Calumny

Earlier this month, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that America would be better off under a Chinese-style autocracy, because then Republicans couldn’t obstruct needed action on global warming and health care. In Friedman’s latest, he laments how attacks from the “far right” are creating a culture in which someone surely will try to kill the president.

As proof, he points out that some yahoo put a poll on his Facebook page asking whether the president should be assassinated. (The Secret Service is investigating.)

Well! That is pretty bad. Still, one guy on Facebook isn’t exactly the same thing as the CBS television network, is it? The Late, Late Show, produced by David Letterman and broadcast by CBS, had this to offer in response to George W. Bush’s nomination:

kilborn-snipers-wanted

Neither is it the same as a feature film about the assassination of President Bush, or a column in the Guardian, a left-wing British paper, calling for President Bush’s assassination if he were re-elected:

On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod’s law dictates he’ll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr – where are you now that we need you?

(The Guardian later apologized and took down the column, but you can still find it here.)

It certainly isn’t the same thing as Democratic elected officials such as New York State Controller Alan Hevesi joking about killing President Bush. (His audience lapped it up.) Or John Kerry, the former Democratic presidential candidate, seemingly joking about killing President Bush. (To be fair, it’s not entirely clear what he meant, as is often the case with John Kerry. However, it seems safe to assume that mere unclarity wouldn’t buy a pass from Thomas Friedman if the shoe were on the other foot.)

But if it’s yahoos you want, Zomblog has an endless parade of leftists calling for President Bush’s assassination.

Of course, it’s not really the yahoos that concern Friedman. It’s the attacks from throughout the “right fringe” who are “smearing” the president as a socialist. (Gosh, why on earth would you call someone socialist just because he nationalizes banks, insurance companies, auto companies, and auto parts companies; wants to nationalize health care and set energy prices; and is open to nationalizing newspapers?) Somehow, Friedman insinuates, those “smears” are going to lead to violence (although the years of talk of violence from the left did not). Exactly how, he won’t say. Nor will Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Contessa Brewer, or the rest pushing this calumny.

At long last, Democrats control nearly every lever of power in Washington. And yet they are having difficulty carrying out their progressive agenda because they are losing the public debate. Repeatedly accusing the opposition of lying (when they generally were not) didn’t help, so they need a new strategy to neutralize the opposition. This is it.

UPDATE: The Secret Service has found that the assassination poll was posted by a juvenile, and posed no threat to the president.

UPDATE: More threats against President Bush.

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