The liberals hate the middle class. There. I said it, and I am glad. Once again, I am a truth teller, in this case speaking truth to stone heads. So certain am I of the truth of my asseveration that I honestly doubt any liberal will take issue with me. Can you imagine a liberal coming forward and saying: "Wrong Tyrrell! I love the middle class." Well, I guess I can imagine it because liberals are effortless liars. Yet what specifically about the middle class might the liberals adduce to demonstrate their affection? The middle class' sobriety? Hard work? Love of country? Love of liberty?
The liberals' contempt for the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin is obviously fired by their hatred of the middle class. She has said nothing that many ordinary Americans have not said privately, though she does it with charm. I was particularly charmed by her playful taunt directed toward the Prophet Obama at February's National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, where she said: "How's that hopey, changey stuff working out for ya?" At the time, President Obama's polling figures were low - not as low as they fell later, but low - and not much was "working" for him. Things have not improved.
What seems particularly to offend the liberals is that Mrs. Palin is from Middle America and from a state whose citizens pride themselves on self-reliance. Then, too, it has to hurt that she is so easy on the eyes while being the antithesis of the feminist. By the way, has there ever been a comely feminist? Yes, Gloria Steinem had her moments, but then, as the years went on and her gripes and disappointments multiplied, her anger got the best of her, and today her face looks like a gnarled fist. Mrs. Palin could teach her a lot, starting with a pedicure and maybe a prayer. That is another thing that brings the liberals to a boil: Mrs. Palin's being a person of faith. For some reason, religion really alarms liberals, unless it be the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. Now there is an evolution in liberal thought I would not have anticipated.
The Tea Party movement is another perfectly middle-class phenomenon that sets off fires of indignation with the liberals. I could understand if they simply disagreed with the Tea Partiers. The Tea Partiers favor freedom, limited government, low taxes and addressing the staggering debt that government is piling up. These are values liberals do not champion. But the liberals have to go further, depicting the Tea Partiers as violent racists. Once again, we see how fluently the liberals lie, starting by lying to themselves.
Last week, during a seminar at the Heritage Foundation on my new book, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," Michael Barone, surely one of the most learned political observers of our time, made a very instructive point. While writing his fine book "Our Country: Shaping America From Roosevelt to Reagan," he discovered that there was in the late 1930s a growing resistance against the New Deal's spreading governmental tentacles. Very much like today's Tea Party participants, Americans were becoming uneasy about the cost and coercion of Franklin D. Roosevelt's huge government projects. Moreover, as Amity Shlaes has demonstrated in her recent book, "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression," the New Deal was not ending the Depression but lengthening it.
Mr. Barone thinks that had World War II not arrived, this late-1930s Tea Party manifestation would have supported a stiff challenge to FDR's precedent-breaking third term. He speculates that there is something about America that makes many of its citizens relish their freedoms and suspicious of government involvement in areas Americans envisage as off-limits to government power and inefficiency. That something in the Constitution, which might explain why liberal judges want to be free to ignore it or disfigure it.
Yes, the liberals hate the middle class, and I think I tripped across the reason for their hatred while finishing "Hangover." Whereas conservatism is fundamentally a temperament to delight in reality, in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, liberalism is fundamentally an anxiety. The environment? The Constitution? The middle class? Liberalism is an anxiety about reality. The liberals prefer fantasy to reality - hence their fluency in lying about the Tea Party movement and the pulchritudinous Sarah Palin.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery" (Thomas Nelson, 2010).