“It Wasn’t Enough”

Hate to get all depressing on a Friday night, but I’m afraid “The Editors” at Esquire correctly assess the chances of civility:

… [T]he most remarkable thing about what happened in Oklahoma City is how little it matters today. The president of the United States gave a fine speech Wednesday night in Tucson at the memorial for the people Jared Loughner shot. The only mention of Oklahoma City in connection with the president’s speech was to compare it with the speech that another Democratic president had given in the aftermath of the memorial service for the 168 people that Timothy McVeigh murdered in 1995.
People mostly remembered that Bill Clinton once had made a passing mention of what he called “the purveyors of hatred and division… the promoters of paranoia” on the airwaves. (At the actual memorial service, Clinton quoted Scripture and talked about healing.) This time, many people struck pre-emptively; Rush Limbaugh may be self-medicating his wounded ego for the rest of his life over what he imagines Clinton said about him. There was a lot of what was called “defensiveness” on the activist Right, but it was nothing of the sort. They were on offense, just the way they have been since they took that heat in 1995. They abide by the order Stalin gave to the Red Army when the Germans invaded in 1942: Ni shagu nazad.
Not a step back.
The activist Right wants this rhetoric for 2012. It wants the same dark energies that helped it win the House last fall. It wants to be able to say the same things with impunity that it’s been saying since 2009, as though Tucson never happened. Oklahoma City might as well have happened to the Hittites.
Which is how nothing ever changed. Which is why Oklahoma City wasn’t enough.
The political culture is not what it was in 1996. It’s worse. The wild-assed, Clinton-centric conspiracies — death lists! Vince Foster! Mena airport! — look positively quaint compared to the grand paranoid delusions spouted on television and on radio these days. And the casual mainstreaming of vicious mendacity isn’t the property talk radio alone; we have just seen installed a Congress full of thunderous loons. Against all odds — and, arguably, against all decency — what Bill Clinton so carefully criticized has degenerated into a time in which the governors of major states talk glibly about secession, and automatic weapons are casual accessories at political rallies….
(Perhaps the crowning irony is the fact that, of all the repercussions from the Oklahoma City bombing, the most lasting is probably those provisions of Clinton’s own 1996 antiterrorism act that were strengthened and codified five years later into what became the constitutional nightmare that is the USA PATRIOT Act.)

97 replies
  1. 1
    de stijl says:

    The Poorman Institute may have something to say to these so-called “editors.”

  2. 2
    beltane says:

    The activist, Limbaugh-led right wants to turn this country into the former Yugoslavia of the early 1990’s.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Sarah’s the victim and there are folks who want her to die in gas chambers. Don’t blame me for the increase in rhetoric. She mentioned blood libel herself and the Washington Times, the moonie owned newspaper, mentioned pogroms, so I figure this is next.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    We fought one of the bloodiest and brutal civil wars in history and just 150 years ago, with around half the country wanting to own and use other people for farm implements. We stopped that with the blood of some 600,000 souls slaughtered in 4 short years, only to endure another hundred years of the conquered rebels insisting on lynching their former human property.

    Any civility in this particular country, is an aberration of permanent civil war of one sort or another. And unless some national emergency comes around again, like WW2, to again put a pause to our feuding for sake of shared survival, then it will get worse, before it gets really bad.

  5. 5
    Cat Lady says:

    You know that guy in Tucson with the big feather at the memorial ceremony? Can we convince him to take back his country now? kthxbai.

  6. 6
    hilts says:

    Founder of Civility Project Says Fuck It

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    @Cat Lady: If the indigenous population of the Americas had better immunity to Eurasian microbes we would not be talking about Sarah Palin right now.

  8. 8
    handy says:


    “This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or Democrat. That would probably be true about some liberals going the other direction, but I didn’t hear from them.”

    BOTH SIDES DO IT! I’m just sure of it!

  9. 9
    The Dangerman says:

    O’Reilly tonight had an excellent exercise in circular jerking reasoning; this is all the Sheriff’s fault because he didn’t give the Congresswoman security. After all, that hot rhetoric (which O’Reilly states wasn’t the cause) made her a target (or not a target, because it wasn’t the rhetoric), so it must be the Sheriff’s fault.

    I got dizzy following his “reasoning”.

  10. 10
    Cat Lady says:

    @The Dangerman:

    They’re all just trying so hard to say without saying that the bitch had it coming. The whole fucking country is in a relationship with OJ Simpson.

  11. 11
    Mark S. says:


    Mr. DeMoss . . . said that he was particularly surprised by the hostility to the civility pledge from conservatives. “The worst e-mails I received about the civility project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language about communists, and some words I wouldn’t use in this phone call,” he said. “This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or Democrat. That would probably be true about some liberals going the other direction, but I didn’t hear from them.”

    Hard to believe. Maybe it could be explained by the “conservatives can see no redeeming value in any liberal or Democrat” part.

