Friday, January 21, 2011

A cloud no bigger than a man's mouth

I see a cloud coming up out of the sea,
no bigger than a man's hand
— I Kings 18:44

It's a modern-day guilt ritual: a public figure says something a little colorful that a thin-skinned member of a protected class claims is racistsexisthomophobicislamophobichateful. The thought criminal quickly recants: "I am deeply sorry if I offended anyone. It was utterly unintentional. Wash me clean. Please, put a dunce cap on me, a rope around my neck, hang a sign on me, parade me in the streets, jeer me."

Steve Cohen (D-People's Republic of Congress), seated:
"I didn't intend to offend anyone."

The most recent apologia comes from Steve Cohen, a Democrat congressman, for his remark in the House chamber:
They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels. You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. The Germans said enough about the Jews and the people believed it, and you had the Holocaust.

The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it--believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover.
For the first time I can remember, a man of the Left has had to dance the shimmy. And for a genuine outrage (not a slip of the tongue, or a joke that didn't go over). This is no occasion for conservative triumphalism, but it might be significant. A vicious comparison of Obamacare opponents to Hitler's assistant ranter, which (I hope) would draw groans from a high school debate audience, has actually gotten a big government booster in hot water.

Steve, we don't need to crown you with a dunce cap. You've done that for yourself.


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