Europe learns truth of being careful what one wishes, just in case those wishes are granted

Had Europe been able to vote last November’s presidential elections, Obama would have swept into office with a vote above 95%.  Over there, they loved him.  He was the antithesis of the ugly American who rode into town and imposed law.  This was a guy who would be kind and gentle, and extremely deferential to their European-ish-ness.

Today, though, a year after the election, all is not good in Europe-land.  Sensible people are realizing that Obama is leaving them exposed to some pretty nasty dangers centered in Russia and Iran.  And the European Left, just like the Left at home, is deeply disappointed that he is both less radical and less effective than their dream politician:

For a host of reasons however, President Obama is increasingly viewed by his natural allies in Europe- the left-wing intelligentsia in particular – as a mounting disappointment, whether it is dithering over attending the climate change summit in Copenhagen, supposedly ignoring the momentous changes within the European Union, making little progress with the Middle East peace process, adopting protectionist trade policies, a lack of commitment to human rights, the list goes on.

Significantly, there have even been some attacks from the left on Obama’s failure of leadership on Afghanistan. No matter how hard Obama tries to appease his supporters in Europe by presenting American power in a softer light, the president of the United States is still going to let down those who backed him most strongly.

It’s bad enough being berated from across the Atlantic by the President of France for being a big softy and failing to stand up to the Iranian nuclear threat. But being taken to task by European intellectuals is even more humbling for a US leader who attaches just as much importance to how he is perceived on the world stage, as he does to domestic popularity.

Even worse, unlike Bush, who tried to boss Europe around, Obama is ignoring Europe:

I was particularly struck by an interesting Guardian piece written by arch Euro-federalist historian Timothy Garton Ash last month, which actually claimed that while Obama “is the most European president” there has ever been, he is also “the least European president of the United States that there has ever been” – less European even than George W. Bush, according to the Oxford don. As Garton Ash eloquently put it:

“Unlike during the cold war, the United States is not focused on Europe and does not regard helping to build a strong, united Europe as being among its own vital interests. Europeans may continue to feel that Obama is “one of us”; and in one way he is, but in another way he isn’t – and he certainly won’t do our work for us. If we Europeans want to get our act together, we must get our act together.”

You can read more about Europe’s Obama woes here.

As Sadie, who sent me this link, said, “President Bush might not have been loved in Europe, but at least he was feared by his enemies and strategic competitors and respected by US allies.”

My friend Don Quixote also had an interesting comment when I told him about the above article:  “Couldn’t they have seen this coming?  It was so obvious during the campaign?”  Because he’s been a lifelong conservative, and is anything but an ideologue, Don Quixote truly doesn’t understand what was going on.  I do understanding.  For Europe to have seen “this” (meaning the Obama meltdown) coming, would have meant that Europeans would actually have had to think about Obama, his ideas and his values.  For knee-jerk liberals (and even Europe’s self-styled intellectuals are knee-jerk in their liberalism), thought has nothing to do with it.  We anoint someone, and we worship at their liberal altar.  There is no intelletualization involved.

I know that liberalism means faith first, thought after, because I always voted for and championed Democrats without having the slightest idea what they stood for.  It was enough that I was a Democrat and so were they.  What horrified me, and what I ran from for so many years was the fact that, when I actually thought about an issue, I invariably came out on the conservative side of the equation.  This was untenable and, rather than re-examining my politics, I stopped thinking.

Well, I’m thinking now and I hope that other Americans — presented with the spectacle of the worst unemployment in 26 years (and Obama owns this economy now), with rising aggression from Russia and Iran, with political correctness run amok, and with a guy who giggles at the unemployed and does friendly shout-outs before addressing the death and injury of dozens under his command — might start thinking themselves and stop hiding from all the horrible fallacies inherent in modern liberalism.

The difference between conservatives and liberals

Zhombre forwarded this email to me.  I think it’s right on the money:

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he doesn`t buy one.
If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn`t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he’s in labor and then sues.

If a conservative reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he’s “offended”.

Rage from the Right — by guest blogger COL. USAF (RET)

In this world of instant messages, communications, and news coverage, where nothing held back from the viewer and where the phrase “The public has the right to know” is seen as some sort of sacred trust, we have profaned our selves and our society to the god of success. When this is matched with the ubiquitous left slant of anything with a major audience, I tend to suffer periods of rage. Success seems to be defined by the ability to have YouTube, facebook, media, and twitter followers in the millions and enough cash on hand to spend extravagantly without recourse to any sort of “common sense” (which I have become convinced is not at all that common). To continue this diatribe I have seen some things over the past few weeks that have really set me off.