    But I better stop before someone says I want to put Sarah in a gas chamber.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    There’s a reason why a lot of people didn’t sign up for this thing, it has to do with the fact that deMoss used to work one of the most insufferable sacks of fascist shit this country has ever produced, Jerry Falwell. A man who Jimmy Carter once said could go to Hell in the Christian sense. Of course, also you’ve got one of the most sanctimonious asstards of the last 20 years, Lieberman, involved .

  13. 13
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Lieberman, seeking cover.

    There are no atheists in foxholes.

  14. 14
    jwb says:

    @The Dangerman: I’m a bit heartened by the fact that it’s now been a week, the wurlitzer has been roaring through it all, but the conservatives haven’t yet hit upon an effective tune to play. In fact, they just seem to be playing sour note after sour note. It reminds me a bit of the fallout after Katrina, actually—though obviously not as intense.

  15. 15
    BR says:

    Forget the activist right…when folks like Greenwald are too bitter to even acknowledge that the president spoke to the nation on Wednesday (let alone say anything nice about it like even McCain did), it’s going to be tough to present a united front.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    I think there’s a reason for this.

    The Village now sees a way out of the corner they’ve been happily painting themselves into for the last two years…the barely concealed cheerleading of the teabaggers.

    So the MSM is highlighting the stupid, and using that as a means of distancing themselves. Obama gave them a way out on Wednesday, and they’re taking it.

  17. 17
    General Stuck says:


    Sometimes silence speaks volumes

  18. 18
    Cat Lady says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Well, it is up to them. If the Village wants to participate in reality, they have to take sides now. It’s no longer left or right, but sanity or the abyss, and I think that they’re finally realizing that there are more of us than them. Today.

  19. 19
    hilts says:

    @Mark S.: @Villago Delenda Est:

    DeMoss either has a stunning lack of self awareness or he’s just full of it.

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The speed with which the MSM turned on Palin was stunning. I’ve never seen them shift so fast.

  21. 21
    hilts says:

    John Ziegler filmmaker behind Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted, compares Obama and Palin speeches

    In Obama’s world, evil things just happen and we may (he’s apparently not sure) all be to blame, while in Palin’s reality evil is done by bad people who must be held responsible for their actions, without threatening our freedoms. Of course, once again, the media has misunderstood Sarah Palin. She was not trying to act like a president in exile. She was simply trying to tell the truth as she sees it, in a manner that was as noble as possible.


  22. 22
    BR says:

    @General Stuck:

    Exactly. He even mentioned Snowbilly Snooki’s video, but not the president.

  23. 23
    hilts says:

    Time magazine convened a panel to talk about civility in our public discourse. And the first contribution is from Glenn Chalkboard Beck

  24. 24
    handy says:


    I see that douchebag Ziegler is taking a page right out of the Karl Rove “liberals want to coddle terrorists” playbook. Quelle surprise that dimwit can’t even come up with his own riffs.

  25. 25
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    Still, I am told by a conservative straight white Christian male “friend” that talking about this is just scoring political points. I told him, he could afford to say that since he isn’t likely to be in a gay bar or a womens’ clinic when the Eric Rudolphs of the world are going apeshit.

  26. 26
    piratedan says:

    @hilts: so did they use him as a cautionary example? or was this panel comprised of people pulled from the Sean Hannity Show guest list exclusively?

  27. 27
    gnomedad says:

    OT and on a cheerier note, I am seeing ads for granite countertops.

  28. 28
    handy says:


    A sure sign Skynet is becoming more self-aware.

  29. 29
    Sly says:

    No one could have predicted that adherents of a political ideology that depends on the assumption that their opponents are mortal enemies of human decency would be inhospitable to the notion that maybe they shouldn’t view their opponents as mortal enemies of human decency.

    Tune in next week when we’ll be talking with members of a blue-ribbon commission that believes it has found a way to convince leopards to change their spots.

    We should want to know what Glenn Beck thinks about civility in the public discourse, because he is a political lightning rod and lots of people listen to him and he has a unique perspective on the world and you should really consider leasing the new 2011 Acura MDX featured in the ad on page 12.

  30. 30
    RalfW says:

    Jon Stewart tried pretty hard to get T-Paw to see his point that calling Obama a socialist bent on destroying America is a bad, dishonest thing.

    All Pawlenty could do was complain about young troublemakers at the St. Paul RNC. But Palenty got the ‘better’ sound bite out of it here on Minnesota Public Radio. It’s just infuriating how nearly everyone is missing the part Obama said about how we need to return to civility and truth.

    Lies and deeper and more damaging lies upon lies. Our country may just be undone by the mass-media expedience of parroting lies.

  31. 31

    It’s not that it won’t work or it can’t work. It’s just a certain political group (not naming any names) has to realize that SKREEEE! isn’t an effective political platform.

