T Nation

Extremist Rhetoric


#1

In light of the examination of right-wing rhetoric, with Norway in mind, why aren't some of the recent statements about the right, especially the Tea Party folk, making for a sizable story in the news? Terrorists? Jihad? Suicide vests?

Jonah Goldberg

"Look, I am past exhausted talking about liberal media bias. It's real, we all know it, and people who deny it aren't even fooling themselves. But some things just have to be pointed out. This morning I watched the first 15 minutes of the Today Show. I don't particularly love or even like the program, but I find it useful to see what the producers think is the big news of the day. And sometimes Chuck Todd is on, and I like him. If I sound defensive about watching the show it's only because I am.

Anyway, the first ten minutes was about Gabby Giffords' return to the House yesterday. I'm not sure it merited the full ten minutes or trumped the hard news that later followed, but it's a great story and everyone is rooting for the lady, so I'm fine with it.

But think about this for a second. The Giffords shooting sent the media elite in this country into a bout of St. Vituss' dance that would have warranted an army of exorcists in previous ages. Sarah Palin's Facebook map was an evil totem that forced some guy to go on a shooting spree. The New York Times, the Washington Post, all three broadcast networks--particularly NBC whose senior foreign-affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, devotes, by my rough reckoning, ten times as much air time to whining about Sarah Palin as she does about anything having to do with foreign affairs--flooded the zone with "Have you no shame" finger wagging. A memo went forth demanding that everyone at MSNBC get their dresses over their heads about the evil "tone" from the right. Media Matters went into overdrive working the interns 24/7 to "prove" that Republicans deliberately foment violence with their evil targets on their evil congressional maps.

Everyone "knew" the shooter was a tea partier. Except he wasn't. He wasn't even a conservative. He was a sick, demented, nutball. And it still didn't matter! More bleating and caterwauling about the "tone" followed. More chin stroking and tut-tutting from Meet the Press roundtables and "very special segments" on the Today Show. More pizzas were ordered for the Media Matters galley slaves.

Finally, president Obama, our national-healer, gives a speech. It was a good speech. Indeed it was one of the first speeches in a long while that got anything like bipartisan support. Civility. New tone. No more martial metaphors. These were the takeaways.

So flashforward to this week. Tom Friedman--who knows a bit about Hezbollah--calls the tea partiers the "Hezbollah faction" of the GOP bent on taking the country on a "suicide mission." All over the place, conservative Republicans are "hostage takers" and "terrorists," "terrorists" and "traitors." They want to "end life as we know it on this planet," says Nancy Pelosi. They are betraying the Founders, too. Chris Matthews all but signs up for the "Make an Ass of Yourself" contest at the State Fair. Joe Nocera writes today that "the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests." Lord knows what Krugman and Olbermann have said.

Then last night, on the very day Gabby Giffords heroically returns to cast her first vote since that tragic attack seven months ago, the vice president of the United States calls the Republican party a bunch of terrorists.

No one cares. I hate the "if this were Bush"? game so we're in luck. Instead imagine if this was Dick Cheney calling the Progressive Caucus (or whatever they're called) a "bunch of terrorists" on the day Giffords returned to the Congress. Would the mainstream media notice or care? Would Meet the Press debate whether this raises "troubling questions" about the White House's sensitivity? Would Andrea Mitchell find some way to blame Sarah Palin for Dick Cheney's viciousness? Would Keith Olbermann explode like a mouse subjected to the Ramone's music in Rock and Roll High School? Something inside me hidden away shouts, "Hell yes they would!"

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."


#2

Jonah Goldberg is one of the better conservative pundits floating around these days.


#3

Wait until a downgrade becomes more and more imminent. Near future deficit battles will make this little episode look like genteel disagreement.


#4

The unfortunate thing is that claims like terrorist, Nazi and racist (among others) just tend to shut down conversation on difficult issues.


