Limbaugh’s Dangerous Rhetoric

By Menachem Z. Rosensaftprofessor, Cornell Law School In 1995, right-wing Israeli demonstrations opposing any political accommodation with the Palestinians featured … Continued

By Menachem Z. Rosensaft
professor, Cornell Law School

In 1995, right-wing Israeli demonstrations opposing any political accommodation with the Palestinians featured posters depicting Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the uniform of a Nazi SS officer. The message was duly received. On November 5, 1995, Yigal Amir, a far-right Israeli law student assassinated Rabin at a Tel Aviv peace rally.

Members of Israel’s mainstream right-wing political parties, some of whom had spoken at the demonstrations in question, were quick to distance themselves from Rabin’s murderer. This was not what they had intended, they said. They did not see the posters. They could not be held responsible for the insane behavior of a deranged extremist.

We should keep the Rabin assassination in mind as Rush Limbaugh, arguably the most influential ideologue of today’s American conservative movement, compares the Obama administration’s health care reform initiative to Nazism and the president himself to Hitler.

“Obama’s got a health care logo that’s right out of Adolf Hitler’s playbook” and “Obama is asking citizens to rat each other out like Hitler did,” Limbaugh told the millions who faithfully tune in to his radio show. The president “is sending out his brownshirts to head up opposition to genuine American citizens who want no part of what Barack Obama stands for and is trying to stuff down our throats,” Limbaugh continued, and “Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.”

Limbaugh is not alone in making the Hitler analogy. Demonstrators disrupting town hall meetings on health care reform have brandished images of President Obama with a Hitler-like mustache and signs with “Obama” written under a swastika. Earlier this year, the president of the Republican Women of Anne Arundel County in Maryland wrote on the group’s Web site that “Obama and Hitler have a great deal in common.”

From the outset, the strategy of some Republicans has been to delegitimize Barack Obama by depicting him as somehow dangerous and “un-American.”

First they brayed his middle name, Hussein, and noted that Obama sounds a lot like Osama. Then they called him a Muslim. When that didn’t stick, they accused him of “palling around with terrorists,” and then of being a socialist and a communist, all to no avail.

That was conventional politics, albeit of the gutter variety. By comparing President Obama to Hitler, however, Limbaugh is sending his national audience a subliminal but clear message of a wholly different sort. He may just as well be shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.

Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, has condemned the Nazi analogies in the health care debate as “outrageous, offensive and inappropriate.” Americans, he believes, “should be able to disagree on the issues without coloring it with Nazi imagery and comparisons to Hitler.”

Foxman is right, of course, but he does not go nearly far enough in his criticism. The problem is not just one of civility in political discourse. The real issue is that Limbaugh, with the tacit acquiescence of his corporate sponsors and the GOP establishment, is calling for sedition and worse.

If Limbaugh in his radio broadcast had made, in the words of the relevant federal statute, “any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States,” he would have been thrown off the air and would be awaiting trial on felony charges. But his likening of Obama to Hitler is the functional equivalent of calling for an act of violence against the President of the United States.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, a plurality of Americans consider Limbaugh to be “the main person who speaks for the Republican Party today.” John McCain sees Limbaugh as “a voice of a significant portion of our conservative movement in America” who “has a lot of people who listen very carefully to him.” Mitt Romney calls Limbaugh “a very powerful voice among conservatives. And I listen to him.” Rudy Giuliani has said that “to the extent that Rush Limbaugh energizes the base of the Republican Party, he’s a very valuable and important voice.” And Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele has anointed Limbaugh “a national conservative leader.”

McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Steele should now either unambiguously repudiate Limbaugh’s ugly rhetoric or be deemed to condone it. To paraphrase the old labor movement song, we are entitled to know which side they are on.

It is time for Republican leaders to take responsibility for Limbaugh’s words before they have dire if not tragic consequences.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft is an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School and vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.

  • MGT2

    Who is to say that is not his intent, to incite the ignorant to foolish action but maintain the right to deny culpability for that action? The absence of an unambiguous repudiation of such inflammatory speech by those of repute in the Conservative movement, both political and religious, has seriously, if not permanently undermined their claim as the mavens of morality. Their true colors have been uncovered by the downpour of their moral and political failures. Ideology, prejudice and selfish political ambition seem to be stronger urges than are truthfulness, decency and civility.

