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Nobody's right if everybody's wrong

First, let's get this out of the way: My anger and digust have reached levels I haven't felt since Ted Turner traded Brett Butler. Reading leftie blogs has become an exercise in raising blood pressure. I just don't get how these people can be so smug, so righteous when they do everything they accuse the right of doing. Do they really believe their shit doesn't stink, or are they so used to wallowing in it they got used to the smell? Leftie blogs that used to be even-handed and informative have gone so shrill I can't even look at them anymore. Every single post is another episode in the internet show knowns as "I Hate George Bush." I'm not saying this blog is without its venom, but I do try to temper it with other things. I just can't bring myself to be all hate, all the time. The more I read on sites like DU and Indymedia, the more sure I am that this country is going to erupt into something very ugly come August. Don't blow me off by saying that the DU and Indymedia crowd are just a minority fringe. That's just not true. Who are the people who come out to the protests? Who are organizations like Answer and Democracy Now made up of? Who are the people smashing windows and knocking over mailboxes during protests? Yes, it's the "minority" fringe of the left. Except they aren't such a minority anymore, and they should be feared as if they were a throng of milliions. Last week, Matt Margolis and his brother were smacked down by some union anti-Bush protesters. You can say that's just an anomaly, that protesters and anti-Bushies aren't really violent. But you would be wrong. Take, for instance, this DU thread on the "Margolis Incident" as it's come to be called. It devolves into a call for violence, street fighting and more ugly tactics to take against conservatives. First, one poster puts the blame for the "brawl" on Bush's shoulders, even though it was the union guys who provoked and did the hitting. Then one condones the violence, and one looks forward to violence. The whole post reeks like a locker room at halftime of the Super Bowl. You can almost feel the "pumped up" vibes coming off of DU and the readiness to crunch bones for a "win." The closer we get to August (the GOP convention) the more the line between far left and left will blur. I see it happening already. The Dems are accusing the Republicans of staging a nasty campaign but all I see from their side is slurs, insults and contemptable attempts to lay blame on the president for everything from 9/11 to mad cow disease. More and more people who considered themselves moderate lefties are now carrying the placards of hate that used to belong solely to the DU crowd. I see it on some blogs as well, mostly from certain people who like to hurl accusations and insults and then accuse the people their invictive is aimed at of being hateful. I'm at the point where I no longer care to spend my strength fighting the urge to despise these people. If you want to paint all Bush supporters with the same broad strokes, don't be surprised when you're lumped in with the Indymedia gang. In just a few months this country will no longer be divided into groups with prefixes like far or moderate. It will be left and right only because we will be forced to take a side. And yes, I am placing the blame for this solely on the left, because they are the ones on the constant attack, they are the ones who are walking around with signs and banners that put swastikas on the lapel of every Republican, they are the ones who bemoan the death of a terrorist, they are the ones out there cheering on strong-armed protesters as they beat on the right. What are we supposed to do? Just sit here and not respond to the catcalls and lies? How do we fight back without becoming the thing we hate? I don't know the answers. I just know that this summer is going to be long and hot and the fall doesn't look to be any better. At some point during those months, people will choose their sides and stand on either the left or the right and, like hot air and cold air meeting, the noise is going to be thunderous. Sometimes I think that other countries are providing the laughtrack to the ridiculous freak show we have become.

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Comments

I'm not convinced the lines are as clearly drawn as you think.

Unlike many other countries, I don't see the differences between the parties as being that great. The Dems and Repubs, while differing on the means, generally agree on the goals: security for citizens, a growing economy, a top drawer education system and some sort of health care reform. I don't think anyone is in favor of terrorism, absurdly expensive health care or poorly educated children.

It's not like we're picking between the fascists and the communists and I'm anything but convinced my life is going to change very much regardless of who wins the next election. It hasn't changed much since Bush became President and it didn't change much when Clinton was elected.

yes, I am placing the blame for this solely on the left

You need to read more broadly. Blindness to violence on the right does your cause no good and makes your beliefs sound like willful ignorance.

August in NYC is going to be miserable because the freaky radical totalitarian left has been planning since last October definitive ways to make this August in NYC miserable. They are planning as we speak.

My feeling is that their vicious totalitarian scare tactics upon the rest of us are going to force anger into actions.

I don't know, maybe those tired of the vicious freak-show totalitarians should use some sort of Ghandi approach or would that even make a difference.

