Ugly in Victory

Posted: Nov 27, 2012 9:25 AM

Mona Charen points out, rightly, how churlishly the Democrats have behaved since President Obama's re-election.  Their attitudes and antics prove the truth of the old aphorism that there's no one angrier than a liberal who loses -- except one who wins.

Aside from the profoundly unfortunate fact that the election means another four years of Obama-style decline for the United States, perhaps the worst result of their 2012 victory is the reinforcement it has provided for the low and ugly kind of politics that secured Barack Obama's reelection against the odds.  Certainly, the tone has been set at the top; can anyone recall any other president winning re-election and then taking a gratuitous shot at his defeated opponent weeks later?  Maybe Michael Dukakis was on to something when he stated that a fish rots from the head down.

The race card first played by Senator Obama during the 2008 campaign seems now to have become a permanent feature of American life -- at least when it can be used to paint Republicans as racists (apparently, even the vilest attacks on conservatives like Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice and Allen West are A-OK). Even the press has gotten in on the action.

Appeals to principle will not change the behavior of the Democrats, it seems.  But perhaps an appeal to self-interest will.  Has it occurred to anyone there -- trying so hard to divide Americans among race, gender and class lines -- that the party most reliant on identity politics stands to lose a lot if the other side decides to exploit the natural divisions that will exist among any interest groups?

What if someday -- sick of being perpetually victimized by the left's selective use of identity politics -- someone started systematically to discuss unions' history of institutional racism?  Or noted that allowing an uninterrupted flow of uneducated illegal immigrants (essentially a "reserve army of the unemployed") might serve the Democrat Party's political needs and Big Business's cheap labor needs, but hurts black and Latino efforts to reach middle-class status by keeping wages artificially low?  What if someone pointed out to Asian Americans that they're the ones paying the price for liberals' embrace of affirmative action for other minority groups? 

I am not advocating that the GOP follow in the Democrats' divisive footsteps.  I believe in Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of an America where people are evaluated based -- not on the color of their skin (or gender or any other immutable characteristic) -- but on the content of their character, and where politics are conducted in accordance with that principle.

My only point is that the more Democrats legitimize the promiscuous exploitation of group identity for political gain, the more likely it is that the technique will boomerang on them at some point.