Interesting Developments in Left-Wing Paranoia
It appears that CNN Newsroom anchor Rick Sanchez is backing away from the claims he has been making for months that death threats to President Obama have increased 400 percent since he has been in office. On yesterday’s program, Sanchez was reviewing congressional testimony by head of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, who was answering questions about security after an uninvited couple crashed the President’s State dinner last week. Sanchez showed video of the exchange between Sullivan and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton:
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C. DELEGATE: It is well known and in the press over and over again that this president has received far more death threats than any president in the history of the United States, an alarming number of death threats.
I’m not going to ask you for the details on that. But here we had the first state dinner, not of just any old president, but of the first African-American president. Was there any attempt to increase security given all you know, which is much more than we know, about threats to this president of the United States?
SULLIVAN: Ma’am, no matter who the president is…
NORTON: I’m asking about this president. And my question is very specific. Given death threats to this president, was there any attempt to increase the security at this event, yes or no?
SULLIVAN: Ma’am, I can’t talk about that.
I would be more — number one, I will address the threats. I have heard a number out there that the threat is up by 400 percent. I’m not sure where that number…
NORTON: Is it up at all? We’re not asking for the threat number.
SULLIVAN: Well, I would — I think it can answer you, ma’am. It isn’t at 400 percent. And I’m not sure where that number came from, but I can…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can’t hear, gentlemen.
NORTON: Please don’t assign to me a number in my question. I just asked you if the threats were up. Are the threats up or not, Mr. Sullivan?
SULLIVAN: They are not. The threats right now in the inappropriate interest that we’re seeing is the same level as it has been for the previous two presidents at this point.
NORTON: This is very comforting news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Sanchez, who has been one of the most vocal and persistent advocates of this theory and who has not necessarily always doubted the truth of the rumored threats finally conceded:
SANCHEZ: Comforting, indeed. Did you hear that? That was the head of the U.S. Secret Service answering a question that we have been asking for months on this newscast. Are assassination threats against the president of the United States up 400 percent?
We have heard that number tossed around again and again. We have seen it written, we have asked the Secret Service. And they would not give us a direct answer as well. Today, they did.
The answer is no. Threats against this president are about the same, you heard, as they were for two immediate predecessors of this president.
On a related front, Jonathan Tobin at Commentary responds to criticism of his original article about the foolishness of the recent report issued by the ADL, “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” in which the Tea Party Movement and other organized anti-Obama activists are maligned and said to be “threats to American Democracy.” Tobin declares the report foolish because it dishonestly attempts to link legitimate Obama opposition to more extreme elements. He writes:
The ADL’s defenders claim that the group has made the proper distinctions between normal political activity and extremism. But if they read the report carefully, they will see that such distinctions were thrown to the winds in its introduction. Had the report stuck to its accounts of the more bizarre conspiracy theories circulating about Obama or of the activity of violent extremists, there would have been no reason to criticize it. But, instead, it linked the crackpots with legitimate public protests, conservative media figures, and even “mainstream” politicians pursuing the duties of an opposition party in a democracy.
Furor over the perpetual attempt to link conservative activists to the “extremist” meme is one of the reasons this blog was started. It is needless to say,that the irony of the ADL’s report is that in an attempt to label legitimate and effective opposition as paranoid and fear-mongering, the pro-Obama Left has shown that they deserve that description, perhaps much more than the people they are critical of. And they do this not out of any concern for American Democracy, but to give partisan ammunition to the Obama Administration against its legitimate opponents. As The Other McCain states powerfully about the ADL’s report:
Let’s be clear. This execrable document is not meant to inform; it is meant to stoke the very fear and paranoia it pretends to abhor. . . .
If rage is growing, it’s because Americans are waking up to the threat of a White House and a congressional majority intent on exponentially increasing the power of the state and gashing individual liberty. . . .Under the cloak of exposing “extremism,” ADL is exposing its own antipathy toward limited government and individual liberty, especially the First and Second Amendments. A perfect fellow traveler for an administration working overtime for the same. . . .
People should not be afraid to be passionate when speaking their truth in these times. When history calls for it, patriots must come to the aid of their country and defend the values that they believe are being usurped. Passion and yes, even extremism, are to be expected when millions see their leaders signaling radical change in the government and eventually the social fabric. By all means passion should be tempered with with reason and extremism with restraint, but the sense of outrage that motivates people and informs the energy to act, cannot be denied nor suppressed. Obama, most of his Administration , and Congress have signaled that they are essentially at war with conservatism and regard it as an impediment to the transformation they seek in their horrendous and radical legislative agenda. It should come as no surprise, especially to those sponsoring the agenda, that they have people riled up.