Both Democrats and Republicans in NYC better come up with something quick cause August is right around the corner and the totalitarian freak show is already in production and it is going to be a very nasty show.

Z -- I got halfway through that first link you provided before I hit my eject button.

As near as I can tell, those dreaded 'Freepers' went to the left's protest, 'violently' told them that they were full of it, 'violently' refused to run away when the lefties tried to push them off, and 'violently' called the cops, who 'violently' spoke to said lefties and told them to knock off trying to intimidate and/or harass people who didn't agree with them.

And then when one guy loses it on a message board and starts screaming about 'beating lefties down', you call that violence.

And when the Freeper's moderator deletes the posts -- and instead of recognizing that for what it is (the Freeper moderator enforcing the Terms of Service and removing inflammatory and violent posts regardless of who originates them), you claim that's a cover up?

Meanwhile, in Boston, real violence is perpetrated by left-wing union thugs on conservative protesters -- smashed glasses, bruises, bumps and thumps kinda violence -- but no, somehow, being spoken to politely by a cop and being called rude names on a message board is morally equivalent, in your mind, to prowling the streets in packs and swinging at people who are politely asking you to come dialogue with them.

You are sick.

Gee, Z -- where is the actual violence perpetrated on real human beings in real time in the examples you linked to? The Margolis brothers and their friends were jumped on and physically attacked by some thugs. You send us to accounts of some loser threatening violence in all caps on an internet forum. Typical bully tactic -- to respond to the accusation "he hit me!" with "well, she called me names!"

Heh, ChuckG, I type too slow.

So I just wonder, what do you think the right was doing in the 1990s?

It took Clinton to really piss off the rightwingers, it took Bush to really piss off the leftwingers. The interesting thing is, I think a lot of people do it because they feel that their way is the best way for the country.

I almost used to feel a little embarassed when my rightwing friends called me a liberal, they mocked and mocked and I never mocked back because that was childish. No more, if they mock I will mock back, and because I almost always try to back things up with sources and quotes, I feel no shame in hammering those things home.

Violence described in your link is never justified and those poeple should be investigated by the police and if charged and convicted, put in prison or fined for disorderly conduct or whatnot. But using facts to annihilate your opponent's position if it's incorrect or decietful is neccessary.

Z
Having to read signs that say 'I love NYC even more without the WTC' or 'Bush=Hitler', or calling on soldiers to shoot their officers or having someone shout in your face you are a baby killer, or calling you a racist simply because you are white, would anger me too.

Let the left have those enclaves where they had majorities in 2000. Build a big fence around them. You'd see really soon who the producers are in this country and who the users are.

Big anthills only survive by raiding the surrounding countryside. If it weren't for the production of the conservatives, the liberals could not live like they do.

The more I read on sites like DU and Indymedia, the more sure I am that this country is going to erupt into something very ugly come August.

Uglier than it is now? The time when left and right could talk to each other has been over for at least a year.

For me, the point of no return will come when the next attack happens (and it will) and they turn around and blame it on Bush for going to war with Iraq (and they will). That's when I stop seeing them as the opposition and start seeing them as the enemy.

Michelle,

I understand where you're coming from on this. When someone makes a rational statement, only to be met with mindless namecalling rather than a rationally worded opposing viewpoint, it does make discussion difficult.
Freedom of speech is fundamental to this nation. Rational people can disagree and argue their positions with intelligence. Hate-filled name calling does not win your point. It merely proves you have no rational position to argue.

Ray

Michelle,

Great analysis. The situation IS becoming more tense. I wasn't around in 1968, when the wave of race riots hit major cities, but I suspect that we might be in for something big this year.

I'm generally afraid that the culture war which has been simmering on the left will break out into violence this summer. Living in NYC as I do, I'm welcoming the Republican convention. But I'm afraid that the leftists will dominate the streets. Having been a personal witness to the INTERNATIONAL ANSWER marches already, I can tell you that the people on the left are very derranged. They are isolated from procreative, nutruring communities. They are mostly angry college kids, radical racist groups blaming "whitey" for everything, and anti-American communists who use the banner of "pacifism" to undermine American resolve in the Global War on Terror.

As Glenn Reynolds often says, they're not anti-war, they're just on the other side.