  • Palamas

    “If Limbaugh in his radio broadcast had made, in the words of the relevant federal statute, ‘any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States,’ he would have been thrown off the air and would be awaiting trial on felony charges. But his likening of Obama to Hitler is the functional equivalent of calling for an act of violence against the President of the United States.”Gotta ask, Professor Rosensaft: did you decry the equation of George Bush with Hitler? Ever? I don’t buy Limbaugh’s analogy, and I don’t like the rhetoric. But for Obama supporters and people on the left to get hot and bothered about this, when they had not a word to say about the vicious, hateful, and even violent rhetoric directed for years at Bush, is more than a little disingenuous.

  • Dismayed

    answer to PalamasI get so tired of you Bushies saying “well, the liberals did it to Bush, so yah, yah,yah!”What kind of elementary schoolyard argument is THAT?Have you thought of shouting “well, your Dad is a meanie too?” That should show a powerful mature intellect.Don’t you have any moral core, or can you only say that two wrongs deserve one another?

  • rohitcuny

    I have myself seen at a Music Institute in New York some years ago, where I went to buy tickets, a picture which was a composite of Osama Bin Laden and George Bush. I complained and pointed out that sometimes (no doubt rarely) Republicans also listened to music and would find the poster offensive. I was promised that the poster would taken down.I think both sides have to be civil, but they are not going to be. And it is also true that each side is going to selectively complain when the other side is not civil.

  • rohitcuny

    One more comment. I personally respect Obama and have NEVER heard Limbaugh. I don’t know what he looks like except that I know he is white and male and no doubt not young. Of course it is ridiculous to compare Obama with Hitler.But consider Palin? Now, she did not invade Iraq, she is not responsible for the current financial crisis and she never said that she could see Russia from her house (it was Tina Fey).And yet Democrats go after Palin tooth and nail with the most vicious innuendos. Just recently the White House has complained about the Obama daughters being mentioned, just mentioned, in a poster asking for vegetarian food in school cafetarias. And yet Palin’s daughters are fair game and one can make the most vulgar sexual suggestions about them without very many Democrats complaining – indeed they complain that Palin defended her daughters.The truth is that we have two pretty disgusting parties in this country, not one.

  • Paganplace

    Rohitcuny, …Palin speaks enough for herself. While the GOP was insisting that there was something nefarious about ‘black Churches,’ Palin was in her Third Wave places having ‘evil influences of witches’ ‘cleaned off her’ …by a real live old-lady-persecuting witch hunter in the name of ‘spiritual warfare’ against non-Christians. Not to mention what she *was* doing out of the governor’s offices in Alaska, and left before they prosecuted. Not to mention making Dan Quayle, that Colonel Thieme-following strident potatoe-mis-speller look like Andrew Jackson…As for *her* daughters, well, uncool, but I have little sympathy, considering she figured *mine* were ‘fair game’ for things to have screamed at rallies. She was an *embarrassment.* And scarier than some want to admit. Not to mention corrupt.

  • Paganplace

    I know you like to feel ‘persecuted,’ Rohit, but Palin is a *case study* in everything that’s been driving half the nation to drink about the Religious right, hypocrisy, myopia, vapid smirks and all. Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that some rich lady acting like the world’s even simpler than she is, snarkily telling us that our *own* kids should be subject to the ‘abstinence only’ ‘education’ that didn’t even work in her *own* family, cause she’s just that more holy….Might justifiably cause people to take a dislike to her, among other things?

  • Paganplace

    Or, to put it more briefly. She’s. A. Dominionist. Is she really the ‘MILF’ what all these good Americans thought they were getting behind, just cause she’d get up in a helicopter, burn some hours worth of JPF over a wildlife area, and shoot some wolves from the air and make em feel like they’re really ‘smart?’ ‘Take that, liberals!’ Or… Is there maybe more than the Fox or ABC ‘news’ version of her than even the ‘family values’ voters wanted to see?

  • Palamas

    Dismayed wrote:”What kind of elementary schoolyard argument is THAT?”The kind that says that people shouldn’t get a pass on barbaric language directed at others just because they happen to agree with one’s political stands. I said I don’t like the rhetoric he used against Obama. In fact, I’ll go farther and say that I unequivocally condemn it. Can you say the same about the language that was used against Bush?Two wrongs don’t make a right–they make two wrongs. “Obama=Hitler” is wrong. So was “Bush=Hitler.” It’s time that people on both the right and the left take a Prozac,and ratchet down the rhetorical heat.