  32. 32

    It’s not just the rhetoric that’s gotten worse since 1996. it’s the sheer volume — and by volume I mean quantity. Back in 1996 there weren’t 50 gazillion radio yakkers and bloggers and Twitters and TeeVee bobbleheads and it’s on 24/7 now and it’s being shoved in our faces on our telephones and in our cars and you name it.

    I mean, yeah some of this stuff existed in 1996 but not nearly at the quantity that we’re getting now. I’m so old I remember when Saturdays on CNN were devoted to Style maven Elsa Klensch and quaint travel shows.

    It’s ALL politics ALL the time now. That is a big problem.

  33. 33
    Cat Lady says:

    Ronaldus Magnus had Alzheimer’s in office son says.

    The high water mark of conservative governance was from brain addled Thatcher and Reagan. Hoocoodanode?

  34. 34
    Little Boots says:

    Maybe Krugman’s right. We’re just divided, truly divided, like North and South divided, and we’re not going to just come together under the banner of civility or any other bullshit ideal. I still wish we could, but we can’t, so maybe we just have to deal and have whatever big, stupid fight we’re all going to have and hopefully be better at some point.

  35. 35

    @Cat Lady:

    Oh wow. Nobody could have anticipated that.


    Seriously, who didn’t know that? This revelation is shocking as finding out Johnny Weir is gay.

  36. 36
    Cat Lady says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Johnny Weir is gay?!

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: Platform, schmatform. What’s the point, when you believe that the sole legitimate function of the state is to provide police escorts for your friends’ getaway cars?

  38. 38
    JRon says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex): but he might be at the Safeway.

  39. 39
    Little Boots says:

    If nothing else, we can all take comfort in the fact that Edmund Burke is royally pissed at everything that’s happened in the past 30 years, by people who invoke his name.

    Okay, I may be the only one who takes comfort in that, but it’s a start.

  40. 40
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Daniel Henninger in one of the more bullshittier WSJ opeds I’ve ever read:

    Why attempt the gymnastic logic of asserting that the act of a deranged personality was linked to the tea parties and the American right? Two reasons: Political calculation and personal belief.
    …Only 24 months after Barack Obama’s own historic election and a rising Democratic tide, the country flipped. …What elevated this transfer of power to historic status is that it came atop the birth of a genuine reform movement, the tea parties.
    …(The left) expected to take losses in November. What they got instead was Armageddon. Suddenly an authentic reform movement, linked to the Republican Party, whose goal simply is to stop the public spending curve, had come to life. This poses a mortal threat to the financial oxygen in the economic ecosystem that the public wing of the Democratic Party has inhabited all these years.

    …After Hofstadter, the American right wasn’t just wrong on policy. Its people were psychologically dangerous and undeserving of holding authority for any public purpose. By this mental geography, the John Birch Society and the tea party are cut from the same backwoods cloth.

    Revisionistic history writ large here, people. “We’re not paranoid, Tea Partyers, they really are out to get us!”

  41. 41
    Quiddity says:

    So, is the rhetoric from the right going to get stronger? The Esquire editors asserts that it will at least stay at the same level.

  42. 42
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Joseph Nobles: It was Armageddon, yet I’m still here. Go figure.

  43. 43
    Little Boots says:

    A WSJ editorial is indistinguishable from a john birch society newsletter circa 1969.

  44. 44
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Joseph Nobles: Curse, the next to last paragraph is still a quote from the Henninger oped. I saw it too late to edit.

  45. 45
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Little Boots: All they want to do is asphyxiate Democrats in the battle to end all ages.

  46. 46
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Suffern ACE: Yes, imagine what Henninger would have said if they’d taken the Senate? What happened in November was exactly what I was expecting, and what anyone paying attention was expecting. This is 100% smoke being blown up the Tea Party’s collective ass.

  47. 47
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Quiddity: Why should it change? They won.

  48. 48
    hamletta says:

    @Cat Lady: That’s what made this classic SNL sketch so brilliant.

    May Phil Hartman rest in peace.

  49. 49
    Steaming Pile says:

    Odd how President Obama can do really good in a crisis, and pick up maybe two or three points on his approval rating, but when a Republican idiot like Bush goes full Hitler during a crisis, his approval rating spikes to near 90%. What a fucked up country we live in.

  50. 50
    Dee Loralei says:

    Sad to say, I don’t think even another OKC Bombing would stop the hate and vitriol. Not even after a second Obama win. They barely pulled back in the weeks after OKC, and a mere three years later impeached a sitting Dem President using the same type of lies and vitriol that Timothy McVeigh heard. I had spent the week before the bombing at another hospital in downtown OKC, my Grandmother had been admitted for lifesaving surgery. I left the day before because she was to be released the next day. A friend of mine, who was an ER Doc Imed me when he first got word, asking if I was still there. Told me to turn on the tv. And then rushed to triage. The next few hours were difficult, trying to reach family members we knew who worked in the area, trying to find out if my Grandmother was still in hospital, I can’t imagine what the people who had loved ones who worked at the Murraugh building were going through.

