I read through Freidman's piece and despair that Americans can return to some semblance of reality based discourse. He seems to realize that Bush was also de-legitimatized, but seems to think it was only because his first election was close. True, the Republican's tried to impeach Billy C, but that was only after he clearly lied often and egregiously in a suit that would have cost any other male at least his job, if not jail time. He also certainly perjured himself, and the Democrat side was recently very pleased to see Scooter Libby be prosecuted on that charge.
It is clear that someone as smart as Friedman CAN utterly forget the CONSTANT calls of "Bush Lied", "Bush is Hitler", "Bush is tapping your phone" ... and indeed, whole movies, some of them shown in theatres to millions of people like "Fahrenheit 911", dedicated to any sort of shoestring insinuation and smear that could be trotted out, not only of Bush, but of American troops, and "Death of A President", a FILM about the assassination of Bush. The number of people that "Bush ought to be shot" got to be so high that it wasn't shocking to hear anymore.
It is very hard to believe that Friedman (and others of his ilk) is not just trying to "set the stage" so that **IF** anything should happen to BO, there can be maximum use of force against all who Tom is "holding responsible in advance". When Reagan was elected, I remember A LOT of folks saying "he is going to get us all blown up with his cowboy attitude". I personally knew a number of people that were actually building and stocking bomb shelters for the apocolypse -- and while I thought they were idiots, they were college educated folks working in good jobs at a major US corporation. If someone honestly believes that the president is going to "kill us all", isn't that MORE of a reason that someone might try to harm him than "he might be a socialist"?
Reagan of course WAS shot shortly after taking office and AFAIK, NOBODY tried to make it out that the rhetoric of the time "caused his death". People of course DID try to claim that "the hate filled climate in Dallas" got JFK shot, but the guy that shot him had gone to the USSR and Cuba and was a Communist -- not exactly the sort of "Southern angst" that the MSM was hoping for. How about today? It is certainly possible that any sort of a crackpot MIGHT take a shot at BO -- the Reagan would be assassin was trying to impress Jody Foster. You don't get a whole lot loonier than that -- unless of course you take Squeaky Fromme who was a drugged out Manson follower that tried to shoot Gerald Ford with a .45 ACP, but she had failed to chamber a round.
So ANY president COULD have an attempt made on his life at any time -- Saddam Hussein for example tried to have Bush 41 assassinated, but the MSM wasn't very worried about that other than they were concerned that W may have been trying to "get even". Were we missing ANYTHING of the "climate for violence against the president" when Reagan or Bush 43 were in office? I can't imagine what it would have been. Would it have been helpful for the media to assert that during Reagan, "people concerned that he was going to blow us all up" would be tempted to do him harm? or that during Bush 43, that "people who thought he was not legitimately elected, a liar, having soldiers killed for the corporate interests, or trying to harm lower income people for his rich friends" might have cause to do him harm?
Either Friedman is so far gone on bias that he utterly missed the 80's and the '00s, or he has his own rather nasty agenda. There is no way to know, we just have to guess.
But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far left has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.The previous isn't really a quote -- replace "far left" with "far right" in the first paragraph and "Bush" with "Obama" in the second, THEN it is what Friedman said. BUT, unless the guy is especially evil (see above), we have to assume that he is so biased that he didn't have at all the same feeling in the years from '03 to '08 that Bush was demonized beyond ANY comparison with relatively mild criticism of BO today. Apparently, whose Ox is getting gored really DOES make all the difference.
What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, “Should Bush be killed?” The choices were: “No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.” The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly.