LOS ANGELES, February 11, 2014 — Being a rich, white elitist liberal one-percenter is just not as prestigious as it used to be. On the same day Brian Williams was suspended for six months by NBC News, Jon Stewart announced he was leaving Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” This came only one day after Rosie O’Donnell announced that she was leaving ABC’s “The View” for the second time.
While these events seem disparate, there is a common thread that should terrify liberals. These three celebrities seem to be accelerating a trend that began as a trickle.
In recent years MSNBC has fired Keith Olbermann, and David Gregory was ousted from NBC’s “Meet the Press” only six months ago. All of these individuals are rich white liberals.
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Stewart is leaving voluntarily after sixteen years. O’Donnell is just too combustible to share a stage with others, even if those others are her fellow liberal women. The case of Williams is the most instructive.
Anybody who thinks Williams will reclaim his anchor job back in six months has failed to notice what has happened to American liberalism in the last few years.
Brian Williams is done at NBC. His “temporary” replacement Lester Holt is black. NBC is a liberal network, and the liberal network’s commitment to diversity will win out. There is no way Holt gives up his promotion just so Williams can have his job back.
Al Sharpton would lead threats against NBC and they would cave. Unless Lester Holt is the next Jayson Blair, he has the NBC Nightly News anchor job for as long as he wants. If Holt is the slightest bit competent and honest, it will be impossible to shove him aside. If the respected Holt does a good job, there will be even less of a reason to let Williams come back. Replacing a qualified and capable black man with a tainted white guy is a non-starter. All hell would break loose and this time black America would be totally right in their anger.
Brian Williams was done in by his own bad behavior, but the identity politics at the heart of liberalism is why he will not return to his old job. Holt has been given an opportunity. As long as he is a plausible nightly news man, Williams will have to go somewhere else.
The confluence of these seemingly disparate events is bigger than Williams and Holt. Identity politics and political correctness have devoured liberalism. The election of Senator Barack Obama to the presidency led to predictions of a permanent liberal governing majority, but it was actually the beginning of the death of the left for the near-term foreseeable future.
Liberal media thrived in the George W. Bush years for precisely the same reason conservative media flourished during the Clinton presidency: Activists put so much effort into winning elections and then become complacent in victory. Outsiders get to lob grenades. Election winners have to govern.
MSNBC and liberal bomb-throwers everywhere took glee in castigating President Bush. Every activist group in the Democrat coalition was united by hatred for one man. Bush was the glue that held liberals together. When Obama won, he had a filibuster-proof Senate and control of the House. Liberals desperately needed a conservative villain, but none existed.
Bush retired to his ranch and cleared brush. Sarah Palin became a private citizen. Rush Limbaugh and Fox News employees went back to work. It was tough to demonize them as controlling everything when their side had just lost a massive election.
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Liberals had total control. They needed to do something positive. They needed to say something positive. Starting with President Obama, they were just not willing and able to do it.
Railing against the Koch Brothers night after night showed liberals to be boring and tiresome. Most Americans had no idea who these two men were. Others did not see why succeeding in business was a bad thing. America was about upward mobility.
Jon Stewart desperately wanted to be edgy, but he had a fawning schoolgirl crush on President Obama. Even when Obama let him down, Stewart’s normally lacerating criticisms were tepid. Stewart’s program went flaccid. Democrats were in charge, and the Millennials forming the core of Stewart’s audience knew that hope and change meant high youth unemployment.
Brian Williams, Piers Morgan and David Gregory kept pushing gun control and demanding action on climate change. Many Americans disagreed with these rich white liberals about gun ownership and never cared about environmental psychobabble. Democrats kept claiming to be the party of the people, but they were the party of elite rich, white liberals. This is because that is who they are, who they socialize with, and what they know.
While Republicans have minorities of all stripes considering the presidency in 2016, Democrats have been reduced to several elderly white plutocrats of varying shades of leftism. Despite Obama’s successful 2012 reelection powered by attacking one-percenters, the left is owned lock, stock and barrel by the crustiest of the upper crust.
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The 2014 elections were a message to liberals that the job was not getting done. The liberal media could no longer prop up five years of failure. Being told that climate change was the defining issue of our lifetime failed to capture a public more concerned with innocent Americans being decapitated by radical Islamists.
The liberal ideologues were just too tone deaf. The television elitists never figured out that being plutocrats did not mean Americans wanted to hear ideas that belonged on Pluto. Liberals broke everything and kept insisting everything was fine. When that failed the laugh test, they kept blaming conservatives. In 2006 this worked because Republicans were in charge. Since 2009 this has failed because Democrats had the car keys. With no conservative bogeymen to clutch on to, liberals everywhere turned inward and imploded.
Rosie O’Donnell, Brian Williams and Jon Stewart never figured out how to expand their message beyond “liberals good, conservative bad.” When the results came in, they were left to defend the indefensible. They used to be offensive. Now they are just boring. O’Donnell and Stewart can clam they left voluntarily, but Williams also voluntarily offered to leave for a few days before being told he would be absent much longer.
The handwriting is on the wall. Until liberals learn how to run a country, there is no reason to listen to anything they have to say. For their sake, they had better hope Republicans win the White House in 2016. Then liberal talking heads will be able to return to championing the identity politics that is now swallowing them whole. Once-influential liberals know it is better to appear to leave voluntarily than wait to get pushed.