Paging Dr. Paglia

Camille Paglia criticizes the empty-headed Democrats

…for [Michael] Moore to turn a sitting president of the United States into a joke, and to use his position abroad to foment anti-Americanism, has had a huge backlash: the massive, indulgent publicity about the Moore film was when the Republican passion for Bush really began — the passion to defend him, fed by a longstanding scorn for the liberal major media and for Hollywood. That’s when everything seemed to gel for Bush, who had alienated conservatives with his big spending and slack immigration policy.

On talk-show call-ins, I started to hear real love for Bush, a protective desire to defend him against the smug liberal hyenas. It was a pivotal moment in the campaign. And the righteous fury of the Bush crusaders started to sway the undecideds. For months on Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or other conservative radio shows, I really didn’t hear such great enthusiasm for Bush. But then all of a sudden, there was a turning point. I remember sitting in my car in April listening to Hannity — who has become a major force in American politics and whose talents as a broadcaster just keep getting better and better (though I’m always wishing he had more respect for other cultures and a broader understanding of our place in the world). He was talking slowly and thoughtfully after hanging up with a like-minded caller, and I got really alarmed. I said to myself, wow, here it is. It was a whole, comprehensive geopolitical picture: the only way we can win the war against terror is to take the fight to the terrorists abroad, America must be a beacon to the world. America has a divine mission to bring liberty to the world. It was a view of destiny that had a staggering clarity and simplicity.

Now if the Democratic consultants had any brains, they would have viewed all this as an important system of ideas that needed to be logically addressed, instead of just sneering at it. This is a war of ideas! But too many Democrats rely on a juvenile Al Franken level of discourse — sneer, sneer, sneer at the benighted ones. We are all so superior in our little elite enclaves. So even if Kerry wins the election, the Democrats have lost this war of ideas.

The truth is that the Democrats abandoned that war before Clinton even took office. They’ve been running away from their own ideology since Mondale had his head handed to him by Reagan. I’m no Republican and I am virulently opposed to the globalist and neoconservative elements that have effectively leashed and muzzled the conservative and religious elements of the party, but at least the Republican Party still has ideas, even if those ideas are bad ones that are directly contrary to its own platform.

This dearth of ideas on the other side has not been good for Republicans either, however. It’s been interesting to see how the Republican debate has devolved as the need to actually meet the supposed foe on an intellectual field has disappeared. The quality of discussion is often quite high on the blog level, one can’t really say the same for what passes for discussion on television. Perhaps the medium is primarily to blame, but I don’t think that’s the only factor involved as any athlete can tell you that it’s often very hard not to play down to the level of an inferior opponent.

UPDATE: This inability to make an intellectual case might help explain this sort of thing:

DURANGO, Colo. – A part-time college instructor has apologized for kicking a student because he was wearing a Republican shirt. Fort Lewis College student Mark O’Donnell said he was showing people his College Republicans sweat shirt, which said “Work for us now … or work for us later,” when Maria Spero kicked him in the leg at an off-campus restaurant.

Spero then said “she should have kicked me harder and higher,” said O’Donnell. “To physically take that out on someone because you disagree with them, that is completely wrong.”

Spero, a visiting instructor of modern languages, apologized to O’Donnell in a letter dated Oct. 29. “I acted entirely inappropriately by kicking you, giving vent to a thoughtless knee-jerk political reaction that should never have happened,” she wrote. “Before the incident, I did not know you and that you are a Fort Lewis student.” The college also formally apologized, said David Eppich, assistant to the school’s president.