#5

The real extremists are the ones calling for more foreign murder, more inflation, more government intervention, and more free stuff paid for by the taxpayers.


#6

It seems possessing at least one of these qualities is a prerequisite to enter into politics.


#7

How can she not be embarrassed to write this?


#8

That is because it is an "extreme position" to hold that one has the ability to plan society.

That would be like saying I can plan the destruction that will happen during a tornado.


#9

Both sides of the fence have gone way too far with the demonization of the "other" and the use of "buzz words" in an attempt to illicit emotional flinch reactions from their constituents.

People are wrong to call tea partiers "terrorists", just as people are wrong to call Obama a "communist, facist (which doesn't even make sense as those two political orientations are on opposite ends of the spectrum; one is far left, the other far right, so the next time you hear someone using both terms to describe someone, realize that there isn't any substance to what they are saying), etc..."

Obviously there is disagreement between the two sides as to how the country should be run; that's one of the things that makes democracy great, the ability to have a dissenting/alternative view on something and not get thrown in jail (or worse) for it. But we could all do without all of this ridiculous name calling and demonizing of the other viewpoint.

MSNBC does it on the left, Fox does it on the right.

What we really need is a fact based intelligent discussion about how to go about actually solving our problems, not blaming the other side for them. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be what is happening.


#10

The further that we get from good fiscal policy the more "extremist" people look for asking for such things as a balanced budget.

Keep in mind that the left along with the media will destroy anything and everything in its way. Their goals for America are not in keeping with good fiscal policy. They simply want to protect the unions and recipients of the money taken from hard working Americans.

It will get much uglier than this.


#11

Nonsense.


#12

Not sure if that's supposed to be sarcastic or not.


#13

If people really want to discuss balancing the budget (which I'm not against btw), then at some point we have to consider the notion that this whole "supply side economic" model has been a total failure and we need to go back to pre-Reagan (actually, even Carter began to buy into the concept late in his term, so even prior to that) economic policies.

There we go with the sensationalist finger pointing again. Please submit some factual evidence to support your statement.

Sadly I fear you may be right.


#14

It wasnt.

Just a quick runthrough:

The first fascists, the Fasci Sicialini were a Marxist Split group, agitating for a land reform in Sicily.

Mussolinis Fasci di Combattimenti were lead by a Marxist, aka Mussolini. It is claimed that he renounced his Marxist views, he never did however, he just made the observation why he should socialize companies when he could socialize people.

FDRs flirt with fascism, including symbols and all, had the express purpose of modeling the US after Mussolinis Italy and FDR these days is seen as an American liberal, in other words a social democrat.

Since Social democracy was founded with the expressed purpose of bringing about socialism by democratic means the circle more or less closes.

This whole left right dichotomy is a scam, in real life they are often interchangeable.

The trick here is to narrow the choice down to two collectivist, anti-capitalist, illiberal, eschatological, statist workers movements so as to imply that there really is no other choice.

I am not interested in the theological disputes of practically one and the same political religion and to claim that they must be different because they bashed each others brains in would be as absurd as claiming that Catholics and Protestants differ greatly just because they did the same.

Video entirely relevant:


#15

Actually no. Those 'fascists' had nothing to do with the fascist movement that arose from the pro-war Socialist faction in Italy and was influenced by Marinetti and the futurists during the First World War.

He renounced them before he even joined the Socialist Party and described himself as a 'Socialist' to the end of his days.

Gibberish. You're correct to point out the ridiculous comment of that other poster however.


#16

You are right of course, it never happened.


#17

Move on citizen, nothing to see here.


#18

They're photos of American Christian Socialists. The raised right hand was done during the pledge of allegiance and has nothing to do with the Italian fascist salute. The Italian fascist salute was taken from the Roman army. Fail.


#19


This is the Roman salute and the Americans took it from the Romans too.

Alas, I am glad that you try to do your part citizen.


#20


Then again, maybe that was to subtle-

Like that one better?