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Noemie Emery: Secondhand Hate – The Weekly Standard
Posted By Jacob Laksin On January 11, 2010 @ 12:52 pm In Uncategorized | No Comments
“They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse roared about his Republican opponents in the closing hours of the Senate health care debate on December 20. “The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups. It is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist.” Two weeks earlier, Majority Leader Harry Reid likened opponents of his bill to those who opposed the end of slavery. On August 10, met by angry protesters at a town hall meeting, Michigan Democrat John Dingell told journalists, “The last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the civil rights bill and my opponent voted against it. At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets and other things running around.”
For years now, those on the left have conflated resistance to any item of their agenda–high taxes, extravagant spending, laxity on crime, what have you–with motives of a dark nature: racism, nativism, fear of “the other,” and various species of “hate.” Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, a reaction to overregulation, stagflation, and the foreign policy failures and weakness of one James Earl Carter, was described as the bigots’ revenge for the civil rights era. The midterm elections of 1994, a reaction against Hillarycare and the Clintons’ malfeasance, were seen as a Confederate renaissance. After Bill Clinton was impeached for lies under oath (and terminal tackiness), his allies floated the theory that some of the votes against him came from Southern conservatives, because he was friendly to blacks. (As the “first black president”–vide Toni Morrison–Clinton was fond of this sort of rhetorical legerdemain until 2008, when his wife ran against a real black for president, and these tactics were turned against him.)
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