Question for GOP Leaders: What Would It Take for You to Condemn the Hatefulness?

by: Mike Lux

Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 09:30


Glenn Beck has said Barack Obama hates white people, and jokes about assassinating the Speaker of the House. Rush Limbaugh makes repeated and extended comparisons between Obama and Hitler. Mobs hang a congressman in effigy and physically attack people at a town hall meeting.

Members of Congress have death threats issued against them, while other Members make jokes about lynching their colleagues.

With all of this hateful and violent rhetoric going on, I haven't seen one Republican leader asking for people to cool their rhetoric, or heard them condemn any of these tactics. My question for Republican party, and their allies at conservative media companies that employ the kind of people making these remarks: what exactly would have to be said for you to distance yourself from these people? How far would someone have to go before you got uncomfortable with it? What would have to said before Fox News considered firing someone?

If Glenn Beck actually directly called for the assassination of someone, would it bother you guys? If Rush Limbaugh just screamed a racial insult referring to the President of the United States into his microphone, would it make you pause at all? If Lou Dobbs went so far as to call for the murder of random Hispanics in the street, would CNN consider firing him? If Michael Savage actually encouraged a caller to his show to go blow up a federal building like Timothy McVeigh did, would any republicans suggest he pull his rhetoric back a bit?

The scary thing to me about what's going on right now in this country is not the violence, because this country has always had violent extremists, and we've survived as a country and democracy. What concerns me, though, is that the Republicans seem to have crossed some kind of line to where they actually tolerate and even defend all this violence. They have stopped doing that now, and are even egging the violence on now in some cases. I fear the answer to my question- what would it take for you to condemn the hatefulness- because the answer seems to be that there is nothing that could happen that would make them say "Stop!" And that's a very scary thing for a democracy.  

Mike Lux :: Question for GOP Leaders: What Would It Take for You to Condemn the Hatefulness?

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Republican Leadership Won't Condemn Anything (4.00 / 5)
that happens.  They may issue a lukewarm 'tut tut' response (cf: John McCain's reaction to "Kill him!" being shouted at his rallies), but that's it, just enough to cover their asses from legal repercussions.  They already have egged on and condoned the murder of doctors performing legal medical procedures.  They arm death squads when they want to, in contravention of American law.  Using their supporters' fundamentalist beliefs to their advantage, they are the extreme exceptionalists who view themselves as above the law and as the agents of righteous retribution.  

This has long been their leaders' modus operandi, but why is this coming out now on such an individual grassroots level?  I believe it's because, on a very gut level (and that's about the only level these people operate on), these foot soldiers of the conservative revolution see their world slipping away from them.  Their nation is led by a black man (horrors!) - the crashing down of white privilege is pretty shocking to them.  Economically, they are suffering through serious financial meltdowns.  The effects of globalization have destroyed their belief that "what's good for General Motors is good for America."  The blowback from the world domination they gloried in is becoming too obvious to ignore as the American Empire starts to crumble.  Their attempt to create a "Christian" nation out of this secular republic is failing.  They are used to being on top, and winning, (or, at least, having the illusion that this is true) and they don't like the feeling of losing and knowing that they can't stop it peacefully.  

I'm sorry to say, but I don't see the Republican elites calling it quits any time soon.  They see this as a war, and they aren't going to surrender.  They will use every trick to keep the troops motivated.  I think they all are going to going to go down with the ship, guns blazing, and take what's left of democracy in this country with them.

Sorry for the near-rant, but when empires crumble, things get nasty.  I believe that's what we are seeing and we're a long ways from the bottom.

Decarbonize, Deglobalize, Demilitarize


Obama Trauma (0.00 / 0)
I think that this rabble and their Republican enablers are just waking up to the fact that Obama won. It's evident that they all fervently believed the "Bradley Effect" would put McCain in the WH and are suffering from the blow of the shattered delusions. We might call it "Obama Trauma."

Democratic Outrage (4.00 / 5)
As a party, the Dems are not as good about using legitimate (or ginned up) outrage as the GOP. The GOP gets two critical aspects of the application of outrage: 1. When slightly affronted, even obtusely, scream bloody murder at the top of your lungs, in every media outlet, on a consistent message. 2. When in the wrong never, under any circumstances, admit the error; in fact, be outraged that you are accused of any error.

Dems don't seem to get either one of these points. They try to rationalize or dismiss really egregious behavior, which lessens the seeming severity of the offense and makes them look elitist and aloof. Then, when slightly wrong, they see the point of those outraged and admit that there might be something to the poor affronted GOP's outrage.

The screamers are a classic case of the Democratic party once again being pawned by the GOP outrage machine. While the GOP and their supporters screams bloody murder, racial insults and threaten violence, the Dems try to rationally debate these crazies and admit that bipartisanship is important and that health care reform needs to compromise with these beliefs, thereby legitimizing them.

Now imagine the GOP in our place (it's a stretch, but try). They'd gratefully cancel all their public appearances citing the safety of their members and those attending blaming the "Democrat party" for inciting violence against their members. They'd continually use this bastardized name for our party on not just cable, but every media outlet, to link us to the outrage. Then they'd go on every media outlet and denounce the violence directed at them as anti-American, citing made up talking points that hyperbolically link the "Democrat party" to the tragedy of and Iowa grandma who couldn't afford to get her hip replacement, went mad from the pain because she couldn't afford her pain meds, then killed herself right before her horrified grandchildren found her as they picked her up for church.

The GOP and their allies are never going to admit to anything. We have to match their ability at playing the outrage card.

If teaching is so easy, then by all means get your degree, pass your certification test(s), get your license, and see if you can last longer than the five years in the classroom 50% of those who enter the profession never make it to.


and this diary is the TYPICAL pathetic whiny card (0.00 / 0)
saint ronnie raygun's appeal was to the fed up, AND
the skilled liars of the fascist party got everyone to go along with the lie that ronnie's appeal was optimism!

ha ha ha.

the Dim-O-Crat response is always some variation of ...

let's meet at the library and I'll get a bigger stack of books for MY arguement than you'll get for your arguement ... nee-ner nee-ner neee-ner!

they shit on us cuz it works.
it works cuz we allow it to work.
therefore, they shit on us.

WOW! can I get a doctorate in poli sci and a sinecure at the k-school now?

rmm.  

It is too full o' the milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way


[ Parent ]
Why doesn't Obama make a strong statement condemning the attacks on free speech? (4.00 / 4)
Possibly I missed it, but I would have like to see Obama come out and strongly condemn these corporate-funded (by the private health insurance industry), right wing, Christian evangelical attacks on free speech.

Isn't it a constitutional right to peaceably assemble to petition government for things like single payer health care or an authentic public option?

The way I see it, what is involved here is a conspiracy to prevent American citizens, voters and elected representatives from exercising their constitutional rights.

If this is the case, then why isn't the Obama administration and the FBI getting involved to prevent people from being intimidated by threats of mob violence, and, in cases like Florida, actually being subject to violence?

Where is Obama in all of this? What happens if all this inciting to hatred provokes an assassination of an elected official who tries to hold a public meeting?

Obviously this is a worse case scenario, but in light of previous assassinations, including the recent killing of George Tiller, why aren't authorities taking strong measures to protect these town hall meetings?

Nancy Bordier is the author of Re-Inventing Democracy. The book can be read free online by clicking here.

A prototype website illustrating how the Interactive Voter Choice System works can be accessed at Citizens Winning Hands.


Because most of the officials ... (4.00 / 5)
are clueless as blind bats .. I mean look at that DHS report(commissioned under GWB!!) that Napolitano spiked .. because the right whined about it blaming right-wing extremism .. I guess what I'd really like to have answered by Mike .. is why Rahm Emanuel hates real Democrats .. and why Emanuel wants to turn the Democratic Party into the Rockefeller Republican of the 1940's(or at least those that want to kill Social Security and stuff if they can)? ... because I can't believe that there are that many Democrats that are so ignorant on message discipline when it comes to the Republicans .. I mean why must Democrats always be the ones to compromise?

[ Parent ]
This is the question that is searing into my mind as well (4.00 / 2)
Where is Obama in all of this? What happens if all this inciting to hatred provokes an assassination of an elected official who tries to hold a public meeting?

It's really odd to me that the administration gets so upset about progressives running ads against Blue Dogs and Thugs, but when the righties are forming violent, corporate-sponsored and managed cadres of thugs... not a peep.

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know if this is even remotely feasible, but couldn't the AG form a Grand Jury to investigate the connection to the rapid increase in right-wing violence with the systematic, even institutionalized, promotion of hate by Fox, Rushbo (et al) and these corporate astroturf groups?

