Myth of the limp-wristed liberal

The stereotype of the limp-wrist/weak liberal/democrat is probably wrong, and I’m not even sure where it came from because it is such an inaccurate portrayal of how most liberals are. When to comes to power and policy, liberals can be ruthless. French Revolution anyone? FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court and in violation of Fifth Amendment put 120,000 Japanese-Americans into internment camps. The presidency of FDR is considered by some historians the closest America came to falling into the grips of socialism, following in the footsteps of Germany, France, and Italy. Truman was not limp-wristed when he warned Japan “If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth,” and this lead to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. JFK didn’t let crippling back injury and chronic disease curb his political ambitions and womanizing. LBJ was not weak by any stretch. “LBJ was famous for his powers of persuasion, dispensing them with what became known as ‘the Johnson Treatment.’ He used his imposing physical size and intimidating personality to emphasize his point. [1]” LBJ also escalated US military involvement in Vietnam, because he didn’t want America to seem weak and complicit. From the NYTs Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam:

Weakness, Johnson had seen in three decades in Washington, was never rewarded. When he said of Vietnam, “We’re not going to have any men with any umbrellas,” a pointed reference to the hapless Chamberlain, the message was clear: America would stand up to Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong in a way that Chamberlain had not stood up to Hitler and the Nazi regime. For the 36th president, Vietnam began less as a conflict he was determined to win than as one he couldn’t afford to lose.

The Clinton are known for their quick tempers, and Bill wrote, “I am a little disturbed by my anger..Because of the way Daddy behaved when he was angry and drunk, I associated anger with being out of control and I was determined not to lose control. [2]”. Compared to the examples given in the article, George W. Bush, despite being despised by so many, is by comparison anodyne. In 2000, Al Gore ‘menaced’ George. W. Bush in a presidential debate, creating an awkward moment when he stepped from the podium and tried to intimidate the former governor by standing a few inches from his face [3]. In 1937, FDR, described by Wendell Holmes Jr. as having a 1st-rate temperament but a second-rate intellect, tried to pack the Supreme Court in order to expedite his New Deal proposals, increasing the number of justices from 9 to 15. It failed and possibly hurt FDR’s legacy, but because he served for 12 years, the longest of any president, he was able to appoint eight justices, effectively packing the court with New Deal disciples. Some eighty years later, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also spoke about packing the Court, saying “We take back the House, we take back the Senate, we take back the presidency, and we pack the Supreme Court of the United States of America,” showing that the left’s ruthless pursuit of power and control has not changed despite generational and racial differences, although by ‘packing’ this is not necessarily imply more justices but rather having no conservative ones. Same for Hollywood. Marlon Brando, the quintessential Hollywood ‘tough guy’, was among the most ardent supporters of civil rights.

It would seem that because the ‘left’ is proactive, but the ‘right’ is reactive, the ‘right’ is always, in the long-run, at a disadvantage. By dismissing our ideological enemies as weak, we are possibly deceiving ourselves, because they are not.


[2] When Presidents Get Angry

[3] Al Gore tries to Intimidate Fight George Bush at Debates Nod