05 October 2010

To Strangle Sharron Angle: the Double Standard of Reality and Fantasy

"W hich is worse?" Mr. Right asked Mr. Peepers the other day, "Carl Paladino telling Fred Dicker, 'I'll take you out,' or Harry Reid saying he wants to strangle Sharron Angle?"

"Paladino," Mr. Peepers answered promptly.

"You would," Mr. Right scoffed at the Democratic loyalist, "That's just more proof of the double standard that prevails on your side."

Had he asked me, I'd also have said Paladino. "Wanting to strangle" someone has become too much of a figure of speech to be taken seriously as an actual threat of violence. To me, such a remark doesn't compare to a politician threatening a reporter face-to-face, as was the case with Paladino and Dicker. If I'm applying a double standard, it's not based on partisanship or ideology but on an assumption, based itself on admittedly limited acquaintance, that Carl Paladino means what he says. If he wants to present himself as an unconventional politician, he shouldn't be surprised if people take his words as real threats, not typical political rhetoric.

Subsequently, Mr. Right defended Paladino's conduct by writing: "Tell you what: Any member of any organization whose photographer stuck his camera in my daughter's bedroom at night WOULD BE threatened with bodily harm and I'm sure you'd react the same way." This only shows why Mr. Right himself would be unfit for political office. On the other hand, he cites a professor of mass communications who contends that Dicker crossed a line of propriety while confronting Paladino, while Mr. Right himself is not uncritical of the Republican candidate. The Paladino-Dicker showdown was sparked by Paladino's blind accusation that his Democratic rival, Andrew Cuomo, had cheated on his wife during their marriage. In Mr. Right's opinion, Paladino's accusation was "reckless, crude and ignorant."

To be as fair as possible to Mr. Right, I decided to track down Senator Reid's remark about strangling Angle, his Republican challenger in Nevada. Here a problem arose: there appears to be no evidence whatsoever online of Reid ever saying such a thing. Given the breadth of the Republican reactionary blogosphere, had Reid said such a thing it should have been easy to find in transcript or YouTube format, with time and place referenced. Nothing of the kind exists. Mr. Right himself does not tell us when or where Reid said it.

I suspect that Mr. Right, while skimming the surface of the right-wing blog bog, came across this site, which is the first thing that shows up when you do a Google search including "Reid," "Sharron Angle" and "strangle." Read the blog itself and you find that the source isn't Reid but Angle -- and she isn't even accusing her opponent of saying that he'd like to strangle her. She's simply stating metaphorically that Reid tried to strangle her general election campaign by swamping Nevada with a massive ad buy immediately following her Republican primary win. Nor by headlining the "strangle" charge did the original blogger mean to accuse Reid of a desire to choke the life from Angle's body with his own hands. Mr. Right has most likely read too much into this headline by not reading the story closely enough.

The apparently fictional Reid quote isn't Mr. Right's only evidence for a double standard on the subject of physical threats. He cites Rahm Emmanuel "pronouncing a number of political enemies 'dead' [while] no one bats an eye," for instance. As for whether Paladino's threat to Dicker proves him "too angry" for elected office, Mr. Right absurdly offers the by-now infamously dispassionate President Obama as a counter-example of a liberal Democrat who doesn't take criticism well. Notice the change of subject. Mr. Right doesn't dare claim that Obama threatened to "take out" Fox News or its talking heads or do anything metaphorically similar. But he's desperate to show that Carl Paladino is not uniquely disqualified by his temperament from holding public office, so he reaches for any potential comparison in order to normalize Paladino's flash of thuggishness.

Finally, though, Mr. Right decides that personalities aren't the real issue in the New York gubernatorial campaign -- policies are. That's his cue to blame the economic crisis on Andrew Cuomo in his capacity as HUD secretary during the Clinton administration by encouraging the issuance of mortgages to poor people and somehow, presumably, strongarming banks to bundle and commodify and trade and insure them into an unsustainable bubble. I agree that the housing bubble should be an issue in this campaign so the extent to which Wall Street blew it up can be made clear. And if Cuomo does bear a share of blame, that's all the more reason for New Yorkers to consider third-party candidates as untainted alternatives to both Cuomo and Paladino. When political writers neglect to tell you that these alternatives exist, I'd really like to strangle them.


