Civility in discourse on display at Koch protest
posted at 2:15 pm on January 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Remember how the Left claimed that incivility in discourse on the Right caused the shootings in Tucson that left six dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded, along with more than a dozen others? Despite the lack of any evidence that the shooter in that case was motivated by anything except his delusions about mind control through grammar and a personal grudge against Giffords for not responding to his question on that topic properly, progressive groups rushed to condemn the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. The media, meanwhile, insisted on having a “conversation” about civility in politics as a problem mainly contained to the Right.
So how has this intense navel-gazing improved political discourse? According to the Daily Caller and Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post, not much. Several progressive political-action groups organized a protest at a conference held by the Koch family on politics, and over a thousand people turned out to block the street. The Daily Caller described the organizing prior to the conference:
Prior to the rally, the liberal group plans to host an opposition panel discussion called, “Uncloaking the Kochs: The Billionaires’ Caucus and its Threat to our Democracy.” The featured speakers include Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary and now chairman of Common Case’s National Governing Board; Van Jones, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress and former “Green Jobs Czar”; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California-Irvine; Lee Fang, an journalist at the Center for American Progress; and DeAnn McEwen, co-President of the California Nurses Association.
“Our goal here for the panel Sunday is to talk about the Billionaires Caucus agenda, its human impact and what can be done to restore the voices of ordinary Americans to the our political process,” explained Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause.“Our government is supposed to be of, by and for the people, but it has been hijacked by self-interested billionaires. We must take it back. “
Despite the hyperbole, the Koch conference doesn’t sound so different from many off-the-record political conferences, including those held by the professional left. Shortly after the 2010 elections, for example, liberal groups converged on Washington D.C.’s Oriental Mandarin hotel, The meeting, hosted by Democracy Alliance featured liberal leaders such as Van Jones, hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Michael Vachon, a George Soros representative, Peter Lewis, CEO of Progressive Insurance; and Fred Baron, the former president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America also attended.
Jennifer picks it up afterward:
On Sunday, the protest group swelled to 1,000 and blocked the street for nearly an hour. In a pre-arranged arrest, authorities cuffed and removed 25 protesters. Apparently, the leftists don’t consider the Jewish Funds for Justice’s missive on improper use of Nazi references to apply to them …
She has the photo taken by Dan Comstock, seen on the front page, with a protest sign that reads “NEUTER FERAL FATCATS,” with the “S” turned into a swastika. Comstock also has a photo of a protester in a Guy Fawkes mask from the film V For Vendetta, a Bush-era film that celebrates violence and terrorism to overthrow a fascist British government. Protesters shouted, “No justice, no peace” and “Traitors,” as well as holding other signs that claimed “Koch kills.”
The Koch spokesperson wondered aloud:
“This is the kind of ‘civil debate’ the left wants to have after Tucson?”
Apparently. And there’s nothing wrong with any of the above described protests, except for (a) they’re wrong on the merits, and (b) the blatant hypocrisy on display. Calling the Kochs Nazis, traitors, and murderers may not be terrible nice, and certainly it’s idiotic, especially in terms of the Nazi charge. The evil of Naziism wasn’t in holding political conferences, and all that charge shows is how ignorant and unintelligent the person is who makes it. There’s nothing out of bounds with wearing a Fawkes mask either, although it’s much more explicitly a call for violent action than a crosshair or bullseye on a map. The best remedy for all of that is to take pictures and use free speech to show just how moronic this display and Koch paranoia really is.
The hypocrisy, though, is simply breathtaking. Where are the media scolds now holding Common Cause, CAP, Robert Reich, and Erwin Chemerinsky to account for the actions of the crowd they attracted?