As a conservative New Yorker, I am very often the only Republican many people know. People spot me across the room at a party and lurch toward me "so...what do you think of Sarah Palin now?" At poker games, acquaintances will bait me into long, complicated discussions about Social Security reform or other topics of the day - tired, I suppose, from talking about these issues with people who all already agree with them.
Patterns emerge in these conversations: Bush is stupid, Palin is stupid, Republicans win because Americans are stupid and Fox News instructs the stupid on what to believe. In the Bush years, it was Karl Rove calling the shots on what we should believe and what talking points we should spread. These days, it's those dastardly Koch brothers controlling our minds with their billions. Either way, it's always wide-reaching coordination that helps Republicans win.
When that line of attack would begin - that Republicans are super organized, with tight messaging, coordinated attacks and a top-down organization where we all follow the leader - I usually end up saying "I wish." As long as I've been around Republican politics, it has been a loosely-knit coalition of groups, people and media which may support similar goals but all too frequently find themselves unable to work together (see CPAC 2011).
Liberals, on the other hand, always seem all-too-willing to join together and do some dirty work in a very strategic way. Nothing is sacred from their attacks, not even the Supreme Court. Kenneth Vogel writes in Politico:
Liberal groups have launched an aggressive — and, at times, personal — attack on the court’s most conservative justices.
"In this [modern] context, it’s not so surprising that attacks on the justices would veer from the purely ideological into attempts to delegitimize the justices personally, to some extent," said Feldman, who clerked for retired liberal Justice David Souter but nonetheless drew fire from the left for a February New York Times op-ed in which he argued that the political engagement of Thomas and Scalia pales in comparison to their predecessors and could, in fact, help better inform their decisions.
The condemnation of the two justices seems "suspiciously partisan," Feldman wrote, while other legal scholars and court watchers from across the political spectrum have also dismissed the campaign as a stretch, at best, and dangerous, at worst.
In other words, a liberal argues that liberal attacks on the court are dangerous and is attacked by his fellow liberals for speaking this truth. Liberal groups such as Common Cause claim their concern is not partisan but in the interest of transparency and fairness of the court. Vogel provides examples of liberal complaints about Scalia and Thomas, such as their attendance at various dinners for conservative organizations and the work of their spouses, but points out that the same complaints can be made about the liberal judges on the court - yet are ignored.
The latest attack, trying to get Justice Thomas disbarred in Missouri is the same frivolous, politically-based attack coordinated by these liberal groups. Of course it's not the first time Justice Thomas has been unfairly attacked; the low blows include the questioning of his resume in the pages of the NY Times, that he does whatever Justice Scalia tells him to do, and, the old chestnut that he is a traitor to his race. The attacks add up. There are calls for Attorney General Eric Holder to probe threats made against Thomas. If only a wide net of conservative groups working together existed to protect Clarence Thomas from baseless, awful attacks by a network of liberal groups and media. I wish.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.