Now, it is not nice to call people
"putzhead," and I wasn't sorry to see D'Amato spanked for his boorish language.
But it is also not nice to call people white-sheeted racists, yet so far as I know, none
of my media brethren spanked Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun when she implied that
George Will, the noted commentator, belonged to the Klan.
"I think because he could not say
'nigger,' he said the word 'corrupt,'" Moseley-Braun offered by way of rebutting
Will's columns about her many ethical lapses. "George Will can just take his hood and
go back to wherever he came from." (In fact, Will hadn't said the word
Why did Moseley-Braun's vile slander get
a pass while D'Amato's crudity became a national story? Because in one case, a liberal
insulted a conservative, while in the other, a liberal was insulted by a conservative. I
devote a column each December to illustrating the pervasive double standard by which
liberals are permitted to say vicious things about conservatives - things that would get a
conservative beheaded by sundown if he said it about a liberal.
In Salem, Mass., the superintendent of
schools declared that Barbara Anderson - the state's leading
taxpayer activist - "should be tried for murder" for her
opposition to raising property levies. In Berkeley, Calif., advocates for the homeless
denounced bookseller Andy Ross - who campaigned to keep vagrants from sitting and lying in
the streets - as a "fascist" and defended the swastikas that were painted in
front of his store. In Washington, Republican foes of a campaign finance bill were likened
to "terrorists" by Gwen Ifill, a reporter for NBC.
This is liberal hate speech, and I choose the word "hate" advisedly.
Conservatives tend to view liberals as people whose views are profoundly misguided, people
woefully in need of straightening out. But liberals are more likely to see conservatives
as hateful - people whose views should be suppressed, not debated, people who deserve only
contempt. (David Horowitz, the ex-radical who famously had second thoughts about the Left
when he viewed the wreckage of the Sixties, brilliantly analyzes and explains this
phenomenon in his razor-sharp new book, "The Politics of Bad Faith.")
This is why Alan Dershowitz, a
formidable liberal who defends rapists and murderers, could publicly curse congressmen who
voted for impeachment as "the forces of evil. Evil. Genuine evil." This is why
Tom Shales, the Washington Post's gifted TV critic, could suggest of independent counsel
Kenneth Starr: "Beneath the dullness lies pure evil." This is why liberal talk
show host Phil Donahue could go postal during a conversation about politics "and
begin shouting," as the New York Post reported this month, "how much he hated
Moseley-Braun wasn't the only liberal to
sling the racism mudball in 1998. Charles Rangel, the congressman from Harlem, smeared
Republicans in May. "Don't you believe that they don't want to dismantle the Social
Security system. They are afraid to come out from under their hoods and attack us
directly." The novelist E.L. Doctorow compared Bill Clinton's critics to the
murderers in Jasper, Texas: "The president of the United States," he said, is
"being dragged through the town by a pickup." Keith Olbermann of MSNBC
identified Lauch Fairthcloth, the conservative North Carolina senator, as "one of the
junior Grand Wizards of the vast right-wing conspiracy."
And then there was the preelection radio
spot aired in St. Louis: "When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When
you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another
assault wound a brother or sister.... Paid for by the Missouri Democratic Party."
Repugnant stuff. Yet liberals routinely
get away with injecting it into the public discourse. Just ask Starr, who would have been
crucified if he had hurled at his critics the sickening libels many of them hurled at him.
Olbermann, the MSNBC commentator,
announced in August that Starr made him think of Heinrich Himmler, who ran the Gestapo for
Hitler. In February, Larry King compared him to Nazis. In October, Vanessa Redgrave also
compared him to Nazis.
Indeed, it sometimes seems as if
liberals can't look at a conservative or a Republican without seeing the SS. The GOP
decision to block a vote on censuring Clinton, US Representative Tom Lantos of California
snarled, is something one would expect "in Hitler's parliament." When New York
Mayor Rudy Giuliani displeased an artists' association, it publicly depicted him with a
But for sheer poison, nothing compares
with the diatribe uncorked by Alec Baldwin on the Conan O'Brien show. A liberal activist
and staunch Clinton supporter, the actor was condemning the Republicans on the House
"If we were in other
countries," he shouted, "we would all right now, all of us together - all of us
together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would
stone him to death! Wait!... I'm not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we
would go to their homes and we'd kill their wives and their children! We would kill their
That is hate speech so monstrous the
outcry against it should have cost Baldwin his career. But Baldwin is a liberal. So, of
course, there was no outcry, and his incitement cost him nothing.