Thursday, August 04, 2011

More civil discourse

If we all think back eight months, to those grim January days that followed the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, the foremost political virtue that anyone on the left could name was "civil discourse." The media immediately and publicly linked the shooting to a map of "targeted districts" on Sarah Palin's facebook page, and began a drumbeat, echoed and amplified by Democratic officials, on the dangers of "political violence" resulting from "violent rhetoric." The fact that there was no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the shooter, a clearly mentally disturbed individual whose antipathy to Giffords long predated Palin's map, was even aware of Palin, her map, or anything else related to electoral politics, made no difference. The story line was the rhetoric of the right.

Some of us pointed out, at the time, that this cry for civility was both one-sided and hypocritical.

I noted that
I'm also tired of [political incivility] becoming an issue only when those on the right do it. I'd take the complaints of liberals a lot more seriously if there were a demonstrated consistency in their opposition to crude political discourse, not just using it as another partisan tool to bash conservatives.
In actuality, the objection to "legislating morality" turns out to be, much like the current call for "civil discourse," not a general principle, but a political weapon that the left can use to cudgel the right.
So now, having lost (or at least having the perception that they've lost) another political battle, what are we seeing and hearing from the left?

Elected Democrats:
Vice President Joe Biden joined House Democrats in lashing tea party Republicans Monday, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over raising the nation’s debt limit, according to several sources in the room.

Biden was agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

The New York Times' Joe Nocera:
You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them.

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.
The New York Times' Maureen Dowd:
Tea Party budget-slashers didn’t sport the black capes with blood-red lining beloved by the campy Vincent Price or wield the tinglers deployed by William Castle. But in their feral attack on Washington, in their talent for raising goose bumps from Wall Street to Westminster, this strange, compelling and uncompromising new force epitomized “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and evoked comparisons to our most mythic creatures of the night...the Tea Party slashers roaming the corridors of the Capitol have feasted without resistance on delicious victims and will only grow bolder.
The New York Times' Thomas Friedman:
If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the G.O.P. on a suicide mission.
(Friedman, if you recall, is the one that laments the fact that Obama doesn't have the same powers in America as the "reasonably enlightened" Chinese dictators do in China...)

Anyway, it's all par for the course. I'm going to let Jonah Goldberg finish this one up...
The Today Show even had Debbie Wasserman Schultz on this morning for five minutes talking about Giffords. No one thought to ask her what she thought of Biden’s comments? It’s not like she’s the Democratic party’s national spokesperson or anything. Oh, wait. She is!

Instead, after the full ten minutes on Giffords, we get an update about the debt-limit situation (which is supposedly an Armageddon-level issue) and Kelly O’Donnell basically carries water for Biden on the issue by completely muddying whether he said anything of the sort at all. (His office says, no, no the vice president didn’t call them terrorists, he just politely agreed with all the Democratic congressmen in the room that they “acted like terrorists.” Ah, this is a distinction a team of a million Jesuits working around the clock would have a hard time slicing.)

And yet you know the next time there’s the slightest, remotely exploitable tragedy or hint of violence, the same reporters, editors, producers, and politicians are going to insist that blood was spilled because of the right wing’s rhetoric.

Well, go to Hell. All of you.

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