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Bully-in-Chief Sets Terrible Tone at the Top

October 25, 2010

In business, it’s no secret that the CEO and his or her senior staff set the “tone at the top” for the organization—for good or ill.  Although in our culture much has been made about not respecting authority and egalitarianism is the watchword of the day, in case after case it is evident that most companies’ personalities derive largely from the attitudes in the executive suite. It’s also clear in this election year that the president’s acolytes in media and political circles have adopted his arrogant, bullying tone as part of their modus operandi. The recent firing of liberal-tilting commentator Juan Williams by National Public Radio for allegedly offensive remarks about Muslims is just the latest, albeit glaring example of PC-laced intimidation.

Bullying, if not responded to properly, frames the argument and puts the bully’s opponent on the defensive. That’s how Tea Party candidates like Carl Palladino in New York and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware are being marginalized as their sound bites are used to make them look like extremists when they are not. To borrow from Liz Cheney, the whole premise of liberal political attacks needs to be questioned; otherwise, in tacitly accepting their premise, whether the issue is taxation, social security, jobs, abortion, immigration, or even personal issues, the liberal’s opponent automatically puts him or herself on the defensive.  It’s tough to win elections from that position.

For example, there was a recent brouhaha about O’Donnell’s remark on the First Amendment, in which she rightly claimed that there is nothing in that amendment that would prohibit the teaching of creationism along with evolution in schools. Naturally, the libs screamed bloody murder about their favorite canard, the so-called Jeffersonian-based “separation of church and state.” What O’Donnell needed to do was defy them to find that language in the First Amendment—which is of course impossible to do. So far, there’s no evidence that she’s done that.

Bullying from the top enables the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to, with apparent impunity, intimidate NPR regarding Williams’ remarks. NPR, in turn, emboldened by Obama’s outsized contempt for the Fox News Channel, for which Williams also works, feels free to arbitrarily dismiss him. Now comes the inevitable war—conservatives rightly protesting the unjustified firing, and liberals finding a way to make NPR some sort of martyr that is being threatened with extinction (while they ironically at the same time poo-poo efforts to de-fund NPR by claiming that taxpayer funding accounts for only about two percent of NPR’s budget).

Bullies will always hold the upper hand in the political arena until someone has the courage to expose them for what they really are. Rush Limbaugh has been doing this for years; it’s about time some actual candidates did it too.

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