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Sep 30, 2009


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I don't have confidence in leadership of the right or left - but encouraging the assassination of the President is idiotic and foolish, no matter which side it comes from (I heard friends on the right swear that Clinton was the antiChrist and his assassination would be God's work. I had friends on the left swear that Bush was Satan and should be killed for the good of all mankind. Now I'm hearing Obama anti-Christ references again!). It seems that political smearing is our new national pastime.

But here's something I don't understand. The Patriot Act was the most unpatriotic invasions of privacy in our country's history. Now that the Dems control both Congress and the White House, why haven't they repealed it?


Friedman? But Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says Friedman is a "nut job."


I am too busy today to tolerate insipid stupidity. I read Card's article until I got to this and stopped when I realized Card is not writing for a thinking reader:

"I still remember that President Bush was called a liar constantly, even though – and I'm willing to stand by this – he was never found to have told a lie in his entire presidency."

Knowingly wrong and willing to stand by it. Impressive. Next.


Looks like Card is auditioning for a radio or tv gig. He's pushing the schlock that sells these days.

Makes me regret that I liked "Ender's Game".

Dave Ribar

Newsmax seems to have pulled Perry's blog. Perry's comments and some others are reported at http://mediamatters.org/research/200909300003 .


There is no disappearing on the internet.

Joe Killian

Well, he did go so far as to say a military coup was not an IDEAL option...


Someone needs to check OSC for carotid-artery obstruction.

Jeffrey Sykes

The noise is crossing over into something more worrisome and any thinking person should be offended by the ideas of delegitimizing a president or encouraging violence against him.

I was going to comment yesterday about the nature of our election districts and how so many of them have become non-competitive, thus entrenching radicals on both sides. I see Friedman expressed the same thought in his column:

"... the gerrymandering of political districts, making them permanently Republican or Democratic and erasing the political middle ..."

In looking for solutions to our current divide, I think a more competitive system of elections might force candidates to keep to the rational course.

Andrew Brod

I agree, Jeffrey, but it's not all due to gerrymandering. We've done a lot of it ourselves.

Jeffrey Sykes

Andy: I remember hearing about that book on Bloomberg radio last year. Thanks for the link.

Billy The Blogging Poet

Who cares what OCS thinks-- everyone knows authors are nothing but wack jobs.

Andrew Brod

I appreciate Friedman's attempt at partisan even-handedness, but I don't think he makes his case on that score. The unhingedness of the title of this thread sure seems to skew conservative. Clinton was impeached on the basis of a truly bizarre investigation whose "focus" (if you can call it that) morphed from irrelevant land deals to irrelevant blowjobs. Obama is being compared to Hitler.

But on Bush 43, all Friedman can muster is that he "was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it." Well, that's a stretch, however well-meaning. The most obvious flaw here is that the fiasco in Florida wasn't the making of liberals or Democrats. In addition, while I have no doubt that there were critics on the left who couldn't forget Florida, that wasn't true of most liberals. As strained as the Bush v. Gore decision was, my sense is that most liberals got over it. They took Bush at his word that he was a "compassionate conservative" and hoped for the best. The fact that they were proved wrong doesn't mean they were unhinged.

My point is that I don't remember the Bush 43 administration being beset by death threats and the rest of what we're seeing now. Is my memory selective? What did I miss?


that's the first i've heard of the military coup idea. but i have heard conservatives worry aloud about the possibility of a civil war. many of my liberal friends hated bush and thought he was destroying the country. many of my conservative friends feel the same way about obama. i agree with my wise mom, who says she wishes we could go back to the days of electing statesmen, not politicians. you may not always agree with them, but you could respect them.

Steve Harrison

"while I have no doubt that there were critics on the left who couldn't forget Florida, that wasn't true of most liberals."

What happened in Florida before, during, and after the election could (and has) filled volumes. But the bottom line is, we were split 50/50, and half of the country got who they wanted. That same half got what they wanted again in 2004, and the other half got what they wanted in 2008.

So everybody should be happy. :)

Andrew Brod

I don't disagree, but again, I think this is a false equivalence. Yes, many of my liberal friends as well hated Bush 43. But I don't recall calls, even marginalized ones, for coups or assassinations, let alone hyperventilated mainstream rhetoric about Bush "destroying the country." The closest liberals came to that was their claim that Bush appeared intent on destroying our commitment to human and civil liberties. And even that was based on specific actions by Bush rather than amorphous heeby-jeebies. One could support or oppose the Bush administration's attempt to bypass the FISA court in its surveillance program, but one couldn't deny that it was happening.

Of course it's hard to say something with partisan implications without being labeled a partisan. But I'm open to hearing about instances (rather than vague references and assertions) in which liberals attacked Bush 43 with the same vitriol and the same disregard for broader implications that's being exhibited toward Obama.

Andrew Brod

Oops--I didn't know Steve would jump in. The person with whom I'm not disagreeing is cm.


randi rhodes, "kill bush" t-shirts, "death of a president" movie, any code pink anti-war protest

Fred Gregory

Your liberal friends, Andrew? Are the haters at CBS among them? Yes your memory is sooper selective.


Steve Harrison

That's okay, Andrew. I used up all my thinking juice (there are other words for this, but they escape me for now) earlier today, so all I have left is broad generalizations which should be disagreed with. And smiley faces. :)

Fred Gregory

Ah yes Ed, Fearless Tom to the rescue. Not really.

Paul at Powerline gives gives Friedman the scolding he deserves.

"Normally, a column that begins with the author's expression of his feelings about writing the piece shouldn't be read. And if the feeling expressed is the author's purported distaste for discussing the subject, the column normally shouldn't be written."

"Thomas Friedman's column of today is no exception. He begins by claiming that 'he hates to write' about his subject -- the notion that criticism of President Obama may cause him to be assassinated. By the end of the column, Friedman looks like a fool and a hypocrite for having ignored his alleged instinct."

Paul also links to Peter Wehner's Commentary column that stings the high priest of the Times.

Tom Friedman Awakens to the Dangers of Incivility

"One question, though: When George W. Bush was being routinely savaged by those on the Left....where were those Friedman columns of ringing condemnation? I don't recall them; perhaps you do.

When there was actually a movie made about the assassination of President Bush (Death of a President), I don't recall Friedman writing about 'creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.' "

"When Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker declared that Bush's 'legitimacy is hard to accept,' I don't recall Mr. Friedman worrying that Bush was having his legitimacy attacked by a concerted campaign from the Left (adding a mild line of criticism against liberals now, in order to gain the patina of fair-mindedness, simply underscores that Friedman was AWOL when it counted)."

Finally Mirengoff reminds us

"Lincoln aside, assassinations and attempts at assassination in American have largely been idiosycratic acts, as opposed to ones that arise from political currents. Reagan, for example, was shot (if memory serves) by someone attempting to prove his affection for Jody Foster. No one believes that the assassination of JFK was random, but people can't agree upon which conspiracy caused it. One thing is just about universally accepted, though: the initial take of the Tom Friedmans of that era -- that the assassination was a product of the culture of right-wing hate in Dallas -- was incorrect"

Andrew Brod

Actually, you've persuaded me that my memory isn't selective at all. For example, I had no idea who Randi Rhodes was--I don't listen to Air America. As for the other examples, it's pretty thin gruel.

Randi Rhodes: Yeah, she seems pretty unhinged. Will you admit the same about Glenn Beck? Interestingly, Air America fired her (and I'm quoting from the Wikipedia article now) "abusive, obscene comments," but it appears those comments were directed at Geraldine Ferraro.

"Kill Bush" t-shirt: Obviously beyond the pale. But the website that offered it claims that it was posted by an individual member store, and the company soon deleted the page. By the way, that website, CafePress.com, offers plenty of anti-Obama gear.

"Death of a President": Um, dude, that was a British movie. American liberals (or conservatives, for that matter) shouldn't be held responsible for foreigners' views about our domestic politics.

Code Pink: The women of Code Pink are definitely out there. But to my knowledge they're not associated with violence, death threats, or anything of that nature. They're mainly associated with bad taste and chutzpah.

"Snipers Wanted": This was clearly terrible. You could argue that this shouldn't count because it was done for laughs rather than as a political statement, but it was terrible all the same. And yet the apparently evil CBS immediately apologized for it. Again, does the right wing media ever apologize?

Thanks for the responses, Kim and Fred. I'd say you definitely scored a hit with Randi Rhodes, but unless you can come up with more than this, I think you've made my point for me.

Andrew Brod

I should acknowledge that I originally said I couldn't remember even marginalized calls for violence against Bush 43. To be fair, Kim and Fred have pointed out a few marginalized incidents.


I know Card is a local guy, but since when does being a science fiction writer give you credibility to talk about anything else? That's how I feel abouot most other media pundits: Why are we paying attention to this guy?

Card, Perry and all the others fixate on the leader principle. That's why they salivated over Bush, even though he couldn't lead a dog to a prime rib. He used all the right words, and for them that's enough, since believing makes it so, eh?

Who hears the sound of heels clicking?

Meanwhile, I'm gonna email Rachael Ray and ask her about caps on carbon emssions.

Ed Cone

"...the notion that criticism of President Obama may cause him to be assassinated."

I choose to believe Mirengoff is willfully misreading the column and mischaracterizing the subject, because the thought of somebody being that stupid is too depressing.

Fred Gregory


I don't believe Mirengoff is willfully misreading anything. He and others have called out Friedman as a foolish hypocrite. Get over your infatuation with everything he writes .


"I choose to believe Mirengoff is willfully misreading the column and mischaracterizing the subject, because the thought of somebody being that stupid is too depressing."

The irony of that statement coming from you is impossible to let pass without comment.

Ed Cone


I'm no particular fan of the Iraq-war-cheerleading, power-teat-suckling Friedman, as I've written here often in the past.

But that doesn't mean he's always wrong.

I held out the possibility Mirengoff was willfully off-topic in saying this is about "criticism" of the president, rather than the kind of rhetoric actually under discussion.

But I'm willing to consider the possibility that he's an idiot.

Maybe you are comfortable with the rhetoric of delegitimization, or maybe you have another reason for changing the subject from the actual arguments being made, but in any case, "Powerline says Friedman sux!!" ain't much of a comeback.

Fred Gregory

"I held out the possibility Mirengoff was willfully off-topic in saying this is about "criticism" of the president, rather than the kind of rhetoric actually under discussion."

Maybe by your narrow partisan rule limiting the discussion. At least Brod will concede a point but the scales are not firmly attached to his eyes.


Are all the "Death to Bush" posters, and being hung and burned in effigy at war protest marginal? I don't listen to Beck, has he and his peers been making death threats to the President?


"I think it's despicable. I think it's absolutely outrageous. That anyone would even attempt to profit on such a horrible scenario makes me sick".

Hillary Clinton on "Death of a President".

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