears here. After the way the left acted these past 8 years, everything is on the table and as fair for the right as it was for the left.

Or said another way, this isn’t the left’s ball and they don’t get to quit and take it home with them now. They defined the game for 8 years and now they get to live with the result. What’s increasingly funny is to watch the left try to frame the game in a new way now that they’re in power. They don’t want to suffer what they gladly and even gleefully threw at the right during the Bush years.

Heh … good luck with that. Instead they should expect – every time they try to take the moral high ground – to be reminded of the dismal and hate-filled swamp in which they lived in for 8 long years.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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