14 November 2007

A Word on Fearmongering

Tom Tancredo has no credibility as a presidential candidate. He seems to be a genuine xenophobe and a dangerous militant Islamophobe in particular. That said, I think people are going overboard in condemning his bomb-in-a-shopping-mall ad for the Iowa market. You can see it on this blog with predictable scolding commentary.

I have no intention of defending Tancredo's message or his fears, but I think that liberals and leftists have gone too far in their reflexive hostility toward the "politics of fear." The usual complaint is that Republicans try to scare voters out of any proportion to existing dangers and thus simultaneously convince the same voters that the GOP alone is vigilant and tough enough to defend us from every threat. I agree that Republicans exaggerate the existing threat, but the liberal reaction comes close, as I see it, to forbidding people from claiming that threats uncomfirmed by liberals even exist.

Tom Tancredo most likely believes, sincerely and hysterically, that the threat he portrays in the commercial is real. Others believe sincerely that "Islamofascism," or whatever they want to call it, poses an "existential" threat to the United States. Others yet believe on the basis of observation, accurate or not, that the U.S. isn't doing enough to prevent terrorists from entering the country. They all have as much right to raise the issue and sound their warnings as liberals have to refute them.

I don't think it's cheating in some sense that liberals use for Republicans or anyone else to warn of dangers they perceive. If anything, it may be a useful service, for should such threats be so self-evidently absent as liberals assert, the mere advertisement of such baseless fear should discredit a candidate at first sight. Liberals, however, expect the opposite to happen, because they can't help presuming that voters are infinitely gullible. That's why they live in perpetual terror of offending Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly, because they presume that hosts or herds of voters take every word of these talkers as gospel and act accordingly at the polls. Even after retaking Congress, it hasn't sunk in for these liberals that all they really need to do is answer the right wing yakkers in kind (as Keith Olberman does, for instance) to break their vaunted spell on the public. Of course, if liberals actually believe that the people themselves are incurably stupid and helplessly susceptible to Republican "fearmongering," their future defeats should not surprise them.

1 comment:

crhymethinc said...

Hmmm - would Homeland security have been able to find and apprehend Ted Kaczynski any more quickly than the FBI was able to? Would any airline security have been able to stop Timothy McVeigh?

The one thing I've noticed is how few Republicans have any sort of law-enforcement, military, or even para-military experience, and yet we're to believe that only they can stop the threat of attack against the United States? Studies seemt to indicate that the majority of military personnel who vote, tend to vote Democrat more often than not.

So apparently, about the only thing Republicans are really good at is commanding their fellow Americans to go off and fight their wars, shed their blood and give their lives for the Republican ideal.

On the other hand, Democrats just seem to lack any single direction, any real backbone or courage, and have shown a definite willingness to whore themselves out for the minority vote, as if the interests of any sub-group of Americans are any better, or better-served, than the public interest at large. Just something to think about.