This kind of violent rhetoric is exactly the refuge of the worst of the current wingnuts and exactly why they got their outrage on over the DHS report. You can’t protect your own bullying and violent speech without having to cover for the terrorists in your midst too.
This comes from the same little merry band that lined up to label Resistnet.com a potentially violent rightwing extremist group that should be on a DHS watch list somewhere. When I examined all their material and failed to find the slightest inkling of violent intent (in fact, quite the opposite), the rejoinder was--I kid you not:
What do they mean by keep the powder dry? Bath powder?
So much for non-violence.
Apparently the people who thought it was appropriate to use Regime Change as a rallying cry during the Bush years lost the ability to understand ironic metaphor.
It has been fairly easy for them to get away with this in the left blogosphere, because within echo chambers you usually hear only what you are shouting.
But it becomes more difficult to maintain that you are all about high ethical standards and fear of militia gunfire instead of engaging in a purely partisan effort to strangle debate when the Boston Globe calls you out [h/t Hube]:
PARTISAN turmoil that lingered after this month's tea party protests reignited recently, when the Department of Homeland Security issued a report to federal and local law enforcement officials on right-wing extremism. The report detailed current economic and political factors that could enhance recruitment for extremist groups. Yet the report defined extremism in a way that implicates a huge portion of the political spectrum. Conservatives are right to be angry.
The report drew particular criticism over comments on "disgruntled military veterans," who, it suggests, may be targeted by extremist groups looking to use their "skill and knowledge to carry out violence." Missing was any empirical evidence for its claims beyond the examples of Timothy McVeigh and Richard A. Poplawski, the Pittsburgh man who recently shot three police officers and exhibited fears that the government would take his guns.
Worse, the report's depiction of an extremist describes the political beliefs of many Americans, saying that "many right-wing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration . . . immigration . . . and restrictions on firearms." But Americans have every right to oppose all three. Drawing a parallel, even implicitly, between specific political beliefs and criminal intent is something Americans must oppose, regardless of political affiliation.
Except that many Americans of a specific political affiliation have not condemned this report, they've endorsed it, applauded it, and attempted to shove it directly down the throats of their political adversaries.
Moreover, the Globe also notes one aspect of the report (and the new administration's responsibility for issuing it) that our friends never seem to recall:
This is unfortunate, because the language of the report even faced objections from the department's own Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties before its release. Napolitano must take these concerns more seriously. She should consider it one of her primary obligations to prevent the politicization of Homeland Security.
Read that carefully: the DHS report was not only vetted prior to publication, the people who did that vetting objected to the content.
What's happening here is that many liberal bloggers and commentators are chastising what they consider exterminationist rhetoric while pursuing an absolutist agenda of their own.
That agenda reads like this: We, and only we, have the moral authority to determine what is legitimate political discourse, and which positions are, by definition, fringe, extremist, or potentially violent. After all, we won the election, didn't we?
If the phenomenon was primarily the preserve of semi-anonymous bloggers with colossal egos and miniscule audiences, this would be one thing. But when a former President engages in the tactic, it is--as Tim Robbins once remarked--evidence of a chill wind beginning to blow.
Jimmy Carter, writing an op-ed for NYT, talks about being a hunter and gun owner, and then let's loose with a serious of incredible--despicable--and inaccurate generalizations about anyone who wants to own a weapon that mets the gun control lobby's definition of an assault weapon, followed by a complete redefinition of what constitutes "common sense" gun control:
But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.
An overwhelming majority of Americans, including me and my hunting companions, believe in the right to own weapons, but surveys show that they also support modest restraints like background checks, mandatory registration and brief waiting periods before purchase.
So there you have it, with [failed] ex-Presidential authority: anybody who defends Second Amendment rights to own semi-automatic rifles wants to kill policemen, school children, or fellow employees.
Where, I wonder, is the outrage on the left that literally millions of gun owners who have never committed or even contemplated a violent act are now being accused by Jimmy Carter of being homicidal maniacs?
Waiting. But not holding my breath.
Likewise, I'm wondering when the gun control lobby is going to admit that by slipping in mandatory registration of all firearms into the conversation, Jimmy Carter is asserting a completely new power for the State: you have no right to own a weapon that the State does not know about.
So it's time to stop playing the game by their rules, since their rules are: heads we win, tails you lose, anyone not in agreement with us is a dangerous extremist.
Let's start labeling them as Absolutists who seem to have confused an electoral victory in the American Republic with the Enabling Act of 1933.