Now and then I try to imagine what it would be like if I were wrong. I know — the very thought is absurd. But bear with me.
After all, it’s one of the contentions of us right-wingers that leftists, by monopolizing the news media, by framing every debate as an argument between their opinions and some sort of hatred, and by blacklisting the opposition from the entertainment business as well as academia, have put themselves in a position where they never have to defend their policies logically. By avoiding true discussion, they have given themselves a license to spout intellectual and political claptrap in loud, self-righteous voices. In the interests of wisdom, shouldn’t we refuse to do likewise but instead challenge ourselves to improve and hone our ideas in open disagreement? Of course not — it’s irritating. But now and then, I try to do it anyway.
So, for instance, though I’m a person of faith, I sometimes read works by atheists to insure that my ideas can withstand their attacks (easy-peezy). Likewise, now and then, I try to ask myself whether I haven’t gotten President Obama and the rest of the establishment left all wrong. Not everyone who voted for Obama, after all, was trying to save Big Bird’s right to an abortion or watching TV and thinking, “Gee, he hugged someone in New York. He’s nice.” Some of his supporters are actually intelligent people of good will who like what he’s up to. What do they see that I’m missing? Are we conservatives being too hard on the guy?
There’s no doubt that, on occasion, right-wing political discourse gets just as overheated as that of the left. Last week, for instance, Obama made some comment about “keeping my own naughty and nice list,” and some on the right made a fuss about how Nixonian and sinister it was. My feeling: It was a Santa Claus joke, dude — and perfectly fair bare-knuckle politics as usual. It ain’t bean bag. Chill.
So what if, just as a thought experiment, we eliminate ALL such hysterical stuff? What if we assume Obama is NOT some sort of Richard III “determin-ed to be a villain.” That he’s NOT trying to bring down the American economy? NOT intending to compromise our freedoms to appease Islamist savages? NOT attempting to leave America defenseless in the face of its enemies? What remains when we take all that away? Who is the best possible Obama?