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JHB's Journal
JHB's Journal
January 21, 2016

I remember the exact point where that phrase gained cachet ouside lefty circles...

February 10, 1992, in a speech by former Attorney General Edwin Meese at Harvard Law School, that was widely reported on and promoted, particularly on the Right.

Meese Speaks at Law School Forum
Stresses Importance of Ensuring Free Speech, Freedom of the Press
By Perry Q. Despeignes, CONTRIBUTING REPORTER February 11, 1992

Speaking at a Harvard Law School Forum last night, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III defended federal restrictions on the content of Planned Parenthood consultations while warning of the danger that "politically correct" speech codes pose to First Amendment rights.

At the time I thought it was a little odd that they'd latch on to that particular phrase, but then I remembered something else:

This was:
1) almost a year after the Soviets had been absolutely sidelined in the response to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing Gulf War,
2) almost six months since the failed coup by Soviet hardliners to oust Gorbachev, and
3) about a month and a half after the Soviet Union was dissolved completely.

In other words, it featured prominently in a heavily-promoted speech at the precise moment in history when even the most dinosaurine Conservative couldn't maintain the fiction that Liberals and Lefties were "on orders straight from the Kremlin" without losing all credibility beyond a relative handful of true-believing goobers.

The Soviets had become useless as a means of painting Liberals and Lefties as fools, dupes and active agents of a foreign power ideologically driven to wreck the country. Useless as a brush with which to paint L&Ls as traitors and as a DISloyal opposition, for stoking anger against them.

So they shifted gears and cloudsourced it: goodbye slavishly following "orders from Moscow", in the new version there's just this weird ideological cloud of anti-Americanism that motivates Liberals and the Left. In some ways it works even better, because it's even more malleable: it can cover whatever you want it to cover as long as you keep thumping the drum.
January 13, 2016

"When the Russians beat us into space...

...we didn't deny Sputnik was up there."

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