1. There is no restraint because, after all, we might miss some critical element if we used such a thing.  Nothing is out of reason.

A young man, mortally wounded and lying on the battlefield has no privacy. This is a picture worthy of a Pulitzer Prize, or whatever award there is for morbid photography.  After all this is NEWS! “What about his parents and other family members?” “Forget it, this could…get me money, make me famous, increase my circulation, set me up for life.”  Just pick one of the responses that some despicable, cockroach of an editor would use.  “Humanity, dignity…PAH! just gets in the way.  How can I get rich and famous if I have to play using those outmoded rules?  Rules are for suckers, and I know better.”

I don’t know if thoughts of that sort went through the minds of those who were responsible for the despicable act of printing those pictures, but I believe that the media gods of news, “right to know” and fame all went through those minds. What is truly a sign of the times is that the people responsible actually heard from the family who requested that the picture not be published and after considered review some still printed it.

Maybe the ideal of a genteel society is way 1950s, but a certain amount of restraint and civility would be nice to see once in a while.  In the same way, but not as tragic, I just don’t need to see three days of funerals for people I would be ashamed of calling my friends.

2. The same week had news stories about UN lawyers (who are worse than ordinary lawyers, some of whom I’ve learned aren’t all bad), with true malevolence in their hearts (or whatever substitutes in them for that organ), from some country or philosophy that has a bone to pick with the US, see our military as the perfect way to get back at any real or imagined slight or offense they think America has committed. Their target is conduct by troops in battle.

If you have never been in combat, it is exhilarating and scary at the same time.  My combat was not as close in as the ground troops, but I understand that feelings run hot in combat.  Occasionally things go wrong, and I certainly would not condone that, but the best people to review / punish the wrong doer are not those who have never been shot at, never seen that life or death moment up close and personal.

When these … UN parasites came to Bosnia (yes, I was involved in some of that also) they did not really go after the man in the field, they went after the bosses, the generals, the Secretary of Defense, and even the President. They accused them of “war crimes” because we were on the other side of the political fence.  The International Criminal Court is an unspeakable mockery of what used to be justice in the US.

It used to be said that the winning side wrote the history of the conflict.  No more.  Now, it is the Left leaning historians in conjunction with the Left leaning National Education Association of teachers that explain how we, even if we did win, were the worst sort of humans possible.  Well, there is some solace, I don’t think that the UN will go after our President this time, even if he probably intends to leave the Afghanistanis out to hang.  This will give the terrorists such a boost that all we can expect a future with more and more of the same.  Next it will be 3 or maybe 4 Al-Quada groups in the US, and the really horrible thing is that some of them will be US citizens.  Enough!

3. I delayed writing this third point so I could get some of the violent passion out of it, but passion doesn’t go away when the news (or maybe rumor) is about a US unilateral nuclear disarmament.  I can’t tell you how many hours I have spent in airplanes on airfields that weren’t nice, cushy, American garden-spots, but were, instead, hell holes, defending and being an integral part of our nuclear force.  I spent a sizable portion of my life in some not very nice places displaying a military presence, and I don’t like it that someone is trying to give up that protection because of a distorted and profane view of the world.

One of the reasons we have such a difficult time in the world is that Americans generally tend to judge people in other countries against a very Ameri-centric viewpoint.  It doesn’t work when judging the efforts of other religions, nor does it work while judging other countries who view us as the enemy to be defeated.  With just a little travel, open mindedness, observation, and a smattering of intelligence, that childish world view should go away.  The world is not a very nice place.  People are not our friends.  I do not advocate sending the military in for every little thing and beating up friends and enemies alike (as Clinton did).  Far from it. The most pacifistic people I know are those who have to go and risk their very lives defending our country. I know that I don’t know many Left wing pacifists, but I have eyes and ears, and I can recognize them when they make the news.  I guess it’s good that I no longer watch much TV, although football season is here.

4. One of the worst things that I have heard about recently has to do with our troops on the ground.  I am one who advocates that unless we get those dirty boots on the ground, we win nothing.  Anyway, in this bright new world, in the combat zones, we are overly concerned with Rules of Engagement (ROE).  We need rules of war (engagement) so that we do not become like the ones we are fighting.  What has to be taken into account, though, is that the ROE’s have to adapt when your enemy violates every precept of the accepted ROE and fights from churches and schools.  Instead of adapting so that we can fight these tactics, wee go out of our way to add more and more restrictions, effectively handcuffing our people.

Not only that, but when we send them to untenable situations, we don’t protect them when they do get in a fight. Currently, in Afghanistan, we have some of those added ROE.  If there is a possibility that some civilians may be in the field of view of our weapons, we hold weapons tight (no expending).  What does that do? Well the enemy just needs to be in the vicinity of civilians and fire at will.  We cannot counterattack, we can’t use artillery or air support because there is a chance — mark that, a chance — that some civilians will get hurt. In the case of ambushes, we lose.

All of this is especially difficult when our enemy look just like the civilians, not just physically, but in manner of dress also.  A precept of the Geneva Conventions that many in this great country seem to disregard is that the enemy has to be uniformed to get Geneva Benefits.  If they are fighting in civilian garb, they are outlaws and have no Geneva Convention Benefits. I do not believe that we can or should go in and kill everyone in an area, but we must be able to protect our young men and women in combat situations.  They are OUR CHILDREN.

5. Lastly, recently there was a NYT reporter who went where he was warned against going.   He just had to get the story, and maybe become this generation’s Ernie Pyle. Did he get his story?  I guess he did.  Was it worth it?  Ask the family of his translator who was killed, or the family of the young British soldier who was killed during his rescue.  This was so utterly pointless.  Why did he go where it wasn’t safe for a story that will be forgotten in a month?  Was this bit of journalistic grandstanding worth two, maybe three lives?  Did he know that if he got into trouble the military would get him out?  This was a reporter from the NYTimes, not a credible newsprint organization and one that has a definite anti-military/anti-American outlook.  What the heck was he doing there, and what the heck was his goal?  Do you think he and his employers even appreciated that we, the capitalistic, repressive, just plain bad military, risked our people to get him to safety?  I actually had someone in my office send around his report and say how good it was.  That was followed by a reminder of the cost and comment on whether the story was worth it.

It has not been a great couple of weeks.  My hope is that, even if congress (nope won’t capitalize it) passes Obamacare, that before it can be enacted to any great degree the next Congress, with considerably fewer Ds, will rescind it. Maybe we can get SCOTUS to take a hack first.  But the former will only occur if we vote the … buggers out.  So get your neighborhoods organized and tell the real story of what is going on.

Liberals and food

My liberal husband still hasn’t forgiven me for pointing out that the MSM deleted from it’s coverage Obama’s request for poupon at a burger joint, nor can he understand why I (and other conservatives) find the request both telling and amusing.  These things matter very deeply to the liberals.

Tom Elia points out that, just today, Maureen Dowd was all atwitter about the Obamas’ eating habits.  My response to Tom was that, with regard to the food thing, if you’ve read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change, you’ll remember that fascists are obsessed with diets as a means of creating the perfect citizen for the perfect state.  His major example, of course, is the Nazis, with Hitler at the top of the food-control chain.  I am not saying Obama is a Nazi, but there’s no doubt that extreme liberalism feels a strong need to control people’s eating habits.

Let’s hope Obama is smarter than his followers about Gaza

Not a conversation in which I was involved (nor was it politic or appropriate to become involved), but I heard someone this morning praising Carter’s execrable editorial (and I’m not going to dignify that with a link) castigating Israel for defending itself.

The liberal praising the article, when asked about the rocket attacks, said “Well, it’s just one town in Israel.  They should leave.  That’s the smart thing to do.  It’s better than killing Palestinian children”  It did not seem to occur to this guy that Israel had already pulled out of Gaza and that he’s essentially advocating an incremental approach to Hamas’ ultimate goal:  namely, driving Jews out of every town on the land and pushing them into the sea.  Nor did it seem to occur to him that, by the same analysis, the Palestinians should just retreat, because that’s better than killing Jewish children.

Living in Marin is an alternative universe, since one is surrounded with ostensibly smart people who have stupid ideas and are completely amoral.

How liberals would fight wars *UPDATED*

Vacation is over and I’m back to my work schedule, which means no more morning blogging (not that I was very inspired in the morning during vacation).  Still, I had to share this gem with you.

I spoke with a liberal friend yesterday, who is lukewarm about Israel, and he told me that Israel absolutely cannot fight this war because it’s killing children and that’s unacceptable.  This dialogue ensued:

Me:  Did you know that before any strike on a building, Israel gives a warning to the residents to evacuate?

LF:  No.  If that were true, it would be headlined in the news.

Me:  It is true.  It’s just buried in the stories.  What’s also buried is that the Gazans use those warnings to hustle children back into the buildings.

LF:  No.  That’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

(This went a few rounds and then stopped.)

Me:  You do know that Gaza has fired over 5,000 rockets into Israel, right?

