2010 December 15
by Larry Eubank
Some people are so far out on the extreme, they’re hard to believe. Comedian Tim Wilson wrote a whole song about such people, called “Too Stoned For Sturgis.” (“Sturgis” refers to an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, where it seems a lot of alcoholic beverages and other substances are consumed.) As Wilson observes, “When you’re too fried for bikers, you’re pushing the ‘fried’ envelope.”
Being “too stoned for Sturgis,” Wilson sings, is like being:
In the same vein, there are people who are too left-wing for Barack Obama. They attacked him from the left on the issue of the “public option” in Obamacare, and they are attacking him now over the tax-cut compromise.
Now, when you’re too left-wing, capitalist-bashing and class-war-mongering for Barack Obama, you’re pushing the left-wing envelope. Obama was the most radical Senator in Congress when he was there, and as President he engineered a quasi-Stalinist collectivization of the entire medical industry. Being more left-wing than him is like being too unscrupulous for Bernie Madoff, or too self-seeking and mendacious for Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.
Yet because Obama had to make some modest, unavoidable compromises in order to have a chance of passing the tax bill — because the bill will not increase taxes on “the rich” — he has been consigned to outer darkness by the way-out left.
That is a very fanatical reaction. After all, Democrats got what they wanted: retention of the tax cut for the middle class. Yet they frothed with anger because their hated enemies, “the rich,” got the same thing. That is a “dog in a manger” attitude; it is the sentiment that (to paraphrase David Merrick), “It is not enough that I should succeed – my enemies must fail.” Animosity fuels the flak from the left.
Some of the extremists’ remarks:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (speaking to MSNBC ) :
It is an absolute disaster and insult to the vast majority of the American people.
Paul Begala, generic Democrat (on MSNBC) :
Democrats are unhappy. I think they get the sense that, you know, they understand compromise is give-and-take. But they feel like the president is giving and the Republicans are taking.
Ed Schultz, MSNBC ranter :
Liberals are furious and they should be, including me.
Democrats even resorted to literally cursing Obama. During a meeting of House Democrats, a member was heard saying, “F–k the President.” Howard Fineman, appearing on MSNBC’s “Countdown,” told Keith Olbermann,
There was sotto voce, apparently, you know, not too loud, an ‘F*** the president,’ there was a ‘No F***ing way.’ There was a ‘He F***ed it up.’ There was a lot of anger.”
Extremists bash Obama for being too lenient on the rich, and they bash the rich themselves. Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, said this after a meeting of the Democrat caucus:
[I]f it is take it or leave it, we’ll leave it.. . . I’m prepared to work until January first to see that we get middle-class tax relief without a bonanza to the billionaires that won’t create a single new job.
Bernie Sanders was not to be outdone in capitalist-bashing :
It is not a conservative approach to substantially increase the national debt by giving tax breaks to billionaires.
. . . [W]hy are they voting for a proposal that substantially increases the national debt . . . [by] giving tax breaks to the richest people in this country who don’t need it?
. . . [T]he rich are already doing phenomenally well. While we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, [the rich] do not need an extension of tax breaks.
Perhaps the most contemptible aspect of the tax debate is leftists’ insouciant manner of saying, “Take more money from them; they don’t need it.” They’re so confident of their God-like right to decide who needs how much of what they earn. When it comes to grabbing huge chunks of other people’s earnings, for Democrats “It is easy to bear the misfortunes of others,” as the folk saying has it. That’s not a reasoned political position; it’s just Marxist-derived bigotry against wealthy people.
The Leftist Religion – Politics of Bad Faith
For a certain type of left-winger, confiscatory taxation of the rich goes beyond politics. It is more than just political, it’s quasi-religious. Bashing the rich and redistributing money to the poor is their version of punishing evil-doers and giving alms; it provides their whole identity and sense of moral worth. It is the only moral code they have.
Thus Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu could refer to “the nonsensicalness and the almost, you know, moral corruptness” of the tax agreement — because “doing good” via government welfare programs is their version of moral virtue, and bashing the rich is a sacred duty. Democrats’ arguments about tax and aid policies are always tinged with that kind of specious moralism.
The Middle Class as Pretext or Stalking Horse
Rather than admit that they’re just bigoted against the rich, Democrats offer economic pretexts for opposing tax cuts. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. said this at a news conference:
Our Republican colleagues are playing Santa Claus for millionaires, but Scrooge for the middle class.
In other words, “I’m not just bashing the rich – I’m defending the middle class.” That logic is hard to follow, since the middle class gets to retain their current tax rates, just as the rich do.
Others flak-throwers have given other rationalizations. Senators Jeff Merkley and Mary Landrieu, Al Franken et al. wrote a letter saying this :
We look forward to working with you to ensure a vote on our amendment to strengthen Social Security in lieu of bonus tax cuts for people who are doing quite well.
And as we have seen, Bernie Sanders cited our “rate of childhood poverty” for opposing tax cuts. But the most common excuse is the huge federal deficit or national debt, and the assertion that “spending” millions on a tax cut for the rich will increase it. It’s too bad Democrats didn’t think of that when Obama was spending fabulous sums on various bail-outs and stimuli.
Democrats are like the Puritans, who, the historian Macaulay said, “hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” Similarly, leftists oppose tax cuts not because they cause pain to government’s ability to pay, but because they give taxpayers relief. Leftists care far more for bashing the rich as a moral and religious duty, than for any type of fiscal consideration.