WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan 12, (AIM.org)
"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." So said W. B. Yeats decades ago, but he might well have been talking about the here and now.
Regardless of whether or not she failed to fully disclose her help for a desperate and destitute illegal alien to President-elect Bush's transition team, Linda Chavez was the target of a well-organized effort by the Left to destroy her nomination because she is a conservative. That the Left found a fairly easy way to do so is less important than the larger question of its willingness to unite and fight, not merely with declarations of opposition, but with specific and memorable accusations, pounded day after day in a coordinated and persistent fashion.
Even if the phrase "illegal alien" had never entered and in effect short-circuited the Chavez nomination debate, the Left was fully prepared for a marathon brawl. From accusing her of being hostile to the basic rights of workers, as Sen. Kennedy claimed, to even calling her a race traitor, as the New York Times reported other leftists as doing, a broad coalition of lifestyle liberals, labor unions, identity politicians, and other assorted enemies of traditional values and free enterprise was well on its way to waging an ugly and lengthy smear campaign.
The Right had nothing comparable in place to respond. Commendably, a number of organizations and leaders, once they saw Chavez under fire, attempted to rally the troops to defend her. But even before the illegal alien issue snowballed out of control, the response from the Right was a far cry from the forceful and constant bombardment from the Left.
This has been the typical pattern. On issue after issue, from tax cuts to welfare reform to spending limits to racial preferences to you name it, the Left is noisy, angry, persistent, aggressive, ruthless. The Right it seems, is surprised every time, year after year, even shocked, by the level of emotional intensity, financial commitment, and sheer gall the Left brings to the fight. And often the Right doesn't even realize there is a fight underway at all until it's too late.
We cannot let this happen with John Ashcroft. The stakes are just too high. If confirmed, he is likely to be the best Attorney General since Edwin Meese, maybe even the best in living memory. His confirmation will be a thunderous victory in the long struggle for an America free of routine and legal abortion, an America of limited government and traditional values.
And thanks to the Free Congress Foundation's Coalition for Judicial Restraint, the perfect tool exists for the Right to rally around Ashcroft's banner.
But uniting is not enough. The Right must change how it fights. The other night on MSNBC, there were two talking-heads arguing about Ashcroft. Typically, the leftist was passionate, but calm and effective. His charges were startling and memorable. They were simple and repeated frequently, regardless of what the question was, so viewers would remember. But the conservative Ashcroft supporter, again typically, was halting, tepid, and on the defensive. He spent all his time mildly denying the charges, and protesting that Ashcroft was "capable" and "qualified". That is ineffective, to say the least.
The primary weapon the Left uses to beat the Right, from impeachment to the '95 government shutdown, etc., is the charge of bigotry, prejudice, hatred. The Left has nothing left in its arsenal. The Communist collapse and the stagnation of socialist countries has proved the efficacy of free enterprise. The Lifestyle Left has been discredited by AIDS, Columbine, and widespread knowledge of the ill effects of divorce and illegitimacy.
All the Left has now is the echo of moral authority it had from the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's. That's why every issue today has become a "civil rights" issue, a fight against bigotry. Those are the only grounds on which the Left can win. But it's an effective weapon. To counteract this the Right must do four things.
First, the Right must pound home the message that the real civil rights movement has already won. It has nothing left to fight for. Every law it could possibly want is in place, and the culture at large fully rejects bigotry. There is a vast and teeming bureaucracy at work in Washington and in every state to make sure that no employer, public or private, ever discriminates against any minority on the basis of race, sex, ethnic origin, etc. For fear of government, and more importantly, because it is fashionable, employers fall over themselves to ensure that every qualified woman or minority is hired and promoted as rapidly as possible.
Second, the Right must fully embrace minority conservatives, rather than futilely trying to gain the favor of self-appointed leftists who claim to speak for minorities. Newt Gingrich let down many black conservatives who had toiled in the wilderness for him when he invited Jesse Jackson to sit with him at a State of the Union address. Jackson repaid the favor by constantly calling or nearly calling Gingrich a racist -- despite Gingrich having begun his political career by defeating a segregationist.
Third, the Right must aggressively point out that the so-called civil rights and feminist movement today is not about fighting bigotry, but about enriching itself. They are a gang of liars, bullies, con men, hustlers and extortionists who make millions for themselves by shaking down governments and businesses with threats of lawsuits and protests. Jackson has even written a book with his son called "It's All About the Money." Indeed.
Fourth, and most importantly, the Right must attack the Politically Correct Left, over and over, as being Marxists and socialists. Political Correctness is just another form of Marxism, translated from economic into cultural terms. This extensively documented fact is a great, unused weapon the Right can pick up at any time. It is the one charge that will push middle of the road Americans away from the Left as strongly as the false charge of bigotry pushes them away from the Right. And it will erode the ability of the PC Left to use the charge of bigotry as a routine weapon of political war.
President-elect Bush's remaining conservative nominees are not going to confirm themselves; they need help the White House, with its lofty pledges to "change the tone," cannot provide. And the Left is not going to go away, not after the confirmation battles, or any time. It's time to get fighting mad, and time to fight back.
Leo O'Drudy is a host of Direct Line, Free Congress' upcoming live interactive Renaissance Network television program.
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