Following their shellacking in the first regularly scheduled federal election of the Tea Party era, the political left and the ruling-class media made predictable calls for civility in political discourse. I say predictable because, as a general rule, the left and their media partners make calls for bipartisanship and civility only when conservatives ascend to political power, and they direct it only at conservatives, not at the extremists on their side.
The recent tragedy in Tucson, however, displayed in condensed hours and days the visceral, disgraceful desperation of the left and ruling-class media.
Americans, through the Tea Party movement, are in a peaceful political war against the ruling class. To the everyday Americans-turned-political-activists, this is a war for the future of the America we cherish. The ruling class understands this is a war against the self-dealing privilege and kleptocracy they've created over many decades.
The verbal and printed attacks on Tea Party conservatives following the Tucson tragedy, however, show that the left and ruling-class media are in kamikaze mode. They are sacrificing all semblance of decency and credibility -- or what little they have left -- to defeat the rise of small-government constitutional conservatives.
The ruling class has usurped power for decades in the face of relatively meager, often somnolent opposition from everyday Americans. But the ruling class now understands that the Tea Party movement is a force unlike others they've met. The Tea Party movement insists that government abide by the limitations mandated by the Constitution. This results in a threat to such phenomena as crony privileges, big bank bailouts, and forcing Chrysler and GM to give ownership interests to unions.
The mainstream media is of the left and the ruling class. Even while it knocks big business, it is big business, and therefore, it sides with the ruling class and against the Tea Party. The mainstream media is threatened by the Tea Party movement every bit as much as other members of the ruling class are.
In this war between the ruling class and the middle-class Tea Partiers, the mainstream media has abandoned the role of being on the sidelines as a referee and has joined the battle on the side of the ruling class. No longer is it a watchdog against abuses by the powerful or against institutional corruption. The media is now the attack dog against the Tea Party movement, the Constitution, and the populist revolt of middle-class Americans.
If media attacks on conservatives since the Tucson shooting were intended to harm the Tea Party surge, they are having, and will continue to have, very much the opposite effect, as even some on the left now seem to recognize.
Let me step back with some perspective.
People have asked me over the course of my fifty-plus years in the conservative movement whether it's too late to save America.
But for short bursts of conservative political energy and successes, such as the election of Ronald Reagan and the Gingrich Revolution in the 1994 election, both the Democratic and Republican Parties have moved to the left, and our government of constitutional limitations has suffered.
Our Founders created a constitutionally limited government -- designed to "establish Justice" and "insure domestic Tranquility" -- by protecting individual liberties and private property rights for "Posterity." For decades those constitutional protections have been gradually but assuredly eroding. The conservative movement has been, in large part, a reaction to that, although the movement diminished its effectiveness by becoming an appendage of the Republican Party.
Conservatives, and now Tea Partiers, also understand that it's not only the Republican and Democratic Parties that are to blame. Save for the military, leaders of every major institution in America -- Wall Street, banks, Fortune 500 companies, the mainstream media, higher and lower education, labor unions, Hollywood, charities, organized religion -- have aligned themselves with big government and against the people. The ruling-class leaders of these institutions have participated side-by-side with the three branches of the federal government in eroding the Constitution.
Too often, state governments have been active partners in the erosion of rights to the detriment of the people and even the states themselves. We are, however, seeing more constitutional conservatives elected at the state level. Before this election, for example, there was Rick Perry of Texas and Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia. Now, after the first widespread Tea Party election, we have Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Paul LePage in Maine, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and dozens if not hundreds more in statewide and legislative offices.
So in response to those questions before the rise of the Tea party about whether it's too late to save America, my answer was always that we had one chance and only one chance, and that's if things got real bad, real quick.
Had John McCain been elected president instead of Barack Obama, Americans would not have risen up with the force of the Tea Party movement to save America from the gradual but certain depreciation of our rights and eradication of our republican, constitutionally restrained form of government.
With the election of Barack Obama, however -- combined with a Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and filled with Democrats, ranging from Blue Dogs who caved in to left-wing zealots all the way across the left's spectrum to true Marxists -- Americans saw the future fast-forwarded.
It is that future on steroids that the overwhelming majority of Americans reject. The reaction from grassroots conservative Americans was accelerated in response.
Americans who were previously satisfied, as rightfully they should be, to tend to their private matters of work, family, worship, recreation, and the like became aware that they needed to stop the surge toward national bankruptcy, crony capitalism, and kleptocracy, and the extinction of constitutionally limited government.
Center-right Americans generally aren't political activists. Now, however, Tea Partiers who have been driven to political activism have experienced firsthand what we long-time conservative activists have encountered for over fifty years -- the dishonest, mean, libelous vitriol of the left and the ruling-class media.
