Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Bad News for the Democrats

Michael Medved gives the Democrats the bad news: if they continue to get the support of the Hollywood Elitists, they are not going to remotely connect with the people that actual elect the president.

If Democrats intend to compete for support in "fly-over country," generating fresh appeal to hardworking, religiously committed red-state voters who shop at Wal-Mart without guilt, they must escape their identification as the party of Beverly Hills dilettantes and self-righteous celebrities. This means learning to live without Hollywood money, and focusing less obsessive attention on fighting Ralph Nader (or other radical leaders) for a handful of high-profile endorsements on the marginal left.

A future standard-bearer might even strengthen his appeal if fashionable former Naderites like Ms. Sarandon, Michael Moore, Tim Robbins and Peter Coyote once again abandoned practical politics and embraced a chic, purist fringe party, leaving the Democrats to compete for the decidedly unglamorous voters who can actually elect a president of the United States.

Raging rants by the stars are not going to help the Democratic party get voters. It will just further alienate the “regular” people, you and I. I categorize myself as a conservative, and I am a Republican. Now, should the Democratic Party put forth a candidate that was a conservative, and I found this person a better choice than the Republican candidate, I might be swayed to vote that way. However, the important point here is that the Democrat would be a conservative. John Kerry is not a conservative. President Bush is. The choice for me was clear.

Johan Goldberg also highlights some of the post-election activities of the Hollywood left. He writes these comments after watching Bill Maher’s show on HBO:

For example, Saturday night, my wife forced me to watch Bill Maher's HBO show because we'd heard that Andrew Sullivan tore Noam Chomsky apart. That's not actually what happened. Maher actually did a one-on-one interview with Chomsky. It was more like Maher was granted an audience with Chomsky. Maher's style was only slightly less deferential than our own Kathryn Lopez's would be with the pope. Which only makes sense, since Chomsky is something akin to the Black Pope of America-Hatred. Sullivan did a fine job ridiculing Maher about all that, but ultimately the show wasn't worth its price in agita. I had to listen to Susan Sarandon — Hollywood's Patron Saint of Sore Losers — explain that maybe Kerry really did win and that some grassy-knoll Republicans absconded with the election.

But even worse was Maher's mindless righteousness about his own atheism. For years Maher has been auditioning for his Profile in Courage award by saying "brave" things about the unreality of Jesus and the silliness of religion. Every mention of religion causes a dirty smile and joyful sneer to spawn across his face. The other night he was pounding the table with great satisfaction for having the courage to be a "rational" person and hence an unbeliever — and of course the audience was applauding like so many toy monkeys.

There's no time here to dismantle fully the edifice of condescension and ignorance constructed by Maher and Smiley (I put Dowd in a different category). But what offends them so much about religion is that it is a source of authority outside — and prior to — politics. What has offended the Left since Marx, and American liberalism since Dewey, is the notion that moral authority should be derived from anyplace other than the state or "the people" (conveniently defined as citizens who vote liberal). Voting on values not sanctified by secular priests is how they define "ignorance." This was the real goal of Hillary Clinton's "politics of meaning" — to replace traditional religion with a secular one that derived its authority not from ancient texts and "superstitions" but from the good intentions of an activist state and its anointed priests. Shortly before the election, Howell Raines fretted that the worst outcome of a Bush victory would be the resurgence of "theologically based cultural norms" — without even acknowledging the fact that "theologically based cultural norms" gave us everything from the printing press and the newspaper to the First Amendment he claims to be such a defender of.

Goldberg, a self proclaimed not very religious guy, makes this interesting point:

I didn't intend to get off on the tangent of religion. I'm not particularly religious myself, after all. Nevertheless, I think the great irony of this election is that for all the talk of how the bigoted Right won, the Left's loss has sparked far more bigotry. Their clever trick is to defend their hatred of the religious by calling it a hatred of bigotry itself — a rationalization no liberal would tolerate from any other kind of bigot.

In order for the Democrats to have a candidate that actually connects with the people, they need to shed the Hollywood crowd. Maybe the Sarandons, Penns, Moores, and Mahers need to form their own party of hate so the Dems have a fighting chance to get elected. The Democrats might need to even say to these individuals, “Don’t do us any favors by campaigning for us.”