The sudden transformation of the Democratic Party into a dogma-driven left-wing political enterprise has resulted in a wave of apologies and even abject groveling from candidates seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Positions that were mainstream just a few years ago now demonstrate moral failures and worse, and they must be repudiated, else the would-be president will be repudiated by the loudest, angriest, best organized faction of the party.
David Rutz of the Free Beacon has assembled a montage of the apologues of some of the announced candidates:
The regrets include the following:
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been mulling a run for months, expressed regret for the “big mistake” of supporting tougher sentences for drug possession in the 1980s and 1990s. …
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), has described herself as “callous” in her former immigration views and said she “couldn’t have been more wrong” about her previous support for gun rights – she once sported an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association but now proudly has an “F.” …
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) was forced to apologize to women who alleged sexual harassment and pay disparities on his 2016 campaign, initially saying he was a “little bit busy” running around the country to be aware of the situation at the time[.]
Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) said she took full responsibility for her past decisions that upset progressives as a prosecutor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) acknowledged she was not a “person of color” while defending her decision to release a DNA test revealing scant Native American ancestry, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s never backed off his support for the “stop-and-frisk” program, acknowledged not all of his decisions in office were “perfect.”
Watching the mass self-abnegation reminds me of the spectacle of China during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that convulsed (and impoverished) that nation for a decade, starting in 1966. Officials, scholars, and almost anyone in a position of authority were forced to undergo self-criticism and repent of their adherence to the remnants of capitalism and feudalism. In China, this was a top-down movement, sparked by Mao Tse-tung’s call to youth to rise up and attack his ideological enemies who resisted imposition of “true communism.”
Years later, I spoke to an eminent Chinese scientist with a Ph.D. from a major American university who returned to his native land in the early 1950s to serve China’s development with his learning. During the Cultural Revolution, his American Ph.D. was regarded as proof of thoughtcrime, and he was badly beaten, with a noticeable limp, and paraded through the streets in a dunce cap while onlookers pelted him with rotten vegetables. Eventually, he was restored to his position because his knowledge was so needed, but he was a broken man.
Unleashing the raging hormones of adolescent and post-adolescent youth was a horrible mistake, because excesses were inevitable, including murder and destruction of irreplaceable cultural artifacts.
Red Guards then; social justice warriors now (public domain picture).
The Democrats’ version of a sudden ideological upheaval was also sparked from the top, in a sense. First, President Obama called for a “fundamental change” in our republic, only to be foiled in making his changes permanent by constitutional safeguards. The fact that his successor, Donald Trump, was able to undo much of the worst of it with his own pen and phone, plus his refusal to bow before the shibboleths of political correctness, had the same effect of mobilizing hysterical mobs, especially composed of youngsters under the baleful influence of propaganda in schools and colleges. But make no mistake: decades of propaganda coming from a deeply politicized educational system was the necessary pre-condition for this phenomenon.
China crippled itself for decades following the Cultural Revolution, with economic output collapsing and mass deprivation. The ruin it experienced helped pave the way for opening relations with the outside world and the reforms of Deng Xiaoping.
I have to wonder about the broader electoral appeal of a field of candidates who apologize to the most extreme elements of their party. We shall see.