Joseph Welch, Thou Shouldst Be Living At This Hour (No Rest for the Deceitful)

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 13, 2011

I’ll start off by noting anew that the kind of political hatred cataloged here is getting no attention whatsoever from the the likes of Andrew Sullivan, Mark Kleiman, Brad DeLong, and Markos Moulitsas. One wonders how much longer they are going to go before they finally admit that this part of the Internet exists.

Speaking of calls for political violence, recall the following from Michael Moore:

If someone did this [referring to the 9/11 terrorist attacks--ed.] to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes’ destination of California–these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!

Presumably, it would have been all right if red states were hit. And presumably, we are supposed to forget about this kind of violent rhetoric from a denizen of the port side, because it does not fit into the narrative that so many on the port side have sought to impose on us.

Of course, a grasp on history is at a premium these days; see, for example, this incoherent piece which seeks to make the reader believe that there was no such man as “Lee Harvey Oswald,” whose politics, of course, were diametrically opposed to all of the people Robert F. Kennedy Jr. tries to attack. Like so many, Kennedy tries to pretend that violent rhetoric is exclusively the province of the Right, when the evidence makes clear that this is not so. In a sane world, people like him would be laughed out of respectable gatherings. In this world, Kennedy gets a prominent spot at the Huffington Post.

Michael Moynihan rightly piles on:

At his blog, Andrew Sullivan offers, without comment, a contemporaneous passage from historian William Manchester describing the political climate in the months before the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy—Swastikas daubed on Jewish stores, “radical Right polemics” showing up in schools, mainstream liberals being accused of harboring Red sympathies, and Dallas as “the mecca for medicine-show evangelists of the National Indignation Convention, the Christian Crusaders, the Minutemen, the John Birch and Patrick Henry societies.”

Now many pundits have already pointed out that Oswald, who defected to the Soviet Union and agitated for Castro as a member of the “Fair Play for Cuba” committee, was the political opposite of a “radical right” knuckle-dragger; he was, in fact, a delusional loner who claimed he was motivated by opposition to Kennedy’s Cold War foreign policy. (Proving that talent skips a generation, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offers this baffling, almost Soviet piece of historical revisionism, blaming the far-right rhetoric of 1960s Texas for the assassination of his uncle by a far-left weirdo. He employs the same Manchester passage.)

But it is often forgotten, in the swamp of conspiracy theories and lurid fantasies of Sam Giancana and Judith Exner, that prior to shooting President Kennedy, Oswald made an attempt on the life of Gen.Edwin Walker, the far-right Birch Society activist who had denounced the Kennedy administration as “traitors” to America and urged “armed resistance” in order to force “the return of constitutional government.” According to his wife Marina, Oswald said that to have murdered Walker would have been like murdering Hitler, saving America from a fascism and therefore saving countless innocent lives.

That extreme political environment in Texas, in which representatives of the paranoid right warned of Moscow plots to fluoridate the water supply, so worried Lee Harvey Oswald that he attempted to murder one of its most vocal and recognizable advocates. Allow me to co-opt the logic of the “dangerous rhetoric” brigades and suggest that this type of thinking must be bidirectional; we should therefore warn against too much vilification of those on the talk radio right, lest someone attempt to rid the United States of the pundit extremists that are threatening the very foundations of democracy.

Read the whole thing. The last paragraph is truly excellent.

Still more evidence that political discourse did not influence Jared Lee Loughner’s decision to go on a murderous rampage. Oh, and read this as well. Afterwards, remind me how the publication of a map by Sarah Palin made Jared Lee Loughner’s mental condition–already parlous, to say the least–any worse. Remind me how Sharron Angle was responsible for Loughner’s bizarre and sick rantings.

No amount of facts currently serve to prevent unscrupulous politicians from trying to turn a crisis into an opportunity. According to Jim Clyburn, the fact that Loughner lives in his own insane universe means that it is time to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. You cannot make up this disconnect between much of the political and pundit class, and reality.

Previous post:

Next post: