THE LAST resort of the liberal scoundrel is the false accusation of racism. It's a sign not just of moral and intellectual bankruptcy, but of desperation.
And - with a swiftness that must seem stunning to them in the wake of the big Democratic victory last November - liberals now have a lot to be desperate about.
A Gallup poll released Aug. 14 indicated that in all 50 states, there are more self-identified conservatives than there are self-identified liberals. The conservative advantage ranges from plus-34 percentage points in Alabama to plus-1 in Vermont and Massachusetts, and is 10 percentage points or more in 40 states.
A plurality of voters in 21 states consider themselves moderates. It was the significant shift of moderates to the Democratic Party in 2006 and 2008 that gave Barack Obama the presidency, and Democrats their handsome majorities in the House and Senate.
The moderates are shifting back, with a vengeance. Polls show that - mostly by large majorities - independents oppose Mr. Obama's health-care plan, his cap-and-trade energy bill, his nationalization of the auto industry, and his $786 billion "stimulus."
In many an election past, Democrats have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by accusing Republicans of planning to cut Medicare. Now it's Mr. Obama who's proposing massive Medicare cuts.
Mr. Obama has wiped out the historic advantage Democrats have enjoyed with voters on health-care issues. In a Rasmussen poll released Aug. 13, respondents trusted Republicans more on health care, 44 percent to 41 percent. In June, Democrats held a 10-point lead.
Many liberals have responded to rising concerns about massive deficits and government-run health care by calling those who express concern racists.
After a town hall meeting at which most in attendance angrily opposed the health-care bill, Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.) told MSNBC, "The last time I had to confront something like this was when I voted for the civil rights bill. At that time, we had a lot of Ku Klux Klan folks and white supremacists and folks in white sheets and other things running around and causing trouble."
"I have seen this kind of hate before," Rep. James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told the Huffington Post. "I have seen snarling dogs going after people who were trying to peacefully assemble. I have seen the eyes of people who were being spat upon. This is all about activity trying to deny the establishment of a civil right."
When people in town hall meetings decry "socialism," they're really using a code word for the N word, said MSNBC "newsman" Carlos Watson.
Forty-five to 65 percent of those who protest Obamacare are motivated by racism, said Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Those who attended tea parties last April thought they were protesting the massive increase in the deficit caused by the various bailouts and the $786 billion "stimulus" bill. Actress and activist Janeane Garofalo knew better.
"This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes, " Ms. Garofalo told MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who apparently agreed. "It's about hating a black man in the White House."
A few weeks ago, a poster depicting Mr. Obama as the Joker, a villain in a Batman movie, mysteriously appeared. A column by Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post described it as "racial fear's ugly face," though liberals saw nothing racial, or even inappropriate, when last year the trendy lib magazine Vanity Fair portrayed President George W. Bush as the Joker.
The identity of the Obama Joker poster artist was revealed Tuesday. He is Firas Alkhateeb, a college student of Palestinian descent who occupies that narrow strip of political ground to Mr. Obama's left. Mr. Alkhateeb was a supporter of moonbat Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio).
Falsely accusing of racism those Americans who are opposed to government-run health care is unlikely to win them over. But it is diminishing the value of the race card.
"The more Obama fails, the more the left shouts racism - but the more the left shouts racism, the less effective it is, " said conservative blogger John Hawkins. "We've now already gotten to the point where playing the race card is starting to backfire or perhaps worse yet from the perspective of the people who rely on it so heavily, it is producing no reaction at all."
Jack Kelly is a columnist for The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org