Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"Yes, both parties are now more united and energized. But one did so by enticing the recalcitrant back into the fold; the other, by warning them to join the revolution or be guillotined."

In National Review Victor Davis Hanson writes,
When the Christine Ford saga finally ended with the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a lot of truth had distilled out, along with the evaporation of prior pretensions and misconceptions.

The hearing confirmed that the traditional JFK/Hubert Humphrey Democrat party, as once envisioned by a Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, or Jim Webb, is long kaput. In its place is being birthed a hard-left progressive movement that absorbs the ideologies and methodologies of its base and that now incorporates all sorts, from Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist hipsters to Black Lives Matters, Antifa, and Occupy Wall Street protestors.

The new progressives recently have come to believe that they gain traction by the theater of disrupting senate hearings, cornering senators in elevators, stalking them on the way to work, doxing their opponents on the Internet, and during the hearings throwing out the concept of due process. Any means is deemed permissible to enact visions of social justice, given legislative and executive power is lost for now — and as if proverbially ordinary Americans who watched the televised circus might applaud the performers.

Diane Feinstein, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic fossils on the Senate Judiciary Committee may in their golden years try to lumber onto the departing progressive train, but their septuagenarian and octogenarian creaky efforts to get on board grow sad. Joe Biden was reduced to threatening to beat Trump up behind the locker room. Diane Feinstein staged a clumsy eleventh-hour ambush of the hearings that proved pure bathos. Even leftists such as Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren fear that they are suddenly pseudo- revolutionaries, compared with the new, far more radical Jacobins, who in cyclical French Revolutionary style call for massive repeals of all student debt, free tuition, packing the Supreme Court, Medicare for all, a specified end to fossil fuels, quotas based on identity politics, and an abolishment of Immigration and Custom Enforcement. No one quite knows how far this cannibalistic cycle will go.

The emotional powerbase of the new Democrats is now Corey “I am Spartacus” Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and thousands of state and local Ocasio-Cortezes. Barack Obama really did fundamentally transform the old Democratic party. Or rather from 2009 to 2017, he dismantled it at the congressional, state, and local levels while he was elected twice to the presidency. But even the now multimillionaire Obama appears to the new Democrats as a near has-been sellout. And in his fifties, he will have to hit the streets again, in his prior mode of “get in their face, bring a gun to a knife fight, punish our enemies,” to recapture his hard-left fides.

he hatred of Kavanaugh and the left-wing repudiation of due process and of Senate protocol and tradition united the Democrats by moving their party far more to the left rather than to the center. Apparently, Democrats must embrace or at least excuse Antifa-like tactics or they are no longer Democrats. Diane Feinstein’s reprehensible behavior must be seen in this context as seeking to be as radical as the unhinged expressions of Kevin de León, her election rival for the Senate seat.

Yes, both parties are now more united and energized. But one did so by enticing the recalcitrant back into the fold; the other, by warning them to join the revolution or be guillotined.

...Kavanaugh was not supposed to display too much anger at the Left that sought not just to thwart his confirmation, but destroy his person and his family as just deserts. At noon on the day of his final appearance, Kavanaugh was declared dead after the sympathetic but otherwise not credible testimony of Christine Ford. But by day’s end, Kavanaugh’s freelancing explosive defiance had saved the nomination, showing that conventional wisdom’s “judicial temperament” when smeared was merely a noble way to lose.

...Trump was for the nth time written off as crude, crass, and uncouth. But Trump haters so often let their venom blind them to Trump’s cunning: 1) He is reactive not provocative. All week Trump was demonized, and so his description of Ford and her enablers was seen as righteous retaliation not a bullying attack; 2) Trump has an uncanny sense of the pulse of public opinion. He waited to apply the coup de grace until Ford’s own narratives, which she changed numerous times, were being picked apart not so much as incomplete but as impossible to reconcile; 3) Trump realizes that it is his defiance as much as his message that wins him fealty. He never publicly flinched from his support for Kavanaugh and by doubling-down told his base that if Kavanaugh was going down, so would he. After eight years of perceived namby-pamby Republican contextualization, even mainstream conservatives seem to appreciate defiance. And they got it in spades with both Kavanaugh and Trump, whose both defied collective conventional wisdom of just letting it be.

The #MeToo movement is imploding. By its recent McCarthyesque excesses it is undoing a great deal of good that it had once done, in Hollywood and the media especially.

...A republic cannot survive any revolutionary movement that insist that its moral claims are so exalted that 2,500 years of Western jurisprudence must be jettisoned, as if “sincerity” established “believability” and believability in turn “credibility” — all without evidence, witnesses, or substantiated testimonies. The result of such ideas would be the nightmarish world of either a regimented Ninety Eighty-Four or the chaos of the Lord of the Flies.

The Kavanaugh hearing was the ultimate but logical continuation of the Duke Lacrosse and Rolling Stone travesties. The #MeToo excess was even likely to have pleased the ogre Harvey Weinstein — a sexual predator who for decades was exempted by liberal Hollywood enablers and appeasers either on the theory of “Well, he may be a predator, but he’s our predator” or “He’s bad, but not always bad for me.” Weinstein may now claim that what happened to the hated conservative Kavanaugh earlier had happened to him, the once beloved liberal, or he may say something like “See what happens when you lose liberal warriors like me.”

...“Fake News” is an overused phrase, but it proves a euphemism when describing the recent behavior of The New Yorker, the New York Times, and NBC.

...the progressive movement sought to use the Kavanaugh hearings to empower a larger race-and-gender identity-politics agenda, in which the perennial targets are old white guys. The operating theory is that women, the nonwhite, and young hipsters by their gender, race, or age — and their collective victimization — are innately preferable and more deserving people.

But once progressives drew up those insane rules, the subsequent spectacle was judged by their own standards. Mitch McConnell proved a far more adroit senatorial manager than Chuck Schumer. Chuck Grassley sounded more judicious and worried about the rules than did Diane Feinstein. Lindsey Graham was far more coherent and focused that Senator Spartacus. Prosecutor Mitchell was to the point, direct, and transparent in a way Christine Ford was not always.

More important, for millions of Americans watching the spectacle, the results did not play out so much as an old-white-guy melodrama as a class-and-gender psychodrama. Most men of all races and classes cannot accept a new reality that they can have their careers destroyed, without appeal to due process, at any moment by an unsubstantiated accusation dating from when they were 17 — all on the pretext that a destructive career inquisition “is not formally a criminal trial” and therefore not subject to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution. And if there was any stereotypical lesson to be had, it was that many on the senatorial panel and the legions of advisers and lawyers on the Ford Team, as well as Ford herself, by their class, education, and comportment, increasingly seem quite different, quite more privileged, and quite more self-absorbed than most average Americans of all backgrounds who have little sympathy for the psychodramas of a pampered and professional class.
Read more here.

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