Wednesday, October 1, 2008
As I wrote about last week, a steady stream of conservative writers and journalists have soured on Sarah Palin and have called for her replacement. One of the first to lead the charge is Kathleen Parker, a writer for the ultra-conservative National Review Online.
As a result of Ms. Parker's call for Sarah Palin to leave the McCain ticket, she has come under siege from the "no-brain-just-gut!" red meat Republican base:
Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a Dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.
Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down...
That we have become a partisan nation is no secret. This week has provided a vivid example of where rabid partisanship leads with the failure of Congress to pass a bailout bill vitally needed to keep our economy from unraveling...
Such extreme partisanship has a crippling effect on government, which may be desirable at times, but not now. More important in the long term is the less-tangible effect of stifling free speech. My mail paints an ugly picture and a bleak future if we do not soon correct ourselves.
The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)
Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.
Although I appreciate the tenor of her sudden plea for rational nonpartisan dialogue (oh-so-conveniently put forth now that she has come under attack), I would ask Ms. Parker this: "How exactly do you feel you are holding to your ideals of 'civil discourse' when you continue to write for the rabidly ultraconservative National Review Online?" Further, "How about some words of calm and conciliation when your unhinged colleagues put out another frothing article about Barack Obama filled with lies, innuendo and thinly veiled racism?"
Leaving aside Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News in general, National Review Online is one of the most consistently fact-free partisan "Democrat Attack" media outlets out there today. See for example a recent post from Ramesh Ponnuru personally attacking conservative Obama supporter Douglas Kmiec as a "silly and confused man".
Ms. Parker may suddenly be talking the conciliatory talk but she better start walking the walk. A good way to start would be to associate herself with a less batshit conservative publication. Until then, doesn't this inherent hypocrisy make her call for us to all ratchet down the partisanship sound just a little bit hollow?