Mona Charen

No, the reality that the compliant press was eager to obscure in the days following the vote was that the Democrats had abandoned any effort to persuade the American people and had chosen to bulldoze their way to victory with old-fashioned vote buying, harsh threats, and political hard ball. That can purchase (narrow) success, but it doesn't signify a political breakthrough, far less an historic realignment. Contrast the partisan victory Obama was able to eke out with Ronald Reagan's economic program. With the House of Representatives controlled by the other party 244-191 in 1981, Reagan was able to persuade enough voters to call their representatives that his budget (including tax cuts) passed by a vote of 253-176.

Aware that their bankruptcy-inviting "triumph" was based on brute force rather than popular appeal, the Democrats adopted a smear-the-opposition tactic. Thus the well-prepared stunt of having several members of the Congressional Black Congress walk above ground to the Capitol on the evening of the vote, rather than through the underground tunnels. Their route took them past a noisy crowd of tea party protesters. Two members later claimed that they had run a gauntlet of ugly racial slurs. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said, "I haven't heard anything like this in 40, 45 years. Since the march to Selma, really." Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., claimed that he was spat upon, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., claimed to have endured anti-gay epithets. Headlines were assured.

Only the Frank story is confirmed by any contemporaneous outside source. A Politico reporter claims to have heard the word. Such slurs are obviously despicable and were immediately condemned as such by leading Republicans. But while the press went purple over one jerk's shouted insult to Frank, leading members of the Democratic Party and the press (to repeat myself) blatantly slur the tea party movement as "tea baggers" on a daily basis and the press regard it all as a great "in" joke.

As for the claims of the CBC members, one cannot vouch for an entire crowd of thousands of protesters, but no video that captured the moment (and there are several) picked up any racial slurs, just angry boos and chants of "kill the bill." As for Cleaver's incident, it was captured on video. He passed a man who had cupped his hands and was shouting as Cleaver passed by. Some spittle seems to have sprayed. It could not have been pleasant, but it's a world away from being intentionally spat upon.

The Democrats have their narrative and such is their influence with the press that they can circulate it widely: Virtuous liberals enact far-reaching benevolent legislation in the face of violent, racist, homophobic opposition. Their fans at MSNBC and The New York Times may even buy it. But for most of us, it's the boy who cried "racist" once too often.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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