President Bush, writes Graydon Carter, paranoiac editor of Vanity Fair, the magazine that strives mightily to be taken seriously while championing celebrity narcissism and mindless titillation (“Nicole Kidman Bares All,” trills the cover of the current issue, thick as always with ads for perfume, lingerie and high-priced clothes and toys for high-income yuppies and those who aspire to be), “has taken away our civil liberties.”
If that were true, of course, Carter would hardly be at liberty to write his monthly screeds against the administration, accusing the president and his aides of every inanity, moral outrage, crime and depredation known to mankind.
But as Noemie Emery writes in the September 3 issue of The Weekly Standard, America’s liberals and leftists have become so “increasingly unhinged” that they really have convinced themselves a dictatorship is being methodically assembled by Washington’s Republican Brownshirts.
Emery quotes a coterie of leftists in full breakdown mode, including feminist author and former Al Gore adviser Naomi Wolf who insists that “Beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable…that it can happen here.”
Wolf seems positively sane compared to Mark Crispin Miller, a professor and playwright obsessed with the notion that Republicans routinely steal elections. Asked why most journalists and even Democratic Party officials weren’t buying into his theories, the addled academic responded that they were unwilling to recognize that “the United States is clearly not a democratic country, or that the Bush administration are [sic] dangerous extremists, intent on building a one-party theocratic state.”
This scenario of Bush as iron-fisted dictator shredding our rights and freedoms “explains,” as Emery wryly puts it, “why poor Cindy Sheehan is now sitting in prison; why Bush critics like CIA retiree Valerie Plame have been ostracized by the corporate media and are wasting away in anonymity; why no critic of Bush can get a hearing, why no book complaining about him can ever get published, and why our multiplexes are filled with one pro-Bush propaganda movie after another, glorifying the Iraq war and rallying the nation behind its leader.”
But of course, she continues, “back on planet Earth, Cindy Sheehan is running for Congress; Valerie Plame is rich and famous;…and press censorship is now so far-reaching that you can’t even expose a legal, effective, and top-secret plan to trace terrorists without getting a Pulitzer Prize.”
Emery also unlocks the padded cell of political writer Michael Lind, introducing readers to the intellect behind the 2004 book Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics, which, in Emery’s thumbnail description, purported to reveal a plot hatched in the Lone Star State to resurrect not just the Confederacy but slave labor as well.
As Emery sums up, being a liberal or leftist in America today means believing some or all of the following:
• Global warming causes both hot and cold weather, just as elections are stolen when the Democrats lose them, but are stolen too when they win.
• A country in which dissent is a flourishing industry is on the brink of a great fascist crackdown, as you can tell by all the books written attacking the president, the plays put on that call him an idiot, and the movies that call for his death.
• When exit polls indicate a different result from the actual vote count, the polls are correct and the vote count is fraudulent, a fact covered up by journalists who are (a) Democrats by something close to a nine-to-one ratio; and (b) dying to uncover a huge government scandal, so that they too can be famous like Woodward and Bernstein, make millions of dollars, and be played in the movies by Hollywood stars.
• That [both] Presidents Bush, from Yale and a long line of Yankees, who made the careers of the first black secretaries of state ever named in this country, are secretly longing to bring back the South of 1859.
• And, that the Republican party, whose frontrunners are a once-divorced actor (just like Ronald Reagan), a Mormon from Massachusetts by way of Michigan, and a thrice-married Italian Catholic from the streets of Brooklyn, is a shrunken husk of a regional faction, punitive, narrow, and wholly obsessed with extreme social mores, relying on extralegal repression to perpetuate itself in power.