The far left is much more creative with their commentary epitaphs. They could teach the far right a few things, but unfortunately the far right is catching up with them, rapidly.
Political discourse has always been brutal, vicious, nasty, personal, and relatively creative. The difference in years gone by was the fact that even given the brutality, viciousness, etc. etc., it was fun. Like good social drinkers, those involved in said discourse knew their limits. They knew when to stop, pull back, regroup, and wait for the next bout.
We’re talking highly eloquent, well read grown-ups (note the use of the term “grown-ups” as a contrast to the childish behavior we are experiencing today from voters, pundits, and elected officials) who knew how to turn a phrase, how to behave, and how to say nasty things in a most exquisite manner. The list of political writers and muckrakers is like a who’s who of great American writers. Political commentary is an American tradition. The political editorial was an art form, if those written by my great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson Moore are any example. A contractor by trade, and a life-long Democrat, “Poppy” could teach all of us a thing or two about how to write a great comment be insulting and never not be a gentleman about it.
I wish I knew where the degradation began. I wondered if it might be after the founding of the ACLU in the 1920s, but soon realized that is not the case. It is entirely possible the current trend began in the 1960s as a result of the anti-war movement and the perceived assault on “American” values by the left. Note that I said “Perceived”.
There was no great liberal movement at that time. There were liberals like Phil Donahue on television, but they were counterbalanced by the hard-drinking, rough living Rat Pack and the likes of John Wayne and Bob Hope, who were basically Republicans (but would be castigated today as being ‘country club Republicans’). When you stop and examine the history of non-profits and lobby groups, you realize there were only a few on the political scene, and those appear to be based on anti-war, civil rights, or anti-communist theologies.
Conservatives like to wax poetic about William F. Buckley being the lone voice in the wilderness, but nothing could be farther from the truth. It wasn’t about “liberal” and “conservative”. It was about Democrats and Republicans. You could be of either persuasion, liberal or conservative and were welcome in either party. It was a kinder, gentler age.