    Sadly, and horribly I think the only thing that will make the haters pause even a wee bit, is for one of their own to be killed or assassinated. I don’t want, hope or pray that it happens. Because, well, I don’t wish that for anybody. ( A friend of mine was murdered very recently, and I can’t ever explain how I could not wish that on anyone.) But also because I know them, they will demand revenge tenfold. Like JinxTigr was saying on another thread, it will become open season on all Dems. Liberals and Progressives, and pretty much anyone who disagrees with them about even the most minor point of Doctrine.

    This time, let’s just let them secede.Peacefully. And I say that as a Memphian and an Okie. Let’s be the parent that says, “you want to leave and run away? Okay then… let me help pack your things.”

    Let them call a Constitutional Convention, let them write their Evangelical based Constitution, let them who vote for it, swear to move to this new great country. And then fuck it, let’s give them the land and space and area to create their own perfected country. Let’s buy their homes and businesses from them and sell them ours, allow a few years for the transfer of sovereignity. And then let’s wall them in, I mean let’s give them at least one seaport, but basically, let’s wall off the religious nuts, the race nuts the financial and fiscal nuts. Let’s surround this new “Christian State(s) of America” the same way our white blood cells surround infections in our body. Give them as much land as they have people who sign up to patriate themselves and their families there. And give them like 100+ years growing room.

    I have no idea what we can do about the Native Americans who might have the right to populate the land we are ceding. Maybe repopulate them to their real traditional lands. Maybe make a “Walled Berlin” for the Natives.

    But seriously, this time, let them go. They are so right that their way is the only true way, their way is the best way. Make them live it. It’s not that I don’t think those same things. I believe the Dem., Progressive, Liberal way our Country is arching towards is the best way. As a mostly agnostic, I believe it is the most Christian form of government. As someone whose family has been here for almost 400 years, I can’t imagine another government or way of life. And I am saying, rend from this country the cancer that has become modern conservatism. Excise it. In other words, give them what they demand. (We can admit Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, etc as states then. We lose an MS, we gain a PR.) Just imagine, no more NY taxes going o feed the blind and stupid gut that is the Mississippi State government.

    The only way to make them eat their words, is to serve their words forth to them in a banquet-like setting. I don’t know if that will make them pause for a moment, but it might make some of their followers stop and think. Just as I’m sure some did after the news of the Giffords’ shooting. People loosely affilliated with the haters took a step back and said, am I this? And I’m 100% sure that thoughtful Teabagger’s disassociated themselves from Saturday’s events and are appalled now especially at the calls for more money.

    So, let’s bring forth this gift of non-violence to the right-wing, grant them land mass and time to form their own country with no violence. And then let us turn our backs and walk away from them. Let’s allow them to live out their versions of the experiment that is The American Dream and Promise. And let’s give our own philosophical ideals and dreams a chance to flourish, without someone standing athwart history and screaming NO! before they shoot wildly into to the crowd.

    In other words, if Obama told me I needed to sacrifice my 20 year old son, and only child to save this Country, I’d tell him no. ( Granting my son the autonomy to react and defend the US on his own.) But if Obama told Me, I needed to sacrifice me to save the country, I’d prolly do it, for almost 400 years my family has done just that. But intellectually, I’d tell them to go away, they weren’t worth keeping.

  51. 51
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Steaming Pile: Not even close to the same type of crises. Or the same type of problem. Unless OBL had a large constituency in the US after September 11 that I wasn’t aware of.

  52. 52
    Mark S. says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    The irony is that teabag candidates like Angle and O’Donnell cost the goopers the Senate.

  53. 53
    hamletta says:

    @Little Boots: I remember when I first heard of the John Birch society. I ran across a reference to them in MAD magazine in the ’70s.

    My mom said they were crazy right-wingers who weren’t allowed in decent company.

    My, how times have changed.

  54. 54

    Upon further thought, I take issue with the idea that civility isn’t possible because the GOParty doesn’t want to play.

    Well, yes. We knew that. I can’t even say I’m surprised by their response to an assassination attempt.

  55. 55
    Buck says:

    @Dee Loralei: I think I love you.

  56. 56
    General Stuck says:

    From an earlier Cole threadpost

    This country is like They Live!, but with crazy people instead of zombies.

    Sometimes it’s both

    For more than two years, the Tea Party Express’ political war chest has been filled with thousands of dollars in donations from a dead woman.


    Political donations by deceased individuals occur, but are a rarity, election lawyers and campaign finance experts say. Such donations carry certain risks and have parameters that must be met to avoid legal penalties.

    Tea Party of The Undead

  57. 57
    Buck says:

    @General Stuck:

    General, I read about that. Just think, that is just ONE case that has come to light.

    Makes you wonder….

