Cupidity, Stupidity & Ideological Narcissism on the Left and Right
Why the Center does not yet hold….
Jay B. Gaskill
The cupidity award of the month goes to Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig who presses on, no doubt inspired by our impeached former president’s example. The Senator, clinging by his fingernails to a sinking reputation, is exercising his appeal rights from a reasonable ruling denying his bleated attempt to get out of his plea bargain. I’m still of the opinion that Mr. Craig secretly hopes and expects that effort to fail. “There. See! I tried” beats the actual embarrassing jury trial he wisely avoided in the first place.
The stupidity award goes to Oakland’s Mayor, Ron Dellums who, faced with an alarming and persistent increase in “Oaktown’s” murder rate, has clung to vague fog-ball solutions, like “more youth opportunities” while standing fast against the public outcry, resisting the one thing that history conclusively shows actually works: More cops on the street. As columnist, Chip Johnson, so eloquently put it in today’s San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/16/BAL7SQFHK.DTL&hw=dellums&sn=001&sc=1000 ):
[Mayor] “Dellums … has a choice of legacies to choose from. He can be remembered for reconfiguring the zoning map or searching for more programmatic solutions to a street-crime problem – or he can grab the issue and get a handle on it before it gets any worse. Do you want to be remembered as former New York Mayor David Dinkins or his successor, Rudy Giuliani? The citizens of this city, from every corner, have told you what they want. It’s your move, Mr. Mayor.”
The Ideological Narcissism Award on the right goes to the Evangelical wing of the Republican Party, many leaders of which – in a time of a real war against civilization itself – have somehow deluded themselves that the abortion issue (about which the next president can do very little except to appoint one or two justices to the Supreme Court over the next four to eight years, candidates for whom a “litmus” test on the issue would be disqualifying) is so important that it trumps everything else.
The Ideological Narcissism Award on the left goes to the anti-military wing of the Democratic Party (think “MoveOn.org” and George Soros here) who are prepared to back the next president (here think Hillary) into such a Carteresque corner that we might have to endure a nuclear armed Islamist state in the Middle East, a devastating attack on Israel or another 9-11 scale attack on us (or some combination thereof) before we finally come to our senses and take this deadly, long term threat to our way of life seriously.
It is as if FDR had to face the complete defection of the loony George Wallace wing of the Democratic Party in an unholy alliance with the Lindbergh / Lafollette isolationist wing of the Republican Party to stop Lend Lease military support to Great Britain and our other beleaguered friends. Had ideological Narcissism prevailed in this country between 1938 and 1943, say, all of Europe’s Jews would be just a sad memory, British school kids would be learning German, and our vacations to Hawaii would take place – if at all – under the watchful eyes of the Japanese Imperial Security agents.
Cupidity, Stupidity and Ideological Narcissism are not curable for individuals, save in rare cases. But as collective maladies, they are correctable by the simple expedient of popular rejection. I have a strong, long term confidence in the folk wisdom and common sense of the American people. But these are times that try the optimism of even a “Truman democrat” like me.
I refuse to wallow in despair. After all, not only did Mr. Truman defeat Mr. Dewey in 1948, he set the stage for our eventual victory in the Cold War and trumped all of the cramped and dispirited expectations of history.