February, 17th 2010

Stuff that doesn't help you win the center, beat the incumbent

– Liz Mair

So, last week, we had some fun and games when a Tea Party candidate in Texas basically revealed herself to be somewhat 9/11 truther-ish (a possible understatement) totally blowing her credibility as a sane, non-tinfoil hat wearing individual, so far as I am concerned.

There has also been a spate of birther and truther bannings that top conservative blog RedState has been forced to carry out.

Last year and this year, a couple of self-described conservatives (nope, I'm not naming them) got tagged as being either full-on birther-ish or birther-lite because of some ill-advised statements that I seriously hope none of them believed.

Now, in Washington, we have a lady at what (Huffington Post says, at least) was a Tea Party gathering saying that they should all do to Patty Murray what people did to Jake in Lonesome Dove (which I guess she paid a lot more attention to than I did, for one thing).  So, uh, yeah, what did they do to Jake?  Oh, they hung him... 

"How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?," asked an unidentified female speaker from the podium. "What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."


Sam Stein, who writes the incident up, says that "That a sanctioned speaker called for a hanging of an elected official, however, seriously pushes the boundaries of First Amendment freedom."  I'm enough of a big libertarian that I'm not thoroughly convinced that some crazy lady's idiotic comment involving the word "hang" quite rises to the level of "pushing the boundaries of First Amendment freedom."  But it certainly goes way beyond the boundaries of a) class b) intelligent political discourse and c) hard-hitting, but fair, attacks and commentary regarding an opponent. 

I'm all for people rallying against Obamacare, deriding excessive spending and the prospect of massive tax increases, but let's be frank: This kind of thing doesn't help anyone, except Patty Murray and the DSCC and-- ooh-- Huffington Post, which will probably get some more readers tonight just by virtue of me linking this.  Which I'd rather not.  But since I cover the Washington Senate race and I think this is asinine, well, needs must and all that.

Here's the bottom line: If you're a full-on (or even partial) homicidal lunatic who happens to frequent center-right, conservative, libertarian or other "of-type" events just for the hell of it (or because you're a committed activist, I don't really care, though I hope you're not) don't say this kind of crap, and preferably try to start thinking "vote [insert name of official] out of office and attack [him/her] on harsh but fair terms" not "let's talk about hanging!".  It only provides ammunition to the other side and makes normal people not want to hang out with you or in any way be associated with you.  That also goes for truther, birther, LaRoucher, whatever.  Shut up about hanging people, shut up about the "controlled demolitions," shut up about the freaking "birth certificate," "why all the lawyers," and definitely shut up about "Nazi health care reform" and "British recolonization" (no joke, the LaRouchers tried that on outside the Greek Embassy back in 2008).  Then, quietly walk away. [intro]


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