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Obama creating a “climate of hate”?

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 March 2012

See Tennessee man suspected in threat on Arizona sheriff

Some stories describe this guy as an “Obama fanatic.” Apparently this nut threatened Sheriff Joe Arpaio because Arpaio is investigating Obama’s birth certificate.

What if this guy had been a Rush Limbaugh fan and threatened some Democratic sheriff? We’d hear no end of bellyaching from the media about how Rush is creating a “climate of hate.”

Remember how quick the media was to blame the right and the Tea Party when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot? I distinctly remember watching a panel on some political talk show and all the liberals were rushing to judgment. Here’s an example of the kind of blindly partisan nonsense that was being said at the time.

(The “blame the right” theme started to die out when we found out what Jared Lee Loughner was really like.)

The hypocrisy and the double standards are blatant.

-- 2012-03-15  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 29

  1. smitemouth
    15 March 2012 @ 9:18 am

    Does Obama have an online map of the Sheriff’s county with a gunsight on it targeting the sheriff?

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    15 March 2012 @ 9:27 am

    This was pretty easy to find

  3. DSM
    15 March 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I blame Obama and his violent rhetoric:

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

    How is he *not* responsible for the actions of this Tennessee man? Obama actually described his intended response as the escalation of conflicts into gun violence.

    *rolls eyes*

  4. smitemouth
    15 March 2012 @ 11:16 am


  5. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    15 March 2012 @ 11:38 am

    So how come the left gets away with these outrageous accusations — blaming Sarah Palin and Rush and the Tea Party and whatnot — when they don’t do the same when the shoe is on the other foot?

    I have to admit that from time to time I’m tempted to believe that liberals lack a fundamental sense of fairness.

    But then all I have to do is listen to Sean Hannity for a while.

  6. RootCzar
    15 March 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    DSM – I can’t tell if you’re kidding or not … or being facetious.

    Obama said that, in a joking paraphrase … in 2008.

    June 13, 2008: He [Obama] warned that the general election campaign could get ugly. “They’re going to try to scare people. They’re going to try to say that ‘that Obama is a scary guy,’ ” he said. A donor yelled out a deep accented “Don’t give in!”

    “I won’t but that sounded pretty scary. You’re a tough guy,” Obama said.

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

    Greg, your header for this thread … inquiring if Obama is ‘creating a climate of hate.’ Really? The example DSM referenced is preposterous on its face … How is Obama fostering such a climate, exactly? Really? Jeeeeesh …. Gonna need examples on this one.

  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    15 March 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    If it doesn’t make any sense, it’s because we’re trying to apply to the left the same kinds of rules the left typically applies to the right.

    IOW, of course it doesn’t make sense. :-)

    That is, Obama isn’t “creating a climate of hate” any more than the Tea Party is.

  8. DSM
    15 March 2012 @ 1:41 pm

    @RootCzar: the rolling of eyes is an idiom used in many cultures to indicate that one finds the topic at hand absurd.

    On the internet, where nonverbal cues are lacking, replacements have been found because it’s a very flat medium and communication difficulties sometimes result. For example, emoticons like “:-)” and “:-(” have become popular, as well as the use of abbreviations like “jk” for “just kidding”. Similarly, people use *rolls eyes* and similar phrases to describe some state or action you can’t see as a way of assisting you to hear tones you might otherwise miss.

    I sometimes feel like I’m speaking to someone who isn’t from Earth..

  9. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    15 March 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    That raises an interesting question. What’s the IP range for non-Earth internet connections? I should filter for those.

  10. RootCzar
    16 March 2012 @ 12:35 am

    DSM – LOL. OK, ok … I’m very much from earth, and have a grasp of idiom and jargon. I just don’t know you well enough at all, to catch your drift there. I’m gladdened to know that we both find that kind of thing, absurd.

    Greg – not that these are expressive of official Tea Party platforms or sanctioned signs … but … they seem to STILL show up a lot at their events. And, I don’t think Obama lowers himself to this level, in any even small way.

