Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shortly before the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette was reportedly told that the peasants were growing increasingly restless, particularly because of widespread bread shortages. As the legend goes, she callously replied, “Let them eat cake.” The revolt exploded shortly thereafter.

Today’s equivalent would be if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, after being told that the American people are in near revolt over the Democrats’ plan to take over health care, replied: “Let them be silenced — and fly commercial!”

The majority Democrats, intoxicated with power, are brimming with a haughty self-righteousness that is now veering into a prideful arrogance and self-destructive narcissism. Having misread their 2008 election victory as a mandate to push through liberalism on a grand scale, they are now stunned by opposition to their radical plans. To them, the depth and intensity of the dissent is unexpected and shocking.

One thing about liberals: It doesn’t even occur to them that there is another side to an argument. They are so convinced of the righteousness of their own position that it doesn’t dawn on them that a reasonable person might have a different viewpoint.

Several years ago, I was part of a cable television show, the staff of which was dominated by left-wingers. One day when the abortion debate flared, they booked a segment with two pro-choice spokeswomen. When I asked about a pro-life spokesperson, I was met with vacant stares and silence. It hadn’t even occurred to them to book the other side, because they didn’t even realize there was another side.

And so it goes with the Democratic leadership today, with three major examples of breathtaking arrogance in just the last week:

c Democrats’ “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment No. 1: This week, Mrs. Pelosi and her deputy, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, wrote an op-ed in which they called everyone who opposes their plan for socialized medicine “un-American.” (This, of course, has it backward: Socialized health care itself is “un-American.”) They also called those average Americans who have the audacity to hold their elected leaders accountable part of “an ugly campaign.” Their op-ed came on the heels of the Obama White House denigrating Americans’ deep and genuine concern about the future of their health care as “manufactured anger.” Earlier, Mrs. Pelosi had dismissed Americans’ demand for answers at town hall meetings as phony “astro-turfing.”

Earth to Democrats: Displaying contempt for the American people when you are being paid by those people to serve their interests is generally not a good political move.

It is laughably absurd for liberals to attack Americans for exercising their First Amendment rights, when they have organized the following: massive protests that shut down college campuses and, indeed, entire cities during the Vietnam War; marched en masse during the nuclear-freeze movement in the 1980s; organized corporate shakedowns to force race-based initiatives; set up a lawn-chair village outside President George W. Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch during the Iraq war — and disrupted congressional hearings, got in the face (literally) of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and called Gen. David H. Petraeus “General Betray Us”; and orchestrated nationwide vote fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. (I could go on, but The Washington Times is only so many pages long.)

So the masters of the organized protest hate it when protesters organize against them. That’s not breaking news, but it does indicate a tone-deafness that would make Marie Antoinette blush. At least she was part of a monarchy and could get away — at least for a while — with such brazen and cold unresponsiveness.

c Democrats’ “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment No. 2: This week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit grew by $181 billion in July alone, to $1.3 trillion. The massive spending, bailouts and collapsing tax receipts (individual tax receipts fell by 22 percent and corporate tax receipts fell by a staggering 57 percent) have led Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to ask Congress to raise the $12.1 trillion debt limit, so the government can spend and borrow even more.

If you were rational, you would see in these numbers an impetus to restrain spending. But among Democrats, such rationality doesn’t exist. They continue their hog-wild spending by pushing everything from $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers to trillions more for the health care overhaul. Concerned about deficits? Too bad.

c Democrats’ “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment No. 3: Mrs. Pelosi and her gang used the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill to sneak in funding for three luxury jets for their personal transport. Total projected cost to you: hundreds of millions. These are the same people who profess a love of the environment, a desire to minimize America’s carbon footprint, and concern about spending. If you believe that, I’ve got a plane to sell you. Public outrage grew so loud that they canceled the plane order this week. But if they hadn’t been caught red-handed, Democrats would’ve been flying in luxury while you boarded Jet Blue carrying a soggy tuna sandwich you had to buy yourself.

History tends to treat such arrogance unkindly. The people, pushed to their limits of patience and understanding, reach a breaking point. Meanwhile, the soulless leaders carry on self-indulgently until they are finally swept away.

Marie Antoinette’s neck met the business end of the guillotine. Mrs. Pelosi and her band of profligate spenders may well meet the business end of voters’ anger next year. It’s something she should worry her pretty little head about now, before she loses it.

Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group” and a Fox News contributor.

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