Progressives live in the past when it comes to shaping the message *UPDATED*

Some Democrats, either more honest or loose-lipped than others, have explicitly stated that, in making anti-Tea Party and anti-Palin statements about the Tucson shooting, they are attempting to replicate the stunning success they had with shaping the spin following the Oklahoma City bombing, back in 1995:

One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did. “They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

Indeed, whole articles are now being written about Obama looking to the Oklahoma City bombing as an inspiration to reshape his ability to control the political agenda in this nation.  It is Obama’s 9/11 (and the Dems don’t mean that in a tragic way, they mean that in a politically opportunistic way).

I have mentioned before, haven’t I, that a defining characteristics of Progressives is that they live in the past?

Progressives live in the past when it comes to abortion, because they resolutely refuse to recognize that the stigma of unwed motherhood is gone and that remarkably effective birth control is here instead.  They live in the past when it comes to war, because, for them, all wars are the Vietnam War.  They live in the past when it comes to socialism, because they’re locked in a 1930s world that refuses to recognize the unparalleled carnage the socialism has wrought, whether by the National Socialists, i.e., Nazis (20 million dead, including 6 million in the gas chambers); the Soviets (tens of millions around the world, including approximately 20 million in the Ukraine and other rural areas); the ChiComs (50-100 million dead as a result of the Great Leap Forward); the Norks (God alone knows how many dead, since it’s a completely sealed country); the Cambodians (1 million dead, or 1/3 of the Cambodian population); etc. (you can identify and count the millions of et ceteras if you have the stomach for it).

The Dems are now proving that they also live in the past when it comes to their understanding about their ability to control the message.  They speak as if this is 1995, an era in which only a relatively small number of America’s more sophisticated citizens were joining the geeks who had access to that weird thing called “electronic mail.”  The World Wide Web had moved beyond being just a gleam in AlBore’s eye, but few citizens looked to it for news.  Mostly, the WWW was a kind of cool way to try to make hotel reservations in foreign countries.  The phrase “social networking” was more than a decade away.  The traditional media was still the only game in town.

In this bygone era, the old media’s hegemony was almost total.  Not only did it own the airwaves and the ink presses, but its management and its employees marched in lockstep.  Their man was in the White House, and they controlled the message.  The only fly in the ointment was that icky talk radio, especially that outspoken Rush Limbaugh, but they were confident that they could use their consolidated power and their total message control to disarm anything Rush had to say.

In this environment, spin was so easy.  Their President touted the party line — the Oklahoma tragedy occurred because of Rush and his ilk — and they won the debate, such as it was.  Nobody could get on the computer and hunt up old headlines and stories putting the lie to the media narrative.  Okay, that’s not quite true.  Maybe a few people who could afford the high cost of a Nexis search could but, even if they could get the information, they had no way to disseminate it.

This is still the world in which the current crop of Democratic/Progressive dreamers live.  Immediately in the wake of news about the Tucson tragedy, the Progressives swung into action.  “It’s all Sarah Palin’s fault, because she used cross hair imagery in her ads.”  “It’s all the Tea Partiers’ fault, because they are so angry.”  “It’s all Rush Limbaugh’s fault because . . . well, he’s Rush, and it’s always his fault.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to the MSM’s planned political massacre:  the new media.  I personally played a part in this, although only a small one.  Within a few hours of the accusations, my friends on my “real” facebook, almost all of whom are liberal because my life and education have taken place in liberal enclaves, started sounding the drum:  Palin, conservative hate speech and Tea Parties were at fault.

Because of my sadly homogeneous Blue, Blue, Blue political milieu, I tend to be rather low key in my views (hence the outlet that is this blog).   There is no mileage for me in offending neighbors, car poolers, educators, clients, etc.  I could not let these lies go, however.  I spoke up.  But I didn’t speak up with ill-considered insults.  Instead, I used social media to introduce people to facts readily available on the internet.

