RNC Chairman Michael Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday and was confronted with Thomas Friedman's recent New York Times column, in which he warned that the tenor of critical rhetoric directed at the White House was becoming disturbing.
Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.
What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, "Should Obama be killed?" The choices were: "No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care." The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.
Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly.
To Steele, such concerns were the hallmark of an insane person:
"Where do these nut jobs come from? Come on, stop this...To make those equations, examples and put that out there that way, to me is just crazy and yeah, I'm sorry, but if you're going to approach this discussion, approach it from a rational position," Steele continued. "[They're] saying, because you disagree with the president on policy, that all of the sudden we're going to make this leap into, you know, assassinations and all this other stuff. I mean, at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn't have this kind of conversation."
Steele went on to write off Friedman's concerns as an attempt to make the "deep-seated frustrations people have" sound sinister. But you know what? Some of the rhetoric Friedman cites is pretty definitively sinister! Take, for example, a now-pulled post on Newsmax from John L. Perry, hoping for a military coup to remove the Obama administration: "There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the 'Obama problem.' Don't dismiss it as unrealistic."
Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.
Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don't shrug and say, "We can always worry about that later."
Oh, but Thomas Friedman is the nut job, in this equation!