The Washington Post takes an inside look at the sickness that features so prominently in the leftist blogosphere. The Post doesn’t pull its punches in examining the phenomenon (“I’m insane with rage and grief, but I feel more connected than I ever have,” admits the protagonist blogger, who gets 14,000 page views per day). Amazingly, though, the Post blames conservatives for it:
What’s notable about this isn’t only the level of anger but the direction from which it is coming. Not that long ago, it was the right that was angry and the left that was, at least comparatively, polite. But after years of being the targets of inflammatory rhetoric, not only from fringe groups but also from such mainstream conservative politicians as Newt Gingrich, the left has gone on the attack.
But the author, David Finkel, presents no evidence that the left was ever the “target of inflammatory rhetoric” (at least from anyone with an audience) that resembles the raving he depicts here. And the reference to Gingrich is laughable. Like him or not, the former Speaker was (and remains) a man of ideas, not invective.
Finkel also appears to credit the left’s excuse for its lunacy –“powerlessness.” But, again, there’s no evidence of this level of hysteria by conservatives during the long periods when they were out of power. Instead of trying to outdo one another in dreaming up slow painful deaths for their adversaries, conservatives did things like develop the National Review, the Heritage Foundation, and the neo-conservative movement. These outlets too were about ideas, not invective.
Moreover, what level of power would it take for unhinged leftist bloggers to indulge in civility? And not just towards conservatives. Right now, these folks don’t have much more use for Hillary Clinton than they do for President Bush. A Democratic president unwilling to commit political suicide by veering radically to the left with respect to foreign, domestic, and security policy can expect to incur the rage of left-wing bloggers, a rage that more likely stems from psychological imbalance and an authoritarian personality than from powerlessness. Indeed, if the Daily Kos “screw em” crowd ever achieves what it considers the appropriate level of power, these folks are more likely to begin trying to impose on the objects of their hatred the psychotic fantasies they blog about (“I just want to see these [expletive] swinging from their heels in the public square”) than to behave with civility.