Our Loonies Versus Their Loonies By James Joyner

John Aravosis contends that liberals are much less angry and nasty than their conservative counterparts.

They have terrorists – pro-lifer murderers. Who do we have on the liberal side who outright murders their political opponents?

Well, there are various ecoterrorist groups like the Animal Liberation Front, the Animal Rights Militia, Greenpeace, and others. The various groups that spike trees to injure loggers. Those who set fire to SUV dealerships. Unabomber Ted Kaczinski. Going back a little further, we had the Weather Underground, Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and others.

Ann Coulter and Pat Robertson have called for the assassination of their political opponents. Jerry Falwell and the religious right groups are bigots who are still embraced by the Republican party. Who do we have on the religious left who even holds a candle to these hatemongers?

Is there a “religious left” nowadays? Al Sharpton?

Then there’s the angry factor: Ken Mehlman, O’Reilly, Hannity, Scarborough, Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Newt, Frist, Santorum, Delay, George Will, Krauthammer, most of the top Republican bloggers, Bob Dole, Cheney, and more. The Republicans are an angry party, most of their leadership on TV, the radio and in politics is simply motivated by, and exudes, an unhealthy anger.

But who on the left exudes the same? Michael Moore? Hardly, the man is usually smiling and laughing in his appearances. Compare him to Sean Hannity. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary or Bill? None of them are angry or nasty. Nor are our TV personalities angry: Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart get their points across with humor and facts, but not the obvious seething hate you see from a Hannity.

Howard Dean, Al Gore, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Cynthia McKinney, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bobby Rush, Maxine Waters, most of the top Democratic bloggers, Molly Ivins, Ted Rall, Chris Matthews, Al Franken, Janeane Garafolo, Randi Rhodes, MoveOn.org, etc. I always liked Harry Reid but think he’s been pretty angry since assuming the Minority Leader mantle.

I don’t watch enough talking head TV anymore to be able to do much comparison. Hannity is annoying, to be sure, but surely no more angry than a Bob Beckel, Paul Begala or James Carville. Let alone Chris Matthews (”Hardball” incarnation, not the Sunday show guy). Indeed, when one includes the generally professorial George Will in a list of the other side’s crazies, it’s a pretty good sign that the list is thin. And Steny Hoyer? That’s reaching pretty far down the fame threshhold to come up with a pleasant personality.

Think about the conservatives most hated by the left. They’re all angry, negative, nasty-hearted mean people. But compare them to those most hated by the right: Hillary, Bill, Moore, Soros, Phil Donohue, Alan Alda, Norman Lear, and a whole host of Hollywood – Barbra Streisand on down. Where do you find the hate and the anger spewing from those people? Sure, the right hates them, but you really can’t point to any of these people who are as filled with hatred and anger as anyone on the right. In fact, the quality most often shared by those hated by the right: intelligence, eloquence, and a message.

Who’s been hating on Donohue, Alda, or Lear in the last twenty years or so? People on the right disagreed with Alda and Lear, to be sure, but I don’t recall a lot of venom directed their way; indeed, most of us regularly watched their shows. Donohue, who I actually rather like as a person, was surely at least as angry as Hannity. There’s plenty of anger and hate spewing from Streisand and Moore, although most on the right are just annoyed with the idea of Hollywood celebs being taken seriously when they try to tell us how to lead our lives.

So, in conclusion, their religious folks are angrier and nastier than ours – well, theirs are outright bigots, ours are puppy gods. Their political leaders are angrier and nastier, whereas again, ours are puppy dogs. Their TV and radio personalities, and their other celebrities, all kind of nasty (they get Charleston Heston, enough said, gun man).

Really? Charleton Freakin’ Heston? The man’s a teddy bear. Whatever one thinks of his stands on the issues, he is incredibly classy in his public discourse. His solliloquy on Ice T’s “Cop Killer,” for example, is a classic of calmly shredding the other side without raising one’s voice.

Across the board, conservatives are represented by people who are simply motivated by, and exude, an irrational hatred and anger. Is it any wonder that Republicans are so prone to striking out domestically and internationally at whomever they perceive as today’s enemy?

Yes, Republicans tend to advocate force against foreigners who are trying to kill us. Then again, until very recently, so did Democrats. Even Bill Clinton sent American troops into combat on a dozen or more occasions. And Hillary Clinton strongly championed the Iraq War.

Moreover, this whole argument is silly. Operation Rescue and Timothy McVeigh are about as representative of mainstream Republicans as the Animal Liberation Front and Ted Kaczinski are of mainstream Democrats; which is to say, not at all. There is anger and frustration on both sides, as there are serious cultural divides in the country. But then, with perhaps a handful of brief intermissions during particularly unifying national events, that has always been the case.

Talk radio and blogs have made angry expression more public than it once was, I suppose, but that’s true outside of politics. Most sports talk radio is more vitriolic than Rush Limbaugh. Indeed, most Americans are probably more passionate and agitated about sports than they are about politics.

This content was used with the permission of Outside The Beltway.

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