Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stepped into the fringes of political thought with her recent assertion that the Republican investigation into the growing Fast and Furious scandal is somehow motivated by a desire to suppress voter turnout.
If we try to follow her train of thought, she claims to believe that Republicans are only investigating Attorney General Eric Holder’s role in the scandal because Holder is getting in the way of efforts in some states to have voters show the same identification in order to vote that they must show in order to drive a car, cash a check, or board an airliner. The bizarre nature of her accusation about Republican motives in this case raises a troubling question: does Pelosi actually believe her own accusation?
There are only two logical answers to that question, and both are disconcerting when we consider Pelosi’s political influence. One answer is that Pelosi actually believes that requiring routine identification in order to reduce the likelihood of voter fraud is a form of vote suppression, and that the Republicans would not mind the egregious abuses of power displayed in the Fast and Furious program if only Holder had not interfered with voter ID efforts.
The bizarre nature of the accusation itself renders that answer too much of a stretch to be plausible. Anyone whose inner world was filled with such dark conspiracies would probably be too busy watching for black helicopters and dodging mind-control rays to run for elective office.
But the more plausible answer is that her accusation is nothing more than a diversionary tactic, and that she does not even believe it herself reveals an alarming trend in American politics. With every passing election cycle, the American left seems to become more radical in their positions and their tactics, and the traditional reasoning and negotiating tactics of the center-right mainstream seem to be less and less effective in dealing with them.
Of course, politics has always been a contact sport. Despite the intellectual depth of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, even those debates had their share of accusations and insinuations, and today’s politicians still try to spin information and events in a light that is favorable to them. So the public expects particular unemployment numbers to be cited as evidence of economic growth by those in power and as evidence of economic distress by those out of power, and informed voters take that into account when listening to partisan posturing.
But Pelosi’s accusation against the Republicans goes beyond the bounds of normal spin control; it is a deliberate attempt to slander opponents with a statement that, upon serious reflection, even she is unlikely to believe.
Consider the growing blatancy of the left’s efforts to disrupt elections, such as flooding the electoral system with bogus registrations just before an election to create administrative chaos and open the door for voter fraud. Or consider the Cloward-Piven strategy, popular among the left-wing elite, of deliberately overloading the welfare system in order to collapse it and pave the way for a socialist system.
It is in this context of liberal tactics that conservatives pushed for voter ID as a deterrent to voter fraud. It is in this context that conservatives suspect that Fast and Furious may have been a deliberate effort to overload the law enforcement system with illegal guns in order to create political justification for a crackdown on private gun ownership.
The left long ago abandoned the Judeo-Christian worldview that still prevails in mainstream America, and in the 1960’s that challenge became a full-frontal assault on any semblance of traditional morality. Leftists rejected any standard of morality outside of themselves and, along with that, any standard of truth. The hardcore leftists of today are the children of the 1960’s and their intellectual descendants who are committed to imposing their will on the rest of us “by any means necessary.”
Eric Holder dropped voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party who were brandishing nightsticks outside of polling places in Philadelphia, but he pursues states that require routine ID as a deterrent to voter fraud. What appears through the lens of the Judeo-Christian worldview to be a glaring contradiction in enforcement standards becomes perfectly consistent when viewed through the lens of a liberal worldview in which intimidation and voter fraud are permitted if they serve the interests of the left.
Reasoning, compromise, and playing political softball are useless in dealing with the hardcore leftists who run today’s Democratic Party, and there are glimmers of hope that some Republicans are catching on. Republican reactions to Pelosi’s comments were a far cry from the earlier days of milquetoast opposition, with Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) calling the accusation “hogwash” and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) describing them as “mind-numbingly stupid.” Such strong reactions may be uncomfortable for those who call for greater civility in politics, but civility has to be reserved for those who are willing to be civil.
Timothy C. Daughtry, Ph.D, is co-author of Waking The Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals At Their Own Game.