The Liberal Trope Armory

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Perhaps you are familiar with the distinction between a politician and a statesmen, that distinction being that the politician is still living, and the statesman is now dead. And, as the fellow said, what this generation needs is more statesmen!

What I am about to say should not be taken as reflecting any kind of personal knowledge of Christine O’Donnell. This will likely change soon — major media outlets are now working through her sock drawer — but I am not saying anything about her just now, either for or against. What I want to do is simply point out a central weapon in the liberal trope armory, which is this: a conservative candidate who, for any reason, looks promising and/or especially threatening, will be dismissed as an amiable and/or attractive idiot, especially when compared (at a disadvantage) to the last person they did this to.

I pointed this out when Sarah Palin was getting the treatment, falling far short, as it was being said, of the stature of Ronald Reagan. But some of us were there when Reagan was the amiable dunce, and the whole thing rang hollow. We remember when Reagan wasn’t Reaganesque.

The fact that this is done doesn’t make it false, of course. A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. There are amiable dunces, and lots of them get elected. Lots of them on our side get elected. The point is that this is a weapon that is used whether it is true or not. This is said, not on the basis of careful analysis, but rather because some media advisor thinks that if this plate of spaghetti is thrown against the wall, that noodle might stick.

But normally you have to let a respectable amount of time pass before trying this tactic. To work most effectively, you have to let decades go by, not “some months.” I am writing this because just the other day I heard someone saying that Christine O’Donnell was “no Sarah Palin.” Heh.

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