The Closed Mind of the Open-Minded Mr. Kaiser

March 3, 2014

Former Washington Post Managing Editor Robert Kaiser took to the opinion pages of the Post to lament the disintegration of the good old days in Washington when political life was wonderfully collegial and lawmakers had fun governing.

Oh, the irony of this Beltway liberal’s devoting 2,225 words to decrying conservatives for destroying something that liberals have largely been in charge of for years — government and its growth.

Kaiser sounds a lot like Chris Matthews, who often mourns for the days when politics was fun — as if the process of governing is the only thing that matters. For Kaiser says he misses those days when liberal GOP lawmakers (though he doesn’t identify them as such) “knew and cared a great deal about governing.”

What really sticks in his craw is that “162 members of Congress … voted ‘no,’ votes meant explicitly to drive their government into bankruptcy, when there was a real chance that their view might prevail. Here was an entirely new style of public service, and it turned” his stomach.

He continues: “Those 162 votes reflected the deep hostility felt by the newest version of Republican lawmakers toward the government of their country. It is a cynical and often uninformed hostility, befitting the age we live in. And it has many adherents in a country with an elaborate regulatory and welfare state that many like to pretend we don’t really have, don’t really need and don’t really like — three blatant falsehoods.”

Do you know what turns my stomach — and those of countless people I talk to today, from my Midwestern hometown to the coasts of this great country? It’s the hostility people like Kaiser have to patriots who are trying to save this nation from the reckless policies and distorted view of government they endorse.

In the first place, these 162 members of Congress who voted “no” intended not to drive the government into bankruptcy but precisely the opposite. Shutting down the government, which Democrats were equally responsible for allowing because it takes two to tango, would not bankrupt the government, because its essential services would still be funded, as Kaiser would know if he were as avid a reader as he implies he is when he arrogantly indicts the present members of Congress for their lack of “intellectual firepower,” their not reading books, their lack of concern “about policy issues” and their lack of belief in government.

Members opposing Obama’s runaway welfare state and senselessly profligate spending want to save America from bankruptcy, but not one word of Kaiser’s piece addresses Obama’s record-breaking, unsustainable spending, his resistance to entitlement reform, his unconscionable expansion of the welfare state or the enormous damage they are causing to our economy, our society, our liberty and our future.

The “no” voters, Mr. Kaiser, do not have hostility toward government. They have a hostility toward the perversion of government by liberals like you — those who have an obvious hostility, whether they know it or not, toward the scheme of limited government established by the founders of this country.

Kaiser grieves that “lies and intellectual inventions are now typical of our public life … but there is a difference between telling untruths … and making stuff up.” He then segues right into full-throated castigation of “global-warming deniers” in Congress and “numerous Republicans (who) merrily denounce our moderate president as a ‘Socialist dictator.'”

So these are his examples of “making stuff up”? Well, the last I checked, it was those in the global-warming fabrication industry who were making up their own facts (the University of East Anglia). And only a pathetically bubble-trapped liberal could describe this statist president as “moderate.” And you call us “deniers”?

Kaiser labels the conservative groups Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America “vigilantes.” He says: “The vigilantes’ key allies are members of ‘the base,’ the party activists who make up perhaps 10 to 15 percent of the country’s population.” These activists consist “principally of white evangelical Christians who, the pollsters tell us, fear that their America is disappearing. Of course they are right; it has probably disappeared already. Their America would not have elected a black president.”

Truly, this is a despicable mindset that far too many smug liberals carry around in their close-minded superiority satchel, which views all who vigorously oppose a bloated, irresponsible, freedom-suppressing and spirit-destroying government as vigilantes and racists. And they call us haters?

Kaiser longs for Washington’s heyday, when collegiality allegedly prevailed — which is a monumental myth, by the way — but at the same time tells us that anyone who dissents from his worldview and won’t roll over for it is unfit to sit at his collegial table. (In his piece, Kaiser excoriates Newt Gingrich as the most destructive political figure in five decades in Washington but never once mentions Bill Clinton’s role.) It is typical of enlightened liberals to tar those who disagree with them as unreasonable, lacking collegiality and liars.

Washington’s main problem, Mr. Kaiser, isn’t a dearth of collegiality, and it isn’t conservatives who want to rein in this reckless government. It is people like you who have wholly debauched the social compact between the government and the people and are driving this country off the cliff.