LF:  Yeah, but they didn’t do any harm.

Me:  You do know that the last few, supplied by Iran, fell within about 13 miles of Tel Aviv?  (Note:  I think I got those mileage stats correct.)

LF:  Well, I guess they have to defend themselves.

Me:  How would you have them defend themselves?

LF:  They should have announced to the world that, if Gaza didn’t stop firing rockets by January 2, then they’d attack Gaza.

Me:  They did announce to the world that they were going to attack Gaza.

LF:  No.  that’s not true.  If it were true, it would be headlined in the news.

At this point, we glared at each other in frustration, and the conversation ended.

UPDATE:  I wonder if this kind of editorial, in a reputable liberal paper (the LA Times), would change my friend’s mind.  It spells out carefully the real issues involved in the current war (Iranian hegemony in the Middle East, the fact that Israel is not the only nation out there that fears Iran, and the way in which Hamas manipulates the media precisely in order to fool credulous liberals).

The state of free speech today

As I do, my in-laws, all of whom are McCain supporters, live in a liberal community.  They periodically get together with their conservative friends and bemoan the fact that lawn signs are stolen or despoiled, or that cars bearing McCain-Palin bumperstickers are targets of vandalism (keying, smashed windows, etc.).

Along with the rest of us, they were unimpressed by MSM hysteria about a few nasty-mouthed audience members at McCain/Palin rallies.  They know that, while those people get the attention, the reality is more consistent with Michelle Malkin’s photo essay showing the hatred routinely spewing from liberals towards conservatives generally, and Bush, Cheney, Palin and McCain specifically.

This video gives you a frightening insight into the abuse conservatives face when they exercise their right to free speech:

Unsurprisingly, my in-laws have been as cautious as I have been about the decision to put a McCain bumpersticker on the car.  The resulting ruined paint job or scratched window can make free speech extremely expensive.  Unlike me, though, my in-laws are clever and they came up with an alternative bumpersticker, which will soon decorate their car, and which they plan on distributing to their local McCain-Palin organizations.  Isn’t this great?

Fine thoughts from other people

I had a lovely time last night at a reception on the Bonhomme Richard, and plan on writing about it later today.  However, other work calls, so I thought I’d fill this space with recommendations for interesting stuff you may want to read.  In no particular order:

William Katz, a witty, erudite man who has absorbed much from traveling through the past few decades, deconstructs the way the Left is using the concept of “guilt by association” to insulate Obama from much-deserved criticism.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr. Katz, spend some time with Jesse Jackson.  We’ve always known he’s an antisemite, but with the prospect of a similar thinking White House administration, he’s oozing out of the closet. As you read the article, keep in mind that Jackson is promising that an Obama administration will turn its back on the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, and will ally itself with some of the worst theocratic totalitarian dictatorships, not just in the region, not just in the world, but in the history of the world.

Jonah Goldberg points out the obvious (but does it does charmingly):  Republicans are so frightened by Obama’s skin-color, and the risk of appearing non-PC, that they are allowing him to get away with political murder.  We all know that, when it comes to Obama, there’s only one color that matters, and that is Red.

Thomas Sowell nails the liberal horror of the long-standing American tradition of “going negative” in political elections: “Why then is ‘negative advertising’ such a big deal these days? The dirty little secret is this: Liberal candidates have needed to escape their past and pretend that they are not liberals, because so many voters have had it with liberals.”

Michael Reagan provides a good run-down of Ayers’ relevance to this election, and it has nothing to do with his having bombed buildings when Barack was 8.

IBD neatly summarizes why ACORN matters so much.  And if that analysis doesn’t sway you, check out the Wall Street Journal on precisely the same point.

Conservatives think liberals are misguided; liberals think conservatives are evil

During this political campaign, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sashi McEntee, who is running as the San Francisco/North Bay Republican candidate for the California State Senate.  You only need a few minutes in Sashi’s company to realize that she is intelligent, energetic, blessedly pragmatic, and extremely nice.  Her politics are practical and, if voters would give her a chance, would reap enormous economic benefits for her constituents and for California too.

Because she is both a business woman and a social creature, Sashi has a large mailing list.  As her campaign gears up, she’s been sending emails to people on her contact list to promote her campaign.  One of those people is someone Sashi has always know is liberal, but it’s apparent from his response that he never realized before that she was conservative.  I quote verbatim:

Sorry Sashi but the very fact that you are running as a republican disqualifies you as an intelligent and caring member of society. Surely you must realize this and if so how is it possible that you can associate yourself with that party.

The republican party has rampaged through this society and destroyed its very foundations with its insane deregulation notions and its spin mastering of our leadership into a personality cult. The very selection of McCain and his even more cynical selection of an extremist like Palin is the clearest evidence possible for any thinking person that the Republican party is simply evil in both intent and action.

If you have any moral conscience you would declare yourself an independent and declare your opposition to the Republican agenda and its membership.

Heaven help us if the likes of you and your party are elected.

Within one second, Sashi went from being someone this man felt friendly towards, to being the embodiment of evil.  To him, as James Taranto so often likes to say (having picked it up from an AP story some months ago), “everything seemingly is spinning out of control.”  His universe is a cruel and random place — and it’s all the Republicans’ fault.

To Progressives, politics is no longing about people espousing different approaches to achieve the same overall goals.  Instead, it’s become an existential battle against the forces of evil incarnate.  That is, in their own minds, they’re not just battling evil ideas (or foolish one), they’re battling evil people.  And what’s really frightening is that, to Progressives, the evil people aren’t him, they’re her.

The fierce hatred the Left feels for religion

The other day, as part of my “false syllogism” post, I noted the way in which the Left continues to be, as it was in Marx’s heyday, fanatically hostile to religion.  If you doubt me, just check out Patrick’s gimlet eyed examination of Cintra Wilson’s attacks on Palin and other openly religious public figures, as well as the larger attacks on faith emanating from the Progressive side of the political spectrum.

Untraining Pavlov’s dog *UPDATED*

Was I the only one who found it hysterically funny that Nancy Pelosi, after building a political career on the cult of victimhood — especially women’s victimhood — is now snapping at all those well-trained victimized women to give it up and get with the program?

“I think that women, we have to get away from the politics of victim. This is about you go out there and you fight,” she said. “I think that what Hillary Clinton did was tremendous for the country. She has kicked open many doors, which now we have to bring many more women through, millions more women through. My being speaker of the House was breaking the marble ceiling in Congress, which is hard. Sen. Clinton [had] a bigger challenge to run for president of the United States. What we have to do now is say, we have to translate that not just for individuals, but for all women.”

It’s nice to see the victim concept step out from behind the curtain.  As you and I have long realized, it has nothing to do with ones actual status, and everything to do with where one stands vis-a-vis the Democratic Party and its goals.

(As a by the way, I’ve been reading a delightful book about Einstein, and I’ve learned a lot of about the theory of relativity.  I can assure you, therefore, that when Einstein talked about relativity, he wasn’t contemplating whether the Democratic Party thought you were for it or against it.)

On the same trained dog theory, is it any surprise that Barack Obama, running for President of this land, is trying to terrorize TV stations into pulling an ad reminding people of his close ties to a terrorist?  When you’re a Leftist, you never fight ideas with ideas (or with truth), you just bring in the big guns.  Of course, given that the truth, for Obama, can only hurt him, it’s probably not surprising that he’s opting for bullying and threats in the face of a very damaging ad.

Here’s one more piece of food for thought about that Ayers ad.  The same news article that describes Obama’s bullying tactics contains this line:  “Obama has denounced Ayers’ past activities.”  All well and good, but please note that Ayers himself has never apologized or expressed remorse.  To the contrary:  He’s proud of what he did, wishes he’d done more, and believes that the “in-America” terrorist fight should continue.  Given that Ayers is unrepentent, who cares that Obama has “denounced” the acts he committed in the 1960s?  What matters is that Obama is completely comfortable with someone who continues to hold radical, violent anti-American views.  Again, sometimes you just can’t untrain Pavlov’s dog.

UPDATE:  I knew I’d seen the Ayers ad somewhere, but couldn’t find it.  Power Line has a copy running, though, so here it is.  So far as I know, there is nothing in that ad that is untrue.

A backlog of links

Even thought I didn’t and couldn’t post yesterday, it didn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention.  I have a whole bunch of links I want to share with you.  I won’t take too much time on any one link, because I have only a short time before the Mom stuff starts again (summer, you know), but here goes:

If you haven’t yet read Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s postmodern deconstructionist style of communicating, you must.

If you haven’t yet read John Hawkin’s humorous and humane ideas for dealing with friends and families who haven’t yet made their personal journey to conservatism, you must.

If you haven’t yet learned that the Democrats seem compulsively drawn to old fashioned Communist symbolism, you can read more about that here.

You probably already read Andrew Breitbart’s column about the struggles conservatives have in Hollywood.  Coincidentally, it came out the same day that Jon Voight’s op-ed critique of mindless Hollywood liberalism was published.  In his most recent column, Breitbart takes on the mean-spirited, intellectually foolish and, yes, McCarthy-esque responses Voight’s column generated in Hollywood.

