Shortly before she and her fellow Democrats lost their House majority in the 2010 midterm elections, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a warning that, if voters put Republicans back in control, the nation would soon be afflicted by a return to "the politics of personal destruction." If that term sounds familiar, it's how Hillary Clinton described what she viewed as vicious, unfounded, anonymous attacks on her husband when they were in the White House.
Now Pelosi has made good on her warning by personally bringing back the politics of personal destruction in an especially shameful manner. Speaking to the California Democratic Party state convention, Pelosi said the following: “I asked a Republican friend why his party was so opposed to extending the vital lifelines for struggling families and really hungry children. This colleague's response was telling in its blunt nature and stunning in its honesty. What he said to the Republican caucus was these people that you are talking about are invisible and the Republican caucus is indifferent to them.' Invisible and indifferent. This is just plain wrong.”
In other words, according to Pelosi, Republicans don’t care about struggling families and starving children. It’s one thing to accuse political opponents of advocating policies that will leave families struggling and children starving, but something else entirely to accuse them of being blind to such suffering and uncaring about it.
Or, as Hot Air's Erika Johnsen put it, “With the minority leader, it's never the case that Republicans have well-intentioned yet incorrect or impractical policy proposals. It's always the case that Republicans' common unifying characteristic is their sociopathic disdain for their fellow human beings, or else their innate aversion to things like 'clean water and clean air' or whatever. I mean, I get it: Who wants to have an uncomfortably honest discussion about policy outcomes when you can just slander Republicans for their ostensibly intrinsic derangement?”
Pelosi's accusation calls to mind Todd Zywicki's observation on the Volokh Conspiracy earlier this year concerning Jonathan Haidt's theory about why people become conservative or liberal:
“Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards – or as a friend of mine once remarked, ‘conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people – and very liberal people think that especially strongly.” It’s not necessary to believe such observations are always and everywhere accurate, but comments like that of Pelosi certainly lend credence to them.
Pelosi owes Republicans everywhere an apology, but it’s hardly likely to be tendered, given her longstanding ill comportment toward political opponents. But something else ought to be forthcoming from her and that is the name of the Republican colleague to whom she referred in her speech to the California Democrats. Since the remark is so far beyond even the most uncharitable assessment of Republicans, refusal to disclose the name will only reinforce the view that Pelosi’s “Republican colleague” is no more real than Harvey the Rabbit.