Friday, October 12, 2018


Greg Sargent writes:
President Trump and Republicans have adopted a closing electoral strategy that depicts the Democratic Party and “angry” leftist protests against Trumpian rule as the only real reigning threat to our country’s civic fabric and the rule of law. A new Republican National Committee video juxtaposes footage of leading mainstream Democratic figures with that of angry protesters, while decrying “the left” as an “unhinged mob.”
Here's that RNC video:

Even though Eric Holder said, "When I say we kick them, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight," and even though Hillary Clinton's remarks called for nothing more violent than a return to "regular order" in Congress, Democrats are being accused of incitement to riot.

Why? Because in American politics, it's always 1968.

Republicans are always seen as the law-and-order party. Democrats are always seen as the party affiliated with the demonstrators in the streets of Chicago that year, even though those demonstrators were radical rather than liberal and were furious at what was then a Democratic war.

That's why angry Tea Party crowds at Democratic town halls in 2010 didn't inspire widespread hand-wringing about "civility." Nor did the Bundy standoff or the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Violence at Donald Trump campaign rallies in 2016 got some negative attention -- but that violence and the Bundy and Malheur incidents were seen through the prism of the mainstream media's romanticization of Carhartt-wearing working men -- anyone who looks tough and grizzled is simply seen as too elemental, too authentically American, to be a threat to society.

(The Charlottesville neo-Nazis might have made a mistake when they decided to wear polo shirts and chinos -- if they'd grown beards and worn flannel and work boots, maybe they could have gotten away with killing someone without getting bad press.)

Incivility? Here's the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania threatening to "stomp all over" the face of his opponent "with golf spikes":

(By the way, Jeanine Pirro of Fox News hosted a fund-raiser for this guy on Wednesday.)

And here's a story from Connecticut that broke in the past twenty-four hours:
The Republican [state] legislative candidate whose harsh online comments about Parkland High shooting victims drew criticism resigned Thursday after losing town committee backing.

Steven Baleshiski, 22, a college student from Southington, was challenging six-term state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the speaker of the house....

In a post dated March 26, 2018, Baleshiski targeted David Hogg, a student survivor of the February Florida high school shooting who is now involved in gun-control advocacy.

The post on Baleshiski’s page read: “I’m not supposed to speak ill of David Hogg because he is a ‘survivor.’ Apparently if you survive horrific events, that makes the stupidity spewing out of your mouth above reproach. I disagree. Hogg can burn in hell, I don’t care what he survived. Survivors who wage war on my country are my enemies.”
... a post on Baleshiski's Facebook page advocat[ed] shooting looters after a natural disaster.

”Steven, you seem full of hate.’ You’re [expletive] right I’m full of hate,” a post from Sept. 16, 2017 reads. “What emotion do you expect me to feel for people who are trying to destroy my country and impose their sick, dystopian will on me and my family? Do you expect me to sit here ‘sure we disagree, but we’re all fellow Americans?’ Well that’s not how I feel. The people trying to destroy the country I love and impose 1984 meets Brave New World meets the will of Satan on my family are my enemies. I could pretend to be a white knight and say that I don’t hate them but that would be a lie. I hate them.”
Oh, and we don't know much about Craig Shaver, the California man charged with sending an email threatening the life of Senator Dianne Feinstein, but a sent threat at this moment is likely to have come from a conservative.

But none of this suggests to our political pundits that conservatism is the party of anarchy or brute force, or even lack of civility, because the brand of conservatism and the GOP, even in the Trump era, is still moral uprightness and "law and order." Democrats' brand is, for no good reason, force and anarchy, even though violent leftists today hate the Democrats, just the way their 1968 counterparts did. Old stereotypes die hard.

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