I explained without heat that Barack Obama has long had a tendency towards violent and inflammatory rhetoric (guns to knife fights; punishing enemies; forcing people to the back of the bus), but no one was calling him out on his words.  I pointed out (with links) that, because politics is a bloodless battle, but a battle nevertheless, operatives on both sides of the aisle repeatedly use war metaphors, such as target, cross-hairs, victory, defeat, War Room, etc.  I politely asserted (with concrete evidence) that George Bush was on the receiving end of the most violent imagery and desires in known political history but that, fortunately, he had the Secret Service at his back (and front and sides).  I noted the irony that Keith Olbermann, a man who routinely dehumanizes his political opponents by referring to them as “the worst person in the world” is a peculiar spokesperson for civility.  I tut-tutted, peacefully, about the fact that no one seemed to be upset by the fact that Obama’s pastor was renowned for his blood-thirsty sermons or that Obama counted amongst his friends a bomber who cheerfully admits that he has no regrets about his many efforts to kill American citizens.

Always polite; always backed up by the power of the internet, which forgets nothing.

What was gratifying about my little efforts was that there was no push back.  In each case, my politely fact-based observations shut down the thread entirely.  No one piled on.  No one challenged me.  How could they?  I owned the facts.  And I owned the facts because, while Progressives are engaging in 1990s spin, I was engaging in 21st century information gathering and dissemination.

When it comes to the Left, they’ve always had eyes but, blinded by their Leftism, they couldn’t see.  And now, thanks to the internet, they have words but, faced with facts, they can no longer speak.  Maybe, one day, the truth will set them free.  Until then, at least the internet will help shut them up.

UPDATE (3:10 p.m. PST):  Speaking of finding history on the internet, here’s a great screen shot from today’s Big Hollywood:

UPDATE (3:21 p.m. PST): Michelle Malkin doesn’t have to travel very far into the wayback machine to find examples of hate emanating from the Lefter side of the spectrum. Again, this is lovely, because this is the type of historic information that wasn’t available back in 1995, when the Lefts positioned themselves as holier than thou in a very successful effort to marginalize a legitimate political opposition.

UPDATE (3:24 p.m. PST):  And evidence from the SF Chron that, having — for the first time — been called on their bluff, Progressives are now backing down.

UPDATE (5:23 p.m. PST):  Patterico also has a winning collection of hate and hypocrisy from the Left.  Let me say again that I don’t think hate speech from either side of the aisle caused Loughner’s acts.  He was motivated, not by ideology, but by insanity.  This information is of interest only as a counter to the hypocrisy, attacks, and falsehoods emanating from Progressivex anxious to turn a tragedy into a political opportunity.

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  • Gringo

    Great story, Book. Your point that insults will not convince others is well-taken. As the insult is a standard response of many libs and progs, it is tempting to respond in kind. At least I find it tempting, if you  do not.
    While it may be self-gratifying to respond with an insult, insults will have as much effectiveness in convincing others as insults did in convincing me. I have to keep reminding myself of that, and tell myself that the best way to counter the “wingnuts are ignorant/bigoted/backward [what have you]” narrative is to respond with facts.


    The screen shot heard round the world.
    The liberals are ‘loaded’ with hate while their political counter parts in Congress are this very week sorting out extra security for themselves, while some are calling for stricter gun control laws.  Are they planning to hire an organic vegetable vendor to throw rotten bananas to protect themselves ?!

  • Ymarsakar

    Gringo, I just make fun of them when they say crazy stuff, those little Leftists around.


    I think I sorted it out. You recently posted about the reluctance of the ‘others’ to vaccinate their children fearing that there children may be a victim of autism.
    What we are witnessing from the progressives is a recurrence of Bush Derangement Syndrome. This is what happens when the left refuses to acknowledge that BDS can morph into PDS(Palin), FOXDS, RushDS if left untreated or not vaccinated. The high fever pitch, the shaking of a pointed finger and the cold chilling comments all point to it – a new strain of autism. It’s political autism manifesting as impaired social interaction.

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  • bizcor

    Bookworm, while you were away Don Q asked how did we find this blog and why did we comeback. This piece is a vivid example of why I come back. (the answer to the first part of the question, if you missed it originally, Rush Limbaugh mentioned you one day.)

  • Spartacus

    “When it comes to the Left, they’ve always had eyes but, blinded by their Leftism, they couldn’t see.  And now, thanks to the internet, they have words but, faced with facts, they can no longer speak.  Maybe, one day, the truth will set them free.  Until then, at least the internet will help shut them up.”
    Oh, crikey.  There she goes again.  All these fans bringing gloves to the games, hoping to get a piece of it, and what good does it do ’em?  [sigh]  OK, somebody go and get another baseball, and somebody else go and check the parking lot for cars with smashed windshields, and dents about that big around.  Hope she’s proud of herself.

