Did you notice your conservative friends seemed both scared and emboldened coming into this week? Thank David Horowitz, conservative author and serial hyperbolist, who swept through town last week, giving a couple speeches to some of the state's most impassioned Republican figures.
On Thursday, Horowitz was a featured speaker for the Minnesota College Republicans on the University of Minnesota campus, where he addressed a crowd of a few dozen. His go-to shtick is political correctness on college campuses, comparing the progressive policing of speech to totalitarian governments. As he sees it, it's less extreme than in Iran or Cuba — but that's only because "the left" has yet to achieve total power.
As one can gather from that sentiment, Horowitz does not himself feel constrained by whatever rules of politeness he thinks are holding the rest of us back. Indeed, he expounded on this theory later that night, in front of another audience in a private home.
According to conservative blogger John Gilmore, who videotaped the event, the crowd on hand for Horowitz's speech featured Congressman Tom Emmer and Republican Party of Minnesota chairman Keith Downey. State Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) was also in attendance, and identifies himself off-camera during the video's question-and-answer session.
Horowitz told the crowd that their problem was that conservatives are "too damn nice." He explained that the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the think tank David Horowitz named after his favorite political thinker, is a "school of political warfare," and encouraged people to take the rhetorical gloves off.
Like this: President Barack Obama is a "communist and a traitor," who only "claims to be a Christian." Horowitz compared Obama making a nuclear deal with Iran — which, if you recall, is aimed at preventing the mullahs from someday getting a bomb — to Franklin Delano Roosevelt giving a nuclear bomb to Adolf Hitler.
And this was just the warmup material.
He repeatedly encouraged them to get better at name-calling. Be more like the liberals, Horowitz said.
"They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes," he said. "What do we call them? Liberals. What are they liberal about? Except hard drugs, sex, spending other people’s money, coddling criminals, and extending sympathies and aid to our enemies."
After his talk, the floor was opened up for questions. Osmek spoke up, saying he'd run a little late that night, but with good reason. The first-term state senator had just gone into "the belly of the beast," speaking to 150 "non-Caucasian" students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Osmek reported that he pretty much killed it — they were applauding within five minutes, he says — and had also been invited to speak at the University of Minnesota.
He sought advice from Horowitz on how to "drag them over to my side."
Horowitz again blamed conservative politeness for the problem. Minneapolis — the "belly of the beast," in this construction — was under the average national poverty rate back in the 1970s, and is now above the average. What's to blame for this? Democrats. They took hold of political power in this city and others and sabotaged the economy.
Democrats give out "freebies" to blacks and Hispanics and "kill business" by raising taxes. All that's left is a poor, non-white class of people beholden to handouts.The way to combat this is simple, he said.
"Throw their victims in their faces every time you speak," Horowitz said.
And if that doesn't work, try calling the president a communist.