    Would you agree that the party has not well enough denounced this kind of thing? They STILL show up … I’ve seen variations in person. The nifty little one I saw, and forgive me for rendering it here … showed the Obama “O” symbol, crossed-out … and the words, “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012″

    Yeah, keepin it classy. Could you cite a comparable example on Obama’s part? You cite him personally … Examples?

  11. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 March 2012 @ 7:36 am

    Root, it’s not a fair comparison to contrast the worst of what somebody says who happens to show up at a Tea Party event with what Obama reads off his teleprompter.

    The fair comparison would be between the Tea Party and far-left political rallies, on the one hand, and between Obama and the Republican presidential candidates on the other.

  12. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 March 2012 @ 8:13 am

    Somewhat along these lines, did you hear that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called Sen. Inhofe a “call girl,” and said that people who doubt global warming should be treated as traitors (i.e., executed). Where were the calls for all Democrats to denounce this?

  13. RootCzar
    16 March 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Well, your treason example goes back to 2007 … and I’m not in agreement with you on the context. Here’s the full statement:

    “Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies for companies like Exxon and Southern Company. ,” shouted Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “These villainous companies that consistently put their private financial interest ahead of American interest and ahead of the interest of all of humanity. This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors.”

    That looks to me, like he’s referring to the ‘villainous companies.’

    Another hijacking of context. But hey, now that republicans made corporations ‘people’ (some of Romney’s best friends I understand, are corporations) … ;-)

    And boo hoo … he called Inhofe a ‘call girl.’ Good lord … “Speaking of prostitutes, big oil’s top call girl Sen. Inhofe wants to kill fuel economy backed by automakers, small biz, enviros, & consumers,”

    Here, I’ll call Obama a ‘capitulating and obsequious poopy head.’

    Now what? I’m a citizen, and I spewed my opinions in a public forum on the internet. Is that the same as what Rush did? Was there a citizen-based initiative to go after Kennedy’s radio sponsors? His ‘liberal media’ radio show, doesn’t have very many listeners, (odd, how could that be? ;-) ) and I don’t think his commentary or lack of decorum, means much comparatively, in the public sphere. Gotta pick your battles.

  14. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 March 2012 @ 9:56 am

    Root, if you don’t see the double standard, I don’t know what else to say. There seems to be a kind of willful blindness on this point among liberals. It’s kinda weird.

    As this article points out, the left regularly uses extremist language against Republicans, but then turns around and demands apologies, issues calls for “civility,” etc.

    About RFK, he said it’s treason and we need to start treating “them” as traitors. I suppose the “them” could be the corporations, but then he’d be the one guilty of calling corporations persons, wouldn’t he?

  15. RootCzar
    16 March 2012 @ 10:07 am

    I see double standards all over the place … But here’s the thing, the radical and mean-spirited left in this country, as bad as some of the rhetoric gets, it doesn’t go violent like the fallout from the right’s language and rhetoric. Again, you could find anecdotal examples of it on both sides … i don’t need to read any more. Bill Maher LOVES the fact that he gets trotted out like he does … and I agree with him, that its absurd.

    Check out some of the work put forth by the Southern Poverty Law Center ….

    When the # of leftist ‘hate groups’ rivals that of the right’s … i’ll give more credence to your point. But you know what? Its not gonna happen.

  16. pentamom pentamom
    16 March 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    “But here’s the thing, the radical and mean-spirited left in this country, as bad as some of the rhetoric gets, it doesn’t go violent like the fallout from the right’s language and rhetoric. ”

    To what do you refer?

  17. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    16 March 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    That is the mindset of the left. “Sure, we say lots of nasty things, but our people don’t become violent about it — unlike all those bitter conservatives who cling to God and guns.”

  18. RootCzar
    16 March 2012 @ 3:33 pm


    Greg: save the part about the clinging, i think the mindset has merit. Shy of anecdotal examples, can you say it’s not valid? Did you look at the web site i referenced earlier?

