December 3, 2009
The Party of Mandatory Assent
The Democratic Party fantasizes that it's "the party of dissent." It's certainly true that an inordinate number of Democrats were "dissidents" when they were young; but that was when Richard Nixon was president, for the older members -- or when Ronald Reagan was president, for the rest (including the current president, Barack H. Obama). That is, these radicals only dissented to Republican or conservative ideas; by contrast, they accepted the ideological ravings of the Left with uncritical cheerleading... and for the most part, they still do.
Thus they're not really the party of dissent; they're the party of anti-Rightism. But now that the shoe is on the other hand, and wishy-washy leftism has become the establishment, dissent seems to the new power elite, to put it bluntly, unAmerican.
Today, Democrats belong to the party of "'Shut up!' he explained."
Examples are in order.
First, as widely reported, since gaining control of both chambers of the Congress, Democrats have moved to shut Republicans completely out of most policy debates -- at times even changing the locks on House committee rooms to keep the GOP from mucking things up by joining the discussion:
Last Thursday [October 15th, 2009], the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was set to hold a routine business meeting. Before the session, its ranking Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), made clear that he planned to call for the panel to subpoena Bank of America for documents related to Countrywide Financial Corp.'s infamous "Friends of Angelo" VIP mortgage program....
When Thursday's committee meeting began, however, the Democrats were absent, and Republican members said they waited for more than half an hour before being told the session had been canceled because of scheduling conflicts. Democrats, meanwhile, were meeting in a private room behind the hearing room.
A Republican aide saw the Democrats scuttling out of this backroom and videotaped them, posting the video on YouTube and the GOP website.
On Monday, panel Democrats had the lock changed on the door leading from the GOP's office space into the main hearing room. They did so, Towns' office said, because Republicans "don't know how to behave."
Rather than castigate these House Democrats, party members across the nation cheered them on, hooting and mocking the "defeated" Republicans. Defeated? Why yes... they were stopped from participating in their own committee meeting, a glorious victory!
More glorious victories followed; they roll upon one another like waves against the shorline. Yesterday, lefty Joshua Micah Marshall, who runs Talking Points Memo (now called just "TPM," rather like how Kentucky Fried Chicken turned into KFC, and the International House of Pancakes mysteriously morphed into IHOP) reported the Democratic response to amendments Republicans offer to the ObamaCare bill under debate in the Senate:
Currently, Reid and the Democrats are considering their options for moving the debate forward, and actually holding votes. The main possibility being considered is that Reid could move to table irrelevant Republican amendments.
"If we're not allowed to move we're going to have to start tabling amendments," [Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA, 100%)] said.
So whenever the Democrats decide (without consulting the GOP) that a Republican amendment is "irrelevant" -- Marshall's word, but I'm sure he has support on the Hill -- they will simply table it, which means to stuff it in a sack and throw it into the ocean... without debate.
But it's not just Congress, where one expects at least a certain amount of stepping on the minority's toes (though always so many more broken toes when the minority is Republican); the chief executive is supposed to be "President of the United States," not president of the Democratic caucus. But this particular fellow, who ran an entire campaign congratulating himself on his "post-partisanship," has also proven to be allergic to dissent against his meshuge pronunciamentos; John Stossel reports on today's "jobs summit":
At least the Administration talks about the private sector:
"We want to make sure it is not just the public sector doing this in a vacuum," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. "It's important we engage the private sector as well." Administration officials, however, have excluded major trade associations from the summit....
Some of those groups privately complain that their job creation ideas, including enactment of stalled free trade deals that they say would boost exports, are opposed by labor unions, which will be heavily represented at the forum.
The White House, which has clashed with some of the business groups over their opposition to health-care reform and other initiatives, says it has met repeatedly with those organizations and wants to hear fresh ideas.
Yes. I am sure those "fresh ideas" will come from the trade unions whom the White House just hasn't heard from much over the past year. At the summit they will also hear from environmental groups “Green for All” and “Coalition for the Green Bank.” I’m sure they’ll have great ideas for job creation.
