A Fragment on “Extremism”

The left never tires of trotting out that Republicans are “extremists,” but have you noticed it takes a large amount of hysteria to carry this off?  Fortunately, liberals and the media (but I repeat. . .) are fully up to the job.  I made some remarks about this Monday night:

Behold the amazing spectacle of an administration that, confronted with a soldier radicalized in jihadist ideology who shoots a dozen people at Fort Hood, chooses to describe it as “workplace violence,” while Republicans, exercising their budgetary prerogatives clearly stated in the Constitution, are called “terrorists” by the vice president of the United States.  (Of course, when it comes to Joe Biden, somewhere, I’m sure, Dan Quayle is scratching his head in bewilderment.)

Rep. Steve Cohen describes Republicans as “domestic enemies” violating their oath of office—the kind of rhetoric we once associated only with that famous senator from Wisconsin.

There is a petition in MoveOn.org calling for the arrest and prosecution of Republicans for treason or sedition.  MSNBC is ready to declare martial law against Republicans.  MSNBC and MoveOn not the most historically literate; MSNBC are the folks who identified George Wallace as a Republican a few months ago, so I expect they’ll be disappointed to learn that the Alien and Sedition Acts were repealed in 1799.

And then there’s Alan Grayson, the gift that keeps on giving.

Let me say something in defense of extremism, though, like Barry Goldwater 50 years ago.  It turns out that competence makes even genuine extremism disappear into the mist.  My witness for this proposition is Leon Jaworski, who older people in the audience may remember as the special prosecutor for Watergate, who later headed Democrats for Reagan in 1980.  But Reagan’s an extremist!, people would say to Jaworski. To which he answered gamely, “I’d rather have a competent extremist than an incompetent moderate,” which is what he, and the voters of 44 states, thought at the time.  And I’ll add that the competence of liberal governance is receiving its most significant trial since the 1960s.  One can imagine Lyndon Johnson in some parallel universe right now, cussing up a storm over the rollout of GreatSociety.Gov.