Well, the rhetoric on the campaign trail — and in politics in general, but there really isn’t a difference any more — is heating up. And while some folks are saying some pretty inflammatory things, others are expressing their concern over the tone.
Rick Perry, speaking off the cuff, said that he sincerely hoped that the Federal Reserve wouldn’t deal with the economic situation by simply increasing the amount of currency produced. Well, actually, he said that it would be “pretty close to treason,” and hinted that things like that tend to be treated rather strictly in the Lone Star State. And Herman Cain said he wouldn’t be averse to impeaching President Obama over his administration’s handling of the Defense Of Marriage Act.
This has given quite a few people on the left the vapors, saying that it’s inciting hatred and could provoke violence. These are the same people who had no problem with calling the Tea Party movement “hostage takers” and “terrorists” (two of the most contemptible classes of people, in my personal opinion, and worthy of simply being shot on sight). Further, we’re talking about the backers of President Obama, who famously told his supporters to “get in their faces,” then went to bankers and said “I’m all that’s standing between you and the pitchforks.”
You know what? The whiners about the “tone” need to grow up and grow a pair. (Even the distaff ones — last time I checked, women have at least two sex-specific physical attributes that come in twos.)
Politics is a contact sport. And while some folks whine about how heated rhetoric can incite violence, I believe that it’s more cathartic. Give people a chance to vent a bit, and they won’t keep their anger pent-up until it manifests itself in actual violence.
Plus, it gives us a chance to judge the character and judgment and temperament of the candidates. Can they keep it within some measure of restraint, or do they give their passions too free a rein? There’s a world of difference between Perry’s “pretty close to treasonous” and “we oughta hang the son of a bitch.”
And yeah, I’ll cop to it. I do hold a bit of a double standard. I do hold the sitting president to a higher standard. I was, frankly, appalled when Obama made his “you’ve got to get in their faces” and “I’m the only one standing between you and the pitchforks” remarks, along with his casual joking about ordering IRS audits of his political foes. Because while Obama behaves as if he’s always on the campaign trail, the truth is that the president is always the president, 24/7/365. I will give him a smidgen of slack when he’s at a campaign event, or in some other way “Candidate X” and not acting as “President X,” but even then he has to keep in mind that he’s still Leader Of The Free World.
Not to mention that presidents in the past have actually used IRS audits to punish their enemies.
President Obama acts like he has the equation backwards. He’s the candidate who, when called upon, sighs and takes on the burden of being president.
But back to the subject at hand. The language of politics is, on occasion, fairly strong. And it’s going to get stronger. To paraphrase a certain very prominent Democrat, if you can’t stand the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen.