It never fails. Every time an election result disappoints liberals, it turns out to be due to scandalous methods, underhand tactics, duplicitous charges, and fear.
Fear of what, you may ask? Nothing too serious. Fear of threats that turn out to be baseless (the Soviet Union, for instance), fear of the modern, fear of the other, fear of the new.
It's never because the liberals did anything wrong. It's always because they were made to have seemed to, by someone who tapped subconscious fears of something quite different – most often that old standby, race.
The classic instance was 1988, when George H.W. Bush overcame Michael Dukakis by pointing out his reluctance to use force to contain an aggressor. As governor of Massachusetts, Dukakis had supported a policy that gave unsupervised furloughs to violent felons. Republicans were called racist by liberals for pointing this out, as some of those felons were black.
Midterm drubbings given to Democrats in 1994 and 2010, due wholly to their efforts to push unwelcome healthcare "reforms" on an uneasy public, were described as splenetic outbursts of generic rebellion by angry white peasants unhinged at the prospect of "change." The Tea Party, which helped defeat Democrats in 2010 and '14, was uniformly described as being the last stand of white male extremists, despite the fact that it was run largely by women, and supported many high-profile women, Hispanics, Asians and blacks.
And so when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a surprise victory by resisting Barack Obama's persistent attempt to align the U.S. with Iran, they had no hesitation in applying their tried and true labels to him.
"He went racist," said David Remnick in the New Yorker. "He won because he ran as a bigot," said Joe Klein in Time. "Like George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign against John Kerry in the aftermath of 9/11, Netanyahu wielded national security issues as a polarizing political weapon," wrote Jonathan Alter, "overcoming personal unpopularity and a mediocre economic record with a campaign based mainly on fear."
Since racism was the only reason Nixon, Reagan, and both of the Bushes had ever been president, it clearly must also be the only reason Netanyahu is still the prime minister.
Why should the idea of Iran with nuclear weapons disturb the Israelis, simply because the mullahs have vowed to destroy them? And why shouldn't Israelis trust Obama when it comes to Iran, given his record of resolve and good judgment; his concern for the security fears of Ukraine and Eastern Europe; the red lines in Syria so vividly drawn and so quickly forgotten; his prescient dismissal of the Islamic State as "junior varsity" until it turned much of the Middle East into an abattoir extreme even for that region's deplorable standards, and, above all, his prudent, reasoned and well-thought-out decision to pull American troops from Iraq?
As American liberals, safe in their homes, projected their Tea Party fears onto strangers in a small country in a very tough neighborhood, Amir Tibon in the New Yorker talked to actual members of Netanyahu's opposite parties, and asked them why they thought they had lost.
"One by one, the Knesset members offered their best guesses," he wrote. "They all seemed to agree that the most obvious failure had been in their efforts to reach working class voters in the peripheral towns far from Tel Aviv. They were the people who had suffered most from Netanyahu's economic agenda, and yet they had voted for him once again because they didn't trust the left with Israel's security."
They were right not to. But this won't move the Left, which thinks it knows better — and knows its adversaries for the bigots they aren't.Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."