Feeding Frenzy Over Brewer’s Brain Freeze: Arizona Governor Goes Silent!
Aren’t you glad you’re not Jan Brewer? In ten fatal seconds during the opening remarks of a televised debate, the embattled Arizona governor secured a dubious kind of immortality for herself. Years from now, giggling teenagers and geriatric Baby Boomers will be able to view her cringe-inducing lapse of verbiage on the Internet and replay it ad nauseum for their amusement.
In our own time, the governor’s detractors smelled blood and pounced immediately.
“Meltdown,” they called it.
“One for the history books.”
Even the usually objective Associated Press labeled it “a painfully awful debate performance.”
Meanwhile, the dependably sniffish Salon.com came through by awarding Gov. Brewer the title of “bumbling politician of the year.”
And of course mockmeister-in-chief Jon Stewart had a field day.
Gov. Brewer’s “meltdown” really wasn’t as horrifying as described, punctuated as it was by a self-deprecating giggle. She doesn’t pretend to be Einstein, after all. She’s human. Haven’t any of us ever gone blank under pressure? Couldn’t we just write off her sudden silence as a borderline-senior moment? At least she wasn’t reading from a teleprompter.
Why all the fuss over a 65-year-old woman’s ten-second thinking gap?
For one, we’re not used to seeing politicians run out of words; the novelty was startling. (I actually thought it was refreshing.) But I wonder if the sharks would have feasted so readily if, say, the governors of Nebraska or New Hampshire had muffed their opening statements in a televised debate. Probably not. After all, the governors of those states aren’t pivotal figures in the Great American Culture War.
Gov. Brewer gained national notoriety for signing Arizona’s “illegal immigrant” bill, SB-1070, into law this past spring. Just in case you were unconscious at the time, the law allows Arizona police to check the immigration status of anyone stopped for other offenses: from speeding and loitering to drug trafficking and murder.
To say that the law was unpopular with the left is like declaring that Babe Ruth could swing a bat. Opponents of the law assailed it as racist, nativist and un-American. The more agitated among them even called for a boycott of the entire state — baseball team, national parks and all. Then, in the supreme assault upon the governor (and upon logic itself), the federal government filed suit against Arizona — for attempting to enforce federal immigration policy.
The bottom line is that Gov. Brewer became a lightning rod for liberal animosity. (After all, she flouted one of the left’s cardinal rules: never enforce the law against oppressed minorities.) And when you have so many agenda-driven individuals rooting for your downfall, they’ll seize whatever they can grab to discredit you. Racism always comes in handy. Stupidity is even better.
Left-leaning partisans seem to relish those telltale moments that make their conservative opponents look uneducated, naive, foolish, semiliterate, clueless or just plain dumb. American liberals revere upper-tier formal education above all else, so they’re quick to deride their enemies for grammatical miscues (Gov. Brewer’s “We have did what was right”, for example), wayward neologisms (“misunderestimate,” anyone?) or a quirky relationship with the facts (e.g., Sarah Palin’s famous “You can see Russia from my house,” which in fact was Tina Fey’s line, not hers).
For the left and near-left, any tangible proof of a conservative’s subpar brain wattage — even a fleeting gaffe that any of us could make in an unguarded moment — pumps their adrenaline and unites them in a triumphant tribal war-whoop of collective superiority. Despite their professed egalitarian underpinnings, leftists love to gloat over the intellectual deficiencies of people they don’t like. These days, that amounts to roughly three-quarters of the U.S. population.
But don’t think for a moment that the left is alone in seizing opportune moments to demolish a foe. Conservatives can be sharks, too. They’ve been circling Obama since his presidential campaign, sniffing for traces of blood, moving in more boldly during his setbacks and gleefully ripping choice chunks of flesh. They won’t let the man accomplish anything… so they can lambaste him for not accomplishing anything.
Accusations of socialism, Muslim sympathies, African birth, dithering, excessive vacationing — even treason — have been stalking this president since Day One of his administration. Anything to discredit him, nullify his prestige and render him powerless.
During World War II, this kind of vicious two-way backbiting would have been unthinkable. Roosevelt had his foes, of course, but nearly all Americans had the good sense to unite behind him as he led us through the greatest military conflict in history. In the end our unity helped us prevail.
What today’s partisans fail to grasp is that we’re engaged in an equally momentous struggle — against terrorism, economic disintegration, broken borders, cultural conflict, external enemies, internal rot and a host of other crises that have converged upon us all at once. In short, we’re battling for our survival against forces that would fragment us and bring us down.
My advice: we need to stop attacking each other and start attacking our problems. Together. As a single nation. A diverse nation united by mutual respect and shared goals. E pluribus unum, remember?