Professor Allison Stanger of Middlebury College has written another excellent column – this one in the New York Times – in which she worries aloud about the increasing unwillingness of self-identified progressives to adhere to values – like protecting free inquiry at universities – that she treasures as linchpins of liberal thought. I can't help but wonder whether professor Stanger may soon find herself in the company of individuals like former NPR reporter Juan Williams or red diaper baby David Horowitz – people who feel more welcome among conservatives than progressives. (Ronald Reagan was also a former Democrat. He famously said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the party left me.")
GOP shortcomings aside, what does the Democratic Party have to recommend it these days? A string of items ripped from recent headlines reinforces the question:
- Judge Neil Gorsuch is highly qualified, widely regarded as temperate in disposition and respected. Every Democrat in the Senate in 2006 – including Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – voted in favor of his confirmation to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Democrats cannot object to Judge Gorsuch on the merits. Their objections are purely political and fraudulent.
- It is Senate Democrats' fault that Republicans were forced to execute the "nuclear option" Thursday. As Guy Benson concisely explained on Townhall this week, the Democrats' "toxic partisanship" started this with the inflammatory and false accusations made by former Sen. Ted Kennedy against Robert Bork in 1987. It continued with mistreatment of Bush nominee Miguel Estrada in 2001, and the "Biden/Schumer" rule of not confirming the nominations of a sitting president in an election year. Chickens, meet roost.
- Democrats scream about Trump's vulgarity, but they have no respect for real gentlemen, as shown by their treatment of Mitt Romney in 2012 and Vice President Mike Pence, who they try to smear as a freak (or worse: sexist!) because he doesn't have dinner or drinks alone with women other than his wife. Every kind of sexual depravity is A-OK for the left, but fidelity and decency are unpardonable sins.
- One of progressives' cutesy slogans is "Bash the fash" – i.e., it's OK to beat up people that the left calls fascists. So they scream down speech, destroy property and physically assault people. And then wail that they need "safe spaces."
- Trump is giving away his presidential salary. A few days ago, it was announced that his first quarter check was being given to the National Park Service. Opponents called it a "publicity stunt." Did Barack Obama ever give away his presidential paycheck? Did the Clintons ever turn down a paycheck?
- Where do the Democrats stand on honesty or law enforcement? Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied about Benghazi and Bowe Bergdahl. Now she's on the hot seat regarding the Obama administration's surveillance of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi and about using a personal email server to transmit confidential information. Obama lied repeatedly about his signature healthcare law. Both of his attorneys general were caught up in scandals and professional improprieties. There never seem to be any consequences. (Well, OK – Hillary lost the election. But the Russians really did that, right?)
- The left seems incapable of defending any issue without resort to accusations of "hate," "bigotry," baseless insults or vulgarity.
- The so-called "party of science" denies biological and genetic facts whenever they're inconvenient. Among them: an unborn child is a biologically, genetically distinct human being. (An ovum is not. Sorry, sperm are not. Your arm or leg is not.)
- The most sacrosanct, untouchable institution for the left is Planned Parenthood, an organization whose primary business model is killing unborn babies. Better not mention that Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms. Nor do the vast majority of them provide any prenatal care. At all.
- Speaking of Planned Parenthood, California encourages the filming of undercover videos to expose cruelty to animals, but will prosecute anyone who secretly films Planned Parenthood admitting that it harvests and sells the body parts of aborted babies. Nice.
- Democrats are still hiding behind that tired nostrum that they are "for the little guy." But nine of the top 15 wealthiest people in Congress are Democrats. The Clintons are multimillionaires, as are the Obamas. Even populist/socialist Bernie Sanders owns three homes, including posh digs on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Hollywood Democrats and Silicon Valley techie lefties are among the country's super-rich. Candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got big chunks of their campaign cash from the wealthiest ZIP codes in the United States, which – surprise! – overwhelmingly lean "D." The "little guys" are factory workers, cops, farmers and the military. These folks apparently make certain lefties want to vomit.
- Eventually, everything that starts as "choice" becomes a matter for government coercion for the left. A columnist in Australia recently argued that being a stay-at-home mom should be illegal; once kids reach school age, all parents should be forced to work outside the home. "[F]eminism," she writes, "... is not about choice, it's about equality." Yeah, thanks for clearing that up.
Is this your father's Democratic Party? Is it any wonder they're losing elections?