[Guest post by DRJ]
Barack Obama campaigned as a uniter, not a divider, but he was happy to fire up his supporters with strong rhetoric in Nevada in September 2008:
“I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
This wasn’t the first time, either. In Philadelphia in June 2008, Obama urged his fans to play hardball with McCain supporters:
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”
Even the McCain camp viewed that as Obama going negative, not as an attempt to incite violence, although by November some of Obama’s New Black Panther supporters had taken his call to arms literally. They stationed a security patrol at a Philadelphia polling place — one of whom was brandishing a nightstick — an act many viewed as voter intimidation tactics. Nevertheless, there was no liberal outrage.
Compare that to the response to Sarah Palin’s “Don’t retreat — Reload!”, including this from CNN (via NewsBusters):
“CNN put “INCITING VIOLENCE?” on screen under video of Sarah Palin earlier in the day Saturday in Searchlight, Nevada, as anchor Don Lemon announced:
Sarah Palin takes on one of the highest ranking Democrats right in his own backyard, all while causing another uproar by urging tea parties to quote “reload.” And the question is, are comments like that inciting violence and name-calling over the health care bill and the like?
In the subsequent segment, titled “DANGEROUS RHETORIC: When heated words incite threats & violence,” CNN’s panel agreed Obama’s political opponents are inciting violence and are motivated by racism — undeterred by Palin’s assurance, which CNN played:
When I talk about it’s not a time to retreat, it’s a time to reload, what I’m talking about — now, media, try to get this right, okay? That’s not inciting violence. What that’s doing is trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. It’s telling people that their arms are their votes. It’s not inciting violence. It’s telling people, don’t ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans.
Lemon demanded: “Is it responsible for someone to say that? Especially a leader, considering the anger that’s going on right now?”
This story and claims of GOP-incited violence just won’t go away … and they won’t as long as Democrats think they’re helpful.