One mistake of the left and the ruling-class media before the Tucson tragedy was to make it personal against everyday Americans, who were merely seeking to protect their simpler, more private American way of life.
In the hot lights of the Tucson tragedy, however, the left and the ruling-class media exposed themselves in spectacular fashion to be everything long-time conservatives and new Tea Partiers claimed them to be: biased, dishonest, mean zealots.
The attacks on the Tea Party were like mass public burnings of Norman Rockwell paintings. It was an assault by crazed radicals on small-town America. Based on decades in the conservative movement, I can assure you that the left and the ruling-class media aren't sorry about their disgraceful, hypocritical conduct against Americans who are justifiably fed up and taking peaceful steps consistent with their rights.
As someone casually acquainted with Rep. Gabby Giffords -- in fact, as someone who was on a panel with her the weekend before the assassination attempt -- I issued a press release on the day of the shootings. It was, in my opinion, an expression of how most conservatives would respond to the Tucson madness -- with sadness and prayer. Sarah Palin was among many falsely and desperately blamed for the Tucson shootings. Palin's response to the Tucson tragedy was, like most conservatives felt, filled with sadness and prayer, but it was issued days after the left's blood-libelous reaction.
In her response, Palin included a plea not all that dissimilar to what President Obama sounded at the memorial service for the victims, except she was more direct in addressing the false charges against conservatives. The left and the ruling-class media praised Obama but criticized Palin.
Palin then received "increased" death threats and wishes, meaning she had been receiving them before. At first, the media did not report the open and notorious death wishes against Governor Palin. Only when they became impossible to ignore because they were exposed by the conservative new and alternative media did the ruling class media acknowledge the rise in death threats against Palin. CBS News reported an "uptick," as if it were reporting on the stock market.
This highlights not only the double standard conservatives face, but also the false standard. Of course, the media has yet to accept blame for fueling those death threats with its accusations, innuendo, and false reporting.
And, of course, the left was quick to lay blame at the feet of conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and others. Levin was equally quick -- but accurate -- to remind the left that the laws of libel predate the First Amendment, and he is willing to sue. The kamikaze desperation of the ruling class media and the left following the Tucson tragedy wasn't just the blood-libelous attacks on constitutionalist Tea Party conservatives. It included calls to violate a host of rights, ranging from trying to silence conservative talk radio to creating no-gun zones near our self-centered political leaders. In other words, the immediate response was to propose unconstitutional measures aimed at a movement whose mission includes protecting the Constitution. The threats against 2nd Amendment rights resulted in a spike in gun sales. Was the left, therefore, acting out of provocation, stupidity, opportunism, or all three? The foremost authority on the ruling-class media's war on conservatives, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, called the media's coverage of the Tucson tragedy a "campaign to criminalize conservatism." That sentiment has been simmering for a while now, but it was accelerated in the condensed aftermath of the Tucson tragedy.
The ruling-class media and the left learned nothing from the response of Americans to the bullying statism of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triage. Instead of moderating their attacks, lies, and libel, which helped fuel the Tea Party movement in the first place, they increased and amplified them.
What will be the response from constitutional conservatives and Tea party activists? Not what Conrad Black writes at National Review: "A very mild-mannered and civilized friend remarked to me today that if he encountered anyone else on the Fifth and Park Avenue social circuit who blamed the Tucson shootings on the Tea Party, he would resort to violence."
No -- although quite arguably the left seems to be trying to provoke that type of response, Americans who are center-right, peaceful, charitable, faith-oriented, and patriotic won't respond that way.
We will redouble our efforts. We will continue to speak out, passionately and with even more resolve. We will organize and train in the arts of politics. We will, to the last of our civil energy, seek to overcome the forces arrayed against us, our Constitution, and our country's future.
Ruling-class leaders have been willing accomplices to the usurpation of rights of Americans. We will do as James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 44 about restoring our usurped rights:
If it be asked what is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part of the Constitution, and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning . . . The success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in the last resort, a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of usurpers.
We are doing and will do more, however, than just elect faithful representatives to annul acts of usurpers. We are organizing against the ruling-class leaders of institutions who have betrayed everyday Americans.
And, God willing, we will restore America to the Founders' vision of government ruled and limited by the Constitution before it's too late.
As the response to the Tucson tragedy shows, the left and the ruling class media are escalating this battle to the point that they completely destroy their own credibility in the process -- even to their own detriment. They are, like kamikaze pilots, dangerous in their desperation.
As to those calls for civility and for the political discourse to "calm down"? We Tea Party conservatives were behaving quite well already, thank you very much. The problem is and has been on the left. It is apparent to everyone but the political left and ruling-class media that their calls are cover-ups for the extremism of their own side.
Richard Viguerie is author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause. His website is ConservativeHQ.com.