If liberals believe anything, it is that the right is either solely, or mostly, responsible for the degradation of political discourse in America. And they are surely correct to condemn such ugly rhetorical excesses as the Obama-is-Hitler placards that flowered across the land in the summer of 2009.
But liberals are in deep, deep denial about their own incivility issues. Consider the “terrorism” analogy now being aimed at the Tea Party by Democratic members of Congress — in the acquiescent presence of the vice president, no less — and by some journalists who sympathize with the Democrats. To pick just one example of the genre, today’s New York Times carries Joe Nocera’s column, “Tea Party’s War Against America.”…
I’m puzzled. The Times editorial board only recently condemned “many on the right” for “exploit[ing] the arguments of division,” and “demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats.” Right-wingers, The Times notes, “seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.”
So how can it be okay for Times columnists to demonize the Tea Party and try to persuade Americans that they are not just misguided, but the enemies of the people?