In Tuesday morning’s editorial, the Sun attempts to cloak a partisan attack as a call for civility.
Certainly, politics is a rough-and-tumble endeavor, and participants need a thick skin, but the political rhetoric is becoming stained with hate and vitriol. Many politicians have sought to demonize their opponents and opposing ideas, instead of debating the issues. That is unfortunately becoming the norm. The health care legislation that passed Congress last month serves as an example:Scare tactics were the stock-in-trade of the proponents of health care reform. “Never again will the mother with breast cancer have her coverage revoked, see her premiums arbitrarily raised, or be forced to live in fear that a pre-existing condition will bar her from future coverage.” What is that if not a scare tactic?
• Republicans used scare tactics to try to derail legislation by making false claims about “death panels” and a government “takeover.” The GOP has continued to slam the bill with scurrilous claims about bureaucrats dictating patients’ care, not doctors.
Even leaving aside the backroom deals that were necessary to pass HCR, there was plenty of deception and dishonesty employed by its proponents. Virtually every day, another negative consequence of this bill is revealed.
The editorial continues:
• Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said protesters used racial slurs as they walked to Congress for the health care vote. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said he was spit on. Conservative activists accused the members of Congress of lying and demanded the Democrats provide video proof. Individual voices are largely indiscernible on videos of the crowds, which conservatives say is proof there were no slurs. And the video of Cleaver being spit on was dismissed as an “accident.”Aside from the clumsy structure of that last sentence (who’s claimed that the video was an accident?), at this point the assertion that Rep. Cleaver was “spit on” is, quite simply, a lie. Video clearly shows that the man did not intentionally spit on anyone.
To equate this man’s actions to the contemptible act of intentionally spitting on another person is to equate the waiter who inadvertently spills water on a diner to the perpetrator of an acid-throwing attack. “Say it, don’t spray it” would be a much more appropriate response to this incident, rather than to tar not only the man involved but all opponents of Obama’s agenda as vile racists, which this paragraph, in conjunction with other Sun editorials, does.
Tuesday's piece continues:
Some Republican members of Congress have claimed that their rhetoric is no worse than that of Democrats and liberal activists during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office. “You should’ve heard some of the things they were saying,” Republican Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, told Politico.com.No other proof than the allegations themselves is required. To the Sun, it is merely enough for a leftist politician or activist group to make an assertion for it to be accepted as fact.
Seriously? Is this what American politics has come to, complaints that “they did it first” and demands for video proof?
If the allegations that protesters yelled racial epithets are true, then those people should be rightly condemned. But that is not enough for the Sun. All who oppose health care reform are to be condemned as well.
Notice the nifty segue from the alleged racial epithets to the discussion of the defense by Republicans of “their rhetoric.” Even though not a single Republican member of Congress was anywhere near where that incident occurred, the thought is firmly planted in the head of the reader that these slurs were uttered by some of them.
How dare Republicans try to defend themselves! Don’t they know that when the left makes accusations the accused are required to just shut up and take it? This is pure Alinsky (#13 - “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it...any target can always say, 'Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?' When you 'freeze the target,' you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments”).
Not only did the OFA Sun not consider vicious attacks against Republicans to be noteworthy during the Bush years, they routinely published letters to the editor containing them. I often wondered what level of vitriol against Bush it took to disqualify a letter from publication. A tiny sampling:
Bush had a series of “deliberate failures to promote his hunger for greed, power and money”, and, “George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are truly the axis of evil”.
“[T]he Iraq war had nothing to do with terrorism, but much to do with the Bush-Cheney consortium giving Big Oil a chance at carving up, for its profit, Iraq’s oil”.
Bush was “out of touch, heartless”, “the leader of a devious and small minded group of power hungry fools”.
His refusal to set a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq was “sinister” and “evil”. He was “the greatest danger this country now faces” and “financially retarded”. Of course, he was accused of lying or of being a liar innumerable times.
And here is a video from those halcyon days when dissent was patriotic, complete with “Bush Is A Bully” and “Bush Hates Brown People” signs.
The OFA Sun’s selective outrage at the incivility of political discourse is unworthy of a journalistic enterprise. But it is well-suited to an activist, partisan vehicle.
Yes, my friends, there's an election to be won and an opposition to be destroyed. And the journal forevermore to be known as the OFA Sun, for Organizing for America, is ready to take up the charge.