Hot Air: Got Guts?

I notice a brand new book atop this week’s New York Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list, a piece of dreck penned by one of the Fox News stable of squealers and moaners named Jeanine Pirro. The thing is entitled Liars, Leakers and Liberals. It’s an alibi-laden, truth- and logic-twisting sojourn through the mazelike collective mind of Fox nation, a place I’d sever a limb to avoid.

It reminds me that some time around a quarter of a century ago, the deep thinkers within the Republican Party managed to transform what had been an innocuous descriptor for the left leaning side of the American political spectrum, the term liberal, into a canard. Hell, Newt Gingrich & Co, for chrissakes, remade the word into an accusation, practically a criminal one. A certain pct. of this holy land’s lily-livered pols by the end of the decade of the 1990s would no doubt have preferred to be hit with the charge that they were child molesters than liberals.

Within ten or fifteen years the sickness that’d caused Gingrich et al to turn people they disagreed with politically into lepers had spread to the people on my side of the fence. By the time I’d moved to the sunny climes of Bloomington, Indiana those who could be brushed with that Newtian stroke of poison paint were speaking about the relatively innocuous Republican governor of this state, a short fellow named Mitch Daniels, as if he were a cross between Heinrich Himmler and Jeffrey Dahmer. In fact, one of my first blog posts about Indiana politics addressed this very issue. Mitch Daniels, I wrote, was just a Republican, and not a very extreme one at that. Sure I disagreed with him about most things but, golly gee, he ain’t that bad a guy.

But the die had been cast, the mold set. People flat out couldn’t just quibble about what percentages of the world’s richest nation’s wealth should be divvied up between the military and social services. No, those of the other political party had to be portrayed as malignant tumors metastasizing within our societal body. Gingrich and his followers started us down this piteous path but the Dems, the left, and, yes, the liberals, didn’t need to have their arms twisted to join in on the bully-boy fun.

Nevertheless, the word conservative still is not fraught with the same fatally negative connotation as liberal. That’s probably because the conservatives are awfully damned proud of being conservative, as they should be. Hell, if you’re going to believe in something you may as well be happy about it. As opposed to the scared bunnies who’ve populated the Democratic Party since the latter portion of the 20th Cent.

For some ungodly reason, as soon as Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC memo became public back in 1996, the liberals of this holy land have stood on their soft heads trying not to be…, well, liberals.

My fondest wish is for the next Democratic presidential candidate to stand tall and shout as loud as necessary, Damned right I’m a liberal! My money right now is on Kirsten Gillibrand becoming the Dems’ standard bearer for 2020. That may change, pending whatever weird happenings take place between now and then. Oprah? Bruce Springsteen? Al Franken? Hell, Bernie Sanders? Any of them could be the Dem candidate in two years. The professional politicians among that gang would be loath to admit to being liberal. Perhaps only rank amateurs like Oprah or The Boss would have the guts to assume the mantle. Just like only the rank amateur Republican, Li’l Duce, had the steel shorts to freely admit to being scared of Mexicans and that men have a birthright to grab pussies.

It worked for him. Now where’s the Democrat who’ll take that lesson and turn it to his her advantage among us — yeah, go ahead, say it! — liberals?

Hop Hops

Hopscotch Coffee empire bosses Jane Kupersmith and Jeff Grant must have the golden touch. They threw a grand opening bash for their new beer menu Friday night at their original location at Dodds and the B-Line Trail.

Mob Scene

The place was packed with hipsters, poets, musicians, painters, politicians, moms and dads, a grandma or two, grad students, and countless others, mingling, sipping brew, and downing massive slices of King Dough pizza.

All I know is if the Kupersmith/Grant partnership ever decides to issue an IPO — in addition to serving up their local IPA’s — savvy investors ought to jump in on that opportunity headfirst.

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