  19. Derek
    16 March 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    For a well documented piece on the hate of the left, go here:

    The hypocrisy of the left never ceases to amaze me.

  20. RootCzar
    18 March 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    “well documented?” Michelle Malkin?

    You posed an eclectic assortment of bumper stickers and conflict occurring at staged events … not so much actual social criminal trends. That mean Madonna!

    Lefties are no innocents, but that didn’t quite get there. Seeking sources other than Fox News contributors might yield you better results.

  21. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    18 March 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    Root, is a person’s opinion automatically anathema to you if he is a “Fox News contributor”?

  22. RootCzar
    18 March 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    No, not necessarily … but frankly, i think that collection speaks for itself.

  23. pentamom pentamom
    18 March 2012 @ 6:22 pm

    Rootczar, that’s a list of incidents perpetrated by violent bigots. I was previously informed as to the existence of violent crimes perpetrated by bigots. I was asking about the connection to the rhetoric of the political right, because that was your assertion — that the rhetoric and language of the right had “fallout.” How do you know these people were influenced by the language and rhetoric of the right, as opposed to their own stupid bigotry?

  24. RootCzar
    18 March 2012 @ 9:34 pm

    A very fair question, pentamom. Totally fair.

    I know full well, that I can’t resolve or answer it in a single blog box … But if I may, a wonderful and poignant book on the subject came out a few years ago … “The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right” by David Neiwert. It takes almost 300 pages to address this postulate.

    Here’s my horrible attempt at a nutshell … ;-)

    Liberals do the dumb unhelpful rhetoric thing too, but there are some essential differences in their nature and outcome. With the lefties, they tend to target and focus threatening talk on individuals … literally specific people. As such, much of it remains … frustrated and irreconcilable tough talk.

    Now, with the right … right-wing rhetoric tends to be what he refers to as explicitly ‘eliminationist’, often times calling for the infliction of harm in some form, on whole blocs of American citizens: liberals, gays and lesbians, Latinos, blacks, Jews, feminists, or whatever target group is the victim du jour of right-wing ire … in the media.

    Most people could actually enact harm to a liberal, or a homosexual, or a XXXXXX … if they wanted to.

    What we are seeing more and more of, as implied by the info i pitched earlier from the SPLC, is that what we are witnessing on the right is the “mainstreaming” and normalizing of extremist talk through “patriotic” transmitters.

    “Transmitters” of fringe ideas into the mainstream have two audiences. The first (and by far the largest) is made up of the many millions of ordinary mainstream conservatives who tune in and log on to the Right’s plethora of media talking heads and movement leaders. The second includes their xenophobic counterparts on the far Right, where the memes come from in the first place. For the latter, these transmissions signal that their formerly unacceptable beliefs are gaining acceptance; they hear these transmissions as an invitation for them to move into the mainstream without having to change their views. The former hears them as an invitation to think more like the latter without shame.

    I won’t go on and on and on … when I’m not likely to convince anyone in here anyway … But the point i would like to make in sum, is that nobody is born a bigot. A person’s life experience and sensory input, leads them to bigotry. Nobody exists in a vacuum. Anti-bloc rhetoric in many forms and intensity levels, is transmitted every day; some subtle, and thinly veiled as news/commentary and some overt and dangerously incendiary. Hate crime trends and the # of formalized groups have spiked bigtime since Obama became president. That’s not a coincidence. Gay marriage movements have trended in tandem, with increase in assault and/or hate crimes against homosexuals. I can cite specific/anecdotal examples, but I’m trying not to.

    Check out the book … it is the culmination of decades of watching the far right, listening to talk radio, tracking militias and extremists, and cataloging incidents inspired by the stoking of paranoia and disharmony. A good read … but at least for me, terrifying.

  25. DSM
    19 March 2012 @ 4:06 pm

    Most of what you’ve said is simply fact-free, so there’s not really much to reply to. When challenged, you present zero evidence that a bunch of free-marketeers reading Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell are going around threatening Jews and blacks and gays, or a bunch of people coming home from Bible study wearing WWJD bracelets decide to hang nooses, or something I could plausibly connect to conservative views. You fall back on unverifiable generalities where it’s hard to prove you wrong, but equally difficult to prove you right.

