Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Barry Rubin Fisks Lawrence O'Donnell's Bombast Against Republicans

“What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”
Lawrence O'Donnell, What did the Liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party

In American History Distorted: How Lawrence O’Donnell Unintentionally Shows Why Contemporary Leftist-Style “Liberalism” Is Wrong, Barry Rubin notes the discrepancy between Lawrence O'Donnell's version of history and the facts.

Rubin writes:
O’Donnell’s list is the dominant narrative in America today. You will find it promoted in every mass media outlet and taught as the only possible interpretation of U.S. history in schools. How accurate is it? Well, that’s the third question that should be asked. The first two are:

  • Why is it that Obama and the current radicals-pretending-to be liberals have to run on an old historical record rather than their own record in office and the current anti-liberal ideas they propound?

  • Why is it that we should assume that the situation faced by America today is the same as it was in 1913 or 1933 or 1964? Perhaps more government and regulation was needed in those years but since we have had decades of more and more of these things isn’t it possible that we’ve had enough, in fact, far more than enough?
These are two questions most of the American people never see.
More to the point, the picture O'Donnell paints of Democrats vs Republicans is simply not true.

Rubin notes that O'Donnell's boast that Liberals got women the right to vote ignores the role of the women’s suffrage movement, not to mention the fact that the nineteenth amendment was introduced in Congress by Conservative Republican Senator Aaron Sargent. Similarly, O'Donnell passes over the fact that the legislatures of most of the states that passed that amendment were also dominated by Republicans.

O'Donnell's claim that Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote, is similarly fisked by Rubin, as are other of his claims.

Read the whole thing.

Rubin also notes the problem underlying O'Donnell's insistence on claiming credit for the accomplishments of  powerful grassroots movements.

Bottom line, O'Donnell's screed is not so much a call to arms as it is an indication of the lack of accomplishments of the Obama administration.

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