Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Few Words about 9-11, by Dr. Krauthammer

The column dates to August, 2004. That is, it dates to pre-blog days. Its author, Charles Krauthammer, has sadly passed away in the interim, but, for some reason, it seems perfectly appropriate to commemorate 9/11 with one of his columns.

It counts as a diagnosis and an analysis of the state of mind of the Democratic Party. After all, said state of mind did not emerge from the bulrushes yesterday. It has been around since the days of Eisenhower. It’s rallying cry, Krauthammer proposes, comes to us from a chess champion, Aaron Nimzowitsch, who exclaimed, upon losing a match to an inferior opponent, in 1925:

"How can I lose to this idiot?"

Democrats, Krauthammer explained, trot out the same mantra every time they lose an election. He did not, in 2004, predict the advent of Trump, but clearly the Democratic mantra applied in that case too.

Nimzowitsch may have lived decades ago in Denmark, but he had the soul of a modern American Democrat. After all, Democrats have been saying much the same -- with similar body language -- ever since the erudite Adlai Stevenson lost to the syntactically challenged Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. They said it again when they lost to that supposed simpleton Ronald Reagan. Twice, would you believe? With George W. Bush, they are at it again, and equally apoplectic.

The Democratic Party has consistently shown contempt for the average American voter, the one who voted for Eisenhower over the great intellectual named Adlai Stevenson. And yet, do you believe that the man who won the World War in Europe was intellectually deficient? The assertion of superior intellectual ability, the kind that philosopher kings possess, but that mere generals do not, makes no sense. And yet, it might explain why America’s current crop of military commanders seems more desirous of being treated like philosopher kings than like war-winning military leaders. 

Obviously, if Eisenhower did not fit the caricature, the Republicans did their part to make the Democrats seem prescient. They came up with a movie star, a frat boy and a sometime real estate mogul. Democrats thrilled to the prospect that they had been right all along.

Democrats feel a mixture of horror and contempt for the huddled masses -- so bovine, so benighted, so besotted with talk radio -- who made a king of an empty-headed movie star (Reagan, long before Arnold) and inexplicably want the Republicans' current nitwit leader to have a second term.

Of course, in 2004 the Democratic Party was still licking its wounds for having lost the 2000 election to George W. Bush. The Florida recount had not gone as they had wanted, so they were in a tizzy. The tizzy lasted until September 11, 2001.

In the run-up to 9-11, the Democratic Party was hard at work diminishing, demeaning and slandering W. It’s what they do. They did not start doing it when Donald Trump walked into that building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

He explained:

Democrats have convinced themselves that Bush stole the last election. They cannot bear suffering not just a bad presidency but an illegitimate one.

Bush was not the mild-mannered, Gerald Ford-like Republican he was expected to be -- transitional and minor. He turned out to be quite the revolutionary, most especially in his radical reordering of American foreign policy. A usurper is merely offensive; a consequential usurper is intolerable.

Liberals as a body have gone quite around the twist. I count one all-star rock tour, three movies, four current theatrical productions and five bestsellers (a full one-third of the New York Times list) variously devoted to ridiculing, denigrating, attacking and devaluing this president, this presidency and all who might, God knows why, support it.

How did Dr. Krauthammer explain the psychology of the Democratic Party? After all, he was a trained psychiatrist, not a practicing psychiatrist, but one who did have the right sort of mental health training.

He remarked that 9/11 forced the Democrats to put their attack dogs at bay. They were obliged to be act patriotic, because in 2001 patriotism had not yet been defamed and distorted beyond recognition. Besides, most Americans thought that Bush handled the aftermath of 9/11 reasonably well.

So, Krauthammer offers his theory:

With apologies to Dr. Freud, I propose the Pressure Cooker Theory of Hydraulic Release.

The hostility, resentment, envy and disdain, all superheated in Florida, were not permitted their natural discharge. Came Sept. 11 and a lid was forced down. How can you seek revenge for a stolen election by a nitwit usurper when all of a sudden we are at war and the people, bless them, are rallying around the flag and hailing the commander in chief? With Bush riding high in the polls, with flags flying from pickup trucks (many of the flags, according to Howard Dean, Confederate), the president was untouchable.

The Democrats were obliged to repress their feelings. The horror of it all. While I appreciate the reference to Freud, the truth of the matter was that while Freud himself wrote up the case of Anna O, her psychiatrist was Freud's colleague, Josef Breuer:

The Democrats fell unnaturally silent. For two long, agonizing years, they had to stifle and suppress. It was the most serious case of repression since Freud's Anna O. went limp. The forced deference nearly killed them. 

But then, they were saved, Krauthammer says, by the Iraq War:

And then, providentially, they were saved. The clouds parted and bad news rained down like manna: WMDs, Abu Ghraib, Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Joe Wilson and, most important, continued fighting in Iraq.

Rather than engage in a war against terrorism, the Democratic Party returned to the war it was most happy to fight-- the war against the American right, against the Republican Party.

With the president stripped of his halo, his ratings went down. The spell was broken. He was finally, once again, human and vulnerable. With immense relief, the critics let loose.

The result has been volcanic. The subject of one prominent new novel is whether George W. Bush should be assassinated. This is all quite unhinged. Good God. What if Bush is reelected? If they lose to him again, Democrats will need more than just consolation. They'll need therapy.

We know how that one turned out.

I would note, in passing, that the one name you will not hear during the commemorations of 9/11 today is the name of someone who bears some considerable responsibility for the terrorist attack. That is, Bill Clinton. After all, the idea for the terrorist attack did not pop into the mind of bin Laden during the Bush administration. It happened during the Clinton administration. Didn’t Clinton’s weak and decadent presidency invite the terrorist aggression? Didn’t it tell Osama bin Laden that America was weak and in decline?

Of course, it did.

And yet, the Democratic Party, credit where credit is due, helped organize the ill-fated 9-11 Commission in order to shift the blame away from Clinton and toward Bush. It was largely effective, because the Republicans on the committee were not smart enough to figure out what was going on. Republicans would do better in the future to resist becoming caricatures, living in a script concocted by Democrats.


Sam L. said...

Democrats are not as smart as they think they are...and BOY, does that make them sooooooo maddddddddd. I totally distrust, detest, and despise the Democrats.

Davol said...
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