Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Digital Lynch Mob

WaPo columnist Richard Cohen, an amiable, tweedy old liberal with warm fuzzy memories of the '60s, gets roughed up by the digital lynch mob over his disapproving comment on Stephen Colbert. Yes, it's the left's lynch mob, once again purifying its ranks and thinning its chances of really claiming a long-term hold on governance via democracy

The hatred is back. I know it’s only words now appearing on my computer screen, but the words are so angry, so roiled with rage, that they are the functional equivalent of rocks once so furiously hurled during antiwar demonstrations. I can appreciate some of it. Institution after institution failed America—the presidency, Congress and the press. They all endorsed a war to rid Iraq of what it did not have. Now, though, that gullibility is being matched by war critics who are so hyped on their own sanctimony that they will obliterate distinctions, punishing their friends for apostasy and, by so doing, aiding their enemies. If that’s going to be the case, then Iraq is a war its critics will lose twice—once because they couldn’t stop it and once more at the polls.

Cohen's right. And he has a memory long enough to recognize the likely outcome:

The anger festering on the Democratic left will be taken out on the Democratic middle. (Watch out, Hillary!) I have seen this anger before -- back in the Vietnam War era. That's when the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party helped elect Richard Nixon. In this way, they managed to prolong the very war they so hated.

I'm telling you, but you won't listen to me. Maybe listen to Cohen: Lose the anger, or else resign yourself to permanent minoritarian status. Some seem to be not only resigned to it, but embracing it. That's bad for American democracy.