You may have heard that Congressional Democrats are at war with the White House over trade authority legislation -- which is supported by the president and most Republicans, and opposed by the Democratic Party's left flank. The 'no' brigade is led by hardcore statist Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is successfully dragging her party's gravitational center inexorably to the left. Just yesterday, the Warrenites engineered a filibuster, in which every Senate Democrat but one voted to block debate on a bill that enjoys strong public support from President Obama. (Hillary Clinton has remained courageously silent on the issue, if you're keeping score at home). Tensions between the White House and Democrats on the Hill have been mounting, with salvos being fired up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama raised some eyebrows by calling Warren wrong on the facts and dismissing her opposition with this jab: "Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else." Serious shade. Here, the American Left's erstwhile hottest political crush takes a shot at the American Left's current hottest political crush, and some on the Left are reflexively resorting to identity politics demagoguery to fight back. Because of course they are:
National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O'Neill on Wednesday called President Obama's critique of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sexist. O'Neill told The Hill she took issue with Obama calling Warren by her first name during an interview with Yahoo News published Saturday. "Yes, I think it is sexist," O'Neill said. "I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Senator Warren's concerns are not to be taken seriously. But he did it in a sexist way."
Barack Obama: Sexist. And not just because, by his own dishonest standard, he pays women at the White House significantly less than men. A sitting liberal Senator got in on the 'sexism' action, too:
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown threw a grenade into the ongoing war of words between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and President Barack Obama, a war that reached new heights with Tuesday’s dramatic setback of Obama’s trade agenda in the Senate. Brown, one of the top Democratic leaders of the uprising against Obama’s trade push, criticized the president for what the senator saw as “disrespectful” comments toward Warren and suggested that Warren’s gender may have played a role...When asked how Obama was being disrespectful of the Massachusetts Democrat, Brown replied: “I think by just calling her ‘another politician.’” He continued, “I’m not going to get into more details. I think referring to her as first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps? I’ve said enough.”
here’s a 2014 Sherrod Brown fundraising email where he touted an appearance with Warren and called her Elizabeth. pic.twitter.com/5KwbRenQBP— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) May 13, 2015
So noted sexist Sherrod Brown called sexist Barack Obama 'sexist' for engaging in the exact same sexism in which he himself had previously indulged. War. On. Women. But hang on: Perhaps NOW and Sen. Brown haven't heard, but Barack Obama is our First Black President, opposition to whom has been routinely cast as ipso facto racism. So I must ask, why are these incurable racists fueling to the "climate of hate" surrounding our president, and contributing to the "unprecedented opposition" he faces due to the color of his skin? Terry O'Neill and Sherrod Brown had better check their white privilege; like, yesterday. Warren, too, come to think of it. Sure, she advanced her career by seizing on 100% unverified family folklore as fact, but despite the "high cheekbones" and "pow wow chow," she's just another white person. And she's actively obstructing our First Black President. It's appalling to see such unapologetic racial bigotry alive and well in the 21st century. Oh, and in case you were curious, slavery has been invoked in this intra-party food fight, so there's that.
Snark aside, this how the Left's identity politics fetishists "debate" issues these days. Opposition is demeaned as illegitimate -- evil, even -- and therefore unworthy of further conversation. Disagreements don't arise from honest ideological or political differences, they're rooted in sinister bigotry. This line of thinking acts as a substitute for reasoned debate. It disqualifies one's opponent as prima facie immoral, rather than examining and defeating his argument. It's designed to silence and intimidate, rather than to persuade. It is (disspiritingly, and somewhat amusingly, in this case) the inevitable result of the End of Discussion, in which the Left is now turning on itself in a spasm of intellectually-bankrupt identity-fueled rage. Mark Hemingway notes that Democrats "no longer even know how to argue" after years of lazy, demagogic conditioning:
Baseless attacks rooted in identity politics were fine so long as they were targeted at Republicans, but there seems to be genuine consternation over the president now being crtiqued in a such a manner. I don't know whether the preferred animal metaphor is "what's good for the goose..." or "the snake eating its own tail," but if you're a Democrat you have to be alarmed by this development. That's because it appears that identity politics have become such an ingrained nearest-weapon-to-the-hand tool of the Democratic party, they don't even know how to talk to each other anymore. For so long, the Democratic rhetorical strategy has been focused on morally discrediting the opposition as people, not just their ideas. As our first black president, we were told no dissent could be allowed from attempts to portray Obama as an historic symbol of national healing. But one day he runs afoul of a female, Native American Senator who currently enjoys more popularity with some key constituencies, and just like that, we come to find out he's just another half-white tool of the patriarchy.
Jon Gabriel has more on the Left's subordination of ideas to knee-jerk tribalism, which is a central theme of our book, which seems more relevant by the day.