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Eric Boehlert Needs to Get a Grip

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

I love Eric Boehlert. His book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, was terrific. And he even mentioned The Confluence in his recent effort, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press. But really, this is too much.

A President was killed the last time right-wing hatred ran wild like this

I’ve been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I’ve watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled….The radical right, aided by a GOP Noise Machine that positively dwarfs what existed in 1963, has turned demonizing Obama–making him into a vile object of disgust–into a crusade. It’s a demented national jihad, the likes of which this country has not seen in modern times.

Here is the link that Boehlert used to back up his claims of violence and racism at Glenn Beck’s September 12 event. It shows a number of tasteless signs that attack President Obama and a couple of wacky videos of Glenn Beck and Orly Taitz.

Eric, are you serious? I have no doubt that some of the right wingers who have attended the tea party events are racists, but that doesn’t make their attacks on Obama worse than the ones previous Presidents have endured. Have you forgotten the incredibly vicious attacks on President Clinton in the ’90s? If you’ve forgotten where the term “right wing noise machine” came from, here is a short reading list to refresh your memory.

Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote a whole book about it, remember?

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

Their book was even made into a documentary that was shown in theaters.

Here is a great summary of media attacks on the the Clintons:


And to refresh your memory about the vicious attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton by “progressives” during the 2008 primary campaign, here’s another piece by eRiposte at The Left Coaster: Clinton Derangement Syndrome = CDS = Clinton Double-Standard.

Finally, here is a recent blog post by Glenn Greenwald at Salon: Is the Right’s attack on Obama’s legitimacy new or unprecedented?

The attacks on Obama are far from unprecedented, and they are nowhere near as vicious as the ones I can recall lefties using against Richard Nixon or the ones that the right wingers used against the Clintons.

As much as I hate to admit it, even George W. Bush was ridiculed in some pretty nasty ways. The Nation lampooned him as Alfred E. Newman. And he was likened to a chimp all over the internet, here for example I’d say that’s pretty demeaning.

I can’t stand Glenn Beck or the rest of the rabble rousers at Fox “News” Channel. And I certainly have no patience for the nutty folks who believe that Obama was born in Kenya or that he’s a closet muslim. But every President faces public attacks and ridicule and yes–even the risk of assassination attempts. JFK was the last U.S. President to be assassinated, but have you forgotten that Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were victims of assassination attempts? Both men were Republicans, and their failed assassins weren’t crazed right wingers.

Squeaky Fromme made a weak attempt to shoot President Ford in September, 1975. She later claimed she did it to bring attention environmental issues. Later that same month Sara Jane Moore shot a gun at President Ford and was stopped by a bystander. According to the LA Times,

Moore was an FBI informant who was enmeshed in radical politics after moving to the Bay Area. A peripheral player rather than a leader, she volunteered for a group that distributed $2 million in food, as had been demanded by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the extreme leftist band that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan was John Hinkley, Jr., a paranoid schizophrenic who was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. I don’t think there was any right-wing hatred involved with that one either.

There have been people who tried to assassinate every modern President, including Richard Nixon. Wikipedia has a list of recorded assassination attempts here.

The truth is there are nuts on both sides of the political spectrum. I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored. And please don’t accuse me of calling President Obama an ox, okay? No doubt there are plenty of right wing nuts who hate Obama. But that’s politics. It ain’t beanbag, you know. Let’s hope the Secret Service does its job well and keeps President Obama safe.

In the meantime, Eric, please get a grip.

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41 Responses

  1. I’m really tired of the hysteria over any criticism or challenge to Obama. If it’s not rac*sm, it’s Pelosi weeping over the fear of violence and the need to stem inflammatory rhetoric (after she called protesters Nazis). It makes me think of Hillary, and how she can walk through all of that, focused on her work. Yes, there is a lot of noise, but why all the whining and hyperbolic defense of the One? Oh, I guess because they really believe that on some level–he’s special.

  2. Lee Harvey Oswald was a leftist-sympathizer.

    Unless Eric thinks someone else killed JFK?

  3. There were two assassination attempts on the Big Dawg. One guy even crashed a plane into the WH

    Neither attempt came close.

  4. Sadly this is yet another in the series of if you don’t like what the president says, you’re a (fill in the blank with your favorite flavor of the month). We heard it endlessly about Bush and we’re hearing it endlessly about Obama. For Bush we heard it from the likes of Hannity and other knuckle-draggers (apologies to our ape friends). And sadly for Obama we’re hearing it from people we thought better of, but who as it turns out are no better than Hanitty. At least on that point.

    They may want to think about the company they keep.

  5. Racism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

    The violence and racism are worse with Obama but the hatred of the Clintons was more primal because empowered women are a more intimate threat to white men than empowered black men. The left’s hatred of the Clintons is just as primal but when you add the right’s hatred of liberals you get the vast right wing conspiracy.

  6. BB,

    Yet another fine addition to TC’s mind-stretching, ethical workout on talk-like-a-pirate day.


  7. Great discussions today.

  8. but this time it’s different. It’s “them”

  9. the most bizarre aspect of boehlert’s column is, as bostonboomer reveals, that owsald was a left-winger, a communist who emigrated to the ussr, was pro castro, and attempted to assassination an anti-communist US general before killing a cold-warrior prez who tried to topple castro and got us deeper into vietnam.

    but somehow boehlert connects this event to right-wing hatred. no examination of left-wing rhetoric enabling oswald, no reflection on hatred coming form the left…even when a leftist kills a US prez. how convenient.

  10. Regarding Sara Jane Moore and her attempt on Ford, the LA Times has the facts wrong, as do most newspapers.

    Moore bought a new gun in haste on her way to the St. Francis Hotel to assassinate Ford. The gun she had been practicing with was confiscated by the Secret Service the day before, when they had her in custody, but let her go even though she had made a threat against the president.

    The Secret Service did not think a 45 years old woman, mother and doctor’s wife did not fit their image of a would-be assassin.

    This new gun was faulty, but Moore did not know, hence although her aim was true (according to Judge Samual Conti), the sight was off and she missed Ford’s head by six inches.

    Fortunately before she could correct her aim, Oliver Sipple, a former Marine, dove at Moore and grabbed her arm before she could shoot again.

    The facts of Sara Jane Moore and her life in San Francisco have never been revealed. Most of what has been in the press is left over rumor, heresay and fiction from 1975.

    Geri Spieler, author of “Taking Aim At The President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Shot at Gerald Ford,” Palgrave Macmillan

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