The Party of Hate

Bill Whittle, warming up a Texas GOP crowd for Ted Cruz, urges killing Californians at random. Cruz does not object.

I agree with Ed Kilgore that the pundit blah about “partisanship” – with its implicit assumption of equivalence – ignores the frequency and virulence of pure hate speech within even relatively respectable precincts on the Right. I’m not shocked when some Faux News ranter wows a Texas GOP audience by joking about murdering Californians at random. But Bill Whittle did so as a warm-up act for Ted Cruz, who is discussed seriously as a Presidential candidate, and Cruz did not object. Worse, as far as I can tell no one among the Red commentariat, or in Red Blogistan, has objected, either. (Consider this a bleg for exceptions.)

Note that Whittle’s speech was much, much nastier than anything the Rev. Mr. Wright ever said, and there’s no question that Cruz heard every word. And yet – so far – none of the GOP fans who populated the fainting couch over the Wright sermons seems to have a problem with this. Worse, I can confidently predict that if Cruz does become a Presidential candidate, the mainstream media won’t see this as a story on a par with the Wright story. Hate speech on the right is simply dog-bites man.

Footnote Yes, there’s plenty of regional bigotry among bicoastal progressives, and hearing “cracker” or “redneck” used as pejoratives makes me queasy. But I’ve never heard anyone on the Blue team express the idea, even in jest, that killing Texas, just as Texans, would be a good idea.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

33 thoughts on “The Party of Hate”

  1. Cruz certainly should have objected; for all anyone knows, those California plates could belong to a Bircher from Orange County who never got over the loss of Max Rafferty.

    1. was Max Rafferty the one who used to scream about affective education and encounter groups being communist plots in the 70s?

      1. Max Rafferty ran the public school system in California back in the sixties. In a sort of foreshadowing of today’s Tea Party, as an anti-hippie, anti-protestor, anti-tax, pro-war fanatic, he defeated an electable incumbent moderate Republican Senator in the GOP primary in 1968, only to lose in the general election to Alan Cranston. He hated “progressive” education in all its manifestations. That played well enough in the early 1960s but not so well by 1970.

        To him, just about everyone was a Communist, including the man who beat him for re-election as school superintendant in 1970, when he lost in every county but Orange, if memory serves. Later he joined the George Wallace campaign for President. When he died, he was sent to Dante’s Purgatory, where he will have to read “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate” again and again until all his hatreds are purged away and he can enjoy a federally-funded high school theater production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

        1. I may have first came across some of the Rafferty stuff reading of a packed “pro-family town hall” event in Davison, MI from 1977. It was a county board meeting which had been preached on by the right-wing churches and so attracted many local clergy, small businesspeople, genuinely concerned parents, hippie-bashing fuddy duddies and of course some assorted bigots. It was aimed at stopping a group of young lefties led by Michael Moore and Dan Killen [now a progressive Democratic rep for the Flint area] because they ran the Hotline Center which provided individual support and social/political advocacy for the youth of the area.

          Some people made the regular old point of it being immoral and a front for sex, drugs and rock’n’roll- including the parents of teenagers who had got sex ed, condoms, overdose aid, information about the gay community or an abortion referral there and felt they were denied their right to know what their daughter was up to. Others accused them of preaching anarchy and socialism based on the focus on student rights/free expression or certain books and magazines available at the center’s library.

          But the real draw which had dozens of townsfolk screaming against the ‘radical, subversive, anti-American Hotline’ was its provision of EST, ‘personal growth groups’, ‘family communication dynamics’, TA, Values Clarification, self-concept development and other techniques broadly under the human potential/transpersonal/sensitivity/encounter umbrella. Some had fought board battles to keep it out of their schools and opponents were vigilant in extending their ‘super-patriot’ suspicion of any number of ‘progressive innovations’. And they demanded this ‘mind control’ and ‘touchy-feely nonsense’ be kicked back to California; most probably wished to see hippies gone from the ‘heartland’ with it.

          So I traced back the rhetoric used with its intersecting conspiracy plots and found Max Rafferty to be the prime instigator of the ultraconservative war against ‘affective education’ and source for most of the original ideas then regurgitated through small-town papers, spewed venomously from pulpits and jumbled into lurid handbills which if taken literally would mean that *any* discussion of feelings, empathy or social relationships in school or church was a Marxist mischief. Of course they couldn’t mean that but it was the platform from which they trained their fire on specific forms of ‘progressive ed’ and supporters thereof, with the villain in chief usually ending up as Dewey, Maslow, Rogers, teacher unions and the Esalen Institute.

          The fear of ‘encounter groups’ faded when most of the newfangled therapy and spiritual approaches of the sixties were no longer new and making headlines, other than among a few hold-outs, but the substance of Rafferty’s ideas still circulates even in the fairly moderate right. A whole chunk of anti-Common Core right-wingers inspired by Glenn Beck are *still* arguing CC is bad because it will ‘change the schools from cognitive outcomes to affective outcomes’…the same false claim they made against OBE, Goals 2000, project work and anything conceivably related to John Dewey and used against genuinely affective programs like PUMSY through the mid nineties [once the Soviet Union collapsed it just became a ‘socialist’, ‘godless humanist’ or ‘New Age’ plot rather than a Red ploy- If at first your conspiracy sinks, fiddle with the details and say you were right all along.]

  2. Killing Texans? No.

    But can we give Texas (except Austin) back to Mexico? And while we’re at it, will Spain take Florida back?

