Conspiracy

Friedman: America in 2009 Is Like Israel Before the Rabin Assassination

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New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, fresh off pining openly for a one-party communist United States instead of having to tolerate minority-party Republicans (no really, he said that), now posits that right-wing criticism of Obama is just like domestic criticism of Israel's Yitzhak Rabin before the prime minister was assassinated.

Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.

I'm sure those with more Middle East expertise than I can suggest some flaws in this analogy; not least of which is the fact that the United States is not a small, recently minted nation surrounded on all sides by remarkably hostile countries against whom they have fought wars and continue to confront militarily. Still, nobody likes a violently poisonous climate, right? Let's see Friedman's evidence:

What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, "Should Obama be killed?" The choices were: "No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care." The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.

Sick, yes. But exactly what was being done to Rabin? I'm pretty sure the life-and-death currents in Israeli politics were (and are) a little bit more serious, entrenched, and organized than some retard's Facebook prank. Surely there are more indicators of impending violence?

Mr. Obama is now having his legitimacy attacked by a concerted campaign from the right fringe. They are using everything from smears that he is a closet "socialist" to calling him a "liar" in the middle of a joint session of Congress to fabricating doubts about his birth in America and whether he is even a citizen. And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs on CNN and from members of the House of Representatives.

1) None of this rises to the level of even rhetorical violence, and 2) you could make a similar list to the one above using George W. Bush, the Florida recount (or the Ohio vote-counting in 2004), "Bush lied," and Cynthia McKinney. Indeed, that's part of Friedman's point: that we've gone "24 years without a legitimate president." But Friedman wasn't writing assassination-anxiety columns in 2007, 2001, or 1998 (as far as I know, anyway). He is saying, without coming close to making the case, that what we are seeing is a widespread problem of "people crossing the line between criticizing the president and tacitly encouraging the unthinkable and the unforgivable." The Paranoid Center rises again.

As always, I'm haunted by the question: What if I'm wrong? Even if the purportedly violent townhall meetings this summer actually weren't, and signs abound of the racial-anxiety hypothesizers drastically overstating their case–my favorite from today is a fundraising e-mail sent out by The Nation claiming, falsely, that the 9/12 protest on Washington, D.C. included "tens of thousands waving Confederate flags, anti-gay hate signs, and shouting 'White Power!'"–it would take only one kook to forever validate the popular thesis that the rednecks are paving the way for racist ultra-violence. For now I can only trust my own (admittedly optimistic) eyes…and I ain't seeing it.

UPDATE: Yes, you can still talk about killing George W. Bush on Facebook. But that's just satire!

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  1. It’s time for Friedman to win a Nobel Prize.

  2. I thought it was just like 1963. You know, when a crazed right-winger was driven over the edge by John Birch Society (which was founded to oppose Kennedy_ anti-peace propaganda and killed the last, best hope for democracy and world peace. And then that caused Vietnam. Or something along those lines.

  3. it would take only one kook

    Lefties all over America are praying till their knees are red that such a kook will tip the national gabfest in their favor. A shot at Obama would be immeasurably beneficial to their openly admitted wealth-distribution schemes.

  4. Blubbering, hand-wringing retard anxiously boo-hoos about the dangerously unhinged incivility of American political discourse.

    Stop the presses.

  5. Never forget where this hypocrite lives. Here’s a picture of the Friedman compound:

    http://www.mnftiu.cc/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/blog_house1.gif

  6. This is sooooo tedious, being lectured by those who support the “one”, that any criticism is the worst thing EVER and the final sign of the apocalypse. The selective memories of the Obama supporters is nauseating.

    Unless, the black helicopter crowd & tinfoil hatters are right and there will be a false flag operation to usher in one man rule?

  7. Wow. Shut the fuck up, Thomas Friedman.

  8. Good morning republicans

  9. I’m worried that they already have a patsy lined up to confirm these rants.

  10. oh no not this again | September 30, 2009, 10:07am | #

    Oh, wow, a troll. :[

  11. Nice place Tom. And you’re not even one of those super rich Wall Street banksters, right? Can I move into your tool shed?

  12. It takes an special kind of shamelessness (or, to be more charitable, cluelessness) to write this column. Anyone who thinks that demonizing political opponents in some of the most vile ways imaginable began in Anno Obamani 1 is either an idiot or blinded by partisan loyalty.

