So I'm doing Vicki McKenna's "Up Front" show with guest host Brian Schimming last Friday when a caller named Bill introduces a favorite topic of mine: The self-righteous intolerance of the Left that so often turns violent.
"I don't put a bumper sticker on my car for fear of someone slashing my tires or throwing a rock through my window," Bill said.
Been there, done that, my friend. I've had conversations in restaurants interrupted by shrieking sputum-spewing enforcers of liberal political orthodoxy. Yard signs twisted and shredded into origamis of rage. I could go on but let's get back to the radio show.
Bill reported that on Highway N between Stoughton and Cottage Grove is a 4' by 8' sign supporting the McCain candidacy.
"Of course, someone had taken a knife to it and slashes it so no one can read it. That is the typical type of bunk that liberals do. If they don't like it they react out to it. I don't go out tearing up Obama's stuff because that would be wrong but liberals feel perfectly o.k. to act out if they don't agree with a candidate that's conservative."
As if to prove our point, next comes "Rich on Line 3:"
"... I converted to a total liberal ... I can't wait to confront McCain guys like yourselves. I want to fight and want to make you swallow your front teeth. .... You guys are chicken hawks, you're pansy asses, you're pussies. I have enough venom in my system, I'm ready to go."
[Hear it for yourself with The WIBA Podcast about 15 minutes in]
"Phyllis," who was next in the call queue, summed up my reaction:
"I can't believe the hatred of that fellow that called that ranted; it sounds like he should be committed to a mental institution. That explains ... that they'll go to any lengths, they'll break any law to get their way. That explains why they don't want the voter registration lists checked because they are afraid there will be some (names) that don't belong."
[The WIBA podcast about 2 minutes in.]
It could not have been happenstance that on the previous Friday I shared the airwaves with Leftist Ben Manski on WHA radio when the same topic came up, albeit obliquely - coded, as it were. It is the Left's propensity for violence.
This phenomenon is flaring up six weeks before Election Day because the Obama Nation is sensing that his once-inevitable coronation may be evaporating like the Brewers 8-game lead for the playoffs. The election has tightened to within 2 percentage points nationally and McCain has actually taken the lead in the state-by-state Electoral College count.
Bantering with Ben
I like Ben Manski well enough. We walk away from every on-air duel shaking hands. Ben is former co-chair of the national Green Party. Some of the Greens running around Madison include Alders Brenda Konkel, Satya Rhodes Conway, Marsha Rummel and Robbie Webber. Over on the County side are John Hendrick, Ashok Kumar, Kyle Richmond and Barbara Vedder. Austin King was Green. So was Ech Vedder. All from Madison. That should give you an idea of their politics.
To the Greens, Barack Obama is a sell-out centrist. For the presidency, the Greens have nominated the always-angry Cynthia McKinney, for whom wearing an American flag button is not even an option. Even so, defeating the Republicans seems to be a priority for Manski. I know it doesn't make sense but you'll have to talk to him about that.
Twenty-two minutes into our debate on the state station, Ben offers this: "I think there's going to be some problems come election day if we get more of the same in terms of policies."
(If you are a member of Wisconsin Public Radio, as I am, you can download the show at the Wisconsin Public Radio website.)
The phrase struck me as rather chilling. It stuck with me. Nine minutes later, as Ben is chewing through the usual Leftist palaver about a "lawless presidency," I ask host Joy Cardin for leave to submit Ben to an interrogatory of my own. Lets make the naked light bulb swing:
BLASKA: "What did you mean when you said there would be 'some problems come election day'?"
BEN: "The peace movement is mobilizing in a big way to have an impact on the elections. They're not doing it in the same way as they did in 2004 where they gave Kerrey carte blanche... we will see the peace movement speaking in its own voice."
BLASKA: "Did you mean your peace people will go violent, again?"
BEN: "I don't know what you're referring to, in terms of people going violent. Are you talking about the Republican and Democratic national convention? ... It was a police riot."
That's it's own chapter in the Leftist lexicon. Disrupt speeches, smash windows, throw bags of cement atop buses carrying delegates, terrorize Cub Scouts being bused to recite the pledge of allegiance.
