Friday, March 9, 2012

Misogyny, Hypocrisy, and Censorship on the Left

For now it’s working.

The Democratic tactic of smearing Republicans as misogynist has improved President Obama’s support among women. His approval rating among women is up 10%.

Still, there are clouds on the horizon. Wiser liberal Democrats are warning that their party is starting to look like a hotbed of hypocrisy and worse.

Again, Kirsten Powers is leading the charge. If the Democratic Party, she implies in her most recent column, cannot denounce the misogynists in its midst it might soon become the anti-woman party.

Democrats have a Bill Maher problem. They are up in arms about Rush Limbaugh but have nothing to say about Bill Maher’s blatant and flagrant misogyny.

Bill Maher gives a million dollars to an Obama super-pac and no Democrat will even offer a comment. Certainly, no Democrat will speak ill of Bill Maher. 

The president himself called Sandra Fluke (pronounced Fluck, in case you forgot) to express his sympathy for the deep emotional anguish that she had suffered. He explained that he did it for his daughters and for women everywhere.

Yet, when a reporter at his Super Tuesday press conference asked him about Bill Maher’s misogynist rants, the great Obama ignored the question and said nothing. He did not even dismiss it with a shrug or a few polite words.

(While we are at it, let us underscore that Obama’s decision to hold his first press conference of the year at a time when Republicans were voting in their Super Tuesday primaries shows how partisan he really is and how little class he really has.)

About the Obama/Maher connection, Powers explains the stunning hypocrisy:

President Obama has seen fit to wade into the Limbaugh kerfuffle, even telling reporters Tuesday that Limbaugh’s behavior was an attack on everyone’s daughter and “I do not want them attacked or called horrible names.” Speaking of daughters, do you remember when Bill Maher said that the real name of then-20-year-old Bristol Palin’s book should be “Whoops, There’s a Dick in Me?” 

And besides, Powers continues, the Obama campaign has sent consigliere David Axelrod to appear on Bill Maher’s show.

As one might expect Powers herself has also come under attack by liberal male misogynists, among them Keith Olberman.

In her words:

On his Current TV show last night, the former sportscaster informed his viewer to ignore me because I was just a “house-trained Fox News liberal.” After he also tweeted his attacks—which were echoed by other liberals trying to distort what I said—his (presumably “progressive”) followers let me know that I was a “wind-up toy” and a “bobble head” and “just another brainless plastic doll Fox puts on camera to appease the horned up 60-yr old white dudes at home.” All the typical insults that male political analysts and columnists get, I’m sure.

Liberals are playing a dangerous game; throwing stones at their enemies while praying that no one will notice their own glass house.

Thanks to Powers, among others, the issue is changing from reproductive freedom to moral hypocrisy. Next in line will be the issue of free expression.

Democrats now belong to a party where misogyny is rewarded, and where free expression is no longer allowed.

So says Clinton consigliere Lanny Davis.

Those of us who recall the Clinton impeachment know that Lanny Davis is a very effective crisis manager. You do not get to be a crisis manager without knowing how to see into the future.

A good crisis manager has prepared for all future eventualities. So when Lanny Davis warns Democrats that they are moving over to the dark side on free expression they should certainly pay him heed.

If they won’t, we will.

I quote Davis at length:

We liberals are supposed to be arch-supporters of First Amendment free expression — the right of anyone, anywhere, to say anything he or she wants, at any time. That is America. If you don’t like the speech, then counter it with more speech. Duke it out — with words. 

But when I hear liberal commentators calling for boycotting any business that advertises on the Limbaugh show, or calling on radio stations carrying the show to cancel it, I start to get nervous — as a First Amendment liberal, that is. 

I remember my dad telling me stories about the danger of Joe McCarthy in the 1950s — when Sen. McCarthy would cause actors to be blacklisted, and executives to be fired, and boycotts of businesses to be organized, because he had labeled someone a “pinko” or, worse, a “liberal.”

I remember the Tea Party shouters who wouldn’t let their members of Congress speak about President Obama’s healthcare plan, who shouted others down, prevented debate and discussion because they disagreed with the president’s and liberal Democratic ideas. 

I remember students at liberal universities shouting down conservative speakers with whom they disagreed — taking over the podium and blocking controversial conservatives from speaking on campuses. 

I remember seeing my friend John Mackey write a column in The Wall Street Journal opposing Obama’s national health insurance legislation. He wrote it as a thoughtful libertarian whose company, Whole Foods, pays for its employees’ health insurance and is one of the most progressive companies in the nation. And I remember liberals trying to organize a boycott of his stores because Mackey chose to exercise his First Amendment rights. 

And I remember wondering at the time, how does it help the workers at Whole Foods, whom liberals are supposed to care about, by boycotting the stores because the CEO happens to express an opinion? 

I worry about thought police, ideas police, people who decide they don’t like your opinion, and rather than making a counterargument and fighting it out in the “marketplace of ideas” — as liberals have long believed the First Amendment is all about — they try to get you fired, or boycott your business, or boycott those who do business with you, or those who do business with those who do business with you, etc. 