    I’m not particularly interested in playing the hypocrisy card here. I don’t think the right should get a free pass on comparing Obama to Hitler just because the left did it. (Two wrongs don’t make a right, and all that). In fact, I’d love to see more civility in politics. But the left does need to do penance for the way it acted during W’s presidency before it can complain about Obama’s opponents.

    It wouldn’t take much to satisfy me. I’d just like some of the more prominent liberal columnists and bloggers to say “gee, now that the shoe is on the other foot, I can see all that rage, conspiracy theories, and dehumanization that we condoned, participated in, or tolerated was wrong. My bad. Can we all try to be civil now?”

  13. I’d just like some of the more prominent liberal columnists and bloggers to say “gee, now that the shoe is on the other foot, I can see all that rage, conspiracy theories, and dehumanization that we condoned, participated in, or tolerated was wrong. My bad. Can we all try to be civil now?”

    Too true. It would be nice as well if some of the righties were to say “You remember how pissed off you were at all the ugly attacks on Bush? Well, maybe you should tone it down and try to keep it civil on Obama. Its not like he doesn’t give you plenty of slow-moving targets based on what he does; there’s really no need at all to go off into the weeds with the birthers.”

  14. It’s time for Friedman to win a Nobel Prize.

    Is anyone else somewhat unnerved by the uncanny resemblance between Krugman and Friedman?

  15. They are using everything from smears that he is a closet “socialist” . . .

    That Commie was never in the closet!

  16. The Nation claiming, falsely, that the 9/12 protest on Washington, D.C. included “tens of thousands waving Confederate flags, anti-gay hate signs, and shouting ‘White Power!'”

    On the plus side, this means that the left is starting to take a more realistic view of the size of the crowd in on 9/12. I’d like for someone at The Nation to show me any picture they like showing a group of at least 100 protestors. We’ll count the number of anti-gay signs and conferate flags in the group to get a percentage of the crowd carrying those flags and signs. Then we’ll calculate how many total protestors it would take to get to 10,000 confederate flags and anti-gay signs. I’m guessing it’s going to be well into seven, possibly eight figures.

  17. I honestly believe Freidman would be overjoyed by a declaration of martial law and suspension of civil liberties by this administration.

    What a fucking left wing totalitarian worshipping state worshipping ass licker.

  18. Freidman/Friedman, meh.

  19. the 9/12 protest on Washington, D.C. included “tens of thousands waving Confederate flags, anti-gay hate signs, and shouting ‘White Power!'”

    I can’t believe they left “skinheads, sporting swastika tattoos” out.

  20. Where in the world did he get “24 years” from?

  21. These people are using these lies as a pretext for some future clamp down of free speech, however small.

    First, scare the people and then offer them a solution.

    Just you wait.

  22. Would Friedman advocate ringing the Mall with tanks, in the event of another demonstration by bloodthirsty rightwing kooks?

  23. What these folks really want, really really badly is to herd a bunch of kids into a school bus and light it on fire. To purge their souls.

    Or something.

    Derek

  24. What is it with lefties and assassination, anyway? First it was the Bush assassination porn, now its poorly disguised wishing for an Obama martyrdom.

  25. Yeah, the 24 years comment really is batty.

    So how long before someone starts a Facebook poll asking, “Should Tom Friedman be killed?”

  26. Democrats have been jackin’ it in public to Obama assassination fantasies since he won the Iowa caucus. Adding Rabin as a prop in the show is Friedman’s own kink, but they’ve been wishing into the air for an Oswald or Sirhan since Obama hit the big stage.

    The difference between now and the decades of wall-to-wall Bush/Bush/Reagan/Ford/Nixon death-wishes I grew up in is that now they mean it.

    They don’t know how to love Him.

  27. channeling Tom Friedman
    “The next 6 months of the protests will be very telling”

  28. 24 years… so like Reagan was legit for the first term, and then wasn’t (after murdering Mondale)?

  29. Would Friedman advocate ringing the Mall with tanks, in the event of another demonstration by bloodthirsty rightwing kooks?

    Only if they use biodiesel.

  30. Lots of people love JFK because he was young, the first of his “minority” to be prez, and got shot; how many people love JFK for his policies in the Congress and White House? If Obama gets shot he can fit seamlessly into the same mold, and the people who love him can love him the same way they love JFK, no attention to legislation or policy necessary.

