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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Normalizing Crazy

by digby

Glenn Greenwald does a nice job today dealing with yet another example of journalistic double standards, dealing with the predictable excretory spew of Ann Coulter at this year's CPAC vs Howie Kurtz's recent spell on the fainting couch over few anonymous comments that were removed from the Huffington Post. But he highights this comment from Andrew Sullivan which just floored me

When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young. The standing ovation for Romney was nothing like the eruption of enthusiasm that greeted her. . . .

Her endorsement of Romney today - "probably the best candidate" - is a big deal, it seems to me. McCain is a non-starter. He is as loathed as Clinton in these parts. Giuliani is, in her words, "very, very liberal." One of his sins? He opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That's the new standard. She is the new Republicanism. The sooner people recognize this, the better.

I am very glad that Sullivan finally recognizes this. But Ann Coulter and her vicious tongue has been a huge star on the right since her first vomitous anti-Clinton screed. That was ten years ago. She's been receiving riotous ovations at conservative meetings for years. Rush Limbaugh has been blowing his bile for even longer and he too is a highly respected member of the GOP establishment. The annual CPAC gathering has been selling items like "Happiness is Hillary's face on a milk carton" and "Muslim = Terrorist" bumper stickers like they were going out of style since they started.

This hideous face of the Republican Party has been obvious to those of us who have been paying attention for a long, long time. It is the single most important reason why our politics have devolved into a filthy grudge match.

For a long time liberals were paralyzed or indifferent as the GOP demonized liberalism as the root of every problem and pathology in American society. We were derided as unamerican, treasonous and evil. After the congressional harrassment of the 90's, the partisan impeachment, the puerile coverage of campaign 2000 and the resulting installation of a Republican president under very dubious circumstances, Democrats of all stripes heard both the Republicans and the media smirking at our outrage and telling us to "get over it."

And all of this was after Bill Clinton had moved the party to the center, had governed as a bipartisan compromiser and the Republicans impeached him anyway. Clearly, the Democratic party was blind if they didn't take the Republicans at their threatening words.

When Limbaugh said, "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for," we didn't doubt him anymore.

When Ann Coulter said "we need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too, otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors," to rapturous applause at the 2002 CPAC, we knew she wasn't just kidding.

And, yes, when Andrew Sullivan said that we liberals in blue enclaves formed a fifth column, you'll have to forgive us for assuming he was among the people who wished to see us jailed or dead.

It continues today. Dinesh D'Souza just published a book saying that liberals are the cause of terrorism. Ramesh Ponneru calls us "The Party of Death." And when Michele Malkin then creates a career out of calling the left "unhinged" the Washington Post treats her like she's discovered the Holy Grail.

This is why it is so shocking to us when we see people like Howard Kurtz and various others call for the smelling salts when some members of the left have reacted in kind by saying hateful, violent things about Dick Cheney's assassination attempt. (These anonymous commenters, by the way, are not best selling authors making a personal televised appearance at a gathering that includes most of the Republican presidential candidates, members of congress and even the Vice President himself.)I certainly agree that such appalling comments are not to be accepted. Indeed, I recall how my stomach turned when when I read what Coulter had to say at CPAC last year:

On Democrats: "Someday they will find a way to abort all future Boy Scouts." College professors: "sissified, pussified." Harvard: "the Soviet Union." John Kerry: the other "dominant woman in Democratic politics." Her post-9/11 motto: "Rag head talks tough, rag head faces consequences." For good measure, she threw in a joke about having Muslims burn down the Supreme Court -- with the liberal justices inside.

Then came questions. A young woman asked Coulter to describe the most difficult ethical decision she ever made. "There was one time I had a shot at Bill Clinton," Coulter said.

Howard Kurtz didn't say anything about that. I don't recall Michelle Malkin having the vapors. Nobody apologized. Perhaps if they had, some random anonymous commenters on the left wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that such ugly statements are acceptable. After all, that kind of disgusting rhetoric has been thoroughly acceptable in the highest reaches of the political establishment for years now and nobody but us unhinged liberals have said a word about it.

And you know what's truly sad about the press's indifference to these violent creeps? It isn't just us they think should be killed: