Via ThinkProgress we have this update. It seems that Karl “Turdblossom” Rove was speaking at Johns Hopkins University when Occupy Baltimore demonstrators interrupted, yelling “Karl Rove is the architect of Occupy Iraq, the architect of Occupy Afghanistan!”
Rove apparently lost it, demanding of the protesters “Who gave you the right to occupy America?” Uhhhmmmm . . . that would be people like Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers, Karl.
This is a minor story, and the only reason I mention it is because it reminded me of this incident from 2007. Then, Laurie David and Sheryl Crow approached Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner to ask that the Bush White House adopt a more realistic position with respect to global warming. After being rudely and curtly dismissed by Rove, Sheryl Crow told him, “You can’t speak to us like that, you work for us.” To which Rove replied “I don’t work for you, I work for the American people.” At which point Crow had to remind Rove: “We are the American people.”
Obviously, these two minor incidents prove nothing in and of themselves, but they still seem to me confirming evidence of what I have long suspected: that, for Conservatives, people who disagree with them aren’t just political or ideological opponents, they don’t even count as Americans. In their minds, anybody who is not also a Conservative doesn’t count as a “real American” – a phrase, you will notice, that is never used by Liberals – and therefore should simply be dismissed from the national conversation.
This mindset is how they can justify ignoring their detractors, it is how they can justify ignoring poll results with which they disagree, it is how they can ignore defeats in which the electorate clearly rejected their agenda – their recent failure in Mississippi to have blastocysts declared “people” springs to mind – and nevertheless proceed with that agenda anyway. It is how they can rationalize intentionally trying to deny the right to vote to college students, the elderly, and minorities – because they are just foolish liberals who “vote their feelings,” i.e., not real Americans.
I think – and have thought for some time now – that this difference is one of the bigger divisions between modern Liberal and Conservative thought. Liberals still listen to and occasionally learn from Conservatives: the “cap and trade” idea for carbon gas regulation was a Conservative idea, the “individual mandate” to lower health insurance premiums was a Conservative idea. They perhaps are not the optimal solutions to the problems they address, but they aren’t whack-a-doodle crazy either.
Conservatives, on the other hand, dismiss out of hand any idea emanating from a Liberal even when that idea was the Conservative’s in the first place. And then they complain that our “national dialogue” is broken.