  • Mike Devx

    I’d love to see each set of links you relied on to shut down each hypocritical attack.
    It took a lot of work to assemble each set of links, I’m sure.  Job VERY WELL DONE!!!  I salute all of the hard work you did in assembling that information.
    A blog entry, outlining the thread of comments for each hypocritical attack, and your counter-argument along with the set of links you assembled that refute each one, would be incredibly valuable.
    This won’t be the last time the Left tries this tactic.  What a resource those collections of links will be for you going forward!  The benefits of doing all that work will pay off repeatedly in the future.  Major Kudos!

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  • zabrina

    Look for renewed attacks on the internet, bloggers, and talk radio from the Left when they see that therein lie the effectively-delivered and archived counterarguments. They can’t answer, they can just continue to try to destroy.

  • Wolf Howling

    Great post.  It would appear that efforts like yours have been a very effective pushback.  Hot Air cites to a CBS News poll showing that 57% of Americans – and even a plurality of Dems – are not buying the left’s blood libel. 

    As to your larger point, I agree generally with your premise, though I think what progressives are doing in this instance is what we all do – search back in time for something that worked before and trot it out again.  Only do some people realize that time in fact does change all, and that even when the battlefield appears the same, the conditions have changed.  Actually I think the key here is that progressivism is not so much backward looking as it is inflexible.

    And on that note, I suspect that there be long term reprucussions in reponse to this act to delegitimize political opposition by the deeply cynical left.  One, as you point out, their acts of hateful, violent rhetoric make the right pale in comparison and that word is being spread around.  Two, people aren’t buying it, which means the left’s motivations are transparent.  That would seem bad news for left, particularly among independents – and bad news of an ilk that will only grow as the left engages in this vile blood libel as a means to silence conservative speech.   

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  • jj

    I don’t actually remember the Murra Building deal as being a rousing success for the progressive/democrat wing.  I remember Clinton trying to assign blame to somebody who listens to Rush Limbaugh every day – until he began to receive letters from the cops, firemen, and other rescuers pointing out that they were the ones who listened to Rush Limbaugh every day, and inviting him to shut his yap on the subject.   (I also remember that Oklahoma City firemen began objecting to Clinton’s tone while they were standing in the street being interviewed for all America to hear.)  Limbaugh, of course, had a sufficiency of ammunition to read a couple of letters of support from firemen, etc. every day for a couple of months.  I do not recall Clinton winning that particular argument, or it being much of a success for him – until he wised up and changed his ground pretty quickly.  Then, okay: he managed to regain his footing – but Oklahoma City was certainly not a big win for him, and it amuses me a bit to see it’s portrayed that way.  A result, I guess, of America’s famously short memory.

  • Ymarsakar

    it’s about market penetration. The Left doesn’t listen to Rush, so it didn’t matter how many letters he had. They felt perfectly safe on the attack. Now they don’t feel as comfortable, because of push back.
    Regardless of how many firefighters sent messages to Clinton, the public perception was based upon the spin and the reporters. Not the actual “reality” on the ground. Refer to Tet and Cronkite as a notable example. Did it really matter how many US veterans said the war was winnable and that they were actually winning it once Tet was defeated? Hell no.
    Propaganda works. It doesn’t matter what people think is the truth, when they are in the minority.

  • zabrina

    This struck me. You wrote:
    “When it comes to the Left, they’ve always had eyes but, blinded by their Leftism, they couldn’t see.  And now, thanks to the internet, they have words but, faced with facts, they can no longer speak.  Maybe, one day, the truth will set them free.  Until then, at least the internet will help shut them up.”
    Note the difference:  When conservatives want liberals to shut up, they want them to shut up because the conservatives have overwhelmed and convinced the liberals with facts about reality, so that the liberals will realize they were wrong, have no legitimate response, and will accept the impasse and concede the argument. This is, arguably, wishful thinking on the part of conservatives, since many times liberals do not shut up when rhetorically bested and many times do not recognize legitimate argument or facts or truth.
    On the other hand, when the left wants conservatives to shut up, they are happy to reach for the blunt instruments of censorship, smears, obfuscation, and coercion to achieve their end “by any means possible.”  They don’t want or seek agreement or enlightenment; they just want control. Their goal is not agreement, but silence.
    Don’t be surprised if your way of phrasing things in this case gets taken out of context and gleefully used as a blunt instrument. But we know what you meant.

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