Sunday, March 29, 2015

Civility Watchdog Digest: March 29, 2015

A few examples of rhetoric worth looking at from the past week:
In last week’s Israeli elections, Netanyahu did play the role of Nixon—except that he did not go to China. Nor did he go to Ramallah. He went racist. In 1968, Nixon spoke the coded language of states’ rights and law-and-order politics in order to heighten the fears of white voters in the South, who felt diminished and disempowered by the civil-rights movement and by the Democrat in the White House, Lyndon B. Johnson. Nixon’s swampy maneuvers helped defeat the Democrat Hubert Humphrey and secure the South as an electoral safe haven for more than forty years.
-- Pundit David Remnick, retrieved March 29, 2015.

Comment: Remnick is accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and US President Richard Nixon) of using coded language to express bigotry.

It took Bibi Netanyahu nearly a week to apologize properly for his inflammatory comment on Israel’s election day warning that Arab voters were “heading to the polls in droves.” On Monday, speaking at his Jerusalem residence to a group of Israeli Arab community leaders, the newly reelected prime minister expressed his regret: “I know the things I said a few days ago wounded Israel’s Arab citizens. That was not in any way my intention, and I am sorry.” But even after four and a half years, there has been no apology from Barack Obama for his inflammatory remarks just before the 2010 election, when he exhorted Latinos to generate an “upsurge in voting” in order to “punish our enemies and . . . reward our friends.” Nor has the president ever expressed regret for his running mate’s racially-tinged warning to a largely black audience in 2012 that the GOP was “going to put y’all back in chains” if Mitt Romney won the White House. In fact, the Obama campaign insisted no apology would be forthcoming.
-- Pundit Jeff Jacoby, March 27, 2015.

Comment: Jacoby is accusing President Barack Obama of hypocrisy when it comes to expressions of racism and bigotry.

"Barack Obama, as a result of this and the other things he’s doing, including arming up the IslamoNazis in Tehran, is the greatest threat the Jews face, not in this country but in Israel, since the 1930s... He is the greatest threat they face since the 1930s. And I say that because he is doing more now to degrade Israel’s military and defense posture, its intelligence information. He’s doing more now to arm Israel’s enemy than anybody. He is the greatest threat that that nation faces. And by the way, he’s a great threat to our nation too, as far as I’m concerned."
-- Pundit Mark Levin, March 26, 2015.

Comment: This couldn't possibly be an exaggeration, could it?

During this era, they’ve gone from gentle nudging to stern warnings, to fearmongering, to conflating the predictive abilities of scientists with science itself, to launching ugly campaigns to shame and shut down anyone who deviates from liberal orthodoxy—which includes not only the existence of anthropogenic global warming, but an entire ideological framework that supposedly “addresses” the problem.
-- Pundit David Harsanyi, March 26, 2015.

Comment: Harsanyi is accusing global warming proponents of resorting to scare tactics.

"Nothing says let's go kill some Muslims like country music."
-- Pundit Jamilah Lemieux, March 25, 2015, regarding Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) self-stated preference for country music after the 9/11 attacks.

Comment: This is demonizing, accusing Cruz of bigotry. But can it be dismissed as simply a joke?

An extremely dishonest man, that's who. [and] vehemently anti-immigrant to boot. RT: @Azi @bonkapp: ¿Quién es Ted Cruz?
-- Speaker of the New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, March 24, 2015, in a tweet regarding Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Comment: This is demonizing, saying that Cruz is anti-immigrant. Plus, what is her evidence that Cruz is "extremely dishonest"?

"Marie Harf -- or "Barf" whatever you prefer …"
-- Pundit Mark Levin, March 24, 2015, referring to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf.

Comment: Levin is name-calling, using a term of disgust to refer to someone he disagrees with.

"The inevitability mantle that Hillary Clinton wears so heavily, as it did in 2008, ends up being a magnet for opposition … She’s Vladimir Putin compared to Jim Webb or Martin O’Malley. Her access is controlled. The message is controlled."
-- Former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian, posted March 24, 2015.

Comment: This is "comparing" rhetoric.

There is an upside-down quality to this president’s world view. His administration is now on better terms with Iran—whose Houthi proxies, with the slogan “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damn the Jews, power to Islam,” just deposed Yemen’s legitimate president—than it is with Israel. He claims we are winning the war against Islamic State even as the group continues to extend its reach into Libya, Yemen and Nigeria. He treats Republicans in the Senate as an enemy when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, while treating the Russian foreign ministry as a diplomatic partner. He favors the moral legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council to that of the U.S. Congress. He is facilitating Bashar Assad’s war on his own people by targeting ISIS so the Syrian dictator can train his fire on our ostensible allies in the Free Syrian Army. He was prepared to embrace a Muslim Brother as president of Egypt but maintains an arm’s-length relationship with his popular pro-American successor. He has no problem keeping company with Al Sharpton and tagging an American police department as comprehensively racist but is nothing if not adamant that the words “Islamic” and “terrorism” must on no account ever be conjoined. The deeper that Russian forces advance into Ukraine, the more they violate cease-fires, the weaker the Kiev government becomes, the more insistent he is that his response to Russia is working. To adapt George Orwell’s motto for Oceania: Under Mr. Obama, friends are enemies, denial is wisdom, capitulation is victory.
-- Pundit Bret Stephens, March 23, 2015.

Comment: Granted, President Barack Obama has been hypocritical in some of his positions, but isn't that true of most politicians? Do the problems with Obama's positions really make him more "Orwellian" – that is, indifferent to truth – than most politicians? This seems like demonizing.

Senate Republicans have kept [Loretta] Lynch — President Obama's nominee for attorney general — waiting for a confirmation vote longer than the combined time it took to confirm her seven predecessors. While doing so, they have retained in office Eric Holder, the attorney general whom congressional Republicans have branded an accessory to murder, a terrorist sympathizer and a supporter of voter fraud. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he won't allow the full Senate to vote on Lynch's nomination until Democrats stop filibustering a child sex-trafficking bill that contains a restriction on abortions. But many of these Republicans, it seems, are motivated by their opposition to anything Obama wants — even when it appears they are cutting off their nose to spite their face.
-- Pundit DeWayne Wickham, March 23, 2015.

Comment: Wickham is accusing Republicans of obstruction, and is demonizing them by saying they simply want to oppose anything Obama wants. Couldn't it be that they simply want to force the passage of the sex-trafficking bill?

No comments: