Is President Obama in danger?
Reaction to columnist Thomas Friedman's warning that extremists can interpret vitriol as a license to kill
America has crossed a dangerous line, said Thomas Friedman in The New York Times. The far Right's attacks on Barack Obama's legitimacy as president are creating a poisonous political environment like the one in Israel that a right-wing Jewish nationalist interpreted as a "license to kill" Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. When someone posts a Facebook poll asking "Should Obama be killed?" they are "encouraging the unthinkable."
What a hypocrite, said Peter Wehner in Commentary. Where was Friedman when Democratic politicians and liberal columnists were saying that they hated George W. Bush and challenging his right to sit in the Oval Office? The columnist was even silent "when there was actually a movie made about the assassination of President Bush (Death of a President)"—Friedman "would have a lot more credibility now if he had actually spoken out before."
Hypocrisy is just the first problem with Thomas Friedman's assassination alarm, said Paul Mirengoff in Power Line. The second problem with Friedman's column is that it's "simply foolish." There's "enough harshly worded antagonism" toward any president to make an argument like his.
The Right's acid response to Thomas Friedman only proves his point, said Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called Friedman a "nut job" and said his arguments were "just crazy." See? "The Right is playing with fire and doesn't care."