Mr. Taranto goes to Washington; women, Hispanics reject party, partisanship, personal attacks

One of the burdens a columnist must bear is being insulted by those who disapprove, as one James Taranto disapproved of my recent column “Supreme Court on Trial.” Taranto's angry comments about my column ran in The Wall Street Journal’s online edition and were limited to calling my column staggeringly dumb, an attempt by me to make President Obama (whom Taranto presumably thinks is dumb as well) look smart by comparison, and so forth. Taranto does not answer any of the points I made, so I must infer, and note that his invective without reasoning illustrates why armies of women and Hispanics are supporting President Obama and Democrats.

Republicans, rightists and some who make the Journal opinion page their home have an attitude of contempt, derision and anger toward those with differing views. Stay tuned for an upcoming column that elaborates about this "Republican disease" that leads them to demonize, and at times hate, a succession of Democratic presidents and leaders whom in their contempt for democratic values they do not accept as legitimate.

ADVERTISEMENT
As I have repeatedly written, conservatism is not what it used to be. I knew William F. Buckley through our mutual friend Allard Lowenstein. James Taranto is no William F. Buckley. If fact, Buckley made the Reagan presidency possible by moving to remove from the Republican Party certain ideologues who share certain characteristics that Taranto's rant against me embodies.

Taranto does not address my opposition to the Supreme Court decision to prevent women from suing Wal-Mart and others for gender discrimination. Nor does he address my support for legislation to enhance pay equity for women. Nor does he address my view that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United violates two centuries of precedent and effectively allows the wealthy to buy elections with unlimited and secret donations that no less a figure than John McCain predicts will lead to a wave of scandal.

I feel Taranto's pain. Women and Hispanics are turning against Republicans and conservatives in droves for the reasons I suggest, and others. Perhaps Taranto believes these women and Hispanics are stupid, too. He certainly writes as though he does. No wonder his party is in trouble with them.

There is a larger issue I will address in an upcoming column:

Some on the Republican right refuse to honor the legitimacy of Democratic presidents, leaders and opinions they disagree with.

Taranto's rant against me reads like an Internet comment that is full of anger and derision. At least he writes his rants under his own name, though he does not elevate the quality of political discourse with his insults. He actually lowers the standard for Internet discourse, no modest achievement. Mr. Buckley would not be proud of Taranto for this.

I stand with the women, Hispanics and others who want to be treated with equality and respect. I welcome the debate, with or without Taranto's intellectual participation. I can only say to those of his persuasion that there are reasons that so many women and Hispanics turn against the GOP.

The fault, dear Republicans, lies not in your stars but in yourselves, for these voters consider you underlings. You treat them as though they are stupid at your great peril, not mine.


More in Campaign

Counting or guessing Hispanic votes

Read more »