Diary

Stones, Glass Houses, Etc.

James Kirchick looks with incredulity at charges that political hate-mongering has been a one-sided affair, supposedly found solely in circles where Republicans gather:

Liberal pundits are attempting to outdo one another in describing just how unscrupulous conservatives have become. In The New Yorker last week, Hendrik Hertzberg referred to McCain-Palin rallies as “blood-curdling hate-fests.” Frank Rich went one step further in The New York Times, decrying the “Weimar-like rage” of the Republican Party base, evidenced by a few attendees at a Sarah Palin rally who shouted “terrorist” and “off with his head” when she mentioned Barack Obama. Rich’s fellow Times columnist Paul Krugman remarked that attendees at GOP gatherings have been “gripped by insane rage” at the prospect of an Obama presidency. Ascribing the oafish behavior of a handful to an entire political party, The Nation magazine slams the “GOP’s machinery of hate” in an editorial patronizingly entitled, “Waiting for the Barbarians.”

If my inbox is to be believed, there are certainly people on the right who believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim lying in wait to foist jihad upon the United States. And there are people who oppose him because of his name or his race. But one has to have been asleep during the Bush years to think that nuttery is exclusively a conservative phenomenon.

What about the left’s conspiracy theories? A not insignificant portion of liberals in this country believe that a small group of Jews, er, the “neocons,” took control of the government following 9/11 to fight wars on behalf of Israel. Is not this slander as odious as the Internet rumors about Barack Obama?

Time columnist Joe Klein fits the profile of the liberal hypocrite beset with disappointment over McCain’s alleged degradation. He recently apologized to readers for writing earlier that John McCain was “honorable.” This from a man who just a few months ago alleged that “Jewish neoconservatives” were disloyal Americans because their “plump[ing]” for war in Iraq and now Iran “raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”

Kirchick’s article is a long and informative, detailing more such smears delivered by people on the other side of the partisan divide. It’s astonishing, of course, to be lectured on the need for political civility by the likes of Frank Rich and Keith Olbermann, but evidently, neither Rich nor Olbermann has taken the time to read Luke 6:42, which should be ecumenical fare in political get-togethers these days.