April 6, 2005


Look Back at Anger: Why the "vast left-wing conspiracy" failed to unseat President Bush. (JACOB LAKSIN, April 5, 2005, Opinion Journal)

It was several months before Election Day. George W. Bush and John Kerry had pulled to a statistical dead heat, and the pundits were poring over the polls in an effort to divine the reasons for the latest shift in public opinion. But MoveOn.org had more pressing concerns. It was moved to ask its network of true believers: "Why aren't we talking about a landslide in November?"

Such groundless conviction "was not at all unusual in the world of MoveOn," writes Byron York in "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy." The triumphalism flowed, he notes, from a deceptively simple rationale. Feeling a passionate contempt for the president and his policies, the MoveOn rank-and-file labored under the illusion that they represented the majority of the American people.

They weren't the only ones. In the months following the 9/11 attacks, there emerged an activist movement of left-wing loyalists, Democratic operatives and deep-pocketed financiers all united under one aim--to defeat President Bush--and all confident that history was turning in their direction. Mr. York, the White House correspondent for National Review, gives us an engaging account of the partisan passions that made this "the biggest, richest, and best organized movement in American political history" and that ultimately proved its undoing.

All the usual suspects are here: Bush-bashing billionaire George Soros; politicos like Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean; squadrons of Democratic strategists and spin-men; left-wing luminaries like Michael Moore and Al Franken. There are new players, too, like the so-called 527s, ostensibly nonpartisan lobbying groups that massaged campaign-finance laws in the service of the Democratic cause. (The Republicans had their versions, too, of course.) Mr. York even takes us inside the brain trust of the anti-Bush network, the new Center for American Progress. "Our goal is to win," announces John Podesta, the center's founder and head. He means it.

Beneath the patina of confidence, however, the left-wing conspiracy often seems pitiable, as desperate as it is determined. Above all, its members are angry--at the perceived injustice of the 2000 presidential election, at the prospect of long-term Republican governance, at John Kerry's inept campaigning. Even, it appears, at being called angry.

It is the anger that does them in.

The politics of anger and hatred has an abysmal track record in American presidential politics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 6, 2005 12:00 AM

Mere anger is never enough in a civilized society. You have to offer a competing world view in an election, one of the many reasons the approval/disapproval type polling so loved by the MSM is so utterly meaningless. You can't beat someone with no one. Kerry maximized the Hate-Bush vote, getting 48%, which is worthy of notice. But he lacked anything even remotely resembling a positive message. It seems he was more concerned with not alienating the 'Better Hitler Than Bush' crowd than appealing to people who were on the fence or were underwhelmed with his rather desultory Senate record.

Since the Iraq campaign is out of the news and increasingly will be so over the next two-three years, it would seem that the Democrats will have even fewer issues on which to run. What does a tax and spend liberal like the Hildebeest find wrong in the profligate budget put out by Congress?

Posted by: bart at April 6, 2005 6:30 AM

The left is angry because they're out of power. That's the long and short of it. They thought their world view was the natural order of the universe and anyone who
demurred was no better than a flat-earther.

When Barry Goldwater came along with an alternate view of the world, he was dispatched in short order by the vicious lies of a media warming up for their equally vicious attacks on Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Justice Thomas squeaked by because by then Rush Limbaugh had came along and all of us who thought we were the only ones who thought differently from the Received Wisdom of the left found out we were, in fact, in the majority.

The rest is history. More talk radio programs, Reagan, FOX News, the internet, the blogosphere -- the truth is setting us all free of the hegemony of the left because socialism cannot survive in the fresh air and sunshine of the truth.

Now we have a president we can be proud of who will continue to press our commitment to a world safe from terrorism where free people can live in peace and the propaganda of newspeak, e.g., U.N. peacekeepers, has no traction.

Posted by: erp at April 6, 2005 10:29 AM

I'll be keeping that bit of data about the $1 million contributions being 92% to the Democrats. One-shot rebuttal that is.

Posted by: BC Monkey at April 6, 2005 10:30 AM

BC - opensecrets.org is your friend.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 6, 2005 10:32 AM