AJStrata launches a funny, yet pointed, attack on Barry the Cable Guy’s utterly unprincipled “get ‘er done” philosophy, which sees him saying or doing anything it takes to get to the big White House.

I commented yesterday on the wonderful pun in Soccer Dad used to title his post called Hello martyr, hello Fatah.  Elder of Ziyon took the sick tragedy underlying that pun and created a brilliantly sad/funny video.

Marin County’s hidden conservatives *UPDATED*

It was Aristotle who first stated that man is a social animal.  He was right.  Humans define themselves by their allegiance to their family, their community and their country.  The ancient desert rule condemning a thief to lose his hand (an idea that Mohammed co-opted), was not intended simply to cause physical pain and suffering.  Instead, in a society without cutlery, amputation meant that the thief had to use the same hand for both eating and personal hygiene.  This revolting combination turned the one-handed thief into a social pariah — and it was this change in status that was the true punishment imposed against him.

In America, we can break the social compact in many ways, all of them less extreme than having our hands cut off.  We can cheat, abuse our spouses and children, shoplift, forget to bathe, or admit to liking Liberace.  Most Americans, however, pride themselves on their tolerance and will let all of these failures go by without the ultimate social weapons of abuse and ostracism.  In many of these same ostensibly tolerant places, though, there is one sin that is unforgivable, so much so that it cannot be excused away by pointing to a bad childhood, socioeconomic handicaps or charming eccentricity.  That sin is being politically conservative.  I live in one of those communities.

For those who don’t know it, Marin County is located due north of San Francisco (on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge).  It’s a gorgeously situated community, bounded on one side by the San Francisco Bay and on the other side by the Pacific Ocean.  Drive a little ways further north and you’ll find yourself in the world-famous Napa Valley.  Not only is the Marin geography lovely, so is the climate, with temperatures ranging from winter lows in the 50s to summer highs in the 70s (barring a few heat waves).

Approximately 85% of Marin’s land has been protected from development in one way or another, a policy that deprives the poor of housing, but that satisfies the aesthetic needs of the wealthy.  Speaking of wealth, according to the 2000 census, Marin had the highest per capital income in the country (a status quo pretty much unchanged as of the last tax year).

Although one might think that, with Marin’s wealth, it would be rather like the old style white-shoe conservative communities one finds in the Northeast or South, that assumption would be wrong.  Instead, Marin is peopled with the same elites who have been flocking to Obama all America — and that’s despite the fact that there’s no University of note here.

Just to give you an idea of Marin’s politics, Lynn Woolsey is Marin’s choice for the House of Representatives and ultra-liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer hails from Marin. In the State Senate, Marin’s representative is Carole Migden, who lives to oppose the War (and who will probably be replaced by Mark Leno, who makes Migden look stodgy politically).

In the 2004 election, only San Francisco County and Alameda County (home to Berkeley), cast more Democratic votes than Marin did. This didn’t come as any surprise to those who know that a mere 21.3% of Marin’s registered voters are Republicans. Indeed, of the many little towns that make up Marin, just one (Belvedere) has more Republicans than Democrats, and that by only an 8 person margin.  Republicans aren’t just a mere minority, they’re a minority vastly outweighed by the majority.

Given that liberals are in the catbird seat, and given their much-vaunted tolerance, one might think that they’d be kind to, indeed solicitous of, the few Republicans in the midst.  Sadly, however, that’s not the case.  As regular readers know, I’ve chosen to keep my political life separate from the day-to-day aspects of my life.  I simply can’t (and don’t want to) run the risk of tainting my carpools, my neighborhood barbecues, my kids’ comfort level at school, the camaraderie of the sports teams with which we’re involved, etc., by exposing myself to the obloquy that is routinely heaped on conservatives here — and this is a hostility that increases as elections draw near, of course.

During the 2004 elections, people who were unaware of my political inclinations announced in front of me that “Bush is the worst President ever,” “Republicans are stupid,” “Republicans are evil,” “Bush is stupid,” “Republicans are corrupt,” “Republicans are fascists” and “Bush should be impeached.”  Children ran up to me on the sidewalk chanting “Bush is evil, Bush is evil”  — so you know what their parents were saying at the dinner table.  In this election cycle, one of my children announced after school that she was voting for Barack Obama “since every one is because he’s black.”  I quickly scotched that line of reasoning.

