Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our public leaders’ safety: questions for Andrew Greeley

(Readers alert)

Commenters have noted there was no Secret Service confirmation of a shout of “Kill him” referring to Sen. Obama at the time Andrew Greeley’s op-ed was published yesterday. I should have noted that in my email to him.

I thank the commenters for “getting the story right.”

Other than treating Greeley’s “Kill him” charge as unconfirmed, I wouldn’t change anything else in my email.

I’ll be posting later today on claims “Kill him” was shouted at McCain-Palin rallies in Pennsylvania and Florida. The Secret Service has said the Pennsylvania claim, which came from a single reporter, is unfounded.

The Florida claim came from WaPo Obama reporter-supporter Dana Millbank who says the shout was not directed at Obama, but at Will Ayers.

Look for more later today in a post titled:“Two “kill him” reports: one's unfounded; the other's misreported.


Here’s the first paragraph from novelist Andrew Greeley’s op-ed in today’s Chicago Sun Times, followed by an email I just sent Greeley.

Greeley began:

“South Pacific" is a morality play for our time. Sarah Palin is the Ensign Nellie Forbush -- an All-American girl as racist, this time a racist with her eye on the White House. She can stir up crowds to shout "Kill him!" at the mention of the presidential candidate of the other party a couple of weeks before the national election.
The rest of Greeley’s column’s here.

My email response:

Dear Father Greeley:

All decent people deplore shouts of “Kill him” at political rallies.

Why didn’t you mention Sen. McCain, Gov. Palin and their campaign have gone out of their way to deplore them and to call down the very few at their rallies who’ve made such shouts?

Doing so would have been only fair to McCain-Palin. It would also have helped your op-ed seem less a partisan swipe at McCain-Palin and more like what you wanted readers to see it as: a high-minded condemnation of ugly forces that often find expression in politics.

Speaking of which - - -

For the last 8 years President Bush has been viciously vilified. How many times have we both heard the “Kill Bush” chanting at what MSM terms “peace rallies?”

“Bush is a mass murderer” has been a common utterance by the kind of people who drive cars with “Bush = Hitler” bumper stickers.

You’ve heard Bush assassination jokes, right?

And there are those theater pieces which present his assassination as a positive act.

I’ll bet we’re both seen on college campuses, at “peace” rallies and while watching TV footage of them, the t-shirts with the President’s face superimposed on a bulls-eye target.

If somehow you’ve missed what I’ve just described and some things even worse targeting President Bush, you’ll find them documented here in this Michelle Malkin post.

But I’ve not been able to find anything by Googling that documents and links you to any criticism of the kinds of noxious speech and other actions directed against President Bush.

Is your concern for Sen. Obama’s safety, a concern I share, something particular to him?

Or is it an expression of a larger and longstanding concern for the safety of our public leaders?

Have you spoken out when President Bush has been targeted so often as you have now in the instance you cite where Sen. Obama was the target of noxious speech?

If you’ll provide citations to publications in which you've spoken out in the case of Bush, I’ll post them at my blog.

I assume we agree the noxious speech and acts discussed in your op-ed and here would be judged constitutionally protected speech, the right to express which we both respect.

I also assume we agree people are nevertheless right to criticize such speech because it's inflammatory and suggests violent criminal acts rather than lawful means as “resolutions” of our political differences?

Finally, I believe those who express criticism of noxious speech by “the other side” while ignoring or even justifying it by their side are much like those on the far left and far right in Weimar Germany who each condemned the extreme speech and other provocations by those on other side while ignoring or justifying it when done by their side.

Do we agree about that?

I look forward to your reply, which I'll publish in full at my blog.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

John: The "kill him" remark was clearly directed at William Ayers, not St. Barack. This is another urban myth perpetuated by MSM.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Secret Service can find no one other than the original reporter of the "Kill Him" story who heard the phrase shouted. The Secret Service can find no corroborating witness to the scene as reported by the Scranton PA reporter.

AMac said...

Based on what I've read, I concur with Tarheel and Anon 10:23pm.

Here is the beginning of Patterico's self-explanatory post Nobody Yelled 'Kill Him' About Obama at a McCain or Palin Rally --

10/14/08 @ 6:54 am

Everyone in the country seems to think someone yelled “Kill him!” at a McCain/Palin rally, about Barack Obama. It’s just not true.

The “Kill him!” phrase was originally reported by the Washingon Post — and it was clearly yelled about William Ayers and not Barack Obama.

--- end Patterico excerpt ---

"Unhinged" is the thought that comes to mind when reading Greeley. I wonder if he is typically this overwrought. Or maybe it's just schtick. Either way, this writing isn't fact-based commentary about an election, it's the channeling of a Two Minute Hate:

"[John McCain playing] the race card explicitly merely guarantees what I have thought from the beginning -- racism in this country precludes the possibility of a sepia-colored man becoming president. However, the last-ditch attack on him guarantees that McCain and Palin will be blamed as the candidates who were content to hear crowds calling for the death of Obama."