A little background, helpfully provided by James Taranto:
One explanation for this phenomenon comes from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Todd Zywicki, coincidentally on the same day Cuomo made his remark, summed up the relevant finding in a Volokh Conspiracy post:
Haidt reports on the following experiment: after determining whether someone is liberal or conservative, he then has each person answer the standard battery of questions as if he were the opposite ideology. So, he would ask a liberal to answer the questions as if he were a “typical conservative” and vice-versa. What he finds is quite striking: “The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The biggest errors in the whole study came when liberals answered the Care and Fairness questions while pretending to be conservatives.” In other words, moderates and conservatives can understand the liberal worldview and liberals are unable to relate to the conservative worldview, especially when it comes to questions of care and fairness.
In short, Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards–or as a friend of mine once remarked, “Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people”–and very liberal people think that especially strongly. Haidt suggests that there is some truth to this.
How often have we said this ourselves? (Other than all the time?) It helps me, anyway, to have been a liberal for many years myself. I know the thought processes (to be generous), the denial, the sacrifice of reality for dogma. I consider my liberal self to be an unfinished version of my better self. I’m still not finished, mind you, nothing so smug and self-satisfied as that, but I could never go back—and it would be back—to modern American/Western liberalism.
But let’s look at a few less evolved people, shall we? Taranto names two:
[Mayor Bill] de Blasio launched an attack, or rather reinforced one, on a minority he can afford to alienate. Breitbart.com’s Kerry Picket reports the mayor “emphatically backed New [York] Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial remarks that ‘extreme’ conservatives . . . ‘have no place in the state of New York.’ ”
“I stand by that 100%,” said the mayor.
[Cuomo said:] “Right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay–if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
Cuomo’s statement was a gaffe, though one suspects it was a Kinsley gaffe, an inadvertent disclosure of his true feelings. De Blasio’s endorsement of it, by contrast, was unquestionably purposeful. “I agree with Gov. Cuomo’s remarks,” he said. “I interpret his remarks to say that an extremist attitude that continues the reality of violence in our communities or an extremist attitude that denies the rights of women does not represent the views of New York state.”
These were no pissant pipsqueaks, but the Mayor and Governor of New York City and State. Conservatives are not only demonized (anti-gay, pro assault weapons, holders of “extremist attitudes” that perpetuate violence and subjugate women), but as such, they cannot live among decent people. Would you want to live next to Charles Manson?
But Cuomo and de Blasio are pissant pipsqueaks next to the President of the United States:
“There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.”
Says the recently reelected Barack Obama. America as a whole seems to like the idea of a black president. Or, to give America more credit than it deserves, it likes the idea of Barack Obama as president. (He wasn’t the first black candidate, just the first successful black candidate.) Still, there’s no denying that his race (the black half) was more responsible than anything else in putting him on the political map. Just about every white supporter I know has said it.
Even Obama acknowledges it:
“Now, the flip side of it is there are some black folks and maybe some white folks who really like me and give me the benefit of the doubt precisely because I’m a black president,”
Maybe? Did you think it was your effervescent personality? Your sharp wit? Your uncanny ability at bird calls? “Maybe some white folks…” No [bleep], Sherlock.
And you know who it is poisoning the minds of those “folks” who don’t like him. Why, none other than:
“Another way of putting it, I guess, is that the issue has been the inability of my message to penetrate the Republican base so that they feel persuaded that I’m not the caricature that you see on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, but I’m somebody who is interested in solving problems and is pretty practical, and that, actually, a lot of the things that we’ve put in place worked better than people might think. And as long as there’s that gap between perceptions of me within the average Republican primary voter and the reality, it’s hard for folks like John Boehner to move too far in my direction.”
Got that, “average Republican primary voter”? (Is that a synonym for “typical white person”? A cousin of a “bitter clinger” to guns and religion?) You don’t see “reality”, but a shucking and jiving “caricature” depicted by Rush Limbaugh (pbuh) and Roger Ailes. Maybe you’re not so bad, after all. Just incredibly stupid. So there’s hope.
Oh wait. Maybe not:
RUSH: … So yesterday the New Yorker releases more pages from their interview with Obama in which Obama blames me and Fox News for the fact that he is not as popular as he used to be.
And then later that same day, Chuck-U Schumer heads out to the Center for American Progress to make a speech, and he mentioned me and Fox News five times. Here’s the first…
SCHUMER: What gives this group such undue power? The power of the message machine led by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and the Rush Limbaughs that can broadcast the same exaggerated and even false messages instantaneously are all means that the Tea Party has used to gain ascendancy.
The underlying unrest that allowed the movement to ascend can be found in economic as well as cultural and social forces that in combination have greatly unsettled the American psyche. The first and most important phenomena is a phenomena that Democrats have recently begun to address, the decline in middle class incomes. When the Tea Party elite came in and said, “Government is your problem,” we didn’t say, no, it’s part of the solution. The American people became frustrated, sour, and angry, and the Tea Party elites, unchallenged, tapped into that anger with their pied piper solutions.
Tea Party “elites”? Tea Party “ascendancy”? Who? Since when? Barack Obama is still president, Harry Reid still runs the Senate, and John Boehner, Republican, hates the Tea Party more than both of them put together!
Schumer is just making [bleep] up! And he wasn’t done:
SCHUMER: These people are wealthy, hard right, narrow, people who don’t want to pay taxes, people who say, “I created my business all by my myself. How dare your government tell me what to do with it?” Government paved the roads and built the airports so they can ship their products. Government educated the workers that make their companies run and purchase their products. They conveniently ignore these facts. Over the years, they built a powerful and successful message machine that amplified and sold this anti-government theory to their followers. The Rush Limbaughs, the Fox Newses agree with the plutocrats and spread their propaganda to the masses.
I’ve been wanting to make this point to the “you didn’t build that” crowd for a long time: Romania has paved roads and airpots; so does Zimbabwe. Where are their thriving economies? If that’s all it took, poor countries would become instantly rich with the application of tarmac and blacktop. Stop it.
You really have to hear the contempt, the loathing, dripping from Schumer’s voice. He echoes Obama, but without his “cleanliness” or his “optional Negro dialect” (™ Joe Biden and Harry Reid respectively). I can’t be certain that he and Obama and Cuomo and de Blasio (and Reid and Pelosi, et al) actually feel this much hatred for their conservative fellow citizens—I truly hope note—but their base does. We all know people who hate us this much; we’re related by blood to some. This is their red meat.
We just ticked over into an election year, so we should expect only more. What else do the Democrats have? Obamacare? Loser issue. Immigration? Loser issue. Economy? Loser issue. Peace and respect around the world. Major loser issue.
In politics as in law: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”
That thumping you hear is the entire Democrat-Media Complex pounding the table. Get used to it.