I know I should be speaking out when I hear statements such as these, but the sad fact is that I like these people.  Barring their monomaniacal animosity towards Bush and the Republicans, they’re otherwise very nice:  they’re hard workers, loving parents, good neighbors and helpful and reliable friends.  Being the social creature that I am, I don’t want with one word (“Republican”) to turn these friendships upside down and inside out.  (I’m not the only one with this problem.)  I don’t want to be on the receiving end of some hideous Jekyll to Hyde transformation, so I just keep my mouth shut.

Those people I know who have spoken aloud their new conservative political views have been horrified by the animosity turned against them by formerly friendly neighbors and colleagues.  My in-laws who are, like me, 9/11 neocons (down in Los Angeles) have stared open-mouthed at colleagues who use staff meetings to revile Bush and the Republicans — all to the cheers and huzzahs of the other staff members.  (Indeed, what they describe sounds remarkably like Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate.)  On the occasions when they’ve suggested that maybe, just maybe, Bush isn’t the Antichrist, they’ve found themselves shunned by these same colleagues.

My relatives aren’t in the film industry, but this same kind of aggressive pressure to conform goes double there.  Conservatives have been reduced to creating an underground organization called the Party of Abe, membership in which is so dangerous it practically has secret handshakes and false names.  The paranoia in the film industry is so extreme that it can result in scenarios that read like badly scripted movies.  When David Zucker was casting his upcoming movie American Carol, which takes on the Left’s lunacy about terrorism, he wanted Kevin Farley (Chris Farley’s brother) in the lead role, as a Michael Moore-esque character.  In the beginning, their negotiations were a landmine of unspoken assumptions:

Zucker and Sokoloff met Farley in April 2007. Zucker described his new film with words he had chosen carefully. “I figured he was like everyone else in Hollywood–a Democrat,” Zucker recalls. “And we knew that this was not a Democrat movie.” It would be a satirical look at the war on terror, he told Farley, and explained that he and Sokoloff were political “moderates.”

Farley hadn’t seen any of Zucker’s ads and assumed he was like everyone else in Hollywood–a Democrat. So he answered with some strategic ambiguity of his own. “I consider myself a centrist,” he said, worried that they might press him more about his political views.

Zucker gave Farley the script and, concerned that Farley’s agent would advise him against accepting the role because of the film’s politics, told the actor not to show it to anyone. Farley, best known for his recurring role in a series of Hertz commercials, read the script and called back the next day to accept.

When he met Zucker and Sokoloff on the set as shooting on the film began, he told them that he, too, had long considered himself a conservative. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Sokoloff. “We were afraid that he would not want to be involved in something that was so directly taking on the left and that he would not want to play the Michael Moore character.”

Zucker’s and Farley’s delicate dance would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that ordinary Hollywood types aren’t shy about stating that people with the wrong political persuasion should not be employed.  A perfect example came when Jeffrey Wells (a well-known Hollywood cybergossip) commented on Jon Voight’s op-ed criticizing the Left:

I’ll always admire and respect Voight’s better performances (Luke in Coming Home, Reynolds in Enemy of the State, Ed in Deliverance, Howard Cosell in Ali, Manny in Runaway Train, FDR in Pearl Harbor, Jack in Desert Bloom, Paul Serone in Anaconda). And he’s obviously entitled to say and write whatever he wants. But it’s only natural that industry-based Obama supporters will henceforth regard him askance. Honestly? If I were a producer and I had to make a casting decision about hiring Voight or some older actor who hadn’t pissed me off with an idiotic Washington Times op-ed piece, I might very well say to myself, “Voight? Let him eat cake.”

Wells later delivered a non-apology apology in which he wondered why everyone got so upset that he merely expressed his personal opinion, especially since he has no actual hiring or firing power over Voight.  Maybe everyone got upset because Wells’ opinion — that people should be discriminated against on a systematic basis because they support the “wrong” party in a two-party system — is both really bad one and one that people close to the industry feel comfortable voicing aloud.

In Hollywood, everything is writ large, whether it’s rampant Progressivism or a growing subterranean conservative movement.  In Marin, though, I’m seeing the same thing played out on a less dramatic scale, with more and more secret conservatives inching about on the outskirts.  This fact struck me forcibly last week when I finally pried myself away from my keyboard and did something more active to advance John McCain’s candidacy — I attended the first formal meeting of the local Republican party.

Contrary to my expectations, the meeting was not held in some $25 million dollar Belvedere mansion (’cause remember that, in Belvedere, there are eight more Republicans than Democrats).  Instead, it was held in a perfectly ordinary (although very charming) home a few blocks from my own house.  By Marin standards, it was solid middle class.

