In response to my back and forth with Michelle Malkin in which I asserted that incivility on the part of conservatives is (at least) as bad as incivility on the part of the left, I was challenged by both Ms. Malkin and Sean Hannity to provide a list of examples. My assertion all along is that, while we can disagree vociferously with our ideological opponents, we owe it to our humanity and our democracy to at least assume our opponents are well-intentioned and to avoid nasty insults that suggest otherwise.
With that in mind, by no means exhaustive, here are a few examples of personal insults and baseless hyperbole smearing President Obama and prominent liberals. And I’m not even including the Twitter smears from conservative lay folks. These are from prominent conservatives:
As a bonus, one of my favorites: Brent Bozell (on Sean Hannity’s TV show) critiquing MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for saying Newt Gingrich looks like a “car bomber” speculates what would happen if a conservative on Fox said that Obama looks like “a skinny, ghetto crackhead” — then, for good measure, Bozell then adds, “Which, by the way, you might want to say that Barack Obama does.”
And, less Ms. Malkin protest otherwise, these smears are having their desired intent. A Newsweek poll found that 52% of Republicans surveyed thought it was “definitely true” or “probably true” that Obama sympathized with the goal of fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. Meanwhile, 33% believe he favors the interests of Muslim Americans over those of other Americans. The majority of GOP voters (52%) in Mississippi think Obama is a Muslim (which at least I still have trouble reconciling with all the smears based on his Christian minister Jeremiah Wright). 39% of Republicans in Illinois and 45% of Republicans in Alabama think Obama is a Muslim.
Meanwhile, almost 1 in 3 Republicans believe that President Obama was not born in the United States.
Bill O’Reilly has also stood up against ugly insults against the sitting President of the United States. And the conservative columnist Michael Medved wrote that, with respect to smearing President Obama personally, “it’s particularly unhelpful to focus on alleged bad intentions and rotten character when every survey shows more favorable views of his personality than his policies.” I couldn’t agree more. It also happens to be mean and unbecoming of any self-respecting American.
Anyway that’s just Obama… Hello? I don’t have time to collect the smears against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or pick through the many examples in my own inbox let alone look at the everyday examples of conservatives smearing liberals on the Internet. For crying out loud, Rush Limbaugh has called more than 61 women in leadership positions “babe” — which perhaps Ms. Malkin would excuse as just being funny, but most folks would consider demeaning and dismissive, part of an conscious or unconscious campaign to silence liberal women and women in general.
I’d keep posting examples but I have to now go through all the nasty personal attacks and threats of violence in my Inbox thanks to my radio exchange with Ms. Malkin. Meanwhile, if Michelle Malkin wants to attack the left’s smears while contorting to justify smears from the right and simultaneously try and smear me for attempting to draw an equivalency and hold us ALL to a higher standard, well, I certainly celebrate the right to free speech that allows her to spread such sad nonsense.