Will at least some free-market economists get to speak? No. The White House will hear from Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, and Jeffrey Sachs. "Fresh ideas" won’t be heard from these folks.
Anybody who knows what the term "summit" means, raise your hand. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Yes, I'm sure all readers of this blog know that a "summit" is generally used to mean a meeting between opposing heads of state to bring a long-term negotiation to a final conclusion. The operative word here is "opposing": If everyone is already singing from the same page, that's not a summit; that's a party.
But this is hardly anomalous in the administration of the Obamacle. When dissenters are so obviously wrong, why bother listening to them? It will only waste time on "irrelevant" proposals. On issue after issue, in task force after task force, he has excluded not only Republicans but even Democrats who are insufficiently subordinate. In fact, his appointment of scores of "Czars" to make decisions in place of secretaries, administrators, and other positions subject to Senate confirmation is a gigantic conspiracy to wall off any congressional dissent to Obamic policy-making.
Democrats in the judiciary evince the very same philosophy of "See no Republicans, hear no Republicans, Allow no Republicans to speak." No better example exists than the liberal judges who have repeatedly overturned the decisions of the people -- often even when those decisions were expressed in democratic elections -- and tried to force same-sex marriage (SSM) on us all, willy-nilly. The astonishing and relentless assault on government of, by, and for the people is particularly brutal in California:
- In response to rumblings for SSM from the Left, Californians voted very strongly (61-39) for traditional marriage, Proposition 22, in May of 2000.
- Not willing to accept the vote of mere peons -- can't let the inmates run the asylum! -- the California Supreme Court overturned Prop 22 eight years later, May 2008, declaring SSM to be a fundamental right under the California state constitution. Thus shocking those of us who had never actually seen it there before.
- This forced the people back to the polls again six months later, where they enacted Proposition 8 by 52 to 48 (in a very Democratic year with Barack Obama on the same ballot). Prop 8 had exactly the same wording as Prop 22, but it was an initiative constitutional amendment, rather than a lowly legislative initiative. Thus, Prop 8 trumped the California Supreme Court's decision by amendmending the constitution.
But the Left refuses to admit defeat. Liberal activists filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn Prop 8 under the federal Constitution, which everybody knows was expressly written in 1787 in order to legalize same-sex marriage.
Notwithstanding all that voting goin' on, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- all three judges were appointed by Bill Clinton -- has signalled that it is poised to find Prop 8 unconstitutional and throw it out. The voters can go jump in the Pacific.
This will eventually force the issue to the Supreme Court (perhaps after a detour at an "en banc" hearing of the 9th Circus), where I am utterly convinced the current Court will side with the people, not their self-appointed judicial masters.
Regardless of the likely good ending to this long legal saga, my point is that the Democratic response to dissent from its utopian schemes is "shut up and go away." In this case, we actually held a debate in the most public and democratic way: by a democratic election. Now that debate is over and the Right has won, the Left wants the vote overturned by judicial warrant; their own losing side shall be declared the winner, and the votes of millions of Californios become null and void.
This arrogance even permeates the lowest levels of "government," in this case a state-owned, public university.
In the Fall of 1996, the debate over California's Proposition 209 raged. The initiative constitutional amendment threatened to end "affirmative action," that is, race and gender preferences in California -- and the Left was in a lather. How dare those conservatives take seriously all that nonsense about judging folks by the content of their characters, rather than the color of their skins; didn't those religious extremists and social troglodytes understand that skin color completely determines character, as well as determining ability, temperment, and opportunity?
To top off the insult, the campaign for Prop 209 was run by a black conservative, Ward Connerly. How could such a creature even exist, let alone run a successful campaign to change California's constitution?
The wording of the initiative was truly convoluted, contorted, tortuous, and impossible to understand... at least to liberals. It read, "The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."
The Left was terrified that the idiot sheeple, in the privacy of the voting booth, might become so befuddled by the sly and tricksy language that they fail to understand that voting for Prop 209 would stop the state from discriminating against, or granting preferential treatment to individuals or groups on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.