As the rest of the American public realizes that the left IS on the other side, the battle lines will heat up. What is most troublesome is the extent to which the Democratic party is dependent on these insurgent anti-Americans for their popular support. These leftists would normally start a 3rd party, but the Nadar debacle in Florida in the 2000 election has been making them work within the democratic party - hence, Howard Dean and Dennis Kusinich. Even more congressmen, local officials, and national party strategists are connected to these militant groups.

You asked in your post: "How do we fight back without becoming the thing we hate?"

You MUST fight back. Don't respond with catcalls and hate. But you must fight back. Even as American soldiers take the fight to al Qaeda without becomming the terrorists they despise, so must we constantly argue against these domestic terror-thugs. The one basic point about democracy is that it works because ideas are fleshed out in society without a resort to violence. But if the left increasingly chooses violence, you must be prepared to defend yourself.

It's amazing, but even during Clinton's impeachment, I never saw huge goosestepping marches down 3rd avenue with banners reading Clinton = Hitler. For all the supposed "Clinton haters," I don't recall any violence over his activities. These recent development of the pro-terror (I won't use anti-war) left are disturbing because it's a marginal step forward along a path which ends in barbarism.

You have every right to be angry over this, Michelle. When the Republican convention comes to 34th Street at Madison Square Garden this year, I want to be there showing my support. I don't want to get attacked and hurt. I'll have my cellphone there ready to call the cops to defend me. But am I still afraid that I might get hurt? You bet. These leftists mean SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Check out Wretcherd's most recent post on this subject:

"The possible electoral defeat of President Bush by John Kerry raises the question of whether the Global War on Terror ultimately requires a war on the Left. That is to say whether a political defeat of the Left is a prerequisite for stamping out worldwide terrorism."

http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2004_03_01_belmontclub_archive.html#108030389383506947

I train a lot of foreign adult students. Sometimes I travel to them, but mostly they come to the US for advanced technical training. These are techies, but average working men and women...not elites. We have our discussions of world events as any other group might.

To these folks, the rabid political divisions within America is beyond their understanding...because America DOES NOT CHANGE to the average foreign onlooker.

As Al commented, America only moves a bit to the left or a bit to the right depending on who is president. The coming bruhaha is a supreme waste of energy, as our outward face will change hardly at all to the rest of the world.

As a Vet, I could never vote for that Fonda lovin' Kennedy clone, but I could live with him as President. The world will hardly notice the difference.

I agree, Michele, and I apologize if you've already posted this: Goodbye, All That: How Left Idiocies Drove Me to Flee by Ron Rosenbaum
http://www.nyobserver.com/pages/story.asp?ID=6434

An excerpt:

It was a mixed gathering with a heavy representation of Left academics, and people were going around the room and speaking about the attacks and the response. Over and over, one heard variations on the theme of, "Gee, it’s terrible about all those people who died in the towers and all"—that had already become the pro forma disclaimer/preface for America-bashing—"but maybe it’s a wake-up call for us to recognize how bad we are, Why They Hate Us." The implication was evident: We deserved it. It would be a salutary lesson. It was the Pat Robertson wing of the Left in full flower: Sinful America deserved this Judgment from the sky. Crocodile tears could be shed for those people who died in the towers, but those buildings were so ugly, they were such eyesores, they were a symbol of globalist hubris—it was as if the terrorists who flew the planes into the towers were really architectural critics, flying Herbert Muschamps, not mass murderers.

I have to wonder - where is the voice of the mainstream Democrats? I know that not all those on the left share the sentiments espoused by DU...why are they allowing the far left to speak for the entire party?

I have to wonder - where is the voice of the mainstream Democrats?

Well, there's Zell Miller. Except he's retiring due to a lot of the crap that's taken over the Democratic Party and he can't bring himself to go over to the Republicans. Hm. I seem to keep running into people who were once voting Democratic and ended up going over to the Republicans or third party groups.

But of course it's all the Republican's fault or they do it toooo so it's okay. Or something.

The rise political violence had a lot to do with the Nazi takeover of Germany. Long before the Nazis held governmental power, they were using thug tactics to intimidate opponents.

It's a lesson we ignore at our peril.

Some ask "where is the voice of the Mainstream Democrats?"

We left the Democrat Party in the early 1990s.

I used to be a Democrat Precinct Captain.

Now I'm thinking of becoming a Blogger for Bush.

