In September, Senator Obama said the following to a crowd in Elko, Nevada:
“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.
I initially thought this comment was rather thuggish on Obama’s part. After all, the mainstream media is firmly in his camp, so getting his philosophy out there shouldn’t be that big of a concern for him. But I didn’t think that Obama supporters would really do it.
Then my wife pointed out something she noticed on a craft-related site — posts about hand-crafted pro-Obama or anti-Bush items usually get at least polite responses, even if they’re along the lines of “Love the idea. But he’s not who I’m voting for.” But when someone posts a hand-crafted McCain/Palin shirt, the responses were certainly “in their face,” enough that a moderator had to jump in several times and remove abrasive comments.
Is this proof that Obama fans are meaner than McCain fans? No. These are merely three samples, and the plural of anecdote is not data. What we have here are polite responses from people who disagree politically on the one hand, and on the other hand enough seething rage to require moderator intervention. It’s not proof, just a few points of data. One of the points of data is a political candidate asking for his supporters to “get in their face.” But I’m sure this rage is merely a coincidence.
Coincidence or not, enough people have spotted this rage on the part of leftists that it has a name, “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” and its recent viral twin, “Palin Derangement Syndrome.” It’s odd that I don’t see this seething anger on the conservative side. Even during the worst of President Clinton’s scandals, I didn’t hear many conservatives boiling over in rage. It’s true that many conservatives disapproved of his behavior or the policies he proposed, but those dislikes didn’t, for the most part, translate into a personal hatred of Bill Clinton the man. But I have observed a visceral hatred of conservatives in general and President Bush in specific from numerous people on the left.
Not everyone sees it that way. Paul Krugman says he is frightened by the specter of rage on the right: “Something very ugly is taking shape on the political scene: as McCain’s chances fade, the crowds at his rallies are, by all accounts, increasingly gripped by insane rage. It’s not just a mob phenomenon — it’s visible in the right-wing media, and to some extent in the speeches of McCain and Palin.” Really? What rage is that? Can you show me pictures or video to demonstrate this rage? At most there are people shouting out words like “traitor” and “terrorist” at Senator Obama at rallies for the McCain/Palin ticket. But where is the rage?
If you want to see graphic examples of rage, Michelle Malkin has compiled some on her site. (Warning: some are profanity-rich and graphic.) Malkin also nails this idea of rage from the right in a recent syndicated editorial:
Are a few activists on the Right getting out of hand? Probably. Between massive ACORN voter fraud, Bill Ayers’ and Jeremiah Wright’s unrepentant hatred of America, and John McCain’s inability to nail Barack Obama on his longtime alliances with all of the above, conservatives have plenty to shout about these days.
But a couple of random catcallers do not a “mob” make. And there’s an overflowing abundance of electoral rage on the Left that won’t make it onto your newspaper’s front page.
She then goes on to list some of the rage from the left — not that you’re likely to hear about it in the nightly news or read it in newspaper because it’s not news. After all, the news media knows that leftist rage is justified because many of them share that rage. Besides, if they don’t report it, it’s not news, right?
“I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” said Senator Obama. The order has been heard and is being obeyed. So which group is filled with rage? My guess is that they’ll be getting in your face very soon.