Aug 29 2010

The last refuge of a liberal

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:59 pm

Once again, Charles Krauthammer connects the dots.   While the Washington Post is as reliably liberal/left as the New York Times, I don’t think this editorial would have appeared in “the newspaper of record.”  Kudos to the Post for publishing it.  Now, if only it required its staff to read it.

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the “bitter” people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging “to guns or religion or” — this part is less remembered — “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

That’s a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.
— Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.
— Disgust and alarm with the federal government’s unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.
— Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

— Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become “ungovernable,” last year’s excuse for the Democrats’ failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities — often lopsided majorities — oppose President Obama’s social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.

What’s a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the Tea Party arose, a spontaneous, leaderless and perfectly natural (and traditionally American) reaction to the vast expansion of government intrinsic to the president’s proudly proclaimed transformational agenda, the liberal commentariat cast it as a mob of angry white yahoos disguising their antipathy to a black president by cleverly speaking in economic terms.

Then came Arizona and S.B. 1070. It seems impossible for the left to believe that people of good will could hold that: (a) illegal immigration should be illegal, (b) the federal government should not hold border enforcement hostage to comprehensive reform, i.e., amnesty, (c) every country has the right to determine the composition of its immigrant population.

As for Proposition 8, is it so hard to see why people might believe that a single judge overturning the will of 7 million voters is an affront to democracy? And that seeing merit in retaining the structure of the most ancient and fundamental of all social institutions is something other than an alleged hatred of gays — particularly since the opposite-gender requirement has characterized virtually every society in all the millennia until just a few years ago?

And now the mosque near Ground Zero. The intelligentsia is near unanimous that the only possible grounds for opposition is bigotry toward Muslims. This smug attribution of bigotry to two-thirds of the population hinges on the insistence on a complete lack of connection between Islam and radical Islam, a proposition that dovetails perfectly with the Obama administration’s pretense that we are at war with nothing more than “violent extremists” of inscrutable motive and indiscernible belief. Those who reject this as both ridiculous and politically correct (an admitted redundancy) are declared Islamophobes, the ad hominem du jour.

It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them” — blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims — a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, “just downright mean”?

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

Aug 29 2010

The Forecast: Summer in L.A. for at least one more year.

Category: Baseball,virtueamuzikman @ 8:00 am

It’s no secret the weather in Southern California is great.  It is the reason many people come here, to vacation or to live.  Other than a few days of rain each year the weather is very constant and almost always warm and sunny.  To be a weatherman in LA has to be one really boring job.  I like to joke with my wife each year about the weather on the day of the Rose Parade in Pasadena.  There they are, all those folks surviving freezing weather in other parts of the country, tuning in to the Tournament of Roses Parade –  invariably held on a beautiful warm winter’s day.  It has to make some of them just want to pack up and go west.  I tell my wife we could ease the crowding here in LA if we had just one Rose Parade held during a huge storm…but it never works out that way.

Well in case you haven’t figured it out, there is a very simple reason why LA has enjoyed such a perpetual summer.  It has nothing to do with sun spots, El Nino or trade winds.  You see this great weather began in the year 1958, the year the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and brought with them their young red-headed announcer – a man by the name of Vincent Edward Scully.  (But we all know him as Vin or Vinny)  And every year since 1958 Vin Scully has been the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  But it has become so much more than that.  To baseball fans in LA, Vin Scully has become the voice of baseball and the voice of summer.  As long as I can remember Vinny has been as much a part of summer as trips to the beach and outdoor barbecues.  The same experience is shared by anyone under the age of 62, for that is how many years this sweet and gentle man has been at the microphone.  Virtually none of us has ever known another voice of the Dodgers.  (Virtually none of us can claim to be at the top of our game after 62 years either).

What an honor and a privilege it has been to share every summer with Vinnie, and believe me – when you hear his voice, it IS summer.  As a child I have vivid memories of going to see the Dodgers and being surrounded by fans with transistor radios and little gray earpieces, so they could listen to Vin while they watched the game.  In fact there were so many that you could still hear his voice even if you didn’t bring your own radio.  If you have never heard Vinnie call a baseball game I pity you.  What a master of ease and comfort, and what a genius at knowing when NOT to speak.  Some of the greatest moments in Dodger baseball are remembered as such because Vin just stopped talking and let the crowd say what needed to be said.  But when he does talk I swear it feels like we’re just like two good friends, sitting together in the bleachers.

The best news here in LA is that Vin Scully has agreed to be the voice of the Dodgers again next year.  That means for at least one more year it will be summer!  As a sports writer recently pointed out, there isn’t a player on the current Dodger roster that would rouse much regret if they were traded away this coming off-season.  But if we lose Vin, we lose summer.  And it has been such a long and glorious summer. I wish it would never end.

If you’d like to hear Vinnie and you never have, may I suggest you rent the Kevin Costner film, “For The Love Of The Game“.  Vinnie is the voice in the film doing the play-by-play for the big game.  If you’d like to get a glimpse of Vinnie out from behind the microphone keep an eye out for a replay of the television special called “Scully & Wooden For The Kids”  It is a live interview benefit done by LA Times sportswriter, T.J. Simers.  It consists of a marvelous chat with Vin and the legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden.   Sadly the program has only aired twice.  But the very best way to experience Vin Scully is by listening to a Dodger broadcast.  And even in a year like this one, when the Dodgers are not doing well, it’s still bearable thanks to Vin. He is simply the very best at what he does – delivering summer every year, right on time!