    Basically, you list a bunch of things you don’t like and claim they’re related. That says more about your prejudices than anything else. For example, opposition to homosexuality and acceptance of antisemitism and crazy conspiracy theories (no offense, John) are much lower among whites, but you don’t seem to think that Democratic propaganda is causing this even though African-Americans seem generally unmoved by right-wing ideas.

    Even your incidental comments reveal a world I don’t recognize, such as your claim that “nobody is born a bigot”. What on Earth would lead you to that conclusion? In my experience, x% of people are just jerks, and some fraction of those are violently so. [I'm committed philosophically to the position that 100% of people are broken, but that's a story for another day.]

    People whose upbringing leads them to oppose racism but who are still naturally not very charitable will simply find some other people to act badly towards. This fundamental “jerkiness” will simply manifest itself in other ways, such as the tendency to accuse one’s ideological opponents of being motivated by evil while they themselves are pure of heart.

  26. pentamom pentamom
    19 March 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    “Hate crime trends and the # of formalized groups have spiked bigtime since Obama became president. That’s not a coincidence. ”

    How do you know it is not? “Coincidence” is just a way of saying “two things that happen at the same time without a direct causal relationship, because the causes lie elsewhere.” What leads you to rule out all other factors?

    Oh, and stats on that might be nice, as well. What does “spiked” means? There are more? Or there are more people involved in them as a percentage of population? Or something else? I haven’t heard that asserted anywhere else so a source would be interesting, at the very least.

    And as DSM said, conservative rhetoric is not the same thing as bigotry, racism, and homophobia. Only by an a priori assumption that they are, is your case so crystal clear that “right wing” rhetoric has led to all the violence you cite. And if you make that assumption, then sure, you haven’t merely demonstrated it — it’s a foregone conclusion.

    People aren’t “born” bigots if by that you mean that they don’t hold fixed positions toward other kinds of people in the first week of life. However, the home environment is going to be a much bigger factor in that kind of formation than political commentators that very, very, very few people pay attention to before well into the teen years — by which time those attitudes are pretty well fixed barring some conscious later effort at change. The idea that the kind of person who would murder a or beat homosexual would not have been likely to do that had not someone suggested that altering the humanity-old definition of marriage is not something subject to the considerations of contemporary civil rights rhetoric, and then upon hearing that idea became likely to do so, is to admit you don’t actually know very many people who think differently from yourself, or what makes people tick in the real world.

  27. RootCzar
    19 March 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    Forgive me. Let me see if I can figure out how to paste the 300 pages from the book I referenced … With its years of research and examples and connections, or the amalgam of stats and charts and research data from the web site I referenced, into this blog… Perhaps, if you review the resources I provide… I’m lacking a bit of time and energy to satiate this blog beast. You ask for examples and data. I provide reference to both… And it seems deficient, somehow …

  28. pentamom pentamom
    19 March 2012 @ 10:06 pm

    If the book is one massive attempt to ignore the fact that people have been harming each other for really stupid, bigoted reasons for thousands of years and that the rate of such behavior is actually a lot less than it was in the past, I don’t think I’m going to find it all that convincing.

    No “research” is going to prove that something that didn’t exist 300 years ago (a free mass media used to promote classical liberal ideas with a modern American twist) is responsible for increasing something that hasn’t increased relative to human history.

  29. RootCzar
    19 March 2012 @ 10:14 pm

    a totally valid concern … and i honestly never meant to establish any perceived rhetoric as being any kind of absolute and/or exclusive cause.

    i’d submit that the book addresses age-old issues, but brings some critical attention to a relatively new medium of reaching millions of people, in a moment. i don’t think any part of it tries to establish that the conflict is anything new.

    if you check it out sometime, i’d very much enjoy your take on it!