With about 25 of us clustered about the living room, the local chair called the meeting to order, and asked us to begin by identifying ourselves.  One after another, people stated their names and their City.  Everything stopped, though, when a young woman, maybe 25, spoke her name very softly and added that “I’m a secret Republican.”  With that single statement, the stories started.

One of the attendees, who had been asked to make phone calls on behalf of McCain, said that he spoke to one lady who said, “Don’t call me again.  I’m going to vote Republican, but I can’t let anybody know.  It’s got to stay a secret.”  Another person recalled a party he attended a few months ago.  When he mentioned, discreetly, that he was a Republican, a young lady sidled up to him and whispered, “I’m conservative too, but don’t let anyone know.  I also have two friends here.  I’ll point them out to you.  They’re also secret conservatives.”  Incidentally, I was unable to interview either of the people who told these anecdotes because both were afraid that any more details might give away their identities and harm them professionally.  (Clearly, in their lines of work, they need two resumes, one for public consumption and one that is their secret one.)

The people who told these stories were white — and they were still afraid to voice their political views.  Things get even worse when you move into the two demographics that have a particularly strong affiliation with the Democratic party:  African-Americans and Hispanics.  People in these groups who are conservative are viewed, not merely as evil or stupid, but as true class traitors.  If it’s difficult for a white woman or man to admit to that he worries about Obama and intends to vote for McCain, imagine the strength of character, and the willingness to accept pariah-status that you need if you’re an African-American or Hispanic voter who has a political yearning to be conservative.  As it happens, at my local McCain meeting, there was one Hispanic and one African-American, both of whom are deeply committed to conservative values.  Again, neither wanted to see his or her name, or any identifying information, used in this post.

Once upon a time, I would have added Jews to the list of groups too strongly affiliated with the Democratic party to allow for any deviation from the party line.  However, I think that Obama is proving so frightening to many Jews who support Israel that they are become bolder and more willing to break with party Orthodoxy.  (Not to mention the fact that they’ve seen the Left make common cause with the same Islamists who call Jews pigs and apes, and who urge their annihilation.)  While they once looked askance at the few conservatives within their midst, they are now approaching them, not only with respectful curiosity, but with a genuine desire to learn why it won’t run counter to Mosaic law for a Jew to vote Republican.

I’m not writing this post merely to complain about my own situation, or to observe that there are others like me.  I hope to write it as a battle call for other crypto-conservatives scattered throughout the United States in true blue communities:  You are not alone! And if you need numbers to prove it, as opposed to the anecdotal evidence I offer here, in 2004, despite the fact that only 30,992 registered voters in Marin were Republican, 34,378 people voted Republican.  In other words, a good chunk of Marin’s voters –  whether Independents, Decline to States, or even Democrats — were voting Republican the last time around, and that was with a much less polarizing Democratic candidate than Obama.

I have a proposal for all of you reading this who live in hostile Blue territory and feel isolated in your conservative political views.  The next time you’re at a party, or chit chatting in a park, or standing in line at a store, if the person to whom you’re talking seems like an intelligent, common-sensical type, throw in a reference to Adam Smith.  If your conversational partner jumps on that reference, opining that Smith was a great economic philosopher, you’ve just discovered that you’re not alone.

Even if you chose, however, to keep your political affiliations secret — whether because you’re afraid for your job, worried about your friendships, or are just deeply private — please hie yourself to the polls on November 4, 2008, and cast your vote for John McCain.  I have a strong suspicion that there’ll be an awful lot of unexpected votes for McCain, not because people are too racist to voice their true political viewpoints to the pollsters, but because they are too intimidated by the Progressives around them to do so.

Lastly, if you live in Marin, get involved with the Marin for McCain organization.  I can promise you that we’ll respect your conservative secrets — especially since so many of us have a few of our own.  (And if you live somewhere other than Marin, look up your local Republican organization.  I bet you’ll be pleasant surprised by the people you meet there.)

UPDATE: Thinking about it, I wonder if this urge to keep ones identity secret isn’t more common amongst women than men.  In my experience, women are more likely to seek conciliatory relationships than men, and are more likely to be demoralized, rather than invigorated, by a direct confrontation.  What do you think?  Am I being sexist or is this election’s secret army (assuming there is one), going to boast an unusually large number of women?

UPDATE II:  Although not quite on point, the service that Amazon allegedly provided for Nancy Pelosi’s book – a service that it apparently does not provide for conservative authors — gives one a good idea of how stalwart your average conservative has to be against the slings and arrows of outrageous liberals.