Over at the excellent Legal Insurrection blog, William Jacobson reveals his New Year’s resolution: “To confront liberal intolerance on the spot…” He thinks that “Senior Republican politicians should do the same, in Congress.”
His beef is the absolute nonsense spewing regularly from Democratic leaders’ mouths about conservatives that goes largely unchallenged. Conservatives have been called arsonists, terrorists, extortionists, and insane...not by wild-eyed bloggers but by senior Democratic members of Congress, as well as the president’s advisers.
Add mass murderer to that list of names conservatives have been called. In a fall interview being reported now, new White House adviser John Podesta likened Republicans in the House to a “cult worthy of Jonestown,” a sickening reference to a grisly mass murder. Let me repeat: Podesta is now a White House adviser, and he thought that kind of analogy was just peachy.
As Jacobson points out, everyone can take rhetoric too far, but when this type of name-calling comes out of the mouths of Democratic leaders, we have a problem, especially when it’s layered on top of the mischaracterization of conservative views regularly presented to the public by mainstream media, left-wing blogs, Hollywood and social media posts. You know the image–conservatives don’t care. That image has now been expanded — conservatives care so little for their fellow man that they will terrorize and kill them…in great numbers.
The good news is that despite these accusations, recent polls show that Republicans are trusted more than the president on some key issues. But that result is more likely due to the fact that the president’s monumental lies about the Affordable Care Act make him particularly untrustworthy, in the public’s eye, right now. It’s cold comfort to see your own poll numbers rise in comparison because the public thinks your adversary is simply more of a skunk than you are.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has already replied to Podesta’s “snark” (Podesta’s own word, which he used in his apology). A spokesman for Boehner has said:
“For those who’ve forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident. If this is the attitude of the new White House, it’s hard to see how the president gets anything done again.”
Good for Boehner. It was the perfect response, reminding Podesta that real people were killed at Jonestown, that the horror of that massacre still reaches through time today. It demonstrated how juvenile Podesta’s remark was.
And, for what it’s worth, that’s my advice to Republican leaders–whenever possible, point out the utter childishness, the unseriousness of the tasteless “snark” coming from Democratic leaders. (And doesn’t Podesta’s use of that word demonstrate his high school attitude, as well?)
The Republican response to these unsavory attacks should be: Get out of the frat club, and get serious. This isn’t Animal House. Even if advisers like Podesta act as if they just stepped off the set. Let that image start to drift around Democratic leaders.
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.