Progressives in power looking for payback
By Kyle Smith
January 24, 2014 | 9:29pm
A few random news items from around the country:
Dinesh D’Souza, a prominent conservative filmmaker, was indicted for allegedly violating federal campaign-finance laws. The indictment was “the result of a routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC by various candidates after the 2012 election for United States senator in New York,” said a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office. Routine. A Google search for “liberal filmmaker indicted” did not turn up any liberal filmmakers who have been indicted.
James O’Keefe, a conservative maker of provocative films, said the New York State Department of Labor had taken an intense interest in his shop, Project Veritas, issuing a subpoena and burdensome requests for documents. Days earlier, the Democratic governor of New York state, Andrew Cuomo, had said “extreme conservatives,” of whom O’Keefe might be considered one, “have no place in the state of New York.” Mayor Bill de Blasio added, “I agree.” Finding common ground with the other two, O’Keefe also agreed and said he was moving his small business to New Jersey.
Another filmmaker, whose crude anti-Islamist video the Obama administration found convenient to blame for the unrelated deaths of four Americans in a Libyan terrorist attack, was arrested within two weeks after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted.” The maker of the video, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who used another name on his short film, was charged with violating his probation by using an alias and going online. He spent three-quarters of a year in prison.
“Friends of Abe,” a group of conservative Hollywood figures that applied for nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, has seen its application held up for two years while IRS officials demand such information as a list of the group’s members, who would prefer their identities not be made public for fear of losing work. Membership lists are not typically required in such cases. Many other right-wing groups have had similar complaints about the IRS; USA Today reported, “IRS gave liberal groups a pass; Tea Party put on hold.”
All of this is mere coincidence, of course. The conservative British writer Peter Hitchens has a clever phrase for those who those who insist on seeing no connection among events that might appear at a glance to have something in common: These people, says Hitchens, are coincidence theorists.
When Bill de Blasio campaigned for mayor on a promise to institute universal pre-kindergarten schooling and fund it with a surtax on the rich, coincidence theorists scoffed at the notion that de Blasio cared more about punishing the well-off than uplifting the poor by offering them a 14th year of dismal education instead of merely 13. Now that Gov. Cuomo has said that the state can fund pre-K without any tax increases, de Blasio promised to push to raise taxes anyway.
De Blasio is, in other words, insisting on applying a painful remedy despite the absence of any underlying disease. Try to apply that kind of logic to any other situation you can imagine.
“I see you have gangrene on your toe. I’m going to have to amputate it. Oh, that’s just some black paint you stepped in? Well, I’m going to amputate anyway. Because that’s what I said what I was going to do.”
“My brother stole my watch. I’m going to take 100 bucks out of his wallet to pay for it. Oh, my watch is right here on the nightstand where I left it? Well, I’m taking the money anyway. Let that be a lesson to him.”
“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Oh, that wasn’t you? Too bad sucker, I’m just in a killin’ mood.”
Maybe someone in the de Blasio administration thought it might be a funny joke to leave the posh Upper East Side unplowed this week. Or maybe that was just a coincidence, too.
But you’d have to be a coincidence theorist not to get the impression that there is a campaign — alternately ferocious and petty, wide-ranging and narrow-minded — to make certain groups of Americans feel unwelcome in New York City, New York state and the United States of America.
As President Obama put it (in the process of urging Latinos to think along these lines), “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends.”
The Shepard Fairey poster that turned out to be most apposite to how things would work in the new liberal wonderland was not the one of a serene President Obama captioned, “HOPE.” It was the one of a glowering wrestler captioned, “OBEY.”