But the lines I found most memorable came from a couple of liberal celebrities who weren’t anywhere near Tampa. They and others of their ilk were out in full force online this week, hoping to create a few headlines and sharpen their images as reliable mouthpieces for the left.
“Unfair —- : GOP spared by Issac ! NOLA prolly —— Again!,” the talented actor tweeted. (He later apologized.)
Ellen Barkin, whose headlines become more bizarre by the day, made no such apology for her rant: “C’mon #Isaac! Wash every pro-life, anti-education, anti-woman, xenophobic, gay-bashing, racist SOB right into the ocean! #RNC,” she wrote.
After Utah Republican House candidate Mia Love, an African-American, spoke at the convention, her Wikipedia page was widely defaced. I will not repeat some of what was written into her profile, but “Aunt Tom” was one of the milder inserts.
But more than that — far more than that — they may be a leading indicator of a deeper alarm among liberals about what this election may mean to the survival of their economic ideology in America.
When Ryan entered this race, a ubiquitous response from liberal commentators was “finally, an election where we can debate philosophies.” That sounded high-minded, but the assumption, I think, was that the conservative economic philosophy — the one of smaller government — was dead in the water. “Finally,” these activists were really saying, like a General George Meade at Gettysburg, “we have drawn the enemy into the open field where we can smash him.”
They thought the election was over. Talk of reforming the entitlement programs was certain political death for the Republicans. Here again, was Picket bravely but foolishly charging the hill.
But a strange thing happened. The charge did not fail. Indeed, it is succeeding. There has been a shocking receptiveness among voters to the call for structural belt-tightening, one that has surprised as many Republicans as Democrats.
The reason? The staggering national debt.
The Democratic Party has stood for increased public spending and an expansion of the welfare state since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Indeed, higher government spending is the nuclear core of that political party. If the American public decides it is willing to begin unravelling the welfare state for the long-term good of the nation, what will be left of 80 years of Democratic messaging?
This dynamic is especially dangerous for a Democratic Party that has become so reliant on public service unions for money and foot soldiers. If the American people, in this now philosophy-based election, make a clear judgment that the cost of public pensions and federal entitlements have become an existential threat, the likelihood that they will revert back to favoring more spending and borrowing any time soon is highly unlikely.
That shift in American thinking could have profound consequences in American politics for decades to come.
This is what hangs in the balance in this election.
This is why this election is truly the most important in a lifetime.
And why Samuel L. Jackson is so antagonizingly eloquent again.
This column first appeared in Newsday. Thanks for reading.