Aunt Peggy Frowns at the Obama Boys

Every remembers a formidable aunt who could cool the jets of the rambunctious neighborhood boys with a glance. The U.S. has Peggy Noonan for that, and last week Aunt Peggy frowned at the Obama boys.

The president shouldn't be using a fateful and divisive word like "impeachment" to raise money and rouse his base. He shouldn't be at campaign-type rallies where he speaks only to the base, he should be speaking to the country.

Then there's the Pelosi rich-girl clique:

The House minority leader shouldn't be using the border crisis as a campaign prop, implying that Republicans would back Democratic proposals if only they were decent and kindly[.]

And this word for the Lerner girls:

Lois Lerner shouldn't be able to operate within an agency culture so sick with partisanship that she felt free to refer to Republicans, using her government email account, as "crazies" and " --holes."

Aunt Peggy gave the kids quite a lecture about playing with fire. It's easy to take the nation's unity for granted, she wrote, but you can't just run around throwing red meat to the base without taking a big risk.

No nation's unity, cohesion and feeling of being at peace with itself can be taken for granted, even ours. They have to be protected day by day, in part by what politicians say. They shouldn't be making it worse. They shouldn't make divisions deeper.

The problem is that, as I like to say, politics is division. The way a politician gets power is by riling up the voters to vote for him or her and not for the other guy. Politicians get elected by exploiting divisions.

Here's an example of what Peggy is talking about. It's Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) talking immigration and taking offence on behalf of America's Hispanics, from Breitbart.

Let me also say that look unfortunately, the way they speak about a community, it is almost as if the children, we are a vile, repugnant community to them, that they vilify and demonize in every one of their statements,” he said calling it a “sad commentary” on the Republican party.

The “they” of course are Republicans.

I've been reading a long piece on the “culture of taking offence” by blogger Alistair Roberts.  Political leaders understand that there is enormous power in taking offence, and in representing people that are “supposed to be offended.”

The most virtuous person is the person who is most successful in kicking up a fuss on behalf of the subject supposed to be offended. The accumulation of such virtue is generally fairly painless, but can win people great adulation, and a sense of moral superiority (which can conveniently serve as absolution for other faults). It is also a perfect way for officials to deflect attention away from other issues and to feel good about themselves.

Right now, Hispanics are supposed to be offended about lack of progress on amnesty. But suppose that in fact they are actually offended by the lack of jobs, or the horrors of ObamaCare? Who knows? Better get them insulted about racist sexist homophobic Republicans so Hispanics don't stumble on a gap in the fence and escape the liberal plantation.

But the problem with the culture of offence is that it doesn't solve problems; it festers them. We have another culture for actual problem-solving; it's the can-do American way that inspires people to develop strength of character so they can overcome their weaknesses.

The community of offence...  stifles this development of strength. Rather than seeking to strengthen its members to the point where they can hold their own in combative debate on level terms, it encourages the notion that they are so vulnerable that, unless one tiptoes around their sensitivities and emotions, they will be deeply hurt. The members of such groups internalize this expectation and are consequently less likely to overcome their overly sensitized condition.

Are you liking this yet? Here's the good bit.  It's a couple of feminists worrying about the graduates turned out by Women's Studies departments.

All too often the definitions and doctrines espoused within Women’s Studies seemed calculated merely to make women feel besieged. Their sensitivities were being sharpened to such an edge that some were turned into relentless grievance collectors or rendered too suspicious to function in the workaday world outside of Women’s Studies and were left with few possible roles in life beyond that of angry feminists.

Liberal sewer politics is tricking people into flushing themselves down the toilet into miserable lives in the sewer of dependence and misery.

That's why for me, Aunt Peggy's frown ain't gonna get those Obama boys and the Pelosi clique back in line.

What we need, Aunt Peggy, is to drag them all out behind the woodshed for a good midterm thumpin'.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

Every remembers a formidable aunt who could cool the jets of the rambunctious neighborhood boys with a glance. The U.S. has Peggy Noonan for that, and last week Aunt Peggy frowned at the Obama boys.

The president shouldn't be using a fateful and divisive word like "impeachment" to raise money and rouse his base. He shouldn't be at campaign-type rallies where he speaks only to the base, he should be speaking to the country.

Then there's the Pelosi rich-girl clique:

The House minority leader shouldn't be using the border crisis as a campaign prop, implying that Republicans would back Democratic proposals if only they were decent and kindly[.]

And this word for the Lerner girls:

Lois Lerner shouldn't be able to operate within an agency culture so sick with partisanship that she felt free to refer to Republicans, using her government email account, as "crazies" and " --holes."

Aunt Peggy gave the kids quite a lecture about playing with fire. It's easy to take the nation's unity for granted, she wrote, but you can't just run around throwing red meat to the base without taking a big risk.

No nation's unity, cohesion and feeling of being at peace with itself can be taken for granted, even ours. They have to be protected day by day, in part by what politicians say. They shouldn't be making it worse. They shouldn't make divisions deeper.

The problem is that, as I like to say, politics is division. The way a politician gets power is by riling up the voters to vote for him or her and not for the other guy. Politicians get elected by exploiting divisions.

Here's an example of what Peggy is talking about. It's Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) talking immigration and taking offence on behalf of America's Hispanics, from Breitbart.

Let me also say that look unfortunately, the way they speak about a community, it is almost as if the children, we are a vile, repugnant community to them, that they vilify and demonize in every one of their statements,” he said calling it a “sad commentary” on the Republican party.

The “they” of course are Republicans.

I've been reading a long piece on the “culture of taking offence” by blogger Alistair Roberts.  Political leaders understand that there is enormous power in taking offence, and in representing people that are “supposed to be offended.”

The most virtuous person is the person who is most successful in kicking up a fuss on behalf of the subject supposed to be offended. The accumulation of such virtue is generally fairly painless, but can win people great adulation, and a sense of moral superiority (which can conveniently serve as absolution for other faults). It is also a perfect way for officials to deflect attention away from other issues and to feel good about themselves.

Right now, Hispanics are supposed to be offended about lack of progress on amnesty. But suppose that in fact they are actually offended by the lack of jobs, or the horrors of ObamaCare? Who knows? Better get them insulted about racist sexist homophobic Republicans so Hispanics don't stumble on a gap in the fence and escape the liberal plantation.

But the problem with the culture of offence is that it doesn't solve problems; it festers them. We have another culture for actual problem-solving; it's the can-do American way that inspires people to develop strength of character so they can overcome their weaknesses.

The community of offence...  stifles this development of strength. Rather than seeking to strengthen its members to the point where they can hold their own in combative debate on level terms, it encourages the notion that they are so vulnerable that, unless one tiptoes around their sensitivities and emotions, they will be deeply hurt. The members of such groups internalize this expectation and are consequently less likely to overcome their overly sensitized condition.

Are you liking this yet? Here's the good bit.  It's a couple of feminists worrying about the graduates turned out by Women's Studies departments.

All too often the definitions and doctrines espoused within Women’s Studies seemed calculated merely to make women feel besieged. Their sensitivities were being sharpened to such an edge that some were turned into relentless grievance collectors or rendered too suspicious to function in the workaday world outside of Women’s Studies and were left with few possible roles in life beyond that of angry feminists.

Liberal sewer politics is tricking people into flushing themselves down the toilet into miserable lives in the sewer of dependence and misery.

That's why for me, Aunt Peggy's frown ain't gonna get those Obama boys and the Pelosi clique back in line.

What we need, Aunt Peggy, is to drag them all out behind the woodshed for a good midterm thumpin'.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

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