  • rohitcuny

    The kind that says that people shouldn’t get a pass on barbaric language directed at others just because they happen to agree with one’s political stands. I said I don’t like the rhetoric he used against Obama. In fact, I’ll go farther and say that I unequivocally condemn it. Can you say the same about the language that was used against Bush?

  • hsnkhwj

    Menahem’s analogy is right on the mark. Limbaugh and the right wing ideologues are dangerous and their rhetoric can lead to violence.

  • Paganplace

    Rush’s words have already had tragic consequences. How many people out there think ‘liberal’ is synonymous with ‘everything that deserves to be hated?’ You could trace a *lot* of that to his demagoguery, if not the rantings of his extended Oxycontin binge… the content of which none of these anti-drug crusading conservatives have ever seen fit to go back and question, …of course, if he called Hillary Clinton the W of Babylon for years, and flattered people into believing it of a First Lady, while doped up off his gourd,that was of course ‘righteous.’ Right?There’s a certain UU church in Knoxville where you could lay some flowers, if you don’t think his agitations haven’t already led to tragedies. Have been a long time since. We used to listen to the SOB back in the early Nineties to have something to snark at. People who ended up assaulting us just happened to choose to voice some of his phrasings. Stopped being funny a long time ago.

  • Paganplace

    And if you want to say some mysterious ‘Left’ is ‘just as bad, for whatever reason, well… Just ask who’s willing to have and abide by hate-speech and hate crimes laws.

  • katavo

    Apparently the liberals have to condemn their own monsters before they get to condemn the conservative monsters. That seems to be the popular opinion here among the non-shouting republican crowd.Fine, you tell the liberals to do that.But guess what? I’m not a liberal, I’m not even a democrat, I have never voted for those people.Refusing to condemn these conservative wackoes unless and until the liberals condemn their wackoes … this is juvenile. And who cares what the liberal wackoes are saying now about Bush anyway, remember – he’s not in the white house anymore.Not all of America fits into your playground, conservatives. Many of us, perhaps a surprisingly large number, find both you and the liberals to be equally disgusting, equally useless, and equally harmful. But it’s your side that’s doing the damage now. I couldn’t give a flying F what the liberals did to Bush.These mouth-frothing idiots your side is putting out in the town hall meetings to destroy the conversation are not just taking the air from the democrats, they’re stealing it from me too.

  • daniel12

    Part three.It really is that simple. But so hard. So hard no one I know of understands it. Does anyone reading this understand? I doubt it. Much easier just to throw his name left and right and from the both. Much better for everybody to just begin to see everybody but themselves as evil incarnate. And then all of us become Hitlers. And then Hitler is alive as never before. And he has his revenge from the grave. Common knowledge. Except not so common. And how can it not be common? Does everyone just think that Hitler appeared for no reason other than that he was evil? Is it just as simple as that? Do we believe that society is something pure evil just happens to intrude upon every now and then? Do we really believe that evil never appears because society itself is having difficulty developing itself and then throws itself upon itself in repeated and savage attempts to regain balance?People, try not to be so naive. At least have the courage to admit that one fears the loss of one’s job, etc.–that really at heart one looks out for number one and that caring for others is really a luxury born of the success of society as a whole. No further words are needed. If no one grasps this then at least have the common sense to keep the name Hitler out of one’s mouth. When one uses his name one might as well be parading the mustache of the man. But we all are obsessed with the man. Certainly there is no name more persistent in modern times.

  • daniel12

    Part two.Hitler of course was a racist. And we think it is just a simple matter of condemning such thoughts and behavior. But what if what Hitler precisely deplored, the mixing of races, a motley mongrel society such as America, cannot keep itself moving forward to greater sophistication as immigrants from here, there and everywhere pile on the shore? What if Hitler’s fears were correct? Now I am well aware everyone reading this will be appalled at my words.But there is one fact that cannot be denied no matter whether one is left or right, up or down: And that is that every failure of American society–hell, every failure of world society–to resolve the problem of ethnic, religious, racial difference, proves Hitler right–and his name just will not go away. Does anyone want his name to follow the man to the grave? Then put all effort possible into resolving precisely what Hitler feared.But how can Hitler be condemned when universally it is felt that mixing these people with that, etc. is felt to be a simple matter, a matter of just letting everyone combine and give all health care and all jobs and all will work in harmony? If one is not going to take the problem seriously then one has no right to condemn Hitler. The condemnation of Hitler begins by taking him seriously. And the execution of the man proceeds apace at every success of proving him wrong, that people can mix, etc.

