Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The politics of division
Written by: Beck

The Democrats at the Democratic National Convention repeatedly made the point that after September 11, the nation was completely united in a way it hadn't experienced since the attack on Pearl Harbor. And they were right. They then made the further argument that the nation is now strongly divided in a way not seen since... well, opinions differed on that score. Regardless, they were again right.

The (mostly) unspoken subtext here was that the nation is now divided because of the manner in which Bush handled events from that day forward. This assumption has gone largely unchallenged in today's political environment. It's about time someone did challenge those assumptions, however, and Ace of the Ace-o-Spades blog has done a magnificent job of putting the change from 9/12 to today in perspective. A brief excerpt for you:
That doesn't jibe very well with my recollection. I remember one reporter or liberal after another announcing that "we all now understood" that the passivity and "carefully calibrated counter-attacks" of the Clinton years would have to be discarded. I remember Howard Finemann saying specifically on Hardball that the ACLU and Muslim advocacy groups "understood" that there would have to be more aggressive, and sometimes more intrusive, law-enforcement scrutiny of potential Muslim terrorists, and that racial profiling was definitely on the table as a possibility at the very least.

In short, I remember the liberals crossing the ideological aisle to agree with, and acquiesce to, conservatives. I don't remember conservatives becoming more liberal in order to achieve a compromise. My memory is that liberals became hawkish on both law-enforcement and foreign policy -- or at least posed as being such -- and thus joined with conservatives, who had as rule been hawkish on both for years.

We did reach an Original Understanding, all right -- one that was almost completely conservative in outlook.

We did not come to an understanding that was more liberal. Nor even somewhat liberal. We came to an understanding that was decidedly conservative -- even arguably authoritarian and belligerent in some respects -- in those seminal weeks and months.

Since those early weeks and months, we have seen liberals become increasingly dovish in their anti-war impulses, and increasingly strident in their demands that we be more "sensitive" as regards civil rights in combating terrorism inside the US.

So: Who walked away from that Grand Original Understanding we all forged after 9-11?

It is the liberals who have reconsidered; it is the liberals who have decided that their immediate reaction was too driven by emotion, anger, and fear; it is the liberals who have walked back the cat from their post-9/11 acceptance of a conservative -- yes, conservative -- law-enforcement policy and foreign policy.
At the time, it didn't fully register, but now I realize that subconsciously I had perceived a shift in affairs at one specific point. That point was when President Bush made his speech at Ground Zero, addressing crowds of rescue workers from atop a pile of rubble using a megaphone so that he could be heard. Most Americans applauded the speech he delivered that day as loudly as they could. They clapped until their hands hurt. But there was an undertone in the press, a quiet note that you could make out on the boundaries of sensation. The left realized that Bush was going to handle this situation in a manner which was virtually guaranteed to garner support from nearly everyone in America. In other words, President Bush planned to pick a fight. And he planned to win it. And there were people in this world who, primarily for political reasons, couldn't bear the thought of Bush succeeding at something so important. Call it the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy if you will. It has been down hill ever since.

If there is justice in this world--and there isn't--Ace will get linked by Instapundit & every other major source of web traffic on the planet. Regardless, the least anyone can do is go over and read everything he has to say, as he has a very important point to make.

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John Beck

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