Politics and activism

This makes no sense

From ABC’s AM on Monday, on the rise of anti-government rhetoric in the USA:

BILL CLINTON: A lot of the things that have been said, they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they’re disoriented, like Timothy McVeigh was, are more likely to act. We ought to have a lot of political dissent a lot of political argument. Nobody is right all the time but we also have to take responsibility for the possible consequences of what we say.

LISA MILLAR: After first raising his concerns two days ago the former president has been criticised by conservatives including talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: With this comment – you have just set the stage for violence in this country. Any future acts of violence are on your shoulders Mr Clinton.

Is Limbaugh’s comment somehow completely out of context? (I heard it told the same way on another report from a different outlet.)

How does it make even the slightest bit of sense? You can argue that Clinton is being alarmist by making a link back to McVeigh, or being overly critical of the Tea Party movement, sure. But when Clinton asks people to be mindful of inciting violence, Limbaugh responds that it’s therefore Clinton’s fault if it happens?

It’s not just at odds with the traditional conservative view of taking personal responsibility, unless I’m missing something fundamental, it also makes no sense whatsoever.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

15 replies on “This makes no sense”

Limbaugh is raving mad, it is as simple as that. He makes the wackos here like Alan Jones look good.

Ah no, I was hoping to avoid political discussions here, as I’ve been pilloried over this, but I’m gonna have to stick up for El Rushbo! As the token conservative, for which I’ll be compared to Hitler and such, let me provide some context!

May it surprise you to learn that I’m a huge Rush Limbaugh fan? No!? I’m a member to his website, and I listen to his show daily via podcast during work! Even had the privledge to call into his show a few weeks back while Mark Steyn was hosting! Back to Rush- I bet all you critics of him have never heard more than a handful of soundbites the dying US mainstream media have played, out of context! Well, Rush is about one of the most intelligent men I’ve heard, and I know I’ll be branded hateful and racist for it! But he’s not! Never heard him say anything racist- indeed he has a number of black friends. He didn’t become the number 1 radio talk show host in the US out of nowhere!

Some context. This whole debate has been about the rise of the “Tea Party” movement, a movement which sprung up during the first few months of the Obama Administration, but indeed was expressing anger at BOTH main parties, for having increased the budget deficit to extraordinary levels. Obama is facing deficits of nearly US$1.5 TRILLION, due to out of control spending. Indeed, Bush ran up significant deficits, but nowhere near Obama levels! Wouldn’t you be upset if your tax dollars were being wasted on pork barrel projects? The Tea Party protesters, while predominately conservative, have encompassed may independents, and even some liberals, all of whom are sick of the business as usual in Washington! It isn’t anti-government, it is against irresponsible government!

This isn’t good enough for the mainstream media, who LOVE President Obama, to the point where he still has never been fully vetted by them! So, when anybody criticises him, they have to bring up allegations of race to counter that! Now, in the context of the April 15 (Tax Day in the US) rallies, these allegations were made once again. These rallies were peaceful, with no reported arrests (to my knowledge), unlike similar rallies in Copenhagen last year. Of course, the critics will single out the handful of nuts in the crowd. Like any group of people, there is always a kook fringe. By in large, these are a minority- the majority of the Tea Party people are average American citizens- mums, dads, doctors, military, veterans, pensioners etc. But, these people have been undeservedly slandered by the mainstream media, with only Fox News giving them fair coverage (I’m gonna anger a lot more people now- I watch Fox News religiously! ) For those of you who instinctively decry bias, have you watched it? Sure, it is a traditional conservative leaning network, but it has many liberal commentators. Watch O’Reilly- he goes out of his way to play Devil’s advocate on BOTH SIDES!

So back to Clinton. Clinton makes a charged statement- that Tea Party people are the types likely to be Tim McVeighs. Now you have to admit, that is a loaded statement! I may not agree with you politically Daniel, but I will NEVER say that people like yourself are prone to sabotaging 4WDs because you aren’t a fan of them! Enter Rush. In fact, this is something which has gone on since Oklahoma City- here is a speech the then President gave a week after the bombing:

April 24th, 1995, Mississippi, Minnesota.
CLINTON: We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that — by their very words, that — violence is a acceptable. You ought to see — I’m sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of (pounding podium) reckless speech and behavior.

This was an attack on Limbaugh, suggesting that he was the one who inspired it. Rush has never advocated violence- indeed he cautions Tea Partiers against it! So, Rush responded, in a similar fashion, stating that if Clinton can accuse someone of inspiring violence through their words, then the same thing ought to apply to him and his incendiary comments. From Rush’s Friday show:

RUSH: They just can’t get away from it. We are living in their heads rent free. We are in their heads and on their minds. They — and I’m going to throw they in there — are out to destroy Western civilization, folks. Why do you think the tea party people are so reviled? Why is it that we can sit there and accuse nonviolent tea party people of committing terrorist acts? I mean that’s what Clinton’s doing. He’s predicting that tea party people are going to blow up a federal building again, and in the process…. I’m going to state right now: If there is a future incident such as Oklahoma City, the blame is squarely Clinton’s on the shoulders of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who I’m sure is coordinating Clinton’s appearance on this.

