The Devil She Says

Demonizing one’s political opponents is a longstanding tradition in America, but few politicians have done it quite so literally as Rep. Maxine Waters.

The California congresswoman recently took the stage at her state’s Democratic convention, serenaded by a recording of “She’s a Bad Mama Jama,” and gave a stemwinding speech in which she described House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as “demons.” Demons who are “destroying this country rather than bringing us together,” at that.

Hearing a Democrat invoke such religious language is surprising enough, but especially so when the accusation is hurtled at the likes of Boehner and Cantor. Boehner is best known for being lachrymose, hardly a habit one associates with demons, while Cantor is little known at all, largely a result of a low-key personality uncommon among demons. Both men are far too accomodating for the tastes of the average of Republican, who would much prefer they went about their obstructionism with a bit more demonic zeal.

The accusation is all the more galling coming from Waters, who was an apologists for her constituents’ hate crimes during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, steadfastly defended the government’s insistence on subprime lending right up to the moment it caused a financial meltdown, and advocates the nationalization of the energy industry, among other policies that are least as destructive as anything a demon might conjure.

Readers with a long memory for political fads will recall that a year or so ago, around the time Sarah Palin shot all those people in Arizona, Democrats were briefly enthused about “civility.” Apparently the fad has passed.

— Bud Norman

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