Carol Platt Liebau

Does anyone else wonder what has become of all the calls for "civility"? Because it seems as though prominent Democrat politicians are engaging in an orgy of downright-creepy, vituperative name-calling. Creepy? Yes. Because it's chilling that they have the power to act this way -- and get away with it.

The President suggested that many of those who now disapprove of him do so because they are racists.

Attorney General Eric Holder doubled down on his assertion that, when it comes to matters of race, America is a "nation of cowards."

Senator Chuck Schumer characterized Tea Partiers as bigots and antisemites.

Governor Andrew Cuomo insisted that those who hold mainstream conservative principles are so extreme that they have no place in the state of New York.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio agreed with him.

There are two points to all of this worth making.

First, such character assassination is not a mark of a party that has confidence in its own ideas -- or its own standing with the American public. It is the mark of a party that realizes just how unpopular its stewardship and its ideology has become. That's why it must desperately seek to marginalize those who disagree; if the ideas were as unpopular or as extreme as Democrats would like for Americans to believe, name-calling would be unnecessary and marginalization would happen on its own.

Second, the tactic itself emphasizes just how out-of-control government -- and those who run it -- have become, thus implicitly reinforcing the validity of the conservative critique. I noted that the IRS harassment of conservatives (and even the Christie administration's bridge controversy) both reflect a profound lack of respect on the part of the governing elites for regular American citizens. So does this government-official-led name-calling and demonizing.

Sure, Americans have a history of robust political debate between parties -- and between American citizens. But there's something wrong when any group of government leaders engage in an organized effort to deride and demonize a group of ordinary American citizens (much less have the ability and willingness to follow up the demonization with government harassment of dissenters). Keep in mind that those they attack are not people who are "enemies of the state," dedicated to overthrowing the government or terrorizing its population. These are people who simply disagree with ideological assumptions of the (Democrat) ruling class about the policies that will most benefit America and its people.

Truly, any time Democrats start with the name-calling, it falls on everyone of good-will -- Democrat or Republican, liberal or moderate or conservative -- to point out that it is unbecoming in a nation where the people are supposed to be the masters -- not the targets or the servants -- of the government and its leaders. And start trying to right the power imbalance between the people and the government so that no government leader, of either party, will be arrogant enough to try to get away with this in the future.


Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.