Lieberman seems to be doing well for someone who has been knifed, killed (by “Taliban Democrats” no less!) and lynched to boot. Do the people who use this kind of language have any idea how completely mad they sound? Is the result of a hard-fought election really the equivalent of being stabbed in the back or hung from a tree? Is a primary defeat to be likened to an assassination or the vigilante murder of an angry mob? This is careless, even inflammatory language, the sort of thing I would expect from the usual suspects on the left inciting their followers to view their domestic opponents as enemies to be targeted for elimination (see the assassination attempt on George Wallace or the murder Pim Fortuyn for examples of what such incitement can do). It has become standard procedure on the neocon right for years to deny their enemies’ patriotism, morality and sanity. Now that the GOP’s precious war policy is even slightly threatened by an antiwar candidate, they–the ones who routinely apologise for real violence and real aggression against civilian populations–have the gall to liken the antiwar candidate’s victory to murder.
I might think someone out there would find this sort of preposterous language of violence offensive to those who have actually suffered from violent crime. What is next? I wonder if these people would find it at all inappropriate to use metaphors borrowed from the world of terrorism. Thomas has already aligned the Democrats with the Taliban, so presumably Lamont will next be likened to bin Laden. Take the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s line:
Funny these similarities among the truly intolerant, whether they roam the sands of Iraq or Connecticut’s bedroom towns.
Ha, ha! Yes, that’s very funny! Describing your political opponents as being like terrorists who set off car bombs in crowded markets and insurgents who blow up American soldiers is hilarious! That must make Lamont’s primary victory the same as a terrorist attack. No wonder the Red Republicans are so exercised–what happened in Connecticut wasn’t an election, but terrorism. That is what they think of real representative government when it, well, represents what the constituents want rather than what party loyalists have been told to believe.
Is the rhetoric of GOP lackeys so debased (yes), is their moral understanding now so perverted by warmongering (yes), that they can no longer appropriately speak as if there were meaningful differences between the peaceful expression of popular dissatisfaction and brutal violence? There is a creeping fascist style in the language being used to defend Lieberman–and it is showing up in no less a venue than The Wall Street Journal–that tells you how little these people actually respect the processes of our representative government. Our system of government is worth respecting so long as it delivers the right result.
This also seems to be what the word “democracy” itself means in a managerial state: democracy is no longer a kind of polity, a way of organising government, a process for selecting a leadership, but the desirable set of outcomes approved by the managerial elite. If anything opposes those desired outcomes, it is aligned with the enemies of “democracy” and depicted as violent usurpation. Not only is it idiotically denounced as “extremism” (I am unsure what could be more extreme or dangerous than continuing to shill for a war of aggression), but it is deprived of any legitimacy and likened to a crime.
This is foul and despicable rhetoric. It is also precisely the kind of rhetoric that leftists have used against conservatives for decades. Those “conservatives” who now take up this rhetorical style confirm what their dreadful policy positions have long suggested, which is that they are lacking in all those qualities of temperament and mind that may have once qualified them as conservatives.