  31. Is anyone else somewhat unnerved by the uncanny resemblance between Krugman and Friedman?

    It’s only unnerving because they insist that when they touch each other it’s just masturbation.

  32. Friedman is no better than Bette Midler, who claims that Glenn Beck is inciting a Rwanda-style civil war.

  33. I dunno, Krugman gives me a bit of the ol’ uncanny valley heebie-jeebies. I think it’s his dead eyes.

  34. These people are using these lies as a pretext for some future clamp down of free speech, however small.

    First, scare the people and then offer them a solution.

    Just you wait.

    They probably got a woody when the census worker was killed in KY. But the public didn’t bite on that story, so they need to kick the rhetoric up a notch.

  35. I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left.

    I love when bullshit artists use this qualifier. You’re supposed to give them credit for being open-minded, instead of asking the followup question: “Please give three examples of criticism you’ve seen that you do consider substantive.”

  36. The last President to be assassinated was shot by a far-left nutjob authoritarian just like Friedman, except Oswald didn’t have column space available to do his dirty work.

  37. I love when bullshit artists use this qualifier. You’re supposed to give them credit for being open-minded, instead of asking the followup question: “Please give three examples of criticism you’ve seen that you do consider substantive.”

    I have been searching for a concise way to say that for some time. Thank you The Tim Cavanaugh.

  38. More evidence that the function of the MSM is propaganda dissemination and news suppression.

    What else would you expect from a guy who writes, “Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist.” Come on … a centrist? Only if “centrist” means that he supports the warfare state of the Right as well as the welfare state of the Left. (I.e., the worst of both worlds.)

  39. The last President to be assassinated was shot by a far-left nutjob authoritarian just like Friedman, except Oswald didn’t have column space available to do his dirty work.

    But he had literature. He handed out “Fair Play for Cuba” pamphlets, IIRC.

  40. A shot at Obama would be immeasurably beneficial to their openly admitted wealth-distribution schemes.

    According to family lore, the first thing my maternal grandmother did when JFK got shot was to call me dad and yell, “I hope you’re happy now!”

  41. What else would you expect from a guy who writes, “Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist.” Come on … a centrist?

    In their world, Stalin was a Centrist, Hitler was Right Wing. See how it fits now?

  42. I occasionally like to amuse myself by thinking Lee Harvey Oswald was The Greatest American Hero Ever. Alternative history is fun.

    I also think Kennedy, if he came back today, would be universally regarded as an unelectable rightwing nutcase. The sort of stereotypical tophatted libertarian who wants the poor to starve in the streets.

  43. I didn’t think the left could exceed the right in pants-wetting, hysterical whining (“but what about the next terror attack!!!”), but…they are. Every time the right gives the left a chance, they double down on stupidity, it seems. So many chances to let the right walk away with the moron awards, but the left is just too competitive to let them.

  44. The President of the United States regardless of who he is, is probably one of the most hated people in the world. Violence against his office is always a threat and will continue to be one. Even if we accept the argument that there are more right-wing Americans who advocate violence (now as opposed to in the Bush years) how much does said movement actually increase the danger that the President faces?

  45. Has Friedman moved to China for 5 years and backed up his words with deeds?

    No? Then ignore his existence until then.

  46. Friedman is no better than Bette Midler

    Look, it’s probably all like gay and campy to say it, but: Bette Midler is way fucking better than Friedman. You ever hear Friedman try to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings”?

  47. Uh, The Tim, isn’t it “The Wind Beneath My Wings”?

  48. You ever hear Friedman try to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings”?

    it’s not his fault – mustache flutters get in the way of the high notes.

  49. “Adding Rabin as a prop in the show is Friedman’s own kink, but they’ve been wishing into the air for an Oswald or Sirhan since Obama hit the big stage.”

    Oswald and Sirhan were inconvenient for the left. Sure, the left got its martyrs, but it’s hard to portray the Kennedys as “progressive” martyrs when their killers were on the far left.

  50. Friedman on the ‘Kill Obama’ poll: “I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.”

    Yes, this is clearly a downturn in public discourse. Not like all the of the ‘Kill Bush’ Facebook posts:
    http://www.popehat.com/2009/09/29/does-facebook-think-some-threats-are-more-true-than-others/#more-6351

  51. “The sort of stereotypical tophatted libertarian who wants the poor to starve in the streets.”

