November 20 2013
Back in September I wrote at length about the Left’s escalation in political rhetoric. Instead of calling Republicans hateful, cruel, greedy or heartless, liberal pundits and politicians were using words associated with criminal activity (anarchists, arsonists, jihadists, terrorists and kidnappers) to attack their rivals during the Obamacare funding debate. Having already overplayed more creative invectives like tea-bagger, Nazi, and the c-word, I predicted that the Left had used up their verbal arsenal. I was wrong; they had not quite hit bottom.
Last Friday, MSNBC liberal commentator Martin Bashir suggested someone should poop in Sarah Palin’s mouth. You gotta hand it to him, the insult was innovative in a middle school boy’s locker room taunt sort of way. Apparently Bashir was offended by Palin’s comparison of the US national debt held by the Chinese to slavery. “[I]t’ll be like slavery when that note is due,” Palin told a group in Iowa, “We are going to beholden to the foreign master.” While not the most artful comparison, it wasn’t deserving of a nasty mouthful from Bashir.
Bashir has since apologized, hopefully quelling any potential for a potty diatribe trend on the Left. The apology seemed sincere but what would have possessed someone to say such horrible things in the first place? There are a couple of reasons the Left has gone rhetorically nuclear. It gets attention. Had Bashir said, “Palin’s comparison of generational debt to bondage is inappropriate because…,” it would have been a bit of a yawner. Thoughtful analysis often is. The more inventive and vicious an insult, the more likely it is to grab headlines. With waning audience share, perhaps left-leaning cable channels don’t think they can afford to be civil.
In addition to gaining attention, vitriol works. The point of vilifying opponents is to ostracize them. People don’t want to be associated with tea baggers, political arsonists, extremists, and fascists. Calling someone names, even if one has to later apologize, is sometimes worth the gamble if it alienates one’s political foes from the general public.
Understandably, decent people don’t want to be called criminals, body parts, villains, etc. To avoid being a target, it is all too easy to bow to political correctness and never speak up. The ultimate goal of ad hominem attacks is to silence one’s opponents. Have nothing to counter an opponent’s concern that $17 trillion in national debt can shackle the next generation? No worries, just suggest someone poop in her mouth. That’ll choke off debate.
Just you wait; the Left will outdo doo doo. It’s only a matter of time. The 2014 election season is just around the corner. There’s plenty of time to dust off the vagina costume, dream up some novel slurs, and try to silence Americans on the Right.