Sunday, May 22, 2005


Whatever else you can say about this year's bitter and divisive presidential election, one aspect of George W. Bush's win has been extremely gratifying to me personally -- and that's the defeat of what I call the Geriatric Ponytails.The popular and electoral wins for the president are significant, despite whatever spin may come out of the mainstream media or Democrat party today. The popular vote margin is higher than Reagan ever won (and certainly well above the votes Bill Clinton ever garnered).This nation is not "divided," so much as we are seeing assymetrical warfare between a radical left that controls many of the nation's cultural institutions and a groundswell of popular support against the excesses of the left.Though I have reservations about some aspects of Dubya's policies, I have no hesitation in supporting his approach to the War on Terror. Nor do I have any trouble connecting Iraq as a crucial part of that larger war. This nation is at war (as if this needed to be said) and we face an existential threat to our civilization from death-loving nihilists and fascist thugs in the Middle East.Earlier this year, very early in the campaign game, the Sunday New York Times magazine featured as its cover story a piece asking whether Democrats could regain any ground on the issue of national security. Could they, the writer wondered, get the American people to trust them on national security again?The answer to that question -- as we saw on Tuesday -- is a resounding NO.This year, the Democrats made a huge strategic error. They embraced the worst of America's radical leftist element, hoping it would pay dividends on election day. They spent a year indulging in the childish petulance and the emotional theater of the extreme left.They called a sitting president an idiot (even when it was revealed he had a higher IQ than the challenger). They called him a warmonger, a man willing to trade "blood for oil," and claimed he "lied" to us about Iraq. They compared him to Hitler. They accused him of being "AWOL" and a "deserter" while in the National Guard.They dragged out the ghost of McCarthy (a tired chestnut that needs to be retired). They arrogantly wrote off the South in their electioneering efforts, believing they could win the presidency without worrying too much about this enormous swath of the nation.They praised the slimy propaganda of the slovenly Michael Moore, and labeled it filmmaking brilliance -- this about the work of a man who compared terrorists to freedom fighters. The Democrat party leadership even showed up at a premiere of Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" and gave it a thumbs up endorsement.Some leftists openly expressed sympathy for the justifications Al Qaeda and Islamic extremists had put forth for 9/11. They talked about "chickens coming home to roost," as if the 3,000 innocents who died in Manhattan had done something to deserve their untimely end. They tried to scare young people about an impending draft, and tried to frighten old people about being kicked out into the street.This wasn't the behavior of a loyal opposition. Far from it. It was a puerile spectacle. An unprecedented political meltdown. And in the final days of the election, Democrats saw this paranoid spin reflected in the rantings of Osama bin Laden in a freshly-minted videotape. OBL seemed to mimic the talking points of Michael Moore. He even threatened red state voters with more bloodshed if they voted for Bush. Michael Moore proudly boasted that maybe bin Laden had a bootleg copy of his movie tucked away in a cave.The scary thing is -- all of this almost worked.Now, Democrats have some soul-searching to do. Nationally, Democrats will have to start acting like adults again, and they will need to ditch the Michael Moore histrionics. Or, alternatively, as Zell Miller has already prophetically warned, the pudding-head worldview of the radical New Left will come to dominate America's oldest political party.I certainly hope for our country's sake and for the health of our political system that Democrats come to their senses and choose the former option. I hope they begin to make mature, responsible decisions once again. Unfortunately, there are signs that even now, this may not happen. This morning, Don Imus ranted on MSNBC about the Swiftboat Vets, calling them "war criminals."The Geriatric Ponytails are a pretty easy crowd to spot: They're the same subset of American life that decided it was a good idea to send sympathy photos to Iraqis (complete with marijuana-induced syntax and spelling errors) expressing how sorry they were that their country -- the United States -- had liberated the oppressed from an autocratic, brutal and murderous madman.They're the same folks who mistake sacrifice for failure, who believe that an absence of conflict equals peace. They are blind in a world filled with mad kleptocracies and brutality. No amount of innocent blood spilled, no threat, no attack upon America would ever be justification for an American response, in their twisted view.As one such leftist recently expressed to me, he could find sympathy with the terrorists' arguments. And he found it difficult to answer when I asked him which was qualitatively better -- to hug a child or to torture and kill a child (as was done en masse at Beslan)?This was the rabbit hole down which the Democrats plunged this year.The Geriatric Ponytails comprised a large chunk of Kerry's base this year -- aging New Leftists who now must chew their granola with dentures while they faithfully tune in to CBS News. As Baby Boomers, they've had success in dominating American life for the better part of half a century.To top it off, they nominated one of their own -- polished and seasoned though he was -- to run for the nation's highest office.Now, thankfully, their influence may be coming to an end as they drift into decrepitude.How did we get here?I start with an old Fortune magazine ad from the late 1960's. In it, a young man wearing wire-framed glasses glares out from the page from beneath sloppy bangs that trail into his eyes like hanging vines. The ad warns Fortune readers that this hostile hippy will one day be running the boardrooms and governmental institutions so vital to the future of our republic.By fiat, of course, many members of this generation did become leaders. And some of them became good ones.Truth be told, many aging hippies also had an edifying and positive impact on this complex nation of ours. They retained the best tendencies of the hippy movement -- simple living, a love of nature, the do-it-yourself movement, even a return to breastfeeding of babies -- and dropped the worst excesses of 1968 (like free love and drugs).I myself am the flower child of hippy parents.But over the course of many decades, many of them sank further into the morass of incoherent leftist rage. Many of these same angry, delusional radicals occupied tenured spots in our universities, took up residence in national newsrooms, roosted in think tanks and grabbed middle-management fiefdoms in our federal bureaucracy.The left in America wants to pretend that the Bush administration's handling of 9/11 and the war in Iraq caused their opposition to the president's policies. That's nonsense, since dedicated leftists were actively discussing how Bush had caused the world to hate us in the months before 9/11 (and the president had only been in office for a little more than half a year).In other words, they were using this basic talking point before Bush had ever enacted any major initiatives, and before America suffered a severe attack on its own soil.The truth is that leftists own a predictable playbook aimed at undermining American morale. Over the past few years they have followed it religiously -- and the War on Terror simply galvanized them. It struck at the heart of their pacifist tendencies. Then the war in Iraq simply drove them mad.And then the Democrats decided to convert their election-year rhetoric to match this madness. For a man with generations of familial loyalty to the Democratic party in my past, this was horrific to behold.Americans rejected this madness, and chose instead a man who means what he says. A man who believes in American exceptionalism, and has faith in the greatness of our nation.Over the next few years, it will be interesting to see whether Democrats can purge the Michael Moore faction from their base -- to once again become a national party worthy of a majority vote.
posted by RedDirt at 11:10 AM on Nov 03 2004


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