Thin-skinned Liberals Smear Critics
By Jack Kelly
What a difference an election can make!
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism, we were told by leading liberal pundits and Democratic politicians from Jan. 20, 2001 to Jan. 19, 2009. According to these worthies, there were few more noble ways to express dissent than protest demonstrations, which were frequent during the Bush administration.
Their attitudes have changed since Jan. 20, 2009. Today, some criticism of the president is "borderline sedition," said Time columnist Joe Klein. It could lead to another Oklahoma City bombing, warned former President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Klein was upset because radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh had used the word "regime" to describe the Obama administration. But how many liberals called it seditious when critics referred to the Bush administration as the "Bush regime," which, according to Google, happened at least 6,500 times.
Mr. Clinton expressed in The New York Times his fear that harsh criticism from Mr. Limbaugh and others could inspire another Timothy McVeigh, the white supremacist who was executed for his part in the April 19, 1995 bombing in which 168 people were killed.
But Mr. McVeigh made it clear that what provoked him to bomb the Murrah federal building was the FBI assault precisely two years before on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in which 76 people -- 20 of them children -- were burned to death.
Mr. McVeigh was an extremist. There is no excuse for what he did. But he was motivated to do what he did not by criticism of the size and scope of federal government by radio talk show hosts, but by an action of the Clinton administration that went very badly wrong.
"If there would not have been a Waco, I would have put down roots somewhere and not been so unsettled with the fact that my government was a threat to me," the AP quoted Mr. McVeigh as saying shortly before his execution in 2001.
It is a despicable smear to attempt to link critics of the tax, spending and regulatory policies of the Obama administration to Mr. McVeigh. Imagine how Mr. Clinton and Mr. Klein would howl if it were asserted that those who protested the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for the shooting at Fort Hood last November which left 13 dead.
No prominent conservative has asserted that, of course. But it's a meme among the eminences of the left that the tea party movement is comprised of "angry" knuckle-dragging bigots one Rush Limbaugh broadcast away from insurrection and murder. All this despite the fact the only violence reported at tea party rallies has come when left wingers assaulted protesters.
In St. Louis on Aug. 6 of last year, Kenneth Gladney, who is black, was so badly beaten by three Service Employees International Union thugs (clearly identifiable from their purple t shirts with the SEIU logo) that he had to be hospitalized. At a town hall meeting in Tampa the same day, a local Democratic Party official struck Barry Osteen, who was arguing about Obamacare with her husband.
It's understandable why Democrats fear the tea party movement. On March 27, a tea party rally in the desert outside of tiny Searchlight, Nev., home town of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, drew a crowd estimated by the Las Vegas Review Journal at 8,000 and by other news organizations at up to 20,000. A few days later, Mr. Reid kicked off his re-election campaign in Searchlight, "cheered on by more than 100 close supporters," said the Review-Journal.
What really terrifies Democrats is not just the number or size of tea party rallies, but that they are occurring at all. For more than a century, the protest demonstration has been almost exclusively a left-wing thing. Conservatives just don't demonstrate. The tea party indicates a level of street activism on the right unprecedented in our history.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Dec. 16 indicated the tea party was more popular than either Democrats or Republicans. Respondents approved of the tea party, 41 percent to 23 percent. More disapproved of both the Republican Party (28-43) and the Democratic Party (35-45) than approved of them.
So the tea party must be smeared, lest it gain even more adherents.