WHEN a few unruly McCain-Palin supporters show their anger at campaign rallies, it's national news.
New York Times columnist Frank Rich called it an epidemic of
"Weimar-like rage" and "violent escalation of rhetoric." The Washington
Post's E.J. Dionne wrote of the "re-emergence of the far right as a
power in American politics." It's a mass movement of GOP crowds
"gripped by insane rage," according to newly minted Nobel Prize winner
Too bad they don't give out awards for the Blindest Eyes in Punditocracy. We've just hit a trifecta.
Are a few activists on the right getting out of hand? Probably.
Between massive ACORN voter fraud, Bill Ayers' and Jeremiah Wright's
unrepentant hatred of America and John McCain's inability to nail Barack Obama on his longtime alliances with all of the above, conservatives have plenty to shout about these days.
But a couple of random catcallers do not a mob make. And there's an
overflowing abundance of electoral rage on the left that won't make it
onto your newspaper's front page.
Last month on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a small, brave
contingent of McCain supporters marched through the streets with
campaign signs. They were met by a menacing horde of New Yorkers who
displayed their disapproval with a barrage of jeers and vulgar
gestures. ("The number of middle fingers in the 'progressive crowd' is
directly proportional to the number of PhD degrees in the 10-block
radius," one witness wryly observed.)
A YouTube video of the confrontation now has nearly half a million
views (search for "Pro-McCain March in Manhattan" at youtube.com). But
don't expect to find it on the nightly news. It doesn't fit the Angry
Neither does the near-riotous reaction of Obama supporters to a
McCain-Palin sign in Democrat-dominated Prince George's County, Md.
Buried in The Washington Post's local section this week was a report on
how "pandemonium" broke loose when an unsuspecting businessman erected
a "Country First. McCain/Palin." message on the marquee at his Colony
South Hotel & Conference Center.
"Operators of neighborhood e-mail group lists cried foul to their
memberships. The NAACP logged calls. Community leaders demanded
boycotts of the hotel, a common venue for Democratic events," the Post
article reported. A black professor called the sign "a stink bomb in
the middle of the living room" of Obama land. The poor hotel manager,
Alan Vahabzadeh, surrendered. "I didn't even realize it was going to be
Can't blame him for missing the fiery hint from Portland, Ore. -
where two deranged vandals were arrested after throwing a Molotov
cocktail at a McCain yard sign in the middle of the night. Nope, that
didn't make it into the columns of Rich, Dionne or Krugman. Doesn't fit
the Angry Right narrative.
Speaking of "violent escalation of rhetoric" you never hear about:
* Obama supporters in Philadelphia sported "Sarah Palin is a
[vulgar word for female genitalia]" T-shirts and yelled, "Let's stone
her, old school" over the weekend.
* An Internet artist has designated Palin an "MILP" - "Mother I'd
Like to Punch" - and published a drawing of a man's fist knocking a
tooth out of the Alaska governor's mouth and the glasses off her face.
* "ABORT Palin" graffiti has sprouted on the sidewalks of Seattle,
and "Abort Sarah Palin" bumper stickers are spreading in Web stores.
* Palin-bashing Madonna performs before an audience of thousands, screeching and threatening to "kick her a--."
* Getty Images publishes a photo of a man pointing a fake gun at
the head of a cardboard cutout of Palin on display at the Brooklyn
Waterfront Artists Coalition building.
And no one blinks. Not a peep from the Obamedia.
But when Palin simply spotlights Obama's longtime relationship with
Weather Underground terrorist Bill "We Didn't Do Enough" Ayers?
"Inciting violence," frets NBC reporter Ron Allen. "Concerned . . .
for Sen. Obama's safety," agonizes ABC reporter Terry Moran. "Beyond
the pale," cries Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. As if the
no-holds-barred Obama campaign has ever had a rhetorical pale to stake.
All the world's a Kabuki stage for the selectively outraged over rage.