Most of this piece by 'liberal' Ron Rosenbaum is an admission that Sarah Palin was both right and tactically astute with her remarks about "Death panels".
He then wanders off onto this territory:
'Of course the overreaction by genuinely ignorant right-wingers (”I don’t want the government to mess with my Medicare”) and the thuggish, lynch mob behavior at town halls (boasting of shouting others’ down and other mob tactics, Hitler mustaches etc., rather than making rational arguments and respecting other citizens) including the terrorist tactic of bringing guns to town hall meetings, showed that the right could squander an advantage in legitimate debate by making an ugly spectacle of itself.'
Lets think about the point being made. Rosenbaum is saying that the right had a lead in the factual debate which it has 'squandered' by making an ugly spectacle of itself. Is this right?
What happened in America over the last five, six years politically? Most people on the right had a decent understanding of why America intervened in Iraq. They made those arguments in a detailed way, explaining the historical reasons why the United States had to ensure that Saddam Hussein came to the end of a long, tortuous career of murder and aggression. That, and why it was in Americas strategic interest to turn Iraq into a stable democracy. How did that debate go? Nobody on the left was interested in having a debate at all. They paid no attention to the historical or strategic arguments. They proceeded to scream and barrack and slander and lie in every forum possible about Bushitler and his evil crew of machiavellian criminals, focused their arguments on a few specious pseudo-legal assertions about 'the lies that took us into the war', and shout down debate in every forum. Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore made sure to get in the faces of everybody they considered the criminal actors in starting and running the 'war', hurling the most toe-curling abuse, provocation and slander.
The right put up with this because they are democrats- they believe that in a democracy you are always going to get a certain amount of deranged lunacy. You put up with it, ignore it mostly, and get on with doing what needs doing. They also noted how the tactics of the left managed to turn the whole of public perception and thinking about the Iraq intervention slowly but surely against the enterprise. Not, you will note, their quiet and reasoned debate, but their tactics of repeating a set of lies over and over and over and over until like in 1984, they drummed out all other thoughts. The lefts tactics worked. And the right noted.
People copy what works from other people. Even things which we may, from a standpoint of Olympian objectivity, wish they would not learn. The right has seen that if you scream and shout and repeat and repeat and repeat, and get on TV every night of the week, the bovine masses eventually pick up on what you are repeating, and that becomes the accepted narrative.
How cheeky and and full of chutzpah for Ron Rosenbaum to complain when the right takes not just a leaf from the lefts playbook but the whole goddamn book! 'Look,' he is saying 'when we do it, its just us getting on with business the way we is taught. But when you do it, its just not fair!!!! Stop using our tactics, and succeeding!'
Nothing the Tea Partiers and the town hall meeting protesters have said and done comes anywhere close to the extremes of vileness Code Pink and the other commie groups did. But by using the tactics the latter created, the former are going to 'win' this debate. Thanks for playing, Ron!