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Monday, March 29, 2010

Lets Be Honest About Our Claques

On Friday Derrick Z Jackson had a column "Hatred as a Political Strategy".  I think it was over the top.  As I expect Mr Jackson can tell you, I have written him to complement him when I have liked his columns, but this time I was disappointed.

On Sunday Frank Rich had a column (The New York Times) "The Rage Is Not About Health Care".  Frankly, Mr Frank Rich doesn't do it for me.  My middle Brother seems to like him, or maybe he likes to needle me with Mr Rich.  This was a particularly obnoxious column, impugning the motives of broad swaths of US Citizens.

Both Columnist were banging on about Republicans using bad imagery when talking about Democrats. Both were banging on about how Republicans (and Republican fellow travellers (and others opposed to health insurance reform or the Obama Administration)) were using bad language and threats against Democratic Party members.

Like it was a one way street.

It is not.  Otherwise I would not have received the letter I did from Vice President Joe Biden (well, actually, I think, from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee—but Vice President Biden is part of the US Senate, as long as he is Vice President and it was over his signature).

He says "The GOP is guided by the Tea Partier crowd..." (His bold, not mine.)  How I wish it was that the GOP was guided by the Tea Party movement, but it isn't.  That is why there are all those Tea Party organizations.

But, that said, it is a fair enough comment on the other side.  And, the "Stop Sign" in red with the word NO and an Elephant in the background.  All fair enough.

But, what about the bookmark sized insert with the dead elephant (that is to say, an elephant upside down with its legs in the air—Tango Uniform, as we would say in the fighter pilot dodge).

This is a death threat, is it not?  And worse, it is a death threat using the image of an endangered species.

And what about the man arrested for a death threat against Rep Eric Cantor (R-VA)?  The accused made two contributions to the Obama Campaign per the FEC.  And, he apparently use of anti-Semitic comments about the Minority Whip.

Can we move away from this "your bullying is worse than my bullying" and get back to the issues of the day, including the size of the federal (and personal) debt, the question of how to deal with Iran, the question of how we get enough Primary Care Physicians in the proper places to meet the needs of the nation, the question of peace between Israel and its neighbors, the question of how we get a lot more jobs for people to work here in the US and on and on.

And let us keep in mind two things.
  1. No minority ever got credit for helping the majority pass some legislation, and,
  2. The duty of an opposition is to oppose. 
UPDATE:  Well, this is embarrassing. I misspelled Mr Jackson's first name.  I just assumed I knew how to spell it, which, in my case, is ignoring a long history of not being able to spell words, including my OWN name.  My apologies to Mr Jackson.  I have since updated it.

Regards  —  Cliff

  William Safire attributes this to Lord Randolph Spencer Churchill.  I have seen other attributions.


Craig H said...

I'll first take exception to the bit about the opposition's "duty to oppose", because I think that attitude (shared by both major parties) is what perverts our legislative process into the present equivalent of a boat with always only one set of oars in the water--can't be that way if we are to move forward.

However, you're absolutely right that this "your supporters are more violent than my supporters" nonsense is also a cancer, and it has to be stopped, too.

My formative years were spent amidst much violent political extremism, from assassinations to
protest violence promulgated and perpetrated by all sides. (Kent State by the government, Selma by the ultra-reactionary right, Chicago riots and other WUO bombings by the ultra-extremist left to name just a few). The irony I see today is that neither side is willing to take responsibility for their rhetoric to insist on positive and peaceful change within our laws, much like Dr. King insisted for his civil rights movement in the 60's, which was remarkable in its ethos of non-violence. Oh, pols today will say whatever they have to say to distance themselves from the yahoos, but nobody is leading with a message of collaborative deliberation, and that's a black mark against ALL of them.

Unenroll, people!

ncrossland said...

Oh when will it end, this spitting in shoes, pissing in drinks?

I think the noun "opposition" is derived from the verb "oppose" which unless I have misread my Funk and Wagnals means opposite sides. But today, who knows? Up has become down, reality has become myth, right has magically morphed into wrong (or left...depending on your perspective).....George called it "doublespeak."

Toto...we're not in Kansas any longer (actually, the line was "....anymore...." which is an improper use of the word "more" and it connotes quanity, and longer connotes time or place).

Back to Mein Kampf

tim said...

Very clever, ncrossland. I always forget the part in the Constitution that describes the Opposition.

Jack Mitchell said...

Please cut Biden some slack. He may be using some of the memo's written by Cheney.

After 8 years of dodgeball, I don't think anyone really know which branch has purview.

Both are clear on the importance of 51. Cheney didn't screw that up.

On the stick and stones stuff, bother me when it reaches "domestic enemy" proportion. Michigan may have had a Tomahawk pointed at it for the last couple of weeks.

lance said...

I think "the other side" in this discussion has been told not to be frightened by the Left's criticism and to just "re load." Isn't that what the current Republican AND Tea Party spokesperson is telling them.

We need to remember that extremism in the support of Liberty is no vice (or was that repubdiated as we say a young girl in a field of daisies being eliminated by a real weapon of mass destruction, the type not found in Iraq).

I adopt the comment that both sides need to be accountable for civility.

ncrossland said...

Just a minor but important point there isn't a Republican or Tea Party leader per se. Certainly that is the case with the RNC. Michael Steele does not have the support of many Congressional Reps and his ascendance to the "throne" has been a repeated embarrassment to mainstream GOP folk. As goes for the TeaParty, it is too diverse a group and too regional in its personna for there to have emerged a single "national leader." To be sure, there are those who aspire to such a lofty position, but they are driven by a hunger for financial gain and political position, most of which grass roots tea partiers abhor.

For the tea party movement, the media has become the message and that is a very dangerous state for party longevity. The underlying cause for that state is the almost unquantifiable diversity of "concerns" and "dislikes" voiced by the folks who attend, and are thus identified with, tea party events. "Drain the swamp" is not tangible and unifying objective.....and besides....Nazi Pelosi has already used it. First, define "what do we want to do" and then quickly identify viable processes that define "how we get it done." At the moment, TP is more emotion and not much promotion or locomotion.

And the RNC under Michael Steele is just stuck in the swamp.....and nobody seems to notice or care....especially Republicans.

For the Reps to beat the Dems in November, there is going to have to be some radical decision making done at the individual candidate level. Assuming the probability that Steele will obstruct any meaningful change in the RNC position, those who have professed Republicanism will need be become identified with independents or libertarians. I would recommend the former. I think that McCain's handlers have recognized this and that is why they dragged in Sarah Palin. She represents an almost anti GOP/RNC force in favor of common sense and grass roots connectivity.

Jack Mitchell said...

The Tea Party "promised land" is out there somewhere. Is it called "real America?"

Reject Obama! Reject Steele!

Staggering because these two men have nothing in common.

lance said...

Doonesbury this week is helping us with the very subject of Tea Party leadership and ideals.

Jack Mitchell said...

Cosmic Justice. The teabaggers are this generation's Weather Underground.

Bill Ayers is redeemed. Too funny.

C R Krieger said...

I am not sure Bill Ayers is redeemed, per Jack's comment.

However, there is an irony here.  My daughter floated over to me a joke about the names of generations, and of course those of us born before the Baby Boomers are the "Silent Generation".

No more, I think.  Those born before 1946 are now the Tea Party Generation.  Maybe that is why the Baby Boomers in the Media, etc, are so down on the Tea Party Generation.  It is an intergenerational conflict.  The thing is, we were down on them for messing up the nation in the 1960 and 1970s, long before they ever thought of being down on us.

Let's hear it for those born before 1946 and thus before those "Baby Boomers".  Tea Party on!

Regards  —