The first was the ignorance about conservatives and conservatism that permeates the left. The second was the primary reason decent people identify with the left: the effective caricaturing and demonizing of the right. Were it not for caricature and demonization, most otherwise intelligent and decent people would not be on the left.
This is what Cohen wrote in his column, "Republicans Adrift:"
"It is conservatism that is both intellectually exhausted and nearly indefensible. It is the movement of the ideologically ossified, of gun zealots and homophobes, of the immigrant-phobic and the adamantly selfish. It insists that government must be small (an impossibility!), education must be local (a stupidity) and that debt, no matter what the reason, is immoral and reckless. The movement has lost its reliable monster. Godless communists have been replaced by the church ladies of Planned Parenthood. History giggles."
This caricature of conservatism was penned not by some anonymous contributor to the comments section of MoveOn.org, but by a longtime liberal columnist of the Washington Post.
"Intellectually exhausted and nearly indefensible. It is the movement of the ideologically ossified ... "
All one has to do to show how ignorant this description of conservatism is to cite the names of the two conservative columnists at Cohen's paper, the Washington Post: George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Are these men "intellectually exhausted" and "ideologically ossified"? Are their views really "nearly indefensible"? I mean no insult when I say that the intellectual gap between the columns of those two conservatives' and the columns of their liberal colleagues is quite substantial.
Even outside the Washington Post, where are the liberal Charles Krauthammers and George Wills? Or the liberal intellectual equivalents of Daniel Henninger and his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal; or Jonah Goldberg and his colleagues at National Review? And what about Commentary and the Weekly Standard? Are they, too, "intellectually exhausted"? And name one black liberal thinker who inhabits the same intellectual universe as Tom Sowell, Walter Williams, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas or Larry Elder, just to name a few black intellectual giants of the right.
"... of gun zealots and homophobes, of the immigrant-phobic and the adamantly selfish."
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”