After enduring three days of outlandish claims and grievances about American life at the Charlotte convention, I wrote that “something shocking is happening to the Democratic Party.”
Five weeks later, I must amend the observation. The soul-sapping transformation is no longer “happening.” It is complete.
The Democratic Party has lost its mind and its way. Its political philosophy of inclusion and progress has been consumed by virulent strains of anger, dishonesty and intolerance. Its leaders don’t just want to win an election; they want to silence any American who disagrees with them.
Consider the latest evidence.
The White House, on defense over the assassination of our Libyan ambassador after Washington reduced security, launched a frantic search for a scapegoat. It first blamed protests over an anti-Muslim video and, when forced to admit the protests never existed, pointed fingers at intelligence officials and managers in the State Department. Watch your back, Hillary.
A campaign aide, with a straight face, also insisted that the terrorist attack is an issue only because Republicans politicized it. The buck doesn’t stop at this president’s desk.
A desperate Obama resorts to calling his opponent a “liar,” and his latest promise is to preserve taxpayer subsidies for public television’s cash cow, Big Bird. The tactic is denounced even by supporters as more cartoonish than the giant yellow canary. No matter — it’s a victory because another day passes without discussion of jobs, the debt, deficit or Iran.
Then there is Joe Biden. As I predicted, his manic behavior at the veep debate won the approval of Dems despondent over Obama’s flop at his debate. Biden’s rude laughs, snorts and sneers, combined with hectoring accusations of Paul Ryan, were catnip for those who see Republicans as unworthy and illegitimate.
They actually applaud that Biden’s interruptions — more than 100 of them — prevented any sustained, serious discussion. To hell with America, party comes first.
Despite Biden’s assertion that “facts matter,” they didn’t to him. Catholic bishops insist he misstated the terms of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate on their institutions. And although he was patently dishonest about his own votes on Iraq and Afghanistan, no Dem complained because they loved his venomous attacks on Ryan. As reader David Zukerman put it, “To see or hear Biden is to understand that, for the hard left, reality is a function of expression, and to understand, further, why there is an absence of any bipartisan spirit in Washington.”
To that point, there is zero evidence that those not already committed to Obama were impressed by Biden’s buffoonery, but MSNBC and The New York Times are back on the bus. Mission accomplished.
Romney and Ryan, of course, are big boys who can take care of themselves. But what of ordinary citizens who come up against Democratic malice and its media cheerleaders? Who will protect them?
That’s what Bill Skuby wants to know. The owner of a men’s shop in Spring Lake, NJ, Skuby is a Republican who decorated his store window with a racy Halloween display mocking Obama. He put an Obama mask over a skeleton, and had a tombstone with a reference to ObamaCare and an Internet composite of the president as an African-style witch doctor.
In response, Skuby won support from hundreds of people in what he calls his “1 percent town” but also “about 15 to 20 death threats.” He has been called a racist, a coffee shop got a bomb threat while he was there and The Star-Ledger urged a boycott of his store.
“I’m no racist, but I am anti-Obama,” Skuby tells me by phone. “Don’t I have a right to be? Isn’t this still America?”
The witch-doctor image was in bad taste and offensive, and Skuby agreed to remove it after complaints. But he says the rest of the display is staying because he believes defeating Obama is essential for the future of the country. He is also furious at the double standard coming from the left.
“It was OK for them to burn effigies of George Bush,” he says. “And they call Romney a liar, a thief and a murderer. But I can’t criticize Obama?”
That’s no longer a simple question. In theory, free speech still exists. But to the new Democrats, speech is free only to those who spout the party line. Everybody else must pay a price.
Keep on blabbing, Bloomy!
Prematurely tired of questions about potential successors and their promises, Mayor Bloomberg said he won’t take more questions on the topic.
“I’m not going to spend the next year answering ‘what do you think’ of every potential candidate’s ideas,” he told reporters. “I’m going to spend my time being mayor.”
It’s a bold promise and also a bad idea, for him and the city.
Like it or not, the campaign will revolve around the city Bloomberg shaped over 12 years. He’ll get plaudits and brickbats, especially during what is likely to be a hotly contested Democratic primary.
Understandably, the mayor doesn’t want to be drawn into the weeds of candidate talking points. Nor does he want to share the spotlight as he races to finish his tenure.
But his vow of silence would deprive voters of his experience and judgment on important matters. Look at how his back-of-the-hand slap to a call for tax hikes by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio settled the issue, at least for now. Similarly, legislation pending before the City Council, such as mandated sick leave for businesses and pushes to micromanage the Police Department, are certain to be re-aired. Scores of other policies, ranging from schools to bicycle lanes to his ban on big sugar drinks, will be fair game.
While my bet is that Bloomy will find it impossible to stay silent, he shouldn’t even try. He owes his supporters help as they navigate a campaign where unions already demand that the next mayor throw open the vault and leave it open.
Taking a turn for the worse
Thanks to Ronald Reagan’s success against Jimmy Carter, every challenger uses his campaign question: Are you better off than you were four years ago?
The answer New Yorkers are giving should worry Albany. A Siena College poll found 47 percent of state residents say they’re worse off now, while 35 percent believe they’re better off.
Gov. Cuomo isn’t facing voters this year, but the finding gives him every reason to push harder against the status quo.
As for legislators, they’re mostly hopeless, which is why Cuomo must separate himself from them.
Ain’t that the tooth!
After watching the two debates, reader Leonard Toboroff spots a pattern. He writes, “It’s simple: Romney and Ryan are up against two dental patients. One is on Novocain and the other is on laughing gas.”