Both sides are, in fact, not “just as bad,” when it comes to institutionally sanctioned violent and eliminationist rhetoric.
An anonymous commenter at Daily Kos and the last Republican vice presidential nominee are not equivalent, no matter how many ridiculously irresponsible members of the media would have us believe otherwise.
There is, demonstrably, no leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, former veep candidate and presumed future presidential candidate, who uses gun imagery (rifle sights) and language (“Don’t Retreat, RELOAD”) to exhort her followers to action.
There is no leftist equivalent to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group which was created from the mailing list of the old white supremacist White Citizens Councils and has been noted as becoming increasingly “radical and racist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which classifies the CCC as a hate group—and is nonetheless considered an acceptable association by prominent members of the Republican Party, including a a former senator and the last Republican presidential nominee.
There is no leftist equivalent to Glenn Beck, host of a long-running nationally syndicated radio show, former host of a show on CNN and current host of a show on Fox, best-selling author, DC rally organizer, and longtime user of eliminationist rhetoric, including equating universal healthcare to rape, joking about victims of forest fires being America-hating liberals, comparing Al Gore to Hitler, condoning the murder of Michael Moore, accusing Holocaust survivor George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi, equating immigration reform with burning US citizens alive, publicly endorsing violent revolution, and winkingly telling his viewers not to get violent, all of which amounts to a speck on the tip of a very big iceberg.
There is no leftist equivalent to Ann Coulter, best-selling author and syndicated columnist, who has been a panelist on Fox’s Hannity 28 times and was on Hannity & Colmes an additional 18 times, who has been a guest multiple times on The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, Larry King Live, Huckabee, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hardball, and other cable news shows, has made appearances on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and has co-hosted The View, and has also said that a baseball bat is “the most effective way” to talk to liberals, as well as: “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.” And: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.” And: “In [Clinton’s] recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he ‘did it,’ even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.”
There is no leftist equivalent to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News television show host, nationally syndicated radio show host, and best-selling author, who has appeared on The Tonight Show eleven times, The Late Show with David Letterman six times, The Daily Show six times, Live with Regis and Kelly five times, The View four times, Good Morning America three times, and Real Time with Bill Maher twice, among other national shows, and has lied about and stalked his critics, said that progressive bloggers should be dealt with “with a hand grenade,” said Air America hosts were traitors and should be “put in chains,” as well as: “And if Al Qaeda comes [to San Francisco] and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.”
There is no leftist equivalent to Rush “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we will never forget what these people stood for” Limbaugh, nationally syndicated radio show host and invitee to the Bush White House.
There is no leftist equivalent to Pat “Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path” Buchanan, a regular MSNBC contributor and syndicated columnist.
There is no leftist equivalent to Michelle “In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror” Malkin, a regular Fox panelist, best-selling author, and prominent conservative blogger.
There is no leftist equivalent to Pat “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians” Robertson, host of The 700 Club, who was a guest on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes five times.
There is no leftist equivalent to Michael “Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war” Reagan, or Michael “Smallpox in a blanket, which the U.S. Army gave to the Cherokee Indians on their long march to the West, was nothing compared to what I’d like to see done to these people” Savage, both nationally syndicated radio show hosts.
There is no leftist equivalent to the Minutemen and other radical and eliminationist-spewing anti-immigration groups, some of whom have been subcontracted to work the border by the US government.
There is no leftist equivalent to radical and eliminationist-spewing anti-choice groups, who openly target doctors and call for their assassinations—and had a success just last year in the murder of Dr. George Tiller—and whose leaders get featured in whitewashing profiles in the Washington Post.
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
This is not an argument there is no hatred, no inappropriate and even violent rhetoric, among US leftists. There is.
This is evidence that, although violent rhetoric exists among US leftists, it is not remotely on the same scale, and, more importantly, not an institutionally endorsed tactic, as it is among US rightwingers.
This is a fact. It is not debatable.