Take Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who first came to national attention when she suggested that Barack Obama had "anti-American beliefs" and called for a media investigation of said anti-Americanism. Lest you think that sort of thing was a one-time fluke, Ms. Bachmann has, since that time, proved that she can reliably and consistently bring the crazy.
Recently when discussing President Obama's energy proposals, Bachmann stated, and I quote: "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country."
Wow. I seem to remember when even the mildest questioning of the Dear Leader Bush's plans and schemes was described, in so many words, as "treason" and "support of terrorism." In fact, I still have the e-mails people sent me in the run-up to the Iraq War, including a memorable one "reminding" me that "they hanged Benedict Arnold, you know" (thus managing to be both vaguely threatening and historically ignorant at the same time).
Can you imagine if any Democratic commentator, let alone a Democratic member of Congress, had even rhetorically talked about wanting people to be "armed and dangerous" in opposition to a president's legislative initiative? There'd be Republicans calling for their removal from Congress at best and for their immediate incarceration at Guantanamo Bay at worst. Ms. Bachmann should be glad the Republicans aren't in charge any more, I guess.
Then there are the remarks made by conservative author Tammy Bruce who was subbing for nationally syndicated talk-show host Laura Ingraham one day. It appears that Ms. Bruce is, to put it mildly, not a fan of First Lady Michelle Obama.
"You know what we've got?" Bruce sputtered about Mrs. Obama. "We've got trash in the White House."
I was curious to see if any prominent liberal-leaning commentator had referred to former First Lady Laura Bush as "trash." Fortunately, I'm pretty handy with the Google, so I put in the words "Laura Bush" and "trash" and came back with a number of hits. Most of those, however, dealt with various speeches Mrs. Bush had given on the environment.
There was one reference to Mrs. Bush as "trash" in an article entitled "First Lady, or First Slut?" But that was on a self-described "Right Wing Pro-Life Christian Conservative" Web site called christianmarriage.com that was taking the former first lady to task for supposedly "off-color remarks" made at an unspecified event.
Besides, that was just some nutty blog site, not a nationally syndicated radio show. (It's a favorite dodge of wingnuts to justify the rhetorical excesses of their national leaders by pointing to something they vaguely remember reading in some deleted post by some anonymous commenter on some obscure blog, but that's not the way we roll here in this column.)
Anyway, I couldn't find one example of a published liberal author, or a liberal host or guest on a national broadcast, referring to a Republican first lady as "trash." Not one. Not the much-maligned Keith Olbermann, not MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, certainly not the liberal castrato Alan Colmes, whose sole function on Sean Hannity's show seemed to be to get verbally slapped around by the host and smile about it.
I can pretty much guarantee you that if anyone had called Mrs. Bush, or the other Mrs. Bush (Dubbya's mom), or Mrs. Reagan "trash" in any kind of nationally broadcast forum, we'd still be hearing about it. A lot. We'd also be hearing a lot about how that kind of thing just goes to show how terrible and tasteless and hateful the "angry left" is.
But free and unfettered speech, angry and hateful and tasteless though it may be, seems to be a newly discovered passion for the wingnuttiest of Republicans. Glad they've finally come around to the idea that dissent is important.
Too bad it took them six years and getting their butts kicked in two consecutive elections to do it.