Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Laughing Matter

We knew all along that it would descend to this point, but we had no idea that the decline would be so rapid, or the nadir so deep. In his first 100 days or so, Barack Obama and his Democratic confederates have taken over management of private sector entities (even to the point of underwriting warranties for their products), threatened, cajoled and browbeat corporate CEOs and hedge-fund managers, caused the Federal budget deficit to swell by $600 billion and set the country on a direct course toward government-run healthcare (as discussed elsewhere.) It would seem that the Left would have a lot to smile about; to be sure, they have been doing a lot of laughing and joking, especially if last weekend was any indication.

Mr. Obama paid a call on his most loyal supporters on Saturday. At the very outset, the White House Press Correspondents hailed him as a conquering hero who delivered them from the indignities visited by George W. Bush.
In turn, Obama gave them heaps of red meat, remarking, "Dick Cheney was supposed to be here, but he is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled, 'How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.'" But perhaps for once, Obama was hardly the main event.

That responsibility fell to Wanda Sykes, she of newly-emptied closets. Much like Stephen Colbert before her (see here and here), Sykes let her liberal freak flag fly, commenting that Rush Limbaugh's oft-repeated wish for Obama to fail was tantamount to "treason." (I will make an aside to point out that: 1) progressives never saw their wishes for - and open declarations of - policy missteps on the part of George W. Bush as treasonous and 2) it is as much a foolishness to assume that Obama's failure to enact his policies would represent a failure for America as it would be to conclude that Bill Clinton's failure to keep his pants zipped around "that woman" bespoke a shared infidelity on the part of all married men in America.)

In any event, we are not ignorant to the fact that - while they are bloated with vitriol when they are out of power - the Left becomes its most unhinged when they have the most influence to wield. Paradoxically, the anger of progressives seems most coincident with their attempts at humor. Perez Hilton's outrage towards Carrie Prejean was amplified by his attempt at humor in calling her a "dumb bitch" (also discussed elsewhere.) Similarly, Obama's passive-aggressive swipes at Bush, Cheney and the Republican Party more generally reveal a simmering outrage at the fact that Congress has not yet outlawed conservatism. (Maybe that will be left for the next 100 days.)

Doubtless, no matter how they laugh, we can be certain that the Left is indeed angry. And a good working knowledge of human psychology suggests that they are most enraged because they are most afraid. They intuitively sense that - while they may be able to form electoral majorities - their schemes are not of a piece with America's cultural traditions. As much as they wish to enact their agendas as quickly as possible, they fear alienating those whom they perceive themselves as having hoodwinked. The creeping incrementalism that served them well when they were on the outside looking in must be reconciled with their aching desire to usher in an earthly nirvana.

So the Left arms itself with the cudgel of humor in order to brutally bash those whom they most fear. Sometimes however, the effort goes too far, and does as much harm to the perpetrator as the victim. Sykes harmed progressivism by revealing the bete noire that motivated her attack on Limbaugh, as well as a good many other liberal attacks on conservatives. Simply put, if Obama fails - or is perceived as a failure - she fails along with him. But not only her, but the assembled White House Press Corps (and the MSM more generally), the Democratic Party and liberalism itself all fall into disrepute. Their full-throated support of Obama during and after the 2008 campaign would be seen as evidence of a profound lack of judgment and trustworthiness, and would call into question the soundness of the firmament of liberalism.

As liberals negotiate a path between prudence and impatience, we can expect to see and hear more political attacks disguised as jokes. Even the most adolescently oppositional liberals can sense when they are either in over their heads in terms of pollicy or out of touch with the American people. As sure as fear begets anger, the Left will kick, and bite and struggle against their perceived enemies. Psychology also informs us that human beings are at their most troubled when they sense that they are their own worst enemy.

No comments: