Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Panic Mode

Kevin Williamson unloads both barrels (can I still say that?) at progressivism and its Democratic party epigones in a scathing but on-the-mark piece at National Review. Progressives, Williamson avers, are in full panic mode and the proof of it is their strangely irrational reactions to the events of the day.

Why the panic? Because once the current president has betaken himself to the world's golf courses and his lovely wife no longer junkets around the globe on the taxpayers' tab, adding tonnages of CO2 to the atmosphere, there's a good chance that the left will find itself in the political equivalent of cryogenic mummification with a whole lot of institutional and cultural destruction left unwrought. Indeed, the decisions of the Supreme Court this past week have been cause for much rejoicing on the left, but the Obamacare decision can be neutered by a Republican president, as can the Disparate Impact decision (perhaps a worse decision even than King v. Burwell).

The Same Sex Marriage ruling will not be overturned without a very unlikely constitutional amendment, but if a Republican congress passes a First Amendment Defense Act and a republican president signs it some of the sting can be taken out. The real problem with Same Sex Marriage would then be the long-term impact it will have on laws prohibiting polyamory and incest. Justice Roberts was right, on this issue at least, when he expressed this concern.

The left seems to sense all this, Williamson believes, and thus in the midst of the general jollity he discerns apprehension and angst. Here's his lede.
If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its ... mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage.

We have seen an extraordinary outburst of genuine extremism — and genuine authoritarianism — in the past several months, and it will no doubt grow more intense as we approach the constitutional dethroning of the mock messiah to whom our progressive friends literally sang hymns of praise and swore oaths of allegiance. (“I pledge to be a servant to our president” — recall all that sieg heil creepiness.)

There is an unmistakable stink of desperation about this, as though the Left intuits what the Right dares not hope: that the coming few months may in fact see progressivism’s cultural high-water mark for this generation. If there is desperation, it probably is because the Left is starting to suspect that the permanent Democratic majority it keeps promising itself may yet fail to materialize. The Democrats won two resounding White House victories but can hardly win a majority in a state legislature (seven out of ten today are Republican-controlled) or a governorship (the Democrats are down to 18) to save their lives, while Republicans are holding their strongest position in Congress since the days of Herbert Hoover.

The Democrats have calculated that their best bet in 2016 is Hillary Rodham Clinton, that tragic bag of appetites who couldn’t close the deal in the primary last time around. “Vote for me, I’m a lady” isn’t what they thought it was: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas, made all the proper ceremonial incantations and appeared in heroic postures on all the right magazine covers, but finished in the 30s on Election Day. With young people trending pro-life, that old black magic ain’t what it used to be.
The rest of the piece, especially his treatment of the Confederate flag contretemps is very much worth reading. Here's how he concludes:
Young people who have heard all their lives that the Republican party and the conservative movement are for old white men — young people who may not be quite old enough to remember Democrats’ boasting of their “double-Bubba” ticket in 1992, pairing the protégé of one Southern segregationist with the son of another — see before them Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Carly Fiorina, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik (and Ted Cruz).

None of those men and women is bawling about “microaggressions” or dreaming up new sexless pronouns. None belongs to the party that hoisted Dixie over the capitol in South Carolina either. Governor Haley may be sensitive to the history of her state, but she is a member of the party of Lincoln with family roots in Punjab — it isn’t her flag. What’s going to happen between now and November 8 of next year will be a political campaign on one side of the aisle only. On the other side, it’s going to be something between a temper tantrum and a panic attack. That’s excellent news if you’re Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Carly Fiorina. It’s less good news if you live in Baltimore or Philadelphia.
In other words, the choice in 2016 will be between perhaps the most ethnically diverse menu of candidates in American history, a menu that features bright, young black and white GOP men and women, and two old, superannuated socialist war-horses in Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders, though, is at least not corrupt and stands for something besides his own self-aggrandizement.