News Hounds has uncovered a gem. If you want to know what today’s Conservatives are like, just listen to the people who claim to speak for them. Now, I have a hard time understanding how Conservatives think (which inspired me to write “Conservative” below), and I just can’t reconcile the nonsense I hear out of people like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and the philosophy of Conservatism I heard preached by conservative giants like Barry Goldwater. One thing Goldwater always said Conservatism was about was “Individual freedom, individual responsibility.” (I think he was wrong to think that this is what America is supposed to be about, but that’s a subject for a different post.) But Hannity and Levin seem to think differently.
Levin actually said that the hostility and violence at townhall meetings can actually be blamed on President Obama. “If something terrible happens at one of these town hall meetings, I think the president in part can be held accountable,” he said. He then went on to tell another lie, “The president is at war with the American people, politically.” No he isn’t. It is, in fact, the Republicans who have the “war mentality” on this debate, and it’s because they know they are on the wrong side. But the idea that if someone commits an act of violence at one of these public town meetings with a Member of Congress, it’s the president’s fault, not the fault of the person doing it, is completely the opposite of Goldwater’s famous credo. What happened to “individual responsibility” here? What happened to “Don’t blame everybody but yourself for your actions”? Why should the president be blamed just because professional lobbyists, like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, are organizing fake “grassroots movements” in protest of the President personally?
Levin went on to liken the president and his top advisers to gangsters. “I’ve never heard in my life a president tell the American people to shut up… As a matter of fact, if you look at the people around him, he’s got Al Capone there, who is Rahm Emanuel; he’s got Meyer Lansky, who is David Axelrod; He, I think, would be Saul Alinsky, so if they want to call names, we can call names, too.” Well, I never heard Obama tell anyone to shut up and neither did you. But if you want to count what the president’s spokepeople say as coming from him, perhaps you should remember Ari Fleisher’s warning to those who disagreed with President Bush after 9/11, “Watch what you say.”
Phony Conservatives like Hannity and Levin are nothing more than cowards. They like to speak in tough, militaristic terminology, putting every issue in the context of a war in which the opposition must be “destroyed.” (It’s because they often suffer from Projection, and believe that everyone else thinks this way.) People like them are the reason there is always a war some place in the world – because they believe that War is the normal state of affairs for humans. They will never want Peace because they do not know how to live in a world where people care about each other, where we watch out for each other, where we try to help each other live. This is the world men like Hannity and Levin are fighting to prevent. Because they are cowards. They are afraid of being equal with their fellow humans. They think they are better than the rest of us, and that they deserve to be treated better than the rest of us. How sad to be so delusional.
BTW, this whole thing about showing up at townhall meetings to disrupt things is not a “freedom fo speech” issue. It is a crime. The other people attending those townhalls have a First Amendment right to both petition the government for a redress of grievances and to peaceably assemble. Showing up to shout down anybody who thinks the president’s ideas are better than theirs violates the others’ rights.