  58. 58
    General Stuck says:


    Like any cesspool, what floats to the top ain’t pretty.

  59. 59
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Hmm. You’re a PAC with records of people who used to give, but stop for whatever reason. You’ve got all these buddy PACs that need funds. So you take the names of the people that haven’t contributed and you make donations to your buddy PACs in all these names. Nice plan until you get caught.

  60. 60
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Steaming Pile: The difference is that 9/11 was an attack by foreigners on civilians, which no American thought would happen. This played right into the need of many to have someone protect them. The attack last sunday was one man with a legal weapon going after someone from Congress. It’s a “that’s sad, but something we live with here” kind of moment.

  61. 61
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @JRon: Silly. He’s a conservative Christian man. His wife shops.

  62. 62
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Dee Loralei:
    Well said. It may be that the day of mega-states has come and gone. I concluded during the Clinton years that secession should be revisited: if a state, or many states, feel that living under a federal government is too onerous then let them go with our blessings and good wishes. Speaking as someone whose family has a tradition of military service to this nation that dates back to Concord Bridge, this was not the outcome that I would have wished for. Now it seems that the phrase “These united states,” is a quaint antiquity. That saddens me but, I’ve come to believe that any sort of real progress is impossible in a house divided against itself.

  63. 63
    jwb says:

    @Southern Beale: It’s not even that it’s all politics all the time. It’s that politics has also devolved into a major sector of the entertainment industry: the ultimate reality series, covered (or is that scripted?) simultaneously by multiple primary, secondary and tertiary media outlets.

  64. 64
    gnomedad says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Ronaldus Magnus had Alzheimer’s in office son says.

    I was wondering why NewsMax hates America, but they reported the claim to trash it.

  65. 65
    jwb says:

    @Little Boots: Or maybe we could all just figure out a way to live in an estranged marriage for the sake of the kids.

  66. 66
    Caz says:

    Have you been living under a rock??

    I’ve heard liberals calling for Michelle Bachman to kill herself, for Rush to be shot in the head, for the republican governor of Florida to be put against a wall and shot, for Dick Cheney to die because he’s an enemy of America.

    Where is the outrage when these hateful calls for violence are made by the left??


  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:


    Given the other a-holes I’ve seen running around declaring that we’re not allowed to be sad about Tucson because people are dying in Afghanistan, I’m glad that Greenwald is restraining himself.

  68. 68
    jwb says:

    @Caz: linkies?

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:


    When did Michele Bachmann get shot? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Rick Scott?

    I know you guys have trouble with this concept, so I will once again explain it to you very slowly: killing people is not only bad, it’s actually worse than saying mean things about people. Shooting a Congresswoman in the head is a worse thing to do than calling Rush Limbaugh a fat fucking pig.

    I realize that you will never be able to understand the difference between saying mean things and actually murdering people, but that’s what the difference is.

  70. 70
    Gwangung says:

    @Caz: You’re not going to do something stupid and cute bloggers as the same as organizational leaders are you? Dont insult us.

  71. 71
    Caz says:

    jwb, here you go…



    There are plenty more, you just have to look for them.

    So please, stop spewing this crap about how the right is vitriolic and violent and out of bounds. At least be honest and say both sides do it. But don’t lie and say it’s the right who are the abrasive, irresponsible, violence-inciting and the left is soooo civil. Gimme an f’n break already.

  72. 72
    Caz says:


    Of course killing is worse than insulting people and calling for violence. What’s your point? This guy Loughner wasn’t a political guy – he was a loon. He wasn’t right or left, he was simply crazy. So your comparison or point or whatever makes no sense.

  73. 73
    Buck says:

    ^ Case in point.

  74. 74
    KG says:

    @beltane: if the disease didn’t conquer the continent, I’m guessing the guns would have.

  75. 75
    El Cid says:


    Perhaps the crowning irony is the fact that, of all the repercussions from the Oklahoma City bombing, the most lasting is probably those provisions of Clinton’s own 1996 antiterrorism act that were strengthened and codified five years later into what became the constitutional nightmare that is the USA PATRIOT Act.

    Okay, that.

    But also that the imminent fear which motivated (or at least was demonstrated by) the militia / patriot / shortwave ultrarightists, as they screamed in bloody murderous panic, was that Clinton was about to abrogate the Constitution.

    Usually it was because he was going to impose a New World Order of tyranny and the destruction of Christianity and the family and the free market, in combination with UN blue helmet forces and the Russians, and of course the secret facilities being built all over the country so that those brave enough to fight back or just dissent could be rounded up and thrown in FEMA camps.

    And then the capture of the USA would put a concluding finish on what had been the slow decay of its people into sloth, into passivity, into accepting soshullism, etc.

    So they then made it their goal to prepare people to, or really think that they were preparing to, survive and defend themselves from the government which would soon be attacking.