Perhaps a search warrant served on the email servers of all these people might reveal some criminal behaviors, like a conspiracy to foment political violence?

Serve warrants on Dick Armey, Tom Phillips et al and I bet this shit stops toute suite.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
I may be going overboard but. . . (0.00 / 0)
If there are any more violent confrontations at these town meetings, I think Obama and state governors should get into a huddle to find out how to protect voters and elected representatives.

I remember when Eisenhower sent troops in to protect James Meredith when he was enrolling at the University of Mississippi.

He knew very well what was about to unfold and he made sure that no harm came to Meredith.

So I am just wondering whether our vacationing president is thinking about all the possible scenarios that might unfold given our past history of political assassinations.

Is he just going to wait until a tragedy occurs?

Why does he say that democracy is so important in Iraq and Afganistan that he has to send U.S. troops to die there, but by his silence, in the face of what appears to be a well-funded and orchestrated conspiracy to obstruct the democratic process in the U.S., gives the impression that our democratic process at home is not something that deserves his serious attention and possibly intervention to prevent any further intimidation of U.S. voters?



[ Parent ]
Deploying phalanxes of security would not be a good idea (4.00 / 1)
Mainly, it would feed nicely into the proto-fascist mindset in a way which would validate their paranoid delusions. Watch their recruiting numbers improve.

I would say, however, that using the Justice System, for the purpose of bringing the heads of these orgs to Justice, would be viewed much better. They're inciting violence all over the country. How many counts of incitement would that make?

Surely, enough to send Dick Armey et al on an extended stay at Club Fed. So a Grand Jury, search warrants, discovery, indictments and trials. Public Trials.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
I agree, however there were phalanxes of security at the 2008 conventions (0.00 / 0)
Reports I have read suggest that private health insurers and their fronts have figured out how to use right wing extremists to fight the health care reform battle.

Their audacity in targeting town hall meetings of elected representatives suggests to me that predatory corporate interests may well be taking note of the possibility of fomenting right wing political extremism more generally to fight centrist or center-left leaning legislation that interferes with their profit making.

If the Justice department can bring the heads of these organizations up on charges of inciting to riot, that should suffice, provided it happens quickly enough.

In the meantime, by doing nothing, the Obama administration has allowed them to succeed in intimidating voters and elected representatives across the country.

Rather than worry that the "proto-fascist mindset" might try to make political hay out of a show of force, I think it best that Obama make it clear that his administration will not tolerate mob rule and that he will use force to maintain law and order if he has to.


[ Parent ]
I would hope you don't want the entire nation to look like MSP in 2008 (0.00 / 0)
I think this is a law enforcement issue at this point. We have a national campaign, richly funded and managed by corporations, the media and astroturf groups, to incite political violence for the purpose of intimidating a majority of Americans.

Send out target letters to Dick ARmey, Tom Phillips, AHIP, Merck, Pfizer, Exxon/Mobil, Koch Oil, Olin Foundation, Fox Nooz and so on. Instruct them to preserve their email servers and serve search warrants on them.

This stuff will stop the minute these people think they'll be going to prison.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Unless the Super Rich divide the rest of us (4.00 / 2)
they wont be Super Rich anymore.

And it would be nice if more Progressives joined the military and police.


And it would be nice if more Progressives joined the military and police. (0.00 / 0)
You, first, my friend.


[ Parent ]
n/t (0.00 / 0)
Wasn't there that one R hosting a town hall that told people to turn off Glen Beck?  Granted that's just one...

All this vitriol and violence (4.00 / 1)
is the GOP strategy for the 2010 election, and it's planned from the top down.

and it'll work... (0.00 / 0)
Obama's initial support was wide but shallow.

And he won't even be on the ballot in '10 to have any coattails...

If he fails to deliver on the hopey-changey bits--which cannot fail to happen--the "White" hopey/changey voters will defect or stay home.

Obama = One-termer?

Growing more likely by the week...


[ Parent ]
They stir up violence (0.00 / 0)
then claim to be "the strong hand" we need to stop the violence. It's extortion is what it is, classic thug tactics.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
This is a tipping point.. (4.00 / 4)
..as spelled out by Sara Robinson over at Orcinus.  Because the GOP is out of power, they encourage - more than ever - the hate speech, and the astroturf groups that mobilize mobs of Fox News watchers to disrupt and threaten for example the town hall meetings, to get their way.

It's a tipping point, because if the conservative leadership implicitly or explicitly endorses/underwrites these violent actions, it means they're trying to bypass the elected government to get their way.  It's an important step on the way to fascism, and one that is hard to recover from.

Sara points out that this tipping point is part of a progression that has been identified by a researcher named Paxton who is an expert on fascism.  Paxton identified a progression that societies go through on the way to become fascist.  This particular place we're at - where the conservative leadership may/may not cast its lot with a mob, is a key stage in this progression.


where is the FCC? (0.00 / 0)
And why is it legal to use cable TV to incite violence?

Because the FCC doesn't regulate cable... (0.00 / 0)
But also because there is no "legal" grounds for doing so.

First Amendment, remember?

In civil society, those willing to violate civil norms always win.

There's more than a touch of the Julius Streichrer in Beck, Limibaugh, Hannity, et al.

They will prevail because, first, because the cops are on their side. No ciop is gonna arrest a WHITE person beating up a hippy, or a negro, or a mexican at a rally AGAINST "commie Socialism."

Just like no German cop in '32 was gonna protect a Jew against the SA thugs...Wouldn't be 'prudent.'


[ Parent ]
Come on guys (1.33 / 3)
America is not fascist. It isn't. Go to a fascist country and hang out for a while. Then come back and see the difference. There are elements of fascism in the far-right wackos, sure. For every one I could find a far-left wacko to match. PEOPLE are crazy. Not parties. And all of these people are not crazy, no matter how hard we try to label them that way so we can dismiss them. They may be mis-informed, who knows why they feel the way they do? But how can you seriously believe it is just "astroturf"? This is as real as it gets, friends.

Sara Robinson's article is a disgrace. It is a giant scare-tactic that is completely over the top. Things are getting out of hand because of her type of rhetoric. The very same rhetoric that we condemn the conservatives for.

The most fascist element of this entire situation is the White House's reaction to the people. I disagree with them, but I am unwilling to take any of the rights that mean so much to me in this country away from someone simply because I happen to disagree. What is happening to our party?! We sound more and more like those "crazy conservatives" each day.

I think we need to get our shit together and get our own party organized, and quit complaining about and branding every person who voices their beliefs that we don't agree with as a crazy fascist. That is a serious word to be throwing around. I don't mean to defend anyone by any means but I can't help but see that there have been some crazy demonstrations from our own party in the past and even recently. There have also been some really excellent ones.

We are wasting our time and efforts trying to demonize these people, when we should be out there making our points known as well.

There have been violent instances committed by members of each party in these recent weeks. However, the majority have been peaceable. Glen Beck, although a douche, has been telling people NOT to be violent. Lou Dobbs is married to a hispanic woman. We need to stop this bull propaganda and get back to our values as party. We are becoming as bad as them.

Obama is not what we wanted and he is not what he advertised. He is not going to do anything to help us out here. He is lost in his own administration and needs to stand up and find his voice. He has a losing team surrounding him. It's very disapointing.


People aren't saying that America is fascist (4.00 / 2)
they are saying that the fascist threat is a real and present danger.

And no, Obama isn't fascist. He's a classic bourgeois, which is practically the opposite.


[ Parent ]
Naive (4.00 / 1)
No one is saying America is a fascist country.  What Sara IS saying is that there is a recognized pattern that countries follow as they descend into fascism.  The intimidation tactics on display at town hall meetings, mobs largely organized by astroturf groups, exemplify a critical point in this progression toward fascism.  If this alliance between mobs and conservative elites crystallizes, overruling democratic process, then it's very hard to turn back.  This is why it's a tipping point.

Surely you've observed the progressive bullying over the years by conservatives:  from hate radio, to "free speech zones", and now goon squads at town halls. Fascism doesn't arrive overnight, it comes in gradually, step by step, like the proverbial frog being boiled.  All Sara is saying is that there is a pattern here, here is where we are in this progession, and this is probably our last chance to stop it.


[ Parent ]
Uprated (0.00 / 0)
because this comment should not be hidden. This is a conversation we need to be having right now.

That said, I think PamShift is very wrong. How many people has our side shot lately? How many churches or museums have we attacked? There is a big difference between the Left and the Right.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
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