Republicans Say the Darndest Things
The crack political observers at The New Yorker have a hard time singling out inappropriate political rhetoric from Democrats.
5:30 PM, Jan 3, 2012 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
So, uh, George Packer at The New Yorker wants to give Republicans a piece of his mind:
And it actually degenerates from there -- Packer essentially calls Republicans thugs. The New Yorker is an awfully fine magazine, but for some reason it seems to run off the rails rather frequently when writing about conservative politics. Case in point: If Packer expects to retain credibility on this topic, he should acknowledge that questionable rhetoric isn't solely a GOP problem. Failing that, I hope Packer is feeling refreshed from that eight-year coma he was in when liberal America lost its collective mind hurling invective at George W. Bush.
As for Santorum accusing the president of "un-American activities," certainly that remark is not above criticism. But at least he was speaking off the cuff. Surely Packer remembers when the Democratic Speaker of the House called protests against the Democrats health care bill "un-American" and committed it to print in one of the nation's largest newspapers? I'm also pretty sure that calling Tea Partiers "terrorists," as Joe Biden reportedly did, is more or less the same thing accusing a large chunk of the electorate of "un-American activities."
As for decrying the candidates's supposed desire to criminalize all abortions and nullify gay marriages, I'm not sure to what extent that's hyperbole on Packer's part. I would, however, note that a majority of the country is opposed abortion to gay marriage. That a politician would reflect the views of the majority of the people he seeks to curry votes from does not exactly constitute pandering to the "Christian base is by whipping up nationalistic hysteria" or what have you. (Note that our current Democratic president running for reelection also happens to be opposed to gay marriage.) Of course, maybe Packer's being ill-served by the media accounts that he finds so troubling. The media seems to have a particular problem fairly rendering what GOP candidates have said recently.
Still, if you're going to tut-tut about the tone of politics these days (and many people share some of Packer's general concerns here), one really ought to be clear-eyed about the fact that questionable rhetoric comes from across the political spectrum. As it is, Packer's regrettably selective criticism means he's contributing to the very problem he seeks to remedy.