    And what best way would there be to rip off the facade of this coup-planning government to go ahead and carry out its plans prematurely than to prompt it to declare martial law earlier than planned.

    Something big would have to happen. Something that would be seen as a clear and ringing act of war.

    And so it was that somehow this resonated with Timothy McVeigh, who had already seen enough of our miserably cruel slaughter of retreating Iraqi soldiers in Gulf War 1. And hey, he had some military knowledge and exposure to ideas.

    And what resulted in the Okalahoma Murragh Federal Building bombing was this notion that (a) we were being destroyed by our own weaknesses and losing our purity of individuality for the corruption of soshullist sloth; (b) Clinton & company were the busiest ever at preparing their plans for martial law; and (c) triggering them to do that earlier would leave them not perfectly organized and inspire the average, gun-owning American to finally be willing to go out into the streets and battle the US / UN / Russian forces. (Ahem, um ‘wolverines’ and all.)

    So here you have, once again, an army of broadcast screamers warning their listeners that their government is literally plotting against them — and not in cheap obvious ways like the ‘free speech zones’ under Bush Jr. and ‘signing statements’ and ‘warrantless wiretap’ and searches and seizures not requiring the 4th Amendment — but in really sophisticated, subversive ways, like passing a health care bill, or a small bow toward a foreign leader, or an organic garden, or having had relatives from a country in Africa, and had spent some time in some Muslim country in the Pacifi Ocean.

    So, 1995:

    1. The US government is planning to impose martial law and when it does so it will be some sort of horrid, One World Gubmit which will take all our private property and send our kids to indoctrination camps, etc.

    2. The only real way to battle that at this stage is to provoke it into happening before the enemy (the US gov’t) is completely ready. And of course lay the groundwork by educating all your listeners or readers or viewers in the dastardly nature of the Clinton murder regime, show them every sign of the coming Clintocalypse, and make sure they know who are the trustworthy sources to get the real news.

    3. The only way to do that is to mount a large enough attack, a terrorist attack large enough to provoke them by fear and anger into declaring their martial law and dissolution of the Constitution first, before they’re ready.

    4. When this happens, either things will go all ‘Mad Max’ shitty, or be a Gulag USA, or a raging battle between TruPatriot forces and US, UN, or Russian troops in every neighborhood wolverines. (Also, they hope, RACE WAR!)

    So, one of the progeny inspired by some mix of post-war bitterness at the war’s horrors, and other personal issues, and an environment in which it doesn’t take a lot of work to hear all around you the cries that the US is pretty much sitting in hell in its handbasket, follows the core logic, and Timothy McVeigh does his part to provoke the government into its premature martial law.

    And, yes, they got out of it the over-reaching precedent of Clinton’s additional anti-terror laws. Republicans, however, allowed the limiting of death row appeals by defendants, but they protected America from the threat that there would be chemical tags in order to trace explosives and precursor materials (the various construction and farm-oriented chemicals which can be used as explosives, such as fertilizer in McVeigh’s case.

    And then the right was relieved that the hard right had finally restored power, and were exactly the ones to lead us in the fight to survive against Al Qa’ida, which one day would be a great way to help justify invading Iraq.

    And that regime started throwing out expansions of repressive and coercive and communications monitoring which makes Echelon under Clinton seem a bit hard of hearing. That was okay, because, well, Muslims, and defend the country, and SHUT UP TRAITOR.

    And now we’re looping back to the stage (1), the US under Obama is about to impose some sort of anti-Constitutional Shari’a or whatever law to take our guns, I mean, take all our rights away, and steal all our money and kill all our jobs and also kill our grandparents.

    We’re at least in the Stage (2) where the pot is being stirred to educate the listening / watching populace in how crucial it is that right now everyone be preparing for this difficult stage. You know, buying up guns like wildfire, creating your own little proto-paramilitary groups. And generally understanding that we have very little precious time to save ourselves before the hypnotic Obama anti-colonial radical Kenyonesian finally destroys the nation.

    And I’d say we’re largely at the State (2) phase as well in which people are being encouraged to conclude that the only way in which the 100 year ‘Progressive’ project to impose liberal slave hell upon us is to properly arm ourselves, And know where a lot of the vulnerable points in the system are.

    That’s where you get your whole ‘2nd Amendment Remedies’ and fix through ballots and if not through bullets (Hey, 21st century US conservatives, meet 1980s South African rebel army AZAPO, whose expression was “One settler, One bullet” — referring to the British / Boer colonizing South Africa and part of whom maintained fascist apartheid.)

    This time, I don’t think they’ll believe that a Stage (3) level is necessary. But who knows?

  76. 76
    jwb says:

    @Caz: The Kanjorski quote was out of line. That Fox clip, though, that was pathetic. I mean, really, that’s the best you’ve got for incendiary leftwing rhetoric? That’s beyond lame. Now, get out of here.