    No one has ever stereotyped a libertarian as wearing a tophat. Sporting one of those green, black, yellow, and red rasta-hats while wearing a Middlebury t-shirt and holding a copy of the Fountainhead in one hand and a bong in the other? Yes. Tophat? Please.

  52. “What is it with lefties and assassination, anyway?”

    It’s for would-be suicide bomber with no balls.

  53. What would the T Friedmans of the world say if the Presidential Suit were bumped off, not by some skinhead, but by an avowed progressive pissed off by all the broken promises?

  54. What would the T Friedmans of the world say if the Presidential Suit were bumped off, not by some skinhead, but by an avowed progressive pissed off by all the broken promises?

    The right-wing hatred of the One made him do it.

  55. What would the T Friedmans of the world say if the Presidential Suit were bumped off, not by some skinhead, but by an avowed progressive pissed off by all the broken promises?

    The right-wing hatred of the One made him do it.

    That’s been the approach that I’ve seen to the inconvenient truth (heh) that Oswald was a Communist. I don’t have a link, but Media Matters (I think) had someone a week or two ago who wrote something about the climate of hate surrounding Obama resembling that in Dallas in 1963. Someone pointed out the truth about Oswald, and the non-conspiracy theory response was that, okay, the extreme left hated Kennedy too, but he never would have gone through with the assassination without the climate of anti-Kennedy hate generated by the right.

  56. Wouldn’t “tens of thousands waving Confederate flags, anti-gay hate signs, and shouting ‘White Power!'” have been most of the US population of white supremacists?

  57. You only trust what you see with your own eyes? Typical far-right, extremist, racist (insert most recent anti-right Grauniad/Nationite epithet)!

  58. Is there anything worse than a self-hating Jew?

  59. Is there anything worse than a self-hating Jew?

    Yeah, an America-hating American communist.

  60. “Is there anything worse than a self-hating Jew?

    Yeah, an America-hating American communist.”

    I can be both!

  61. This stuff is all just wish fullfillment on the part of liberals. They know Obama’s policies are not popular and that the magic such as it was is gone. They know that if things don’t change Obama’s Presidency is going to end badley for them. But if Obama were assinated it would reaffirm all of their prejudices about their opponents. It would take an ineffective and increasingly annoying politician and turn him into a martyr. Obama’s death would save the day.

    It would also allow boomer liberals like Friedman to relive their youth in the Kennedy assasination and give them a new Camelot to look back to. It sounds sick I know. But I really think that people like Friedman are that far gone.

  62. I am glad I’m not the only one who thinks that there are a number of people on the left who are preying for an Obama assassination. A martyr would advance their cause far more than any living politician could. Of course, I am probably just being paranoid.

  63. “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”

  64. “Is anyone else somewhat unnerved by the uncanny resemblance between Krugman and Friedman?

    It’s only unnerving because they insist that when they touch each other it’s just masturbation.”

    They both were hawter than Georgia asphalt in “Beards Gone Wild!”

  65. “I dunno, Krugman gives me a bit of the ol’ uncanny valley heebie-jeebies. I think it’s his dead eyes.”

    He gives of that unmistakable pedophile vibe.

  66. They should both be stripped of their beardrights.

  67. “Obama’s death would save the day.”

    Keep in mind that a good many of the “hate crimes” (e.g, nooses on the black professor’s door) are self-inflicted. If anyone is gonna take the guy out it will be a far left-winger.

  68. @ Mitch
    “Lots of people love JFK because he was young, the first of his “minority” to be prez, and got shot; how many people love JFK for his policies in the Congress and White House?”

    People also love JFK for how he handled the Cuban Missle Crisis

  69. According to family lore, the first thing my maternal grandmother did when JFK got shot was to call me dad and yell, “I hope you’re happy now!”

    According to my family lore, the preacher dropped by to visit my grandmother on the Sunday before the 1960 election to tell her not to vote for the Pope’s puppet. She was so angered by this, she shoved the man up against her refrigerator and nearly choked him to death. Somehow, the idiot was unaware that her daughter (me mum) was married to a Papist.

  70. One man’s “satire” is another man’s TREASON.

  71. You ever hear Friedman try to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings”?

    No, and I wish I’d never heard Midler sing it, either. That song SUCKS!

