by Rod D. Martin
July 24, 2004

On the eve of this year’s Democratic Convention, the Kerry campaign supposedly laid down a simple command:

Everyone behave.

That meant two things: No extreme displays of public liberalism and no insanely out-of-control Bush bashing.

Whether Democrats obeyed is a matter of opinion. Bush bashing did continue, though stopping short of calling the President a murderer (as many of the speakers have elsewhere) for daring to confront al Qaeda and Saddam.

But don’t let the week-long infomercial fool you. The leopard hasn’t changed its spots.

This is a ferociously radical Democratic Party.

Think Michael Moore.

As his appallingly dishonest and cynical film, Fahrenheit 911, became a huge hit, so did Moore, not just with like-minded radicals, but with supposedly mainstream liberals. When his movie made its Beltway debut, the usual suspects showed up, but so did the Democratic party establishment, from the respected historian Arthur Schlesinger to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

And they appeared not to bury but to praise Moore — a man who likens Iraqi terrorists to American Revolutionary war heroes and gleefully predicts their victory over America.

Try to picture George Washington kidnapping and beheading civilians — or Saddam’s leftover torturers drafting the Declaration of Independence.

You get the idea.

Shades of betrayals past — Jane Fonda astride a North Vietnamese tank, mocking our GIs. Moore’s conduct — Hezbollah is helping distribute his movie in the Middle East — is no better.

So why do Democrats flock to him like he’s the Pied Piper?

As John Kerry’s very existence reminds us, the “elder statesmen” today are the hippie children all grown up. When once they cheered the Viet Cong and hailed the murderous Black Panther Party, they were inexperienced, mostly poor, and very very young. Today they are wealthy, older, and possessed of nearly four decades of contemplation on their youthful successes and failures. They’re ready to finish what they started.

“What they started” has come in two stages. First, they hijacked both the word “liberal” and the Democratic Party with it. This reached fruition in 1972, when the denizens of Woodstock staged a putsch at the Democratic Convention. Stripped of all influence, Hubert Humphrey recalled, “Many who were on the outside [rioting] in 1968 [are now] on the inside running things.”

That radicalization benefited greatly from an institutional media that had tasted blood in Watergate and Vietnam, and from universities and think-tanks which fell more easily to the campus revolution than even the party itself.

By the time it elected Bill Clinton, the old liberalism was gone. The Hubert Humphreys and Scoop Jacksons were dead, unreplaced. From the displacement of conservationism by Mother Earth worship, to the exaltation of abortion not merely as a right but as a badge of honor (witness Planned Parenthood’s new “I Had An Abortion” t-shirts), to the replacement of FDR and JFK’s vision of America as positive force for global progress, first by alleged “moral equivalence” with the Soviet Union and finally with Clinton and Moore’s assertion that America “deserved” 9/11, the radicals had utterly won.

And now we’re seeing stage two.

In the interim, a lot of things have changed. The left’s Congressional majority lost, its media monopoly cracking, homeschooling and myriad new private schools and colleges threatening its educational grip, plus a new shareholder majority inoculated against the old-time class warfare religion, the hard left finds itself — much to its shock — in real danger. George W. Bush promises to appoint the judges who’ll overturn Roe. He has already deployed missile defenses, asserted American sovereignty, enacted the beginnings of the most important imaginable free market health reform (Health Savings Accounts), and laid the foundation for private Personal Retirement Accounts which would destroy government power over the elderly forever.

In some ways even more than Reagan, Bush is threatening the very core of the left’s revolution. He must, by any means, be stopped.

This is why they embrace blatant lies like Joe Wilson’s, even after those falsehoods have been unanimously debunked by a bipartisan Senate panel. This is why they embrace Nicholson Baker’s new hate book encouraging Bush’s assassination. It’s why they don’t blanch at the moronic conspiracy theory that it was Bush who attacked the World Trade Center: to the contrary, their rappers sing it, their presidential candidates insinuate it on the trail, and the true believers soak it up against all reason, waiting rapt for more.

This Marxist agitprop is no different from Kerry’s 1971 slander that most American soldiers were war criminals. What is different is that agitprop is now both party policy and movement-wide m.o. Dishonesty so broadly intentional and thoroughly systemic is death to reasoned public debate, and in fact to reason itself. In power, it would defeat the very idea of free government.

Defeating it in November is self-evidently essential. And maybe Kerry’s defeat will be taken as a rebuke of this fundamentally wretched, dangerous behavior. If so, perhaps the Democrats’ real grown-ups can take back their party. Assuming there are any of those left.