"And yes, I am placing the blame for this solely on the left"

Michele, I agree with you that there is a lot of shrillness and idiocy on the left. I'm just as disgusted as you are by the stuff coming out of Indymedia and the like.

However, the scenario in which we find ourselves did not just spring up out of the ether. Republicans took partisanship to an extraordinary level during President Clinton's tenure in office, giving us the profound zealotry of Ken Starr followed by a purely partisan impeachment.

Time and again the partisan Republicans play dirty politics and then cry foul when their tactics are turned back against them. Watching the false piety of Republicans decrying the horrible unfairness of a handful of highly controversial Bush judicial nominees not being confirmed - after their having delayed and denied a much greater number of Clinton judicial nominees - is both humorous and appalling.

George Bush himself is largely responsible for the extreme nature of the left's response against him. The man won the last nomination over John McCain by going to bed with the furthest right wing of the Republican party (anyone remember South Carolina?), and has shown an almost perfect disdain for bi-partisanship since he took office after earning a minority of the popular vote.

At every opportunity, he sides with the interests of the powerful and wealthy. He cynically opposes abortion, knowing good and well that all of his wealthy friends will always have the abortion option no matter what the law says. I am a Democrat, but my vote does not automatically go to a member of my party. I'm not thrilled with John Kerry - I think we would have been far better served in this election to have nominated someone more moderate. If this election were between an incumbent John McCain and John Kerry, I would gladly vote for McCain. I don't agree with him on every issue, but I see him as a man of strength and integrity. I see George Bush as just the opposite - a man who attempts to win by intimidation and cynical calculation.

If that makes me a member of the looney tunes left in your eyes, there's not much I can do about it.

Ah yes, the 'purely partisan' sentiment that one should not commit perjury.

I wasn't sure what I was in for when I started to read these comments but I have to say, I was glad to see the level heads prevailed. A lot of these comments were extremely insightful. I guess the only comment I would like to add, and I'll state for the record, I am conservative by nature, is that one thing I've noticed is that since Bush took office and the war on terror started, both sides seem to have become more polarized. The only thing I can make of that, is that which every side you fall on with these issues, you feel very strongly about it. Sometimes I think thats a good thing, because for years I thought there was too much apathy towards politics and government in general. I just hope now, we haven't gone to far the other way.

Glad you liked the cartoon!

It's simple, the hard-core left has become separated from the political mainstream, even of the left. Rather than rethink their positions and see if they make sense they've decided to circle the wagons and further isolate and insolate themselves. This process has several key aspects to it. On the one hand is "evaporation" of moderates and reasonable folks from the left. Folks who care about criticism from outside the faithful, folks who care about being right, being just, and being good more than they care about "the party" or political victory. Folks like me and Armed Liberal and Tim Blair and so many others. This process naturally leaves a harder, more insular core. On the other hand is hardening and self-protection. Only those folks who are immune to criticism remain, and they fortify the immunity of the community through their example and through protecting each other. And, especially, through uniting against a common enemy, Bush and the "VRWC", which helps glue them together and give them unity.

They live mostly in their own world now. In a Fantasy Ideology of their own manufacture, replete with plastic turkeys served at 6am and AWOL presidents.

However, the scenario in which we find ourselves did not just spring up out of the ether. Republicans took partisanship to an extraordinary level during President Clinton's tenure in office, giving us the profound zealotry of Ken Starr followed by a purely partisan impeachment.

Oh yeah, Ken Starr. We really need to severely punish the bozo who appointed him special prosecutor...

Better come up with a better example for your "but MOOOMMM!! the Republicans did this tooooo!!" attempt.

I don't recall the level of rhetoric coming from leaders of the opposition (Daschle, Kennedy, etc.) since 1857 or so. We know where that ended up.

OK, I give up. Republicans are all great patriots (except when they criticize other Republicans), Democrats are all gutless whining weasels. Heroic Ken Starr and the all-Republican impeachment represent shining moments in American history. Why if I hadn't come here first and been set straight, I might have actually been foolish enough to vote for one of those commie Democrats in the coming election...

Stop whining, Miker. It's unpleasant.

Sydney:

Re: "Bush=Hitler" signs*

Clinton was impeached for willful prevarication regarding oral sex. Folks can disagree on the seriousness of that moral failing, but the current President has involved us in a war in which a whole lot of folks are dying. That is absolutely not in dispute. The problem is that he broke with a very long tradition of international relations and invaded a sovereign nation on what is increasingly evident (to me, at least) to be a willful disregard of available intelligence. Being what I consider to be a reasonable lefty, I won't sink to the silly "BushCo did it just for oil" arguments; rather I think he and his neocon cabal made a very calculated gamble (that the WMDs they really believed would be there would in fact be there when the dust settled) that will have long-lasting bad consequences for our nation in a number of ways. I realize that most others reading this site will disagree and that is their right.

Nevertheless, to equate the actions for which Clinton was vilified (and ultimately impeached) with starting an unprovoked war with and occupying another nation based on what seems to be blind and unwavering ideology (or "strong leadership" to some) is like comparing apples and Chevrolets.

As for the statement "I don't recall any violence over his (Clinton's) activities", well I must admit it makes my head swim. Do you recall the worst act of domestic terrorism our nation faced prior to 9/11, the bombing of the Murrah Building in OKC? Seems the perpretrators did this in retalitation for events that took place under the watch of Janet Reno's Justice Department. I fail to see how this doesn't count as REAL and QUANTIFIABLE violence by the right. A lot of people (including someone in my family) died, you know.**

There is also a story beginning to surface right now of a group of thugs who recently drove all the way from Kansas for the express purpose of assaulting, sodomizing (with a broomstick) and ultimately leaving for dead an artist in Atlanta who had produced an apparently incendiary Photoshop image of the President. Once again, I think this counts.

My point isn't to brand one side or another more prone / capable to such tactics, but only that it is empirically and intellectually disengenuous to imply that somehow it is only from the left that this stuff emanates. It is quite scary and dangerous for either side to be throwing out these kinds of 'heads are going to be knocked come November' rhetoric. It is also completely unhelpful to solving any of the political challenges we currently face (unless you are one of those who buy into Ann Coulter's thoughts about how things all be be better if the folks on my side of the debate were all just shot.

All this said, it seems clear from the account that the union guys were at fault for starting this scuffle. And nobody on the left should defend that crap. But it is not, contrary to Michele's characterization, a phenomenon emanating in some kind of lefty haze with no analogue on the right...

*I am going to sidestep other such notable actions by the Bush Administration as the abridgement of civil liberties and the oft-repeated 'dissent is treason' meme, both historically associated with the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.

**O yes, and I know the OKC was the result of actions by crazy-assed extremists; I am just following the logic of Michele in lumping everyone on the other side into the same ball of cookie dough.

"The problem is that he broke with a very long tradition of international relations and invaded a sovereign nation...Nevertheless, to equate the actions for which Clinton was vilified (and ultimately impeached) with starting an unprovoked war..."

That unprovoked war being the one Saddam started when he invaded Kuwait, right? The one in which one country annexed another for the first time since 1939, and that ended not with a peace treaty but in a ceasefire that he repeatedly broke? I must presume that's what you meant, since it doesn't apply to the current situation.

Clinton was impeached for willful prevarication regarding oral sex.

Under. Oath. That's kind of important. Lying under oath is known as "perjury," and it's a serious offense. The fact that the subject that Clinton was lying about was oral sex doesn't matter. He commited a crime.

Folks can disagree on the seriousness of that moral failing, but the current President has involved us in a war in which a whole lot of folks are dying.

Wars usually involve lots of people dying. The exception, of course, is the Cola wars, in which only a few dozen were killed.

That is absolutely not in dispute. The problem is that he broke with a very long tradition of international relations and invaded a sovereign nation

I want to stop you right here for a sec. I need to point out that we had a cease fire with Iraq, one which Iraq had violated on numerous, almost daily occasions. Legally, on that basis alone, there was every right to go into Iraq and finish the job started in the first Gulf War. In addition, the Bush administration went to the United Nations on several occasions, and in fact walked away with Resolution 1441, unanimously agreed to by the UN, in which serious consequenses were promised Iraq if it failed to completely comply with all mandates.

on what is increasingly evident (to me, at least) to be a willful disregard of available intelligence.

Actually, if you will look at "available evidence" from before the war, you will find that it backs up the Bush position. Read 1441, Worn. Listen to what leaders in other countries had to say about Iraq's WMD programs. Read what Democrats believed about the Iraqi WMD programs.

There was no "disregard." The intelligence may have been faulty, but there was no evidence that it was until Hussein was removed from power. You're applying hindsight and expecting Bush to do the same. The man may be many things, but I'm pretty sure he's not psychic.

Being what I consider to be a reasonable lefty, I won't sink to the silly "BushCo did it just for oil" arguments; rather I think he and his neocon cabal

Please tell me you're joking. You just said you're reasonable, then you used the term "neocon cabal."

made a very calculated gamble (that the WMDs they really believed would be there would in fact be there when the dust settled)

You're absolutely right. Sometimes that's the President's job. The point is, pretty much EVERYONE believed the WMDs would be there. They weren't. However (and it's a big however), read what David Kay said:

"We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. "

(Read the rest of the Kay report; it's very interesting)

The war was not justified solely on finding stockpiles of WMDs. As we have found, Iraq was NOT cooperating fully with the cease fire or UN agreements. That's reason enough.

that will have long-lasting bad consequences for our nation in a number of ways. I realize that most others reading this site will disagree and that is their right.

Thank you for not jumping down our throats like a lot of the posters. It's refreshing. (Of couse, I say that while I'm doing one of my usual fiskings, so I guess I'm not the one to talk.)

Nevertheless, to equate the actions for which Clinton was vilified (and ultimately impeached) with starting an unprovoked war

As I have shown, the war was NOT "unprovoked." Iraq, in addition to its WMD-program deceit harbored terrorist training camps, funded Palestinian terrorism (at a time when we were trying to get the Palestinians and the Israelis to sit down and talk to each other), had on two seperate occasions invaded its neighbors, had rolled tanks to the border of Saudi Arabia (source of a huge amount of the US' oil supply), had actually used chemical weapons in the past, and was violating agreements it had signed in order to end a war. The US and her allies were required to keep a large force on the border just to deal with this (further inflaming hatred towards the US among Muslims, who also blamed the US for sanctions).

How long was this going to last, Worn? Ten years more? Twenty? Fifty?

The thing is, you don't give any solutions to the problem. How would you have dealt with Iraq? Keep in mind that Hussein was butchering tens of thousands of his own people every year, millions were starving due to sanctions, the Oil-for-Food program had been used to line the pockets of both Hussein and many of the countries pushing it, and scum like bin Laden were using the US military presence in Saudi Arabia to whip up hatred against the United States.

with and occupying another nation based on what seems to be blind and unwavering ideology (or "strong leadership" to some) is like comparing apples and Chevrolets.

And what is that "ideology," Worn? Spell it out, please.

As for the statement "I don't recall any violence over his (Clinton's) activities", well I must admit it makes my head swim. Do you recall the worst act of domestic terrorism our nation faced prior to 9/11, the bombing of the Murrah Building in OKC? Seems the perpretrators did this in retalitation for events that took place under the watch of Janet Reno's Justice Department. I fail to see how this doesn't count as REAL and QUANTIFIABLE violence by the right. A lot of people (including someone in my family) died, you know.**

I'm sorry for your loss, and you're right. The right DOES commit violence. However, you will find that the vast majority of those on the right absolutely deplored the Oklahoma City bombing, and wanted McVeigh and Nichols to suck voltage for what they did. Regarding cases like Margolis, (a much, much, much less violent case, granted) the left has been largely silent (unless you count DU ninnies and their "tough shit" attitudes). During the height of the anti-war protests last year, I witnessed several incidents in which "peaceful" anti-war types went out of their way to knock down signs, shove people, and in general behave like thugs. What got me wasn't the thugs, though. You're going to get people like that in any large gathering. IT WAS THE OTHER PEOPLE. They did nothing. Quite a few were smiling and laughing.

There is also a story beginning to surface right now of a group of thugs who recently drove all the way from Kansas for the express purpose of assaulting, sodomizing (with a broomstick) and ultimately leaving for dead an artist in Atlanta who had produced an apparently incendiary Photoshop image of the President. Once again, I think this counts.

Haven't heard of that one. Link, please?

My point isn't to brand one side or another more prone / capable to such tactics, but only that it is empirically and intellectually disengenuous to imply that somehow it is only from the left that this stuff emanates. It is quite scary and dangerous for either side to be throwing out these kinds of 'heads are going to be knocked come November' rhetoric.

I agree. Worn, you need to police your side, and I'll worry about mine. It would have been nice if SOMEONE, for example, had stood up to the union thug.