  72. I wish I had Friedman’s email address. I would send him this:
    “http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.zombietime.com%2Fzomblog%2F%3Fp%3D621&ei=_qXDSuyDGYSltgfXv-3lBA&rct=j&q=zombie+kill+bush&usg=AFQjCNHl1_j9XQ6jAXXK1cy26xLKqnyajA”

    It’s the Zombieblog recap of all the “Kill Bush” activity over the last 9 years. And it really, really makes Friedman look like the moron that he is.

  73. Oh, yes, we have a real wave of right-wing-violence in this country right now. Murder of an anti-abortion advocate, the G20 meeting anarchists, permanent maiming of an Obamacare opponent, union enforcers beating an Obamacare opponent . . .

    Oh, wait.

  74. People also love JFK for how he handled the Cuban Missle Crisis

    Kennedy could have simply contacted the Soviets quietly and hammered out the same quid pro quo deal (they withdraw the missiles from Cuba, we withdraw the missiles from Turkey) that was reached historically.

    Instead, he had to put us through a big drama including direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union, including a serious risk of nuclear war. But hey, it looked like Kennedy won the brinksmanship, because we kept the withdrawal of missiles from Turkey secret.

  75. People also love JFK for how he handled the Cuban Missle Crisis

    A lot of the reason that people love JFK (and the rest of the Kennedys) is that Joe Kennedy paid a lot of money to sycophantic writers to create a myth for the family.

    This included favorable stories in the press but also the wholesale creation of the PT 109 legend (Kennedy could just as easily have been busted out of the navy as an incompetent for losing a boat) and submitting a ghostwritten book as JFK’s own and then collecting a Pulitzer for it (and God only knows, since it isn’t really that good anyway, how many on the prize committee got their palms greased).

    And, of course, by now everyone has completely forgotten that in the sixty election Nixon was the liberal appeaser of the communists while Kennedy took the hard line promising to “pay any price, bear any burden” while closing the missile gap.

    JFK’s assassination was arguably the best thing that ever happened to the Kennedy family’s political fortunes.

  76. Steele reaction to Friedman is delusional. There is a related post at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?page_id=588

  77. PEOPLE EVERY ONE BETTER HOPE THAT NOTHING DOES HAPPEN TO BARACK OBAMA! IF YOU THINK IRAQ WAS BAD! AMERICA WILL BE 100 TIMES WORST & THE END OF AMERICA!

  78. “it would take only one kook sto forever validate the popular thesis that the rednecks are paving the way for racist ultra-violence. For now I can only trust my own (admittedly optimistic) eyes…and I ain’t seeing it.”

    Well color me surprised.
    I take it that includes the military-trained white supremacists arrested with plans to assassinate Obama.

    Of course it does. Like every other right-wing extremist action and plot doesn’t rate a mention in your linked “I haven’t seen any militias since the 1990s” story.

    While it’s rather easy to say “I can’t see a problem” when you purposefully avoid acknowledging it, this is generally not the most credible basis on which to provide commentary.

  79. John | September 30, 2009, 12:26pm | #
    “This stuff is all just wish fullfillment on the part of liberals.”

    Who knew the Secret Service would lie about threats to the president increasing 400% since those anti-Bush signs for this reason.
    Thanks for the credible insight, guy named “John”.

    Likewise, this data will be another symptom that remains predictably invisible to our host here, much like FBI data supporting their warnings on right-wing extremists. Just so hard to see when your biases require you to avoid looking at it.

  80. If i were a betting person i would wager that if anything happens to our president, there are plenty of left wing crazies. Cities will burn an i would bet, a dollar to a donut Sister sara is toast an the entire fox cabal is gone to the happy hunting ground. Just some thoughts to ponder on An 2 say the very least Rush has a target on him no one could miss. Just some thouhgts

  81. First, I hope that no harm befalls our President. Aside from the obvious reasons, the idea of a Biden or Pelosi Presidency is terrifying.

  82. Censor?

    Fox “News”
    ANTI 911 TRUTH
    All Israeli all the time
    Neocon News Network

    William J Fallon UNREST
    Complete Corruption effect
    The “Federal” Reserve flush with cash
    All MSM Propagandists singing same song

    Ventura Sheehan Perot Paul Nader McKinney Kucinich Kaptur Gravel Gonzalez Clemente Choate Carter Baldwin Anderson

    Grayson too?

  83. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Lucy

    http://maternitymotherhood.net

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