  • daniel12

    Part one.Adolf Hitler. Considered the incarnation of evil by the modern mind, whether one is religious and comparing him to Satan or non-religious and almost made religious when thinking of his evil, how much perhaps even a God is needed to deal with such evil.The man will just not go away. It really is troubling that people left and right (literally, politically) throw his name this way and that. But the deeper question is why is this so. And I can think of no better reason than that American society is extremely insecure. For the first time in all of American history we are having immigrants from everywhere and not just the traditional source, which was largely Europe. And we do not even have to mention the civil rights movement.And this is particularly troubling to the right wing. And if deeply troubling to the right wing deeply troubling to all society because whether one likes it or not the right wing is the center, the core of society–the conservative part the left really at best is only an improvement on.The right wing throwing the name Hitler at the left is really speaking of itself as it becomes more and more insecure. In the best of times in modern society the right wing has a connection to Hitler because he of course was right wing. But as things become more and more insecure, the more the right subconsciously (and not so) reacts against questionable changes to American society (changes to American society such as the underclass rising up and in connection with immigrants from largely unsuccessful societies–typical Hispanic, black societies) the more not only is the name Hitler brought up, but the deeper and more dangerous question of whether he was right.

  • chatard

    It is time for Barack Obama to take responsibility for Jeremiah Wright’s words, now that he is safely ensconced in the White House and busily engaged in the race-baiting Jeremiah so lovingly practiced.

  • Paganplace

    I think the Hitler image remains potent, however applied, because there remain for the world some unresolved issues relating to ‘how could this happen.’ While it was important, mythically-speaking, for the free world to ‘triumph over evil,’ … it won’t go away if Hitler turns into a *mere* bogeyman, representing, like so many other tyrants, ‘the evil other,’ whether you want to say that ‘evil other’ is fascism or anything that can be called ‘socialism,’ (which ‘National Socialism’ was *not* in the sense right-wingers say… remember Prescott Bush was all in favor of Nazis, and the ‘New World Order’ of the Bush family is anything but social or left-wing. ) In some ways, we’re very right to worry it might happen again, …and we’re going to have that nagging nightmare until we actually resolve what’s behind the mask, …actually acknowledge *how it happened* …simply using him as one among many ‘icons of evil’ to throw at opponents won’t cut it.

  • Paganplace

    Chatard:”It is time for Barack Obama to take responsibility for Jeremiah Wright’s words,” No, it’s not. It’s the Right that keeps *claiming* he endorses a soundbyte of Jeremiah Wrights words, when in fact, during the campaign, Obama spent an hour *talking* about those words, and in fact *renouncing* many things about it. He, in fact, *took responsibility* for being in the same room with Wright on different occasions than the single instance Rush and the Right kept trying to define Obama by. When Wright began grandstanding, Obama said, ‘I’m cutting ties, and here’s why.’The Right.. No one in the Right, has done anywhere near as much about their ‘pundits.’

  • Paganplace

    I should also add, it’s not Obama who ever claimed to represent what Rush said Wrights words meant Obama represented, even if Obama said and always did completely other things than Rush said and says, in the face of whatever anyone says. Rush, among others, *made up* the whole thing about Reverend Wright in the first place. When it was addressed directly by Obama, they just pretended he didn’t.

  • bpai_99

    The GOP has this drill down cold: 1. Use apocalyptic rhetoric with Christian religious and Caucasian racial subtexts to inflame fear, bigotry and extremism among the uneducated and intolerant.

  • rohitcuny

    People, America is in a dangerous situation and we need to work together to solve the problems. While I support Obama and his desire to do something, I am dismayed by the attacks which the Democrats here are levelling on all Republicans. Think about it: more than 50 million Americans voted for Bush in 2004. What do the Democrats plan to do about these people? Put them in gas chambers? You HAVE to work with your fellow citizens and if they want to listen to Limbaugh or Palin, then they have a right. If you want to have a dialog with them, you must first start by respecting them.Of course the reverse also holds true. But at least on this forum, there seem to far more left wingers who hate the right than right wingers who hate the left. And hatred will destroy this country.

  • rohitcuny

    Rush, among others, *made up* the whole thing about Reverend Wright in the first place. But during the presidential campaign it became clear that the interests of the two were different and incompatible. I think it is absurd (but understandable) for Republicans to try to use Wright as ammunition against Obama. Obama broke with Wright, but I suspect that it was political strategy, and Wright himself understood that.

  • CalSailor

    We have had negative words concerning former President Bush, that is true. Mostly, what I remember, and researched was that the attacks on Bush were mostly that we was either dumb (he was the puppet, and Cheney was the puppeteer was seen in not a few political cartoonists and op-ed writers), or that he was so stubborn that he decided…but he did so on the almost instantaneous basis and once he decided, he would not revisit an issue. He was accused of being “macho” with his posturing and his campaign to be a “compassionate conservative” and then blasted to the far right when in charge. Many thought his religious faith, though sincere, served as cover for other motives.Yes, there were demonstrations outside Bush events; but the anger and ridicule was based on the fact that his audiences were prescreened, and questions were not taken without pre-screening as well.Fast forward to this past year or so: We’ve had constant charges that he consorts with terrorists, and the Republican ticket did not seem to work very hard to contradict this, except for the one widely replayed incident where McCain defended him as an honorable man. I honor McCain for doing that; I wish he had done it consistently–and reigned in his running mate.President Obama has repeatedly been tagged as a Muslim (and the correct answer is, so what if he is?, there is no religious test for office in the US, even though, in actuality, he is a Christian.), the sermon clip of Rev Wright with his “God damn America” was a sermon based on imprecatory psalms, and his trying to deal with them [most clergy tend to ignore those psalms...or quickly pass them by.] No one seemd to bother wondering about the context…But what bothers me is that in every way possible, Obama is being slammed with charges and innuendos that he is not legitimate. The “birthers”, the Muslim charge, now the “death panels”, and the concentrated campaign by conservatives to stir up people by stoking their fears of what is to come. Add in the racial issue, and we’ve got a powder keg.But it is the Hitler charge that is the most troubling, at the same time we have the films Defiance, and Valkyrie in the theaters…both of which freshly portray Hitler as the evil man that he was. We have Rush and Glenn Beck and others claiming that that Obama is a racist, that he hates whites, and now that he is Hitler. There is no other figure in recent history that compares, for western society. Pol Pot, Edie Amin and other dictators in Asia and Africa may have tried to exterminate their opponents, but partially due to the determination of Jews to keep the horror of the Shoah (Holocaust) in front of people, so “never again!” remains true, Hitler occupies a unique place in the annals of depravity. To have Rush and others charge that President Obama is Hitler, is something that carries grave consequences. Just as the plot against Hitler, portrayed in the movie Valkyrie, equated him with the rabid dog whom one must destroy to save society (Dietrich Bonhoeffer), I fear that this language from several prominent people in our culture will “give permission.” The Secret Service says that threats against the President are up 400% since the election, and we have seen people bringing weapons to congressional town halls this summer. Are we going to have to go through another Presidential assassination? I lived through the assassination of President Kennedy. I pray never to see that happen again. We had race riots after the death of Martin Luther King Jr, and I fear that if this first black President, carrying the hopes of many of us, of all colors, dies at the hand of another, it will tear our society apart. Please God, forbid.Pr Chris