Anonymous said...

The seems to be, more often than not, a problem with opinion columns. Apparently, the feeling is that since "everyone has a right to their opinion", then opinion columns don't need to be verified or fact checked. Unfortunately, since so many people in this country lack the basic faculties for logical thinking, they'll accept opinions as facts.

Further evidence that in order for a democracy to be effective, it requires an intelligent, educated populace, not a mass of credible, gullible fools.

Jack Reylan said...

How dare they call Carl crazy or dangerous after Spitzer and Paterson! Stick a plunger up Cuomolectual Cox Yucker Bloombugger’s nose to relieve his congestion pricing and his metric system. Spray DDT to kill the bedbugs and roaches that infest Manhattan minds. When we were allowed to smoke, TB and bedbugs got fumigated. Parasite Manhattan residents, like Washington DC and exconvicts should not be allowed to vote, unless they want to vote in Europe. Move all the parasite universities to Manhattan and tax all college degrees and net present value of rent control to reduce our property taxes. Require a valid driver license for any employment. Double tax any parasite not working for profit. Build a rail hub at Randall’s Island to bypass Manhattan. Liberate Long Island City and Brooklyn from over a century of 1898 Tamanend oppression. Move UN, missions, residences to Governor’s Island surrounded by gators. Anyone who shops at Whole Foods must consume at least one of their own organs weekly. Apartment dwellers must consume any vermin found on their premises. Turn Central Park into a smelly green waste processing facility. Firebrand the forehead of anyone having an abortion. Access in and out of subway stations should only be by firepole. David Broder in the Washington Post of July 25, 1984, called Mario Cuomo "one of the most artful manipulators since Machiavelli". In the May 15, 1984 New York Times B1 Mario Cuomo called civil defense planning (such as might have prevented 9/11) futile "Cuomo said that prayer was the best preparation for a nuclear attack. He also urged everyone to read 'The Butter Battle Book' by Dr. Seuss for a clearer understanding of the issues." Your islamosympathic gutterswabbing clothing and pierced privates spread disease. If you weren't such baby killing, vermin snuggling perverts you wouldn't be driving up our health costs, then collecting disability for your commie nutty organizing dementia. Your passive aggressive labor unions grab our guns, cars (congestion pricing), balls (SONDA), wallets, and homes but we will grab your throats and dang you from trailer bone tolls. Second Amendment is the ONLY Homeland Security. Wait until we waste all your stumbent subprimes, so you need to sell your affectation glutton art and work instead of diverting tuition and Y2K scams to soviet freezeniks! Deport immigrants who return to their home country more than once every five years. Lynch soviet wealth fund abetting aghadhimmic peakies when oil plummets! Parasites complain about salaries but pig out on benefits. Aqua volte! This land wasn't built by bully craps.

d.eris said...

heh. I was just wondering what Mr. Right's been up while browsing here the other day.

Samuel Wilson said...

Jack: That's one wacky piece of performance art you've shared with us. You have a future on the spoken word circuit.

Anonymous said...

Jack: Assuming you have a day job, don't give it up. Take your meds. Stop drinking Kool-Aid. And above all - REMEMBER TO PUT ON YOUR ALUMINUM FOIL CAP BEFORE WANDERING THE STREETS.

hobbyfan said...

Jack Reylan:

How dare they call Carl crazy or dangerous after Spitzer and Paterson! Stick a plunger up Cuomolectual Cox Yucker Bloombugger’s nose to relieve his congestion pricing and his metric system.

And I say:

What? Care to translate that into plain English?

Paladino is doing more harm than good to the GOP. If he's got proof that Andrew Cuomo cheated on his wife, why not put it out there? If he's just saying this to stir up the masses against Cuomo, whom most of the state believes will be the next governor, then Carl's dug his own political grave.