Lanny Davis is defending the First Amendment from attacks on it from both the left and the right. Let’s say that he is being fair and balanced.

But, did you notice when you were reading his column how few of the attacks he cites are really coming from the right.

Joe McCarthy… that’s about all? And that was sixty years ago.

True, Davis calls out Tea Party activists for having asked difficult questions of their Congressional Representatives in Town Hall meetings in 2010. But really, just because you ask a question with a little feeling does not mean that you are trying to shut down anyone’s right to free expression.

If that’s the best Davis can do for right wing opposition to free expression, then those who belong to the more conservative wing of American politics should feel proud of themselves for upholding the First Amendment.

It was not the Tea Party; it was Occupy movement protesters who perfected the tactic of disrupting meetings and preventing people from speaking. In the old days, in France, for example, they were called Maoist truth squads.

Davis understands something that young radicals do not. It’s one thing to refuse to listen to a radio show; quite another to try to get it taken off the air. It’s one thing to engage in vigorous debate on the issues; it’s quite another to try to shut down debate by using force to shut someone up.

Kirsten Powers and Lanny Davis are saying that the Democratic party, in its lust for victory, has been trafficking in hypocrisy, misogyny, and censorship.

They are saying that a traditionally liberal political party is transforming itself into something uglier and more radical.

To my mind, this means that the Democratic party has taken on the character flaws of its supreme leader,  President Barack Obama.


Neely Steinberg said...

Excellently stated, Stuart!

Dennis said...

This is really beginning to backfire on Obama and the Left. The Left has such a history of doing these sort of things that not even a compliant press can let it go.
My guess is that this will die off quickly because the Left has too much to lose if they keep this alive. I would posit that the Left is going to tell a few people to STFU before their rather long history "hoists them on their own petard" so to speak.
There is a part of me that hoped she might sue Limbaugh. Can one imagine the possibilities if this stayed in the news until election time. Democratic women trying to justify Bill Mahar. Leftist women trying to justify the attacks on Sarah Palin, et al.
Maybe even Leftist women would finally figure out who the real Misogynists are though it is hard to believe that they have watch all the actions by their own side and not noticed.

n.n said...

It was the liberals and progressives who set the rules for semantic games. However, this is not a game. While Limbaugh described Fluke, she defined herself in public testimony.

Is there a psychological description of reflection? It may describe the role of the therapist.

This incident is strictly concerned with Fluke, the character of her public testimony, and the people who invited (and exploited) her.

Davis has a selective and creative memory of history. I don't recall the Tea Party preventing debate. On the contrary, they were fighting, over slanders of racism, bigotry, etc., and marginalization through emotional appeals, to have their voices heard. I suppose he has to save face somehow. As for McCarthy, he was right about the infiltration of America and the corruption those individuals and cooperatives would wreck. Unfortunately, you cannot stem the spread of subversive ideas through coercion or intimidation. People need to voluntarily accept an enlightened path.

As for Powers, today's progressive is tomorrow's conservative. I don't think many (most?) people know what characterizes an American conservative. It is formed from a hybrid of Judeo-Christian theology and classical liberalism, which is encapsulated and presented through The Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

the Democratic party, in its lust for victory, has been trafficking in hypocrisy, misogyny, and censorship

Exactly! They have manufactured and perpetuated crises to which they then offer "solutions" at a price. Unfortunately, their "solutions" are designed to treat effects, while exacerbating underlying causes. It's quite the racket and very profitable.

Dennis said...

n.n stated;
"As for Powers, today's progressive is tomorrow's conservative. I don't think many (most?) people know what characterizes an American conservative. It is formed from a hybrid of Judeo-Christian theology and classical liberalism, which is encapsulated and presented through The Declaration of Independence and Constitution."
Very astute observation. One of the reasons a considerable number of Conservative, myself included, don't try to destroy, wish dead or otherwise hate Liberals/Leftists/Progressives is that we were those people before we started asking the questions of How, What, When Where, Why, et al.
Once one starts asking questions it does not take long before the ideas that sounded so great become bad and get worse as one goes through any rational analysation of trying to solving problems that have vexed every generation of individuals throughout history.
Another point is that Conservatives have, for the most part, taken the time to study and research how the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, et al came into being. We actually know what "A more perfect union" was meant to impart.Being a Conservative we have a "sense" of history and what works and what does not work.
A Conservative's job has always been to limit the damage done by Liberals/Leftists/Progressives until they get past the stage of being dangerous to themselves and everyone else.
When one finds a Conservative that has tendencies to lean towards what could be hate they are almost always recent converts from the Left side who have not had enough time to expunge what is common practice on the Left.

JP said...

"When one finds a Conservative that has tendencies to lean towards what could be hate they are almost always recent converts from the Left side who have not had enough time to expunge what is common practice on the Left."

I thought this had more to do with perfectionist issues rather than anything else.

Intolerance of things or people that stray from the absolute ideal, so to speak.