UPDATE BELOW: SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM CALLS OUT THE RIGHTWING CRAZIES
Dave Miller, who hosts a wonderful blog called the mission, wrote a particularly relevant comment below in the comment section on Thomas Friedman's column in today's NYTimes.
What Dave points out is applicable to what is happening today with regard to the silence on the part of cooler heads in the GOP. Where are they? And yes, Dave, if they do not condemn the violent rhetoric coming from the extremists in their party, we'll see more of it, and it will grow in an uncontrolled manner that will result in great damage to the country. The fact that the Democrats engaged in this while Mr. Bush was president doesn't excuse what is happening today. And I do not recall Democratic Congressmen/women tacitly approving threats and hate speech directed at Mr. Bush by radical Lefties. I do recall Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi saying something to the effect that Mr. Bush was a failure and/or loser, which happened well into his second term, and after this country had suffered through the incompetent handling of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the impending financial disaster. I don't recall anything as virulent as what is happening now, occuring in the first 9 months of Mr. Bush's administration, nor do I recall any radio or teevee personality with millions and millions of people in their audience calling for Mr. Bush to fail only two months into his term.
Here is Dave Miller's comment (with his permission) on what is happening:
When terrorists attacked us on 9/11 many people were rightly upset at images of people from primarily Muslim [countries] celebrating in the streets.
As time went on we heard from some political leaders that Islam is not a dangerous religion, only that it had been hijacked by extremists.
Those types of statements were frequently met with derision from the conservative and more religious voices in the United States.
They pointed that if Islam was indeed a religion of peace, we should expect to hear from those more moderate clerics within the religion itself.
When those more moderate voices did not step forward, many on the right interpreted this as proof of a lack of tolerance and moderation within Islam.
To many, this lack of public, widespread condemnation of terrorist activities in the name of Islam showed many that this religion was not a religion of peace, but of hate.
Now we have a similar situation here in the United States.
We have people, some as individuals, some as part of loosely organized groups, and others belonging to a major political party personally attacking President Obama.
Not his policies, but him personally and even the legitimacy of his presidency.
We have seen the birthers. We have seen the witch doctor photos. We have heard the words of elected representatives.
And nowhere have we seen the voices of moderation in the GOP stand up and publicly repudiate these types of statements.
Nowhere have we seen the GOP leadership take a stand against this type of behavior similar to what they expected from the moderate leaders of Islam.
I think it safe to assume, following their logic vis-à-vis Islam, that they in fact agree with people like the birthers, Rep Franks, Rep Bachmann, and the Facebook person.
Unless and until we see GOP leadership step forward and condemn these acts, and say there is no place for them in American politics, it is safe to assume that by their silence, they condone these acts.
So, Sarah Palin, Gov. Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and all you other GOP "leaders" with Presidential ambitions and a desire to lead, the ball is now in your court.
"Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.) offered unusually blunt assessments of the fringe elements of his party and conservative media on Thursday, calling the popular and bombastic Fox News host Glenn Beck a "cynic" whose show was antithetical to American values.
"Only in America can you make that much money crying," Graham said of Beck. "Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party. He is aligned with cynicism and there has always been a market for cynics. But we became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers."
Appearing before a crowd of Washington's elite power players and opinion-makers, Graham spoke largely without filter, offering acidic takes on subject well beyond Beck. The Senator called the birther community that questions the president's U.S. citizenship "crazy" and implored them to "knock this crap off" so the country could get on to more important matters.
"I'm here to tell you that those who think the president was not born in Hawaii are crazy," said Graham, who went on to dispel another myth: that Obama is a closet Muslim."