I have been reliably assured by talking heads at CNN, CBS, the Daily Beast and numerous other outlets that “words matter.” Of course, they’re uniformly speaking about the President’s words and how there’s some direct link between what he says and acts of violence by politically motivated psychopaths. Less frequently mentioned are the words of others… particularly Democrats. So I’m wondering what these easily alarmed analysts will have to say about Joe Manchin.
At a recent campaign rally, Manchin decided to strut his tough guy credentials by bringing up the recent debate he had with Republican challenger Patrick Morrisey. Rather than winning the war of words, Manchin confessed to his supporters that he’d wanted to “beat the living crap out of” Morrisey. (Free Beacon)
Democratic incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) said he wanted to “beat the living crap out of” his Republican opponent during their debate, at a campaign rally in Marmet.
“You might have seen the debate the other night,” Manchin said. “I want to tell you something.”
“It took every bit of my discipline not to beat the living crap out of them,” he said to cheers from the audience of several dozen Democrats, gathered at the George Buckley Community Center.
“Here’s what I’m thinking,” Manchin continued. “You don’t come to someone’s state. You don’t come in here and not knowing who we are and just be spewing out horrible things.
Is this a dog whistle? Is it a secretive signal to potentially violent liberal activists, Antifa and all the rest that it’s okay to seek out his opponent and conservative supporters in the streets or at rallies and take a baseball bat to them? After all, words still matter, right?
This is the same language that the press loves to highlight when referencing some of Donald Trump’s rallies. But after flipping through the cable news channels the past couple of days I don’t seem to be hearing any discussion of this.
And really, that’s how it should be for both parties, and it would be if we had a legitimately unbiased media. There’s nothing particularly wrong with what Manchin said. It’s a figure of speech. I doubt that anyone with even a measurable amount of sanity heard that and thought that Manchin was seriously holding himself back from crossing the stage and winging a right hook at Morrisey. (And just looking at the two of them I’m not sure he’d get the best of that fight anyway.) Similarly, sane people aren’t going to take that as a cue to begin beating up Republicans.
Are there some minuscule number of people out there who might take it that way? Of course. But if they are that easily swayed to violence they would have eventually found some other “trigger” to set them off anyway. Now, I’ll grant you that liberals have shown a far greater proclivity to form gangs in the streets and yell at Republicans, be it in restaurants, coffee shops or wherever. That’s objectionable, but it’s also different than physically assaulting somebody.
The bottom line is that I’m not here demanding CNN spend the next two days condemning Joe Manchin’s “promotion of violence.” I’m just pointing out the double standard once again in play. Either “words matter” or they don’t. Pick a story and apply it equally to both sides.