Friday, July 21, 2006

 

Did they really say that?

My e-mail inbox has been filled these past couple of days with missives from an ongoing debate on my posting from a few days ago regarding Bush-haters vs. Clinton-haters.

I continue to hear an insistence from conservatives that liberals' rhetoric is meaner than conservatives. I guess they really believe that old Bushianism, if you repeat it enough times it becomes conventional wisdom and therefore truth. But I won't let that happen. I insist on conservatives facing up to the propaganda machine they've built, dependeed on and reveled in over the past 15 years.

Their arguments to the contrary are so sadly weak. When I ask conservatives to explain how liberals can be possibly worse than the Limbaugh/Hannity/Coulter/Ingraham/O'Reilly/Savage axis, they typically dish up the same recycled half dozen quotes from the past year from Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer or Dick Durbin. One conservative recently offered the old quote, "Poor George. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth," said by Ann Richards, at the time Texas state treasurer, in 1988.

We liberals don't need to go back 18 years. I can offer several from just the past couple of weeks. You think I can't? OK, I'll take that bet. Here goes:

Yesterday, July 20
"It is perfectly legitimate, perhaps even praiseworthy, to recognize Islam as a religion of vicious, violent, bloodthirsty cretins."
- Neal Boortz, categorically tarnishing anyone who practices the world's most-practiced religion. Isn't it funny how these same folks expect to win the hearts of Iraqis?

"A lot of Jewish liberals...say it's Israel's fault because we've been mean to (Palestinians), therefore they have a right to do whatever they want, behead people on camera, all this terrible stuff."
-Bill O'Reilly, asserting that some Jews think it's OK for Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism.

Tuesday, July 18
"The American left is cheering today. They'll probably break open the jug wine and cheer that Jews are dying, and that they're living and cowering in bomb shelters. One day, the 'Deutschland ├╝ber alles' may be played in Jerusalem, and the American left can tear off their masks once and for all and show themselves to be what they really are, which is the Nazis of our time."
-Michael Savage

"So glad to hear that The New York Times got my letter."
-Anne Coulter on The Times' receipt of a powdery substance in the mail that turned out to be corn starch.

Friday, July 14
"(The 9/11 widows) put a lot of other women at risk for becoming widows."
-Coulter, not giving it a rest.

Thursday, July 13
"Couldn't he have killed Jerry Springer?"
-Bill O'Reilly on mafioso Tommy "Horsehead" Scafidi, who allegedly was ordered to rub out Geraldo Rivera.

"Shouldn't somebody be allowed to offer me 10, 20, or 100 thousand dollars?"
-John Stossel, arguing that transplant organs be bought and sold on the open market.

Wednesday, July 12
"I prefer a firing squad, but I'm open to a debate on the method of execution."
-Coulter, calling for New York Times editor Bill Keller's execution.

"I mean, they still have people in Brazil running around with their little darts, hitting you in the head with the poisoned darts, with the loincloths. They still have 'em down there. And they're driving an ethanol vehicle. After they hit you with the poisoned dart, OK, they get into their ethanol vehicle and drive back into the Amazon to do whatever they do there. Eat tapioca, whatever."
-O'Reilly, making what appears to be a backhanded compliment of Brazil's use of ethanol.

Tuesday, July 11
"Liberalism is, in essence, the HIV virus, and it weakens the defense cells of a nation. What are the defense cells of a nation? Well, the church. They've attacked particularly the Catholic Church for 30 straight years. The police, attacked for the last 50 straight years by the ACLU viruses. And the military, attacked for the last 50 years by the Barbara Boxer viruses on our planet."
-Savage

So there you have it, 10 outrageous quotes from the past two weeks lifted off the liberal Media Matters website, which is devoted to monitoring this crew of loose cannons. Media Matter's job is easy. The 24-hour right-wing media establishment of talk-radio hosts and cable news talking heads is always blaring and spewing something mean-spirited, goofball and flat-out false.

And I've heard the right-wing response umpteen times. Well, this isn't the party leadership speaking, conservative ideologues say. It's such an incredibly tiresome, dishonest argument. Well, let's call it what it is - a chickenshit argument. I would argue that these pundits are indeed the party leadership, and the figureheads in the White House and on Capitol Hill beholden. If not that, then the right's pundirty serves as the standard-bearers who do the dirty work and allow Bush and Cheney to look statesmanlike and officious. There's no doubt of the White House's endorsement of this motley bunch. How many times have Cheney and Rumsfeld been Rush Limbaugh's guests? Have the president or any GOP leader ever called for these propagandists to at least turn down the rhetoric? Of course not. They wouldn't dare lest Bush's 35-percent approval rating plummets even further.

And how about the rank-and-file conservatives who listen to, watch and read this crap? They glue their ears and eyes to the radio and TV, unwilling to miss one word that will come out of Michael Savage's or Sean Hannity's mouths. They guffaw, high-five each other and revel in the vicious anger they so smugly describe as political incorrectness. But later, when challenged about the hateful words they so enjoy hearing, these folks harumph and clear their throats and deny they really listen to these guys. Well, someone's listening in. Millions in fact, according to industry figures, and I don't think they're on the left or even in the middle.. Yet, we can't get these conservatives who yammer on and on about personal responsibility to take responsibility for the rhetoric they so eageraly buy into.

And we liberals? Yes, some of us say some mean things, and I continually challenge folks on the left to not fall into the ugliness of the right's rhetoric. Yet, I look at Air America and other failed attempts at liberal talk radio. Folks on the left apparently have better things to do than tune into that garbage. I can't even get many of my liberal friends to read this blog; they tell me they have no interest in anyone's rantings. To equate a few kooks on the left with the very foundation of conservative hegemony is completely fallacious and an impossible task, at least not with a straight face.

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