  77. 77
    General Stuck says:


    There is kind of like a vast chasm of difference between nut picking random tweets from who knows who, and high visibility republicans providing the violent tinged rhetoric, dontcha think there cowboy.

  78. 78
    jwb says:

    @General Stuck: What’s happened to the trolls around here? This Caz doodle is idiotic, and even Makewi, who can usually reliably piss me off, has been serving up very weak tea.

  79. 79
    General Stuck says:


    What’s happened to the trolls around here?

    I doubt even a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of wingnut troll school could spin the GOP out of this one. They rolled the dice with the quasi revolution tree of liberty watering bullshit, and came up snake eyes. It is amazing to me they got as much mileage out of it as they did. Democrats talking the way they have been about guns and putting pol opponents in ads with crosshairs, would have been pol suicide a long time ago.

    Odd country, to put it mildly.

  80. 80
    Ash Can says:

    @Caz: Who are the federal-level Democratic legislators and candidates exhorting their constituents to arm themselves against their political opponents? Which of them insisted to their constituents when Bush was president that the US government was tyrannical and must be met with resistance? Which major media network promoted and fostered a resistance movement to George W Bush’s administration? Which prominent political commentators make daily emotional pleas to their viewers and listeners to stop Republicans and right-wingers from destroying the nation and murdering its citizens? Which nationally-syndicated, household-name Clear Channel radio personality has beat the drum every day for years and years about conservatives being scum of the earth, a cancer and a poison, and that they should be exterminated? How many Democrats/left-wingers bring assault weapons to Republican legislators’ town hall meetings, or threaten to do so?

    When those questions can be answered, then yes, both sides will be “doing it.”

  81. 81
    greennotGreen says:

    @Caz: “There are plenty more, you just have to look for them.”

    I think that’s the point; on the left you have to look for them. On the right, violent language is common and comes from some very well-placed people in the media or in politics. See this list and comments on it from James Fallows here. Everyone on the left isn’t mild-mannered and uniformly polite, but the left isn’t the side with all the guns, either.

  82. 82
    greennotGreen says:

    It’s not Nazis I worry about now; it’s Rwanda. The violence there was encouraged by radio propaganda, so it’s not like violent rhetoric has no effect. To be clear, I’m not worried that the Republicans on my street are going to come after me with machetes, but it’s not a good road we’re on as a nation.

  83. 83
    Ash Can says:

    @efgoldman: I think the Tucson tragedy has left me a little raw; when trolls come running through here trying to make hay I’m having a difficult time laughing them off. The fact is, ever since Reagan did away with the Fairness Doctrine and the way was cleared for monopolistic ownership of the airwaves, public discourse in this country has gone to shit. It wasn’t this bad even during the 60s, with the height of the Vietnam clusterfuck (which was far worse than Iraq and Afghanistan put together; the draft was ghastly), bra-burning, demonstrations, sexual revolution, etc. Crazy was called out and held at arm’s length, whether on the left (of which there was plenty at the time) or the right. A Republican president opened the door to diplomatic relations with China and the Soviet Union and founded the EPA. And Republican legislators worked with their Democratic colleagues to investigate that same president’s wrongdoing. Because it was the USA and its rule of law that took priority over everything else. Nobody was on the radio or the TV every day demonizing entire segments of the American population. No groups were being systematically castigated. Government leaders and the media were condemning discrimination, not promoting it.

    No, the 60s weren’t perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, and I wouldn’t want to return to that time. But a comparison of just the tone of public discourse between then and now is stark. There was plenty of partisan hysteria then, to be sure, and it was coming mainly from the left. But it wasn’t co-opted and fostered by the media or by a major political party, the way the hysteria on the right is nowadays being cultivated by Fox and Clear Channel to make money, and by the GOP to win votes.

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:


    Of course killing is worse than insulting people and calling for violence. What’s your point? This guy Loughner wasn’t a political guy – he was a loon. He wasn’t right or left, he was simply crazy.

    When Richard Poplawski murdered three police officers because he thought Obama was going to take his guns, you said nothing.

    When Jim Adkisson murdered two people because all liberals should be killed,” you said nothing.

    Now six people are dead — including a 9-year-old girl — and once again you’re trying to run away from what you’ve done because, hey, only a crazy man would actually think that Beck and Limbaugh and Savage and Palin and Coulter and Malkin and Hannity really meant it when they said liberals should be killed.

    The bodies are piling up high around you, Caz.

  85. 85
    Cain says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Well said. It may be that the day of mega-states has come and gone. I concluded during the Clinton years that secession should be revisited: if a state, or many states, feel that living under a federal government is too onerous then let them go with our blessings and good wishes. Speaking as someone whose family has a tradition of military service to this nation that dates back to Concord Bridge, this was not the outcome that I would have wished for. Now it seems that the phrase “These united states,” is a quaint antiquity. That saddens me but, I’ve come to believe that any sort of real progress is impossible in a house divided against itself.

    That would be a shame cuz if a country like India can manage to maintain all its states we should be as well. They have a lot more differences between states. I mean jeezus, each state has their own damn language and whatever number dialects. In general, the southern states refuse to even speak the national language. Although that is changing now. The economy is such that labor is now scarce such that they need to import northern guys and with all those folks coming in Hindi has become a lot more accepted.


  86. 86
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Mnemosyne: What’s amazing is how you can see Adkisson was driven by right wing policies. Jobs? Those get outsourced. Food stamps? Welfare should always be cut. The skill with which the right has made liberals the cause of these problems is impressive/depressing.

  87. 87
    maus says:

    Not a step back. The activist Right wants this rhetoric for 2012. It wants the same dark energies that helped it win the House last fall. It wants to be able to say the same things with impunity that it’s been saying since 2009, as though Tucson never happened

    And it can, seeing as the media is pre-worn down and accepts this lack of responsibility.

  88. 88
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Against all odds — and, arguably, against all decency — what Bill Clinton so carefully criticized has degenerated into a time in which the governors of major states talk glibly about secession, and automatic weapons are casual accessories at political rallies….

    The metaphorical frog is starting to notice the steam rising from his pot…

  89. 89
    bob h says:

    The Republicans now see that they may have more to fear from the Teatard activists than just a primary challenge. They are going to double down on the zealotry out of fear.

  90. 90
    Calouste says:


    India’s already been through this in 1947. Close to 15 million people moved between India and Pakistan when they were created and about half a million were killed in violence.

  91. 91
    numbskull says:

    @Caz: Which elected Democrat said these things? Which left-leaning pundit with an audience of millions, or even thousands, said these things?


    Oh, well, then what is your point?

  92. 92
    numbskull says:


    I’m not worried that the Republicans on my street are going to come after me with machetes,

    You just don’t know the right Republicans, then. Of course, it won’t be machetes, either.

  93. 93

    The prior post on Esquire’s Political Page is even better…

    The Voices in Jared Loughner’s Head Shall Not Be Respected

    […] Political violence in America always has been a matter of great convenience to the people who actually own the country. They don’t have to inspire it, or finance it. They can even deplore it. All they really have to do is control the reaction to it — not let it get so wild that it disturbs the stock market and, at the same time, not let the reality of political violence disrupt the anesthetic consensus that swaddles the centers of real power. Thus do we get lone gunmen, and ritualized “healing,” and infinite misdirection. Earnest cud-chewing about talk-radio. David Gergen wonders about violence on TV and David Frum talks about marijuana, but nobody asks the old Latin question: Cui bono? Who profits?

    There is even a reluctance in the prim and proper precincts of the elite corporate press to call what happened to Gabrielle Giffords an assassination attempt, and to call what Jared Loughner did a political act, because it is not nice to admit how thoroughly ingrained violence has become in our amnesiac American politics, because then we might ask who profits from walking on the fringe.

    Loughner didn’t open up on the crowd at first. He didn’t climb a bell tower or crash his car into a cafeteria. He walked up to the person he most wanted to kill and he shot her in the head. That person was a member of the United States Congress. What Loughner did was an act of madness, surely, but it was a political act of madness, just as were the actions of Guiteau, and Czolgosz, and (maybe) Lee Harvey Oswald.

    But it was the Hunt brothers, rich as twin baby Croesuses, who paid for the newspaper ads calling John F. Kennedy a traitor that appeared in the Dallas newspaper on November 22, 1963. Since 1964, the respectable members of the national Republican party made a conscious choice to ally themselves with the remnants of American apartheid. Throughout the 1980s, conservatives in the South and West played footsie with dangerous, armed militia groups. There is an armed terrorist wing of the anti-choice movement that, to our knowledge, has not given the politicians allied with that movement a single moment’s pause to reconsider their support for it. During the firestorm surrounding the prolonged death of Terri Schiavo, people came right up to the edge of threatening federal judges on the floor of the Congress, and this not long after a rightist gunman murdered the spouse of a federal judge on his doorstep.

    None of the respectable people who did this ever paid a price for it. John Cornyn’s still a senator. Tom DeLay’s going to the hoosegow, but for money-laundering. Absent the indictment, he’d have been re-elected forever…

    [EDIT: Fixed some formatting shit…]

  94. 94
    Bex says:

    @hilts: You just reminded me why I don’t read Time even though I get it free.

  95. 95
    rootless_e says:

    Good idea: hope that Holder will use the Patriot Act on those clowns.

  96. 96
    A Humble Lurker says:

    They rolled the dice with the quasi revolution tree of liberty watering bullshit, and came up snake eyes.

    I’m not knowledgeable enough to add anything relevant to the conversation, but I did want to say that I really liked how this was put.

  97. 97
    Charles says:

    Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, not 1942.

    I realize this is ancient history, but one would think that someone would have noticed.

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