Today's Obligatory Nutpicking Post About Someone Who Recently Died
Over at The Corner, Andrew Johnson writes what's become an almost obligatory nutpicking post whenever someone famous dies:
While many mourn the loss of the Iron Lady, liberals have been quick to celebrate her passing....
This is followed by a grand total of six tweets, one of which refers to a piece written a year ago and another of which isn't even nasty. Frankly, I think Thatcher would be pretty disappointed if this is all the venom she inspires these days.
Anyway, two thoughts. First, I'm sure the outraged right will show all the proper decorum when Jimmy Carter dies. Certainly none of them will so much as tweet a suggestion that the world is well rid of this meddlesome, Israel-hating diplomatic rogue, will they?
Second, what's the problem here? When a polarizing figure dies, why shouldn't the reaction be polarized too? The British, bless their hearts, have a tradition of being a bit more bluntly truthful in their obituaries than us Americans, and I'm all for it. Margaret Thatcher led a very public, very contentious life, and was never one to clutch her pearls when she was attacked—and if she could take the abuse while she lived, I think her supporters can take it after she's died. This doesn't mean that literally anything goes—George Galloway's "Tramp the dirt down" is typically over the top—but it does mean that if yesterday you thought her legacy was a terrible one, there's no good reason not to say so today. And no reason to be too scrupulously polite about it, either.
Thatcher loved a good fight, and she always, always, always gave as good as she got. Let's not pretend otherwise.