Controversial pundit Ann Coulter’s best-selling book Treason has raised the ire of liberals, and not a few conservatives, who feel she wields too broad a brush in painting Americans on the left side of the political divide as unpatriotic – even, as the title implies, treasonous.
Coulter’s critics have a point, of course; her over-the-top generalizing makes it difficult if not impossible to take the book seriously (a far more judicious – and better-written – treatment of the subject is Mona Charen’s Useful Idiots). But whatever degree of sympathy one might feel for liberals traumatized by Ms. Coulter’s barbed prose dissipates rather quickly when one considers the way liberals have insisted on talking about the war in Iraq and its aftermath.
It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with the administration’s decision to go to war, or of approving or disapproving of how the U.S. is handling the rebuilding of Iraq. Rather, it’s the castigation of President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft in language far stronger than many liberals ever employed against Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.
It’s the shamelessly cheerful reception given any bit of news that seems to cast the slightest bit of doubt on anything the administration may have said or done in the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq.
It’s Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, whose “Editor’s Letter” in front of the magazine has become a monthly shout-out to his fellow Bushphobes, trilling in the August issue that “The war in Iraq is not a minor scandal; it may well prove to be the biggest scandal in American politics in the last hundred years. And although the Bush administration may feel it has gotten away with its phony war up to now, deceit on this level always catches up to you.”
It’s Representative Richard Gephardt, one of the Nine Ninnies desperately seeking the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination (and whose ill-fated 1988 presidential run is best remembered for the disclosure that he dyed his eyebrows so that they’d show up better on television) bellowing nonsensically at a recent campaign appearance that “George Bush has left us less safe and less secure than we were four years ago.”
It’s Sen. Edward Kennedy, who, after a briefing in which the former chief UN weapons inspector who’s now heading the search for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction said that ‘solid progress’ is being made in that search, vociferated to reporters that “It’s looking more and more like a case of mass deception.” (Kennedy, as the Wall Street Journal caustically noted, “was referring to Bush, not Saddam.”)
It’s all the liberal writers, artists, actors and activists whose reflexive Blame America First mentality, fully operative even after thousands of their countrymen were murdered on 9/11, has been amply documented.
It’s all the liberals and leftists (including Jane Fonda, Ed Asner, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Kurt Vonnegut, Spike Lee, Art Spiegelman, Alice Walker and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen) who signed the outrageous two-page ad placed in The New York Times by the organization Not In Our Name, an ad that is still up on the group’s website as its “statement of conscience” and which reads, in part: “…we call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration….In our name, the Bush administration…not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and at any time. The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction.”
It’s all the liberal and left-wing demonstrators who marched in all those mass rallies during the months leading up to the Iraq war and loudly denounced the leaders of their country as warmongers and war criminals even as they hoisted signs and banners proclaiming death to Israel and devotion to Palestinian terrorists.
It’s all the smug know-nothings on the Left who think that merely labeling George Bush an idiot somehow makes him one, just as they and their ideological forbears sought to cut off any semblance of debate by mocking the intellects of Eisenhower and Reagan, two presidents whose esteem among historians has only grown with the passage of time.
(The actor James Woods, one of the few Hollywood celebrities who openly refuse to follow the liberal party line, recounted on the liberal website Salon.com a conversation he had with a typical Tinseltown tinhead.
(“I sat with somebody who was once the president of a studio,” said Woods, “and we were having dinner and he said, “George Bush is an utter moron.” And I said, “Oh, on what do you base that assertion?” And he said, “Well, he’s just a moron.” And I said, “Can you give an example?” And he said, “Well, there’s a lot of examples.” And I said, “Well, I’m not asking you for 300, I’m asking you for one.” And he sputtered for about ten minutes and he couldn’t think of one…”)
All of which brings us to Pete Hamill, who in a recent Daily News column took palpable pleasure in rubbing readers’ faces in his admiration for France, precisely because that country had been so staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq.
Hamill’s fraternal feelings for the French, he informed us, have only been magnified by “the yahoo chorus of France-bashers, acting as if they speak for all Americans,” and he described in great detail how he looked forward to visiting Paris as “a way of saying yes to America, and no to the yahoos.”
Presumably, the Americans Hamill speaks for are those found on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and in such leftist university enclaves as Berkeley, Ann Arbor and Amherst. Hamill may have mellowed some over the years, but he has a long history of viewing his country through mud-covered glasses (all the while portraying himself as something of a throwback to the simple loyalties and right-wrong ethos of 1950’s Brooklyn).
In fact, back in 1968, immediately following the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy, Hamill wrote a column so mindlessly anti-American it’s worth citing thirty-five years later as a proof-text of how times and events may change, but not the unbecoming ease with which too many on the Left trash the nation they claim to love.
Describing the scene in the Los Angeles hotel where Kennedy was celebrating his victory in the California Democratic primary, Hamill introduces us to the assassin, one Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, like so: “Then a pimply messenger arrived from the secret filthy heart of America.”
Got that? A Palestinian who’d lived on the margins of American society since his arrival in the U.S. becomes, in the fever swamps of Hamill’s imagination, a stand-in for everything Hamill and his generation despised about America.
In case his readers missed his drift, Hamill elaborated a little further on in the column, his words dripping with scorn for his yahoo country men: “We knew then that America had struck again. In this slimy little indoor alley in the back of a gaudy ballroom, in this shabby reality behind the glittering facade, Americans were doing what they do best: killing and dying…”
Again, one can only marvel as a master of his craft turns reality on its head and transforms the act of an immigrant ne’er-do-well into an act of collective murder committed by an entire country.
But Hamill was hardly finished, hoarding his venom for an all-purpose, one-sided indictment of the purported sins of a country he obviously viewed with such disdain it’s a wonder he didn’t vamoose to Paris right then and there:
“Kennedy’s death,” he wrote, “would mean nothing. It was just another digit in the great historical pageant that includes the slaughter of Indians, the plundering of Mexico, the enslavement of black people, the humiliation of Puerto Ricans….While Kennedy’s life was ebbing out of him, Americans were dropping bombs and flaming jelly on Orientals.”
Oh, Hamill did make a perfunctory acknowledgment that “the kid I saw shoot Kennedy was from Jordan,” but, predictably, still assigned the real blame to America; after all, the gun was American and the city where the murder occurred was not only American but was run by a man – Sam Yorty – who, it happens, was despised by the Left of his day nearly as fiercely as George W. Bush is despised by the Left of ours.
Whether the year is 1968 or 2003, America apparently is just too tempting and convenient a whipping boy for our home-grown Left – our critical but patriotic Left, or so they tell us.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org