On Sunday, February 14, I wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled "Obama Better Start Breaking Kneecaps." You can read it here, but the premise of the piece was that the White House, and Obama in particular, must start playing hardball when it comes to dealing with the do-nothing Republican Party, a.k.a the Party of No. I was hardly the first one to suggest this. In a speech in upstate New York, Georgetown University professor Michael E. Dyson said this about Barack Obama:
Get on your job!...Stop trying to kiss the Republicans. I’m not mad, but you have to know who you are and what you stand for [if any significant change is to be made].
On Monday there was an article in the Washington Post saying the White House is in fact revamping its communication strategy. So what does all this have to do with the right-wing crazies? Well...nothing really, because many in the right-wing blogosphere failed to read my article (perhaps reading is a challenge to some of them). All they saw was my headline: "Obama Better Start Breaking Kneecaps" and the photo that accompanied it (more on that later).
The right sent out their attack dogs. Most prominent was some guy named Kristinn Taylor (at least I think that person is a guy) who shills for one of Andrew Breitbart's ludicrous right-wing sites, Biggovernment.com—a site that would have been apt under George W. Bush's administration.
CNN and Huffington Post have each published op-eds this past week by regular contributors with headlines that explicitly call for Obama to use violent gangland tactics against his political opponents.
Martin, a sharp-tongued CNN commentator, had written a piece titled "Time for Obama to go ‘gangsta’ on GOP." Like me, Martin was pressing the administration to take a tougher stand on the knuckle-dragging Republicans in Congress. Clearly he used the term "gangsta" tongue-in-cheek. Even those with Sarah Palin–level I.Q.s would be able to see that. Who would really think Martin meant that Obama should grab his gat and take out the Republican Party? Um...Mr. Taylor it seems.
For my post, Taylor highlighted my entreaty to the White House, where I said:
You've given it your best shot, you've tried numerous times to talk with the Republicans, to negotiate, to meet them halfway on every single matter before the American people. But they hate you for many reasons. It's time you break kneecaps. It's time to destroy the Republican Party. They don't deserve a seat at the table when all they want to do is score political points by being the Party of No.
"In case the message wasn’t clear," Taylor says, "Huffington Post illustrated the call to violence with a wooden baseball bat with Obama’s first name on it in large letters." First off, Huffington had nothing to do with the baseball bat image. Give credit where credit is due. I, sir, made the photo myself. As a blogger for biggovernment.com, perhaps Mr. Breitbart gets you coffee and donuts and maybe he even writes the posts for you, but at Huffington, we writers are responsible for our own graphics. I e-mailed Taylor several times asking him to remove my awesome baseball bat photo but got no response.
Taylor's post generated about 600 comments, mainly from Crazy Town, that were by and large incredibly incendiary. His post spread through the right-wing blogosphere like a cancer. It finally reached the Twitter page of Fox News neanderthal Glenn Beck, who even mentioned my baseball bat on his radio show—but didn't give me attribution, which after an e-mail I received this morning proved merciful.
In my inbox this morning from a potential serial killer was this super-nice e-mail:
Want to try and bust my kneecaps? WANT TO TRY? A bullet to your head would stop you REAL quick. We have a 2nd amendment for a reason.
It's funny (or sad) how my original post, which had nothing to do with violence but had everything to do with strategy, was looked on as a call to violence. And the right wingers excoriated me, saying how awful I am to call for "gangland violence." (?) So to make their point the right-wingers...called for actual violence against me.
Speaking of violence...the Hill reported that at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins Thursday February 18, attendees will be WHACKING (i.e., beating to death) a pinata of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They will also get a chance to beat to death a Harry Reid punching bag. Is there outrage on right? Of course not. An actual beating in effigy of a Democrat is okay, but using a metaphor about strategy is tantamount to calling for war.