I Wish I Were a Democrat

Sometimes I dream of being a Democrat.  Life would be so much more enjoyable.

If I were a Democrat and not a Republican, I wouldn't have to dread picking up The New York Times or The Washington Post and reading that I am a lowlife bottom-feeder, a servile lackey of Big Business, eagerly doing the bidding of Wall Street plutocrats.  Turning on the TV, I wouldn't have to wait long for the inevitable snarky remarks of the anchors, transparently hinting at my heartless unconcern for the travails of the poor and the minorities.  I wouldn't have to listen to Democratic congressmen denounce me on the floor of the House as a Nazi, likening my opposition to Obamacare to the Holocaust.

I wish I were a Democrat. I would be able to use any kind of language with impunity, secure in the knowledge that the mainstream media would explain away my behavior as the righteous anger and passionate indignation of a true paladin of progressive causes outraged by the depredations of evil conservatives.  I would be able to permit myself any gaffe, any lie, no matter how outrageous, knowing full well that the media would run interference for me, studiously ignoring my faux pas or dismissing it with an airy "well, he was tired, it was a long day, everybody is entitled to a mulligan, blah-blah-blah..." or better yet, brush it aside with an indulgent smile: "Oh, that's just good old so-and-so..."  Can you imagine a Republican politician surviving the stupendous gaffes and whoppers produced in extraordinary abundance by the likes of Joe Biden or Al Gore?

I wish I were a Democrat.  I wouldn't be constrained by my president's admonition about the need for civility; it would be demanded of only Republicans.  I wouldn't be counseled by my allies to ignore all personal attacks so as not to lower myself to the level of my detractors and besmirch my credentials.  Sarah Palin, we are told, has done herself incalculable harm in the eyes of the public by responding to the vicious personal attacks after the Tucson tragedy.  Apparently she should have followed the example of President George W. Bush, who never, never ever, responded to the vitriolic vilification impugning his honor and good faith.

Fat lot of good his restraint did him!  Bush's stoic silence merely allowed his opponents to dictate the terms of the political discourse and define his presidency.  By playing into their hands, Bush did considerable damage not just to his own reputation and legacy, but more broadly to the conservative cause.  One is certainly free to behave like a gentleman in one's private life, but it is an entirely different thing to retreat from the field of political battle, yielding it to the opposition.  Even Karl Rove now admits that W.'s defensive crouch was a mistake.  As a matter of fact, Sarah Palin was tight-lipped during the first days following the Tucson tragedy, but it did not prevent the left from mocking her silence as an acknowledgment of guilt.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

For their part, Democrats go ballistic at the slightest provocation with little concern for PR repercussions.  Remember how bitterly President Clinton complained about being at the mercy of Rush Limbaugh.  With the world's biggest megaphone at his disposal, the president positioned himself as a helpless victim -- apparently unconcerned that he would look like a sniveling wimp to his followers.  Somehow Democrats manage to avoid belittling themselves in the eyes of their supporters; their ratings are never threatened by whatever they do or say.  They are allowed to brawl with their opponents and hit them below the belt, while Republicans are expected to scrupulously abide by the Marquis of Queensberry Rules.  As the Romans used to say: Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi -- what is legitimate for Jupiter is not legitimate for oxen.

I wish I were a Democrat. I would have the luxury of knowing that I am on the side of history, as the media tirelessly remind the public.  As a guest on TV shows sitting next to the meekly reasonable Republican, I would feel free to scowl angrily and launch into indignant tirades, knowing that my outbursts would be ascribed to my lofty ideals and bottomless compassion for the downtrodden.  How sweet it is to feel noble, which has the added benefit of allowing me to revel in the luxuries of life while demanding sacrifice from others.  Situational ethics, they call it.  You see, I would feel that by defending the little man, I have earned the right to reward myself.  That's why Al Gore has no compunction consuming twenty times more electric power in his Tennessee mansion than an average homeowner; as far as he is concerned, he labors so mightily for the good of humanity that he feels entitled to a little extra.

I wish I were a Democrat.  Then I would allow myself assorted human weaknesses that would be strictly a no-no for a Republican.  Why such indulgence?  Democrats advocate tolerance as the supreme social value and claim that their personal indiscretions are their own business, while Republicans, who are regarded as champions of Puritan values, are vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy when caught with their pants down, as the saying goes.  Thus Republican Congressman Mark Foley was widely ridiculed when his sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages surfaced, while Democratic Congressman Gerry Studds, who actually had sex with an underage congressional page, delivered a defiant oration in the well of the House to several standing ovations by his colleagues.  Foley resigned from Congress, while Studds was handily reelected.  It appears that in politics, what's sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander.

I wish I were a Democrat.  Oh, to be totally unaccountable for one's failures and blunders, pleading good intentions as a one-size-fits-all justification.  Small wonder Democrats always talk of their plans for the future, not the results of their past activities.  They never look back for good reason: how would they explain the endless vista of messes?  But for the media, good intentions are good enough.  And so the Democrats are portrayed as forward-looking, while the Republicans as stuck in the past.

I wish I were a Democrat.  I would really enjoy blanket immunity from any accusation of racism.  The race police steer clear of Democrats while ferociously pursuing Republicans and conservatives, ferreting out racist thought crimes even where the perpetrators are unaware of their own criminal frame of mind.  They studiously ignored the fact that the late Senator Robert Byrd in his youth had been a KKK Grand Kleagle (a kind of community organizer for the Klan), but woe to any Republican not watching the tongue.  The Democrats are likewise spared the wrath of the feminists, who reserve all their fire for Republicans.  Bob Packwood was hounded out of the Senate for forcing a kiss on a woman, while Ted Kennedy, with his well-known, lurid record as a womanizer, was given a get-out-of-jail-free card by the feminist leaders because he was "good on women's issues".  As a matter of fact, so was Packwood, but the latter had an R behind his name, while Kennedy a D.

The double standard is so blatant that no one bothers to deny its existence; it is widely viewed as something normal and unavoidable.  Even its victims just shrug helplessly, as if to intimate that it is an immutable law of nature, not a ploy wielded by the left as a political weapon.  Oh, how I wish I were a Democrat -- for a little while, just to find out what it's like to live on easy street and do whatever one pleases without fear of accountability.  Paraphrasing that memorable line from the film Love Story, being a Democrat means never having to say you are sorry.
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