The California State University at Northridge (CSUN) decided to hold a debate on September 25th, 1996. Speaking against the initiative would be famed civil-rights leader Joe Hicks; so obviously, the logical choice to speak in its favor would be Ward Connerly himself.
But the CSUN student council had other ideas... or at least half of them did. It comprised 22 members, as I recall, split evenly between supporters and opponents of Prop 209. When the council called the first question, to invite Hicks to speak in opposition, the vote was unanimous.
But then Student Body President Vladimir Cerna, an outspoken opponent of eliminating "affirmative action" and opponent of Prop 209, pulled a rabbit up his sleeve: Rather than call a vote on the proponent nominated by supporters of the initiative, Ward Connerly, Cerna took it upon himself to introduce a different candidate: He moved that CSUN invite, as its Prop 209 proponent in the debate, David Ernest Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Proponents of Prop 209 were aghast; they all voted against the obvious "poison pill." But the lovers of affirmative action unanimously voted for David Duke to represent their opponents, making the vote an 11-11 tie. This allowed Cerna to exercise his power as president to cast a second vote for Duke, and the motion carried 12 to 11. It was official: The pro-Prop 209 side would be represented in the debate by a white nationalist and demonstrated racist.
The Left succeeded in picking a racist monster to "speak for" the Right... but Prop 209 was enacted anyway by a 10-point margin.
Like a web, the pieces all fall into place...
What weaves all these threads together is a common theme of "winning" debate -- legislative, administrative, judicial, and academic -- by gagging the opposition, by mandating assent, by locking out dissenters, and by throwing freedom of speech under the bus of the permanent campaign.
I can only conclude, as I have on too many occasions (but don't expect me to exercise admirable restraint in the future), by quoting the late great Robert Anton Wilson, when he ate too many magic mushrooms and channeled Lemuel Gulliver *:
My own thought: Democrats do not form a political party; they form an ideological cult.
And that puts a period to this post.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
* Wilson, Robert Anton; "The Persecution and Assassination of the Parapsychologists as Performed by the Inmates of the American Association for the Advancement of Science under the Direction of the Amazing Randi;" p. 85, Right Where You Are Sitting Now, ©1982, And/Or Press, Inc. -- first printing.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 3, 2009, at the time of 6:57 PM
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» The Party of Mandatory Assent from The Greenroom
The Democratic Party fantasizes that it’s “the party of dissent.” It’s certainly true that an inordinate number of Democrats were “dissidents” when they were young; but that was when Richard Nixon was president, for... [Read More]
Tracked on December 3, 2009 6:36 PM
» Addendum to "The Party of Mandatory Assent" from Big Lizards
In our immediately preceding post, The Party of Mandatory Assent, we concluded that: What weaves all these threads together is a common theme of "winning" debate -- legislative, administrative, judicial, and academic -- by gagging the opposition, by ma... [Read More]
Tracked on December 3, 2009 10:10 PM
The following hissed in response by: MarkJM
Bravo! Excellent post. I love your style!
The following hissed in response by: GW
Great post. What you document seems to me to go hand in hand with the gradual take over of the Democratic Party by the far left. They took the moniker of liberal, but there is nothing of classical liberalism about them. They have no desire for debate, rather they pronounce. To disagree with them is to be sujbect to all manner of ad hominem attacks. It is all inately tied into the politics of victimhood that the far left has ridden so successfully to power. It truly is toxic.
The above hissed in response by: GW at December 3, 2009 11:17 PM
The following hissed in response by: Geoman
They always want to stifle debate, because they can't win any debate that is grounded in truth.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
The philosophy of the American Left can be summed up in a single compound sentence:
You owe us, and we want it all; not now, man -- yesterday!
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at December 4, 2009 12:35 PM
The following hissed in response by: AD
There is nothing "Liberal" about the Left in American Politics today.
They are "Progressives", aka, Socialists with dirty faces. They believe in the over-arching power of the state, and the subservience of the proletariat to the dictates of that state.
They bring nothing good to any discussion.
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