By Ralph Benko
One year ago, between the re-election and re-inauguration of Barack Obama, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy met and mapped out three major strategic goals. These are designed to seize plenary control over the US government and, thereby, America. This is not “black helicopter” paranoia. It was reported candidly in the pretty hard left Mother Jones. While MJ is not canonical — that would be The Nation — it is credible on all things left. Here is what the left is up to. It is equal parts nefarious and … silly. Sing to us, Mom, about the first meeting of the Democracy Initiative:
A month after President Barack Obama won reelection, top brass from three dozen of the most powerful groups in liberal politics met at the headquarters of the National Education Association (NEA), a few blocks north of the White House. Brought together by the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Communication Workers of America (CWA), and the NAACP, the meeting was invite-only and off-the-record. Despite all the Democratic wins in November, a sense of outrage filled the room as labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders discussed the challenges facing the left and what to do to beat back the deep-pocketed conservative movement.
At the end of the day, many of the attendees closed with a pledge of money and staff resources to build a national, coordinated campaign around three goals: getting big money out of politics, expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation. The groups in attendance pledged a total of millions of dollars and dozens of organizers to form a united front on these issues—potentially, a coalition of a kind rarely seen in liberal politics, where squabbling is common and a stay-in-your-lane attitude often prevails.
Mom revealed all this, and more, with keen excitement. Yet the vast left wing conspiracy looks, to this columnist, about as threatening as … the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse hatching a coup d’etat against the Queen of Hearts.
MSNBC goes into a frenzy at the words “tea party.” Yet the left apparently has its own tea party, called the “Democracy Initiative.” It looks, to this Tea Party Patriot, quite mad. But then, this is politics and thus madness is to be expected. As the Cheshire Cat observed to Alice, “`we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’ `How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice. `You must be,’ said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.’”
The “Mad Tea Party” called the Democracy Initiative reportedly identified as its “most pressing” goal to curb the use of the filibuster in the United States Senate. They won. There were many bellows of Pachydermic Outrage when the Donks finally pulled off this rules change.
It, however, was a change that many conservative Republicans, while in the Senate majority, claimed almost as a moral imperative. (And the Dems resisted, with Harry Reid actually filibustering it.) To embellish the menagerie metaphor one step too far, the GOP outrage surely was an example of a pig squealing louder than it was stuck. Mitch McConnell, surely, dreams of putting Harry Reid under his own steamroller.
Next goal: to limit the right and ability of people lawfully to finance the advocacy of … free market and social conservative policy. This is an impressively ruthless attempt to outright censor free speech.
Sometimes it is an outright ban, sometimes it is wrapped up in innocent-sounding demands for “disclosure.” The supposed integrity of such a demand is, of course, hopelessly compromised both by an egregious double standard — such as proposing restrictions on corporations and exempting labor unions — and by conducting vicious campaigns to ridicule donors … and injure them by boycotting their businesses.
If the agenda on the left really was simply to allow voters to take into account the source of funding for political advocacy — rather than bullying their adversaries — it would refrain from repeated efforts at the economic lynching of their opponents. The indispensable libertarian-lesbian public intellectual Camille Paglia, courageously defending religious freedom, has called such tactics, most recently as applied to the star of Duck Dynasty, “utterly fascist and utterly Stalinist.”
Proposals to attempt, coercively, to constrain the wealthy make an admiring opponent (me) cringe with embarrassment for them. The wealthy and powerful always — no, really, always — have exercised disproportionate influence over the political process. Always. The left’s effort is a thinly veiled attempt to trample the First Amendment to shift power from the right’s wealthy and powerful to the left’s wealthy and powerful.
Or it is painfully naive. We’ve had some really horrifying interludes where the left sought to “equalize” things. The Reign of Terror during the French Revolution is a good example. The progressives of that era, called “Jacobins,” turned to the guillotine to achieve, well, “liberty, equality, and fraternity.” Progressive doyenne Rosanne Barr-Arnold told Occupy Wall Street that they ought to give the guillotine another chance:
I do say that I am in favour of the return of the guillotine and that is for the worst of the worst of the guilty.
‘I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay, you know, the ability to pay back anything over $100 million [of] personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of $100 million.
‘And if they are unable to live on that amount of that amount then they should, you know, go to the re-education camps and if that doesn’t help, then being beheaded.’
Memo to the left. Last time you went there you ended up guillotining one another. Just… noting.
After that bloodbath subsided, the wealthy and powerful still exercised disproportionate influence over the political process. There’s no known way to prevent it.
Even were it possible … there is no evidence that the left is any more noble, just, generous, or capable of improving the lot of us workers than are the right’s rich and powerful. Exhibit A: Obamacare. Exhibit B: after you took us off the gold standard, in 1971, income inequality began to skyrocket and hasn’t stopped.
Progressives really are more beautiful, better coiffed, and better dressed than we are. They also throw much better parties. But are they better at running the system for the benefit of us workers? The evidence is they are worse.
They just like to be in charge. No surprise there.
Totalitarianism is an old game.
The left wing conspiracy’s next goal? Add millions of presumably left-leaning voters to the voter rolls. They cast this as countering “voter suppression” by an insidious GOP. The right wing claims, with the angelic innocence of Eddie Haskell addressing Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver, to wish to protect the integrity of the ballot box.
This innocent look might be overdone. Our motives likely are comparable to theirs: electoral advantage. But even Rev. Sharpton must have a hard time keeping a straight face in claiming that to require as much identification to vote as to check out a library book or board an airplane is Unadulterated Evil.
More voters are good for conservatives. This writer, a radical humanitarian populist, is unreservedly enthusiastic about actively registering every eligible voter in the nation to vote … and to enroll in a political party. This will make people, on balance, more … conservative. Saul Alinsky teaches us, in Rules for Radicals (a radically humanitarian populist, not socialist or statist, classic, pp. 205-6):
[I]f people feel they don’t have the power to change a bad situation, then they do not think about it. Why start figuring out how you are going to spend a million dollars if you do not have a million dollars or are ever going to have a million dollars—unless you want to engage in fantasy?
It is when people have a genuine opportunity to act and to change conditions that they begin to think their problems through—then they show their competence, raise the right questions, seek special professional counsel and look for the answers. Then you begin to realize that believing in people is not just a romantic myth.
Time for Republicans to “begin to realize that believing in people is not just a romantic myth.” That means doing more — not less — than bringing the politically marginalized into the franchise. Texas Republican Party chairman Steve Munisteri enthusiastically is recruiting Blacks, Hispanics, Asians into party offices and candidacies. The formerly marginalized are starting to join the Texas GOP, as party leaders, en masse.
The left accomplished its most desired goal in 2013 and mostly got rid of the filibuster. Remember that when Mitch is driving Harry’s steamroller over Harry. And chortling.
The left crusades to get (the other team’s) big money out of politics. This is, as conducted, nothing but a corrupt power grab. Or else… Sancho Panza call your office.
The left is avid to expand the franchise. This is a wonderful thing. The GOP justifiably is known as “the stupid party.” But even Republicans eventually will develop the ability to appeal to voters when they must. As the GOP emerges from all those stupor-inducing martinis at The Club assuredly it will figure out how to enroll many of these new voters as Republicans.
So, my heartbreakingly beautiful progressive Pandoras, do you know what’s in the box you are opening? Perhaps not.
And so for guidance, at this juncture, this columnist suggests we turn to eminent cultural critic Grace Slick:
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead …
Remember what the dormouse said:
Feed your head
Feed your head
Republished with permission from Forbes.com