As Michael Bersin’s last posting points out, Ike Skelton refuses to be drawn into the game of He’s a hateful extremist/She’s a hateful extremist. Skelton is trying to be a grownup, trying to avoid tit for tat childishness. Good for him. I guess.
Except that, much as yhe progressive community desires such adult behavior, it’s difficult for us to contain our outrage when MoveOn gets slapped in the face by our own people.
Our adult patience has worn as thin as wet tissue because we know that if Congress started censuring Rush for his phony soldiers comment or Rep. Peter Stark (D-CA) for saying that our troops have been sent to Iraq for the president’s amusement, it wouldn’t be a matter of tit for tat. If all the provocative statements from both sides were brought into the accounting, it would be tit for tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat tat….
William Rivers Pitt took the trouble to list some of the right’s most egregious “tats”. Here’s a sampling:
“I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”
– Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95
“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
– Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, 06-10-98. For the record, Orlando remains undestroyed by meteors.
“Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I’m proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans.”
– Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96
“Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him.”
– Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton, as reported by journalist Steve Miner of KSUB radio who overheard his conversation, 11-01-98
“We’re going to keep building the party until we’re hunting Democrats with dogs.”
– Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95
“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”
– Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02
“Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past – I’m not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble – recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin’s penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an ‘enemy of the people.’ The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, ‘clan liability.’ In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished ‘to the ninth degree’: that is, everyone in the offender’s own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed.”
– John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01
“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”
– Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 01-08-92
This is a sampling of Pitts’ list, and his list is itself only a sampling. I’d feel easier about Ike acting like a grownup if he would acknowledge that Democrats may not be sweetness and light every minute of the day, but that’s because they’re provoked beyond all reason by the outrages that the media winks at from Limbaugh, Coulter, Robertson, and the whole host of right wing hatefuls.