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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 29, 2010

 
Both Sides Now

by digby

Could someone please explain to Howard Fineman that negative ads aren't to blame for violent behavior by right wing thugs at political events? (If that were true, I think the left would be justified in detonating a nuclear bomb.) Discussing the incident in Kentucky on Hardball today, he said this:

Fineman: Having worked in Kentucky and known that place and know a lot of people there, it's nothing special about Kentucky. You know, it's a hard fought battle with a lot of nasty stuff, and this is true all over the country, very nasty things being said. Don't forget Chris that virtually every ad that's been on television every message from every candidate all year this year has been negative. There's been very little positive advertising on anything. So one reason that ... (The video is playing over this and Chris interjects, "he's crunching her there!) ok,... well, it's a short hop, step and a jump from calling some people evil and unpatriotic to basically inhuman...

Chris: The sanctions are there

Fineman: the sanctions are already there in the hyperbole in these ads -- on both sides.


Up until the time he said "both sides" I was assuming that he was holding the right wing candidates responsible for dehumanizing their opponents thus sanctioning the supporters violent actions. Sadly, no.

The conversation continued with Fineman getting quite indignant at the idea that some of these actions were against the press (and therefore completely beyond the pale)and expressing his shock that Harry Reid might lose to a nutball like Sharron Angle. Matthews then pointed out that there was a disturbing pattern of these thuggish authoritarian tactics and Fineman obviously realized that un-Villagelike shrillness was imminent. He jumped in
:

Fineman: I think there are different categories of offenses here. I'm not sure ...

Matthews: You don't see a theme here.

Fineman: What I see as a theme is the rough edge of American politics which has been dragged to the right

Matthews: how the fringe that's always been there, but because of bad times they nominate these people. There's always been a Sharron Angle...

Fineman: But I think if you look at history, I'm sure if you look over the past 75, 80 years sometimes on the left there were some rough stuff, over the years, if you want to go back to the 30s, if you want to go back in various parts of what was going on during the depression...

Matthews: but they were clashing with the Pinkertons, they weren't going after ...

Fineman: big city machines and stuff...

Walsh: ... there was labor strife..

Fineman: there were some not nice things that happened on election day on the other side

Matthews: I sense that it's asymmetric this year

Fineman: Maybe it is this year, but if you look at history ...

Matthews: last thought Joan. I think it's peculiar to one side this year.

Joan: I think it's extremely unbalanced and it's on the one side I can't think of an example of a Democratic congressional of senate candidate at this point using any of these tactics. So I'm not comfortable with "both sides do it" Howard.

Fineman: Well, I'm just saying that if you look at history I'm sure you can find examples.


Sure you can. In 1789 in France, for instance. But it's relevance to what's happening in America in 2010 is just a teensy bit obscure, Howard.

The Villagers are determined to create a narrative that "both sides do it" and it doesn't hold water. (Chris Cilizza insisted on it yesterday as well.) The difference in this cycle isn't the ads and both sides are definitely not doing it. It's the violent rhetoric on the part of Republican candidates and their overstimulated supporters that's causing this.

And I would bet that it's only going to get worse after they win. After all, we will still have a Democratic president (the horror, the horror...) and they will realize that even when they win, their enemies are not going to fall to their knees, admit they were wrong and wholeheartedly join the conservative movement. And that will drive them mad. You see, when they win an election, they have a mandate that requires total capitulation. When Democrats win, it means that the people either made a mistake or the election was stolen. Democratic majorities and Democratic presidents cannot, by definition, be legitimate. They will be both emboldened by the win and infuriated by the fact that the other side will continue to exist (regardless of what it actually does.) It's going to be a rough two years.

And by the way, if anyone knows Howard, could they please remind him of this? It really puts this whole thing in context.



*My friend JS wrote to me about that post I linked in that last paragraph and said, "In this post, you call the right out on their "double standard" as if they're doing democracy and failing hideously at it. But they're not doing democracy anymore--they're doing war. That's why it's so ugly, and why the only discernible rule there they follow is "we win and you lose, no matter what it takes." He's got a point.


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