It is also completely unhelpful to solving any of the political challenges we currently face (unless you are one of those who buy into Ann Coulter's thoughts about how things all be be better if the folks on my side of the debate were all just shot.

Has she actually said that, Worn, or are you exaggerating?

All this said, it seems clear from the account that the union guys were at fault for starting this scuffle. And nobody on the left should defend that crap. But it is not, contrary to Michele's characterization, a phenomenon emanating in some kind of lefty haze with no analogue on the right...

That's not what Michele said. She placed the blame on the left in this case. She's talking about the general level of vitriol coming from the left these days. (She even links to some sites that, quite frankly, make me want to grab a shovel and start beating heads, and I'm usually a pretty nice guy. Well, except maybe here.) Calls to actual violence, Worn.

*I am going to sidestep other such notable actions by the Bush Administration as the abridgement of civil liberties and the oft-repeated 'dissent is treason' meme,

Hold on another second: WHO IS SAYING "DISSENT IS TREASON?" C'mon, name names! For the life of me, I don't think I've EVER heard someone saying that.

And exactly what civil liberties have you lost? How has this affected you? I hear a lot about this, but I don't know one damned person who's been prosecuted, tossed in jail, tortured, or otherwise oppressed by the Bush administration.

And I know a lot of poeple.

both historically associated with the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.

OK, now who's blowing things out of proportion... look, I've done a LOT of study on the Nazis, and all I can say is if you think we're ANYWHERE close to that you need to get out more.

**O yes, and I know the OKC was the result of actions by crazy-assed extremists; I am just following the logic of Michele in lumping everyone on the other side into the same ball of cookie dough.

Nice of you to mention that.

Otto, I'd like to take a moment to recognize your contributions to the comments on this site and tell you that I love you.

In a weblog sort of way, that is.

Otto, I wish you would come and post at the political forum (http://www.debategate.com/3DHS/) I belong to....I've got a massive headache from banging my forehead repeatedly on my desk, trying to communicate the same common sense points as you've made in your response.

There are none so deaf as those that that refuse to hear, in addition to the blinders which adorn some members.

I'm not sure my blood pressure could handle responding to the entirety of this post, so I will limit myself to this bit:

My anger and digust have reached levels I haven't felt since Ted Turner traded Brett Butler.

OK, Butler and Jacoby for Barker is fairly high up on the Worst Deals Ever list, but why were you upset about it? Since when are you a Braves fan? I dunno why anyone would get worked up over Butler himself; he was a pretty good player and something of a jerk, not even close to Rickey Henderson in either department.

T, see here.

It wasn't only that he traded Butler, it was the way that he did it.

Otto, I'd like to take a moment to recognize your contributions to the comments on this site and tell you that I love you. In a weblog sort of way, that is.

Cool. WhatdoIget?WhatdoIget?WhatdoIget?WhatdoIget?

I hope it's money. I like money.

Otto, I wish you would come and post at the political forum (http://www.debategate.com/3DHS/) I belong to....I've got a massive headache from banging my forehead repeatedly on my desk, trying to communicate the same common sense points as you've made in your response.

Share the pain, eh Trish? ;-)

I know what you mean. I used to post on a couple of different forums. Before 9/11, I didn't do much policical posting, but the sheer amount of idiots on those boards started to grate on my nerves after that. I mean, we're talking some people who were openly, proudly communist. America-haters, loons, you name it. After a while they pretty much had me painted as Hitler-lite, and I got tired of dealing with them and left. Now I just hang around a couple of (mostly) conservative blogos and occasionally deal out a fisking if I'm in the mood for it.

Last time I worked on a state-wide campaign in Maine some union thugs jumped my candidate and several of us. One of our guys got a sign poll shoved into the side of his leg. It didn't break the skin but it left a rather nice bruise. Unions provide the muscle to the Democrat Party, and always have done.

I was told by a polltical consultant that one should instruct one's workers and candidate to go down as fast as possible if attacked. Then call the cops and the local ambulance. Only fight back as a last resort.

"The more I read on sites like DU and Indymedia, the more sure I am that this country is going to erupt into something very ugly come August."

I remember thinking a similar during the GW/Gore election.

I worried that the crazy right would erupt in violence if GW didn't win the court fight, enabled by the irresponsible tactics of the Republican party... In fact I still think that supreme court took the bullet to prevent the Replican party from fomenting a constitutional crisis - and self destructing in the process.

