Friday, August 05, 2011

Civility in Politics

James Taranto's column, "Civility: The Denouement":

Hey, what ever happened to civility?

That's not a rhetorical question. Back in January, after a madman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a crowd of her constituents, gravely wounding her and killing six, the liberal elite briefly developed an obsession with the supposed dangers of uncivil political rhetoric.

Before a suspect had even been identified, as we noted Jan. 10, Fitzsimmons, the Tucson cartoonist, was on CNN blaming "the right in Arizona" for "stoking the fire of heated anger and rage" and making the attack "inevitable." Fitzsimmons later apologized, but former Enron adviser Paul Krugman did not. Sources inside Krugman's head told him that the Tea Party dunnit ...

There were many other examples, including Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, who complained of "shocking vituperation and hatred, virtually all of it coming from people who call themselves conservatives." When his fellow liberals falsely accused conservatives of mass murder, Hertzberg was unshocked. ...

Then it was February, and the liberal elite lost all interest in policing "the boundaries of public discourse." The faux goo-goo group Common Cause held a rally where participants urged the lynching of Supreme Court justices. Liberals--including at least one Democratic congressman--employed actual violent rhetoric against Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker, whose state budget reforms stripped government employee unions of many of their expensive privileges.

And now, of course, all of liberaldom is likening the Tea Party to terrorists. But really, that message is entirely consistent with the one in January, and indeed with the message the liberal elite has been propagating since the early days of the Obama administration: that the Tea Party is illegitimate.

I would add that the actual reasons given are irrelevant; they will say anything at all to delegitimize the Tea Party regardless of any truth, surely, but also regardless of whether they contradict themselves.

Taranto's whole piece is well worth reading, as usual.

Finally, a good word for the LA Times, whose Andrew Malcolm condemns the vice-presidents eliminationist rhetoric.

Related:Anti-Tea Party Vitriol

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