    1. Don’t worry about Florida. They’re going to become believers in Climate Change. Real. Soon. Now.

    2. Hell, no! We’re not going to give it back to anybody. We’re going to take it back: for the Democratic Party.

      1. You might want to rethink that. Eventually the oil will run out and we’ll be stuck with a place that Gen. Sheridan thought compared unfavorably with Hell. Better for everyone if they go.

  3. “Apropos of nothing in particular I have been told by German speakers that their language includes a term that means ‘a face that is crying out for a fist.'”

    That was Paul Campos of Lawyers, Guns and Money, describing his opinion of George Will:

    Not as bad in many ways, but it does call out a particular person. I thought it was inappropriate, but I never said anything about it. Maybe I will now.

  4. I’m basically speechless at the notion that Democrats aren’t full of vile. I guess it’s just the usual “our shit doesn’t stink” position you come to expect, but still…You don’t read your own site?

    1. of course you also believe that trying to overcome 400 years of oppression is more racist than perpretrating 400 years of oppression but tell me anyway, is “full of vile” the same thing as being full of murder in jest?

      1. If you can find somebody who has perpetrated 400 years of oppression, I will not object to you calling them a racist. But I am more concerned with who’s being oppressed today, than with who happens to look like somebody who was oppressed decades or centuries ago.

        1. What effect did 399 years of oppressions have on the distribution of wealth today?

          Not saying libertarians must agree that it is proper for the govt to try to change this. Just noting, for the record, that the effects persist.

    2. OK, Brett, your task is very simple. Just need to find an example of Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi being introduced by a speaker who says that Californians need to shoot Texans on sight and you have provided strong evidence supporting your symmetry hypothesis.

      We will be standing by.

      1. Exactly! How many times does this have to be said? What the base says among themselves is one thing; for the actual officials of the party to be saying this stuff or sanctioning it is something else entirely. (And this ain’t a new phenomenon either; you can trace a direct line back to libertarian hero Barry Goldwater, whose flippant jokes about cutting off the Eastern Seaboard were famously turned into a brilliant attack ad by the Johnson campaign.)

        1. I believe the Georgia state legislature once passed a resolution requesting that a ditch be dug around the state of Vermont, so it could be towed out to sea and sunk.

      2. I’ll give you that Maxine Waters isn’t a senator, but she has joked about killing Republicans:

        “We were basically held up in raising the debt ceiling, until they got all of those budget cuts they demanded,” Waters said. “We didn’t raise any revenue and they didn’t close any tax loopholes. I believe the Democratic Party and the president of the United States should not have backed down. We should have made them walk the plank.”

        1. Uh, wasn’t “We should have made them walk the plank.” a metaphor for facing the political consequences, not for drowning?

          Was it any kind of a physical threat?

    3. I’m sure you’ve got some unkind comment or other in mind. Are you aware, though, that we’re talking about a leading figure of your party here, and the goings-on at a public appearance of his of which he approves?

      I mean, I get that you’re not going to agree that calling for the random murder of Californians is inappropriate, but do you at least get the difference between Random Blog Commenter and Guy Who’s Opening For Likely Presidential Nominee?

    4. Brett Bellmore writes “You don’t read your own site?”

      Apparently you don’t read your own comments.

      You’re the one who posted a comment here claiming that the big scandal about the Oklahoma City right-wing terrorist bombing was … the involvement of some imaginary federal agents-provocateurs.

      That’s quite possibly the most vile thing that was posted on this site in 2013, and you’re the one who posted it.

      1. Now that’s unfair. Mr. Bellmore, after all, is a writer, not a reader! I am looking forward to his next post, in which he will enlighten us with numerous examples of eliminationist rhetoric directed against Texans.

    5. You say that very confidently. Yet I believe that I have read the posts and comments here as closely and for as long as almost anyone and I am unable to recollect anything even remotely comparable. Could you please give some examples?

      More to the point, the man who is calling for my murder should I foolishly go to Texas has previously and explicitly shared his belief that Californians who go there should be murdered with Ted Cruz and Rick Perry. He was selected to address this group in spite of this or perhaps because of it. Nevertheless, Ted Cruz attended knowing of Whittle’s advocacy of murdering random Californians and has failed to condemn calls for the killing of Californians even after being asked to do so. Can you perhaps share something comparable on the Democratic side?

    6. “I’m basically speechless at the notion that Democrats aren’t full of vile. I guess it’s just the usual “our shit doesn’t stink” position you come to expect, but still…You don’t read your own site?”

      Brett, your undoubtedly loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong list of examples, particularly examples involving Senate-level Democartic politicians, was trimmed – probably by Evul Sensoring Librulz.

      Repost, please.

  5. I’m old enough to remember “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

  6. Well, on the positive side, maybe it takes their attention away from undocumented people for a while.

    I am sorry that *anyone* has to be an economic migrant. A job could be the only possible reason for anyone to move from here to there. I mean, duh.

    1. I always hated that line, for the very reason you suggest, even though his underlying anger was justified. Fortunately, when Dylan passed 23 or so years of age, he matured. In fact, when he performed the song in later years, he often dropped certain lines that he apparently deemed too harsh. Worth mentioning as well that Dylan took the tune for Masters of War, without attribution, from a folk ballad called “Nottamun Town,” and that the great Kentucky traditional singer and dulcimer player, Jean Ritchie, claimed a copyright on the particular version of Nottamum that Dylan used, resulting, IIRC, in a settlement.

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