BLASKA: "Are you saying 'there will be problems on election day'?"
BEN: "I was talking about after the inauguration. ...
"I think responsible conservatives should be concerned that if McCain and Palin take office and are seen by a very large portion of the country to have been put into power illegitimately, just as Bush has been seen from the beginning of his administration, that there is a limit to how long people are willing to tolerate what they perceive to be stolen elections, a rigged electoral system and policies that are out of step with the majority of the American people on issue after issue. And that is an issue in terms of stability for this country. I don't think this country can go much longer under those policies."
Their own way of thinking
I had the audacity to mention this hope: "I hope this word gets out to the sheriff's office and every police department in the state of Wisconsin."
Ben riposted: "The FBI and other government agencies already have a good sense of what the peace movement is doing."
As well they should, Ben.
This is how the angry Left justifies its violence - elections are "stolen" - only if they are the ones losing them. They represent "the people" - as long as you define "the people' as those who have never been inside a WalMart, or watched a Nascar race, or understand that life begins at conception.
"The People" are wilding in the streets smashing windows at the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle in 1999 or darkly warning the nation's mayors to get out of Madison.
Ben cited the dumping of corrupted voter registrations in Florida as "illegal." Says you and what court of law? I pointed out that for Ben and his friends on the Hard Left the word "illegal" simply means that they don't agree. That's all.
Ben then stated that correcting the voter lists was "unconstitutional." Your case citation, please?
That's the difference between Dems and Republicans: They say "Count every vote." I'm with Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen; we say, "Count every legal vote."
The Divine Peggy Noonan reports that Obama in Elko, Nevada, last week encouraged his partisans to "argue" with McCain supporters and to "get in their face."
A columnist reminds us:
Today, John Kerry is mostly a pariah in Democratic circles, seen as an effete and cautious campaigner who couldn't even beat the laughable George Bush. Yet people, and the media, forget how shocked his supporters were four Novembers ago, so certain that Bush's Supreme Court "selection" in 2000 would be overturned.
... Dan Henninger, deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, told me: "If McCain-Palin wins, and especially if they carry Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Democratic party is going to look like Godfather II - with Bill and Hillary Clinton jointly playing Michael Corleone. The blogospheric left will go to the mattresses, against everyone -the Clintons, the 'Right,' and the media."
[Russ Smith, The Audacity of Defeat]
The Big Meltdown
I would be remiss if I did not at least note what may well be the biggest story of the year: the apparent near-meltdown of America's financial markets this past week. That would, indeed, be calamitous. Not just for this aging Boomer anxiously watching his rollover IRA, but for the nation and the world.
We're all going to learn a lot more about the economy in the next few days. We're going to know soon enough whether we averted disaster or if all the dikes and levees and bailouts in the world cannot forestall a necessary bleeding out of this over-heated radiator.
We have long known that too many people were buying too much house with money they did not have. They were encouraged in this by the "affordable housing" Left and the Wall Street Right. People bought oversized houses on the come. They bought $300,000 homes with no down payment on the belief that, in three years, the house would appreciate in value to $380,000 and there would be their down payment.
That is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme and when the first job layoff came the dominoes started clicking. The one thing the financial markets hate is uncertainty. The federal government gave mixed signals by leveraging some buyouts (Bear Stearns) and then allowing Lehman Brothers to fail. It threw bad money after good by backing up Freddie and Fannie, two grotesqueries grafted together like Frankenstein's monster. The two "government-sponsored enterprises" were given the private sector's profit motive but without the responsibility for any downside, due to its implicit government backing.
A torrent of words have been and are being written about this debacle. If you read one article, try " As Fingers Point ..." in the anti-Bush NY Times Saturday.
To his credit, Mr. Bush accurately foresaw the danger posed by Freddie Ma and Fannie Mae and began calling as early as 2002 for greater regulation.
"The Democrats pushed affordable housing goals even in the face of evidence that people who got the loans shouldn't have gotten them" said Robert E. Litan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "I blame the Democrats for demanding that Fannie Mae keep buying these loans. I blame the Administration for going along with it."
Better yet, here is the complete history of President Bush's warnings, straight from the source.