That's a long discussion, but I feel like hatred and potential violence on the American left was is a mirror image of the same tendency on the right - it's just that each side's crazies are quiet while that side is in ascendancy.

And yes, the Democratic party's politicians are being VERY irresponsible right now.

I know this will sound like odious moral equivalency, but I do believe what I'm about to say:

Years of bulldozing over red lines, years of incivility in Washington by the right set this up.

Perhaps my view of history is limited, but it looks to me like the Republicans never really believed that Nixon did anything wrong (idiots) and it's been an escalating cycle of partisanship in Washington ever since.

And the cold war made the American politics (and opinions) nutter than John Birch and Abby Hoffman on crack.

We're luckier we haven't had more assasinated politicians.

American politics has been irresponsible for years.

We reap what we sow.

Joshua Scholar, it disappoints me when I see those on the right who won't acknowledge wrongdoing from their side of the fence.

However I see the willingness to hold my "side" accountable far more frequently than those on the left.

Nixon abused his power and his office.

I expect Bush to be accountable. As I did any person who holds the office.

When Dan Burton shoots watermelons in his back yard, he's a loon.

That said, I have a hard time seeing how right-wing polarization has led to this level of discourse.

I made a point recently about David Ben Gurion and the Irgun, to someone who wanted to equate Israeli terrorism with Palestinian. When the Irgun was at the point of being out of control, the young prime minister of Israel decided to sink a ship full of Irgun munitions in Tel Aviv harbour, the Altalena. Over 60 members of the Irgun died in the shelling.

Ben-Gurion realized that for Israel to earn her right to exist with other nations, she had to act responsibly. Even if it meant risking her survival.

I believe we on the right have that kind of responsibility too. To act in a way that is above reproach.

Dave, I think this is the result of marketing in politics... of politicians deciding that they can get an extra percent here or there by playing their base against some other part of the population.

A specific example (THE example?) is the "culture war". Liberals whoes values are being blamed or even outlawed (at least the attempt to outlaw them) are offended... The other side became the enemy.

I grew up in Canada, and I noticed no culture war there (Quebec is a different sort of matter). People (outside of Quebec) seem to be pretty happy keeping their religion or ever values out of politics.

That doesn't mean that people aren't conservative in Canada. For instance, in the city I grew up there was only one physician who would perform abortions (he was a communist - he had a picture of himself with Mao or someone on his office wall). It wasn't illegal, but that didn't mean that doctors wanted to do it.

Perhaps there's an idea in Canadian civics classes that there's a difference between the private and public arenas... That, in order for democracy to work, there has to be an agreement to keep our irreconsilable disagreements out of the public arena - so that we can remain civil. I remember thinking that morality and ethics are separate concepts.

I don't actually remember where I got these ideas from, but someone must have taught them to me.

I notice that I changed horses in midstream and changed my arguement..

Well I'm under a lot of pressure right now. Tomorrow is shaping up to be the worst day in... well knock on wood.

Talk to you later when things get better (I hope).

Hope they get better soon.

the current President has involved us in a war in which a whole lot of folks are dying.

Now any loss of life in a war is too much but:

WW I - 125,000 US dead
WW II - 292,000 US dead
Korea - 52,000 US dead
Vietnam - 56,000 US dead
Iraq I - 147 US dead
Iraq II - 590 US dead (to date)

Can you imagine the protests today if we got involved in something with casualties like Vietnam or Korea?

Hey Folks,

We are organizing a fight against the left for August 29th. Join the protest warriors and freepers for their venture into the "war". We are planning a huge gathering of PWers and Freepers August 29th. Join a protest warrior chapter through http://hq.protestwarrior.com . The operation name is Liberty Rising.

Evil Otto:

Thanks for a generally well-written and, most importantly, non-histrionic response. I just got home from work, perused the fisking but am too tired to assemble citations at the moment - not too mention composing more long-winded prose. You were right to call me on the word "cabal" however!

If I get some motivation tomorrow perhaps I'll post a cleverer response (grin)...

greyhound:

Who ever said I was speaking soley of American casualties? In fact with the astounding low (historically speaking, that is) US death toll to date from this war, it would be safe to assume I was speaking of Iraqis, an awful lot of them non-combatants. But so very often it seems like the brown people dying don't ever really count in the tallies...