Wanna know what Rush’s greatest strength is- he makes a statement that he knows the media will take out of context, a ‘media tweak’ in his words, and then waits for their reply. He then proceeds to eviscerate them with their own words. Remember, he is primarily an entertainer, and much of what he says is for humour. Yet, I find it very hard to disagree with him on much, as he makes some inspired observations.

I know you’re gonna let me have it Daniel, fine! I know you won’t agree with me on this, and that’s fine, we’ll see the same thing through a different perspective. I had heard all the stuff that Rush was a Nazi and so forth, but listening to him for over half a year now showed me he was far from it! He is a staunch conservative (we’re nothing like Nazis- unfair characterization), and makes no bones about it, ridiculing liberals in the process. But he NEVER preaches violence.

I never mean for these posts to get so long, but I feel I can’t do it justice unless I provide some context! I love listening to Rush, and had to stick up for him! If you wanna see part of the story, go here, and watch the clip of Hillary Clinton talking about dissent!

May I just add one small thing? I have to admit, on BOTH sides, we have become so polarized, that any comments one person on one side makes is automatically demonized by the other! I may come across that way, but I don’t want it to be destructive, only constructive! We all should listen to each other with respect- thank you Daniel for giving all of us a chance here!

Andrew V, but you haven’t addressed the actual point: even with all the context/history you’ve mentioned (and his screwball comments about liberals wanting to destroy western civilisation), Limbaugh’s comment the other day still doesn’t make any sense.

(Follow Erica’s link for Clinton’s response.)

He was accused by Clinton of inciting McVeigh to carry out the Oklahoma City Bombing! In fact, McVeigh cited his reason for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was in response to the US Government’s handling of the Waco siege:

He saw that as a miscarriage of justice, and vowed vengence. In particular, he sought to get revenge on Attorney-General Janet Reno, who issues the orders for the disastrous final assault. Reno, a Clinton appointee, was acting on behalf of the executive branch of the government- headed of course by Clinton. Thus, whether you think so or not (I don’t think so myself), you COULD ( and I stress that) make the argument that Clinton was responsible for how the siege ended! Again, I am not saying that, just posing a hypothetical!

So, when Clinton accused the Maha Rushie (one of his many nicknames) of inciting McVeigh, Rush merely pointed to the fact that Waco was McVeigh’s inspiration, and the responsibility for that falls on the Clinton Administration. Again, I am not saying that! So, what Rush did was to say that if Clinton was going to accuse him for inciting violence, then he ought to look back and see the actual motivation. Thus, if Clinton is to “suggest” this happens, then he would be the one inciting any potential future violence! Again, I believe Rush does not mean that- he’s trying to make a point! Much of what Rush says isn’t meant to be taken at face value.

With regards to the Tea Partiers, the media is calling them anti-government? I understand you attend protests every now and then against government policy? Does that make you anti-government? No, it makes you against that particular policy. Well, that’s how the Tea Partiers feel. How may protests have you attended? A few, I guess:
I have never attended one in my life- as much as I’ve detested Bracks/ Brumby and Rudd policies, I’ve never attended. Why? I have too much respect for authority to do that- I try to overcome that and live my life! Plus, I’m too busy to do those things, though having seen and been in awe of the Tea Partiers, maybe I should! This is the case with many conservatives! As I see it, protesting has for a long time been the domain of liberals and the Left, so when the other side does it, it is considered threatening? I thought everyone was entitled to the right to protest peacefully!?

Look, I don’t think Clinton would be responsible for any future violence, and I don’t believe Rush does either- he was just turning the tables on him! That’s my opinion! Hope that makes sense- I think I lost myself somewhere there!

“… I don’t think Clinton would be responsible for any future violence, and I don’t believe Rush does either- he was just turning the tables on him!”

May I suggest that if Rush doesn’t believe that, then maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t say it.

(Yes, I’m a big one for telling the truth in your debates.)

Yes, I’ve certainly been to a few protests in my time. All were lawfully organised. At none of them have I ever seen any hint that anybody thought violence was a way to protest. It took me all of 20 seconds on Google to find an example of Tea Party protestors holding up signs advocating violence, as well as trying to draw an Obama-Hitler parallel.

Are such people in the majority of Tea Party protestors? No, I don’t think so. But they’re the kind of extremists Clinton was warning might get razzed-up into doing something stupid.

Andrew, If you’re pursuing the flawed argument of “two wrongs make a right”, be sure to post some of liberals threatening gun violence against those they oppose.

Certainly all sides of just about every argument are all too willing to caricature their opponents as being like Hitler. Godwin’s law — not just for the Internet!

Comments are closed.