  • CalSailor

    Rohit: You say:Rush, among others, *made up* the whole thing about Reverend Wright in the first place. That’s true…HOWEVER, from what President Obama said, he did NOT attend every week; for many weekends he was away from the church, which as a preacher myself, I know is typical of many members. In today’s society, especially for people doing the sorts of jobs he did (community organizer and elected official) he did not work a typical Mon-Fri job. So, taking a clip of Rev Wright, and hanging it around President Obama’s neck, you need first to show he actually HEARD the quotes in question. Besides, members join churches for many reasons, including the mission of the congregation, and the fellowship and other activities they find. Not every preacher is loved for his/her preaching (just ask any preacher about the Sunday afternoon-Monday emails after some sermons.) President Obama has said what attracted him there was that it was a vibrant community, making a huge difference in its community. (My mom complains on a fairly regular basis about the pastor’s sermons at her church…he puts some jokes in that she has problems with, among other things). And not every sermon was on topics or included comments that could be considered at all controversial. I’m sure some members of my parish remained in spite of my preaching. And, as many preachers will tell you, sometimes, they deliberately provoke reactions on the part of the congregation. “Preaching is intended to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” is a primary dictum of homiletics classes.Also, please make sure you READ the entire sermon in which the famous “God damn America” quote…taking it in context, instead of just the phrase itself changes its meaning considerably. It was based on a psalm (don’t remember which) which included God’s judgment called down upon a self-righteous Israel. A theme in more than one of the psalms. Also, before you accept the narrative that Rev Wright is an America hater, please look at his own life narrative. He was a veteran of two of the armed services, and as a medic served on a presidential support detail. You don’t get on something like that if you are hostile to America! You wouldn’t believe the screening involved. (I’ve held TS-SCI [clearance way beyond top secret] clearance for years; the intel community is strict, but nothing like presidential details.)You say:Take a look at the website: In regard to why Obama broke with Rev Wright, I think the address on race which Obama delivered says it all; it discusses why he joined the church, why he attended for so long, and why it was painful for him to leave. I would suggest that you read it carefully. It was a tremendously powerful statement. One everyone should read and reflect on.I suspect that Rev Wright’s comments after the split had more to do with Rev Wright and his own beliefs and feelings than those of Obama. In short, I think you are mis-applying the religious intolerance/hatred?/ulterior motives to President Obama.Pr chris

  • rohitcuny

    In regard to why Obama broke with Rev Wright, I think the address on race which Obama delivered says it all; it discusses why he joined the church, why he attended for so long, and why it was painful for him to leave. I would suggest that you read it carefully. It was a tremendously powerful statement. One everyone should read and reflect on.That does not mean that Obama is a bad person, as politicians go he is pretty good. But I think Wright’s anger at America was the HONEST anger of a black man at how America has treated blacks. Obama’s breaking with Wright was political strategy – strategy which resulted in him being elected rather than Palin being VP, hence good for the nation. But it was strategy and not “sermon from the mount”.Worshipping politicians is a mistake – whether it is Obama or Jefferson. Obama is a good president and I support him. But I refuse to believe that he is made of gold.

  • rohitcuny

    I think it goes without saying that attacks on Obama are far from justified – someone who attacks him is either crazy or up to no good. But I do think that people severely misjudge Bush. It has come out recently that Cheney was frustrated for the last several years that Bush did not want to go along with his hardline ways. But that does not surprise me about Bush.Sometime in the fall of 2000, when they were running against each other, Bush and Gore were both invited to a meeting by a Catholic group. In his speech, Bush said many complimentary things to Gore, ending with the words, “Today, Mr. Vice President, I cannot wish you success, but I do wish you well.” And remember that Gore was his political opponent at that time.The movie, Journeys with George was made by the daughter of Nancy Pelosi as she followed the presidential campaign in 2000. By the time the campaign ended, Alexandra Pelosi had become a fan of Bush. And why? Isn’t her mother a powerful and influential democrat? Because she found Bush a sympathetic and helpful man when she got into trouble with a survey she had done. Bush is basically a decent man, who was unfamiliar with Washington, allowed himself to be influenced too much by people like Cheney and Rumsfeld, and ended up as a totally unsuccessful president.But we should not judge the man by the presidency. His refusal during the last months to join Cheney’s anti-Obama campaign should tell us a lot – if we have open minds and hearts.

  • dp1501

    Defenders of Rush Limbaugh’s daily vicious, hateful, megalomaniacal, race bating, anti-Obama rants as similar to left-wing liberal attacks against President Bush during his presidency are either very naive or disingenuous to the point of criminal conspiracy. Even at the height of Democratic Party condemnations of Bush’s policies, no national Democratic leader publically supported the rantings of fringe radical left-wing media commentators or political activists as the true or core voice of the Democratic Party. Neither were they afraid to dispute the more outrageous baseless charges of these crazies. Fast-forward to today and the same can not be said of national Republican Party leaders. They quake in their boots in fear that Limbaugh will find cause to use his virulent attacks against them. They are cowards of the highest orderLiberal calls to limit Bush’s Presidential power or to impeach him were valid, legal, political tactics to use. Yes, there were some who called him a fascist liken to Hitler after the Patriot Act. Using not so subtle innuendo to stoke ethnic hatred, declare Presidential Obama an illegal alien and “not like us”, advocate violent sedition and even assassination goes way beyond what has been accepted as civil political discourse in the country. Under former Republican administrations (Nixon & Regan) such left-wing political actors were placed under FBI or military surveillance, were subjected to “active measures” to politically or personally neutralize their activities or were jailed. Limbaugh, Beck and the rest are plying with fire; a fire that could ignite into a conflagration that they will not be able to control. If so, they, like the rest of the country, will pay a heavy and tragic price. They view all liberals as timid and cowardly and since conservatives did not win at the ballot box, they must use political intimidation to get their way. They don’t realize they are living in a different era. The young, diverse, and committed liberal actors of today will not be muzzled or be cowed by such tactics.

  • CalSailor

    Palamas says:The Left in question isn’t mysterious. Code Pink, International ANSWER, the Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front, etc. How about the folks who greeted George Bush in Portland in 2002:Palamas: I will agree that the response to Bush in Portland was unacceptable! I do not support such tactics. I do want you to please identify anyone in Democratic leadership who supported/s any of the groups you name? And yet, we have Republicans in power who feed the “Obama isn’t an American” nonsense [most of the House of Rep. members who were asked in a street survey] , who are actively portraying “Obama’s ‘death panels’” [Betsy McCaughey, ex vice Gov. of NY, and now a medical equipment rep; ex-Gov of Alaska Sarah Palin, via MN Rep Michele Bachmann] as legitimate, as “fear your government” [Gingrich, Sen Grassley, Limbaugh among others], etc.The point is not that SOME individual citizens, even a couple of hundred, in the case of Portland, did something. It is whether those in the position of leadership do anything to aid or damp anything down. And on this count, the hysteria that I believe leads to violence has not been decried by the Republicans, rather, when commented on, treat it like a joke [wink, wink]. We have seen town hall coverage of mostly elderly people crying and fearful of the rhetoric they are being fed, mostly demonstrably lies. This is utterly cruel. And yet, virtually every Republican who has spoken has done NOTHING to damp this down. Show me an equavalent action on the part of the Democrats during the last administration.The last campaign says it all. We have “Barricuda” Palin talking about “pallin’ around with terrorists” and people shouting anti Obama slogans (including “terrorist” and “kill him”), at both her events, and to a somewhat lesser degree, during McCain’s. During Obama’s rallies, any time we heard even booing, we had [then] Sen. Obama saying “now, now, we don’t need to talk like that, we’ve got enough to talk about what we can do.” There have been increasing numbers of right wing militia groups forming. The death threats against the President are 4 times what they were against the previous President. And yes, right wing militias are more dangerous than left-wing organizations, because the right wing groups and individuals are more closely affiliated with the NRA, the whole survivalist and soldier of fortune community, and extol the right to carry weapons. They are more likely as a group to be highly armed. They are being fed with the sense of urgency, out of fear that “Obama will take their guns away.”Pr Chris

  • CalSailor

    Chatard:It is time for Barack Obama to take responsibility for Jeremiah Wright’s words, now that he is safely ensconced in the White House and busily engaged in the race-baiting Jeremiah so lovingly practiced.1. He already did respond in great detail about Rev Wright. Try reading his speech on Race2. What “race-baiting” ? Please explain. PResident Obama has reached out to every group the same way: As individuals with whom he is willing to accept as individuals on an equal basis and find ways to work together. How is this “race baiting”? Or, is reaching out to anyone other than one’s own group somehow “race baiting”? Or do you think Glenn Beck is doing other than, as my grandmother would say “smokin’ dope”? Do you honestly think President Obama “Hates whites”?————————–You say:What do you think you are doing? You are applying a motive: A motiove which says all politicians lie all the time (can’t take anything without a grain of salt…)You also charge that I and others worship Obama. Well, I can tell you that is not true. But I am willing to believe that what he said on this occasion was a statement of his beliefs and reasons for acting. The reason: I served a mostly black church for nearly 7 years. What he says about the church, his membership, etc., rings true in virtually all points. That’s the basis, that and being a preacher for more than 30 years, struggling with texts, some of the same texts that Rev Wright has also struggled with…(mine are assigned by the church calendar)So, other than your dislike/distrust of politicians and belief that they never tell the truth, why do you reject what he says about his own experiences?Again, prove to me he was present for the famous Wright quote that the Right wants to hang around his neck. Othewise, you have impuned his motives.Pr Chris

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