In a radio interview today, George Herbert Walker Bush complains about the “lack of civility in politics“:

The Republican elder statesman said, “It’s not just the right.” He complained, “there are plenty of people on the left.”

While he said he does not believe in personal name-calling, he singled out MSNBC personalities Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow calling them “sick puppies.”

“The way they treat my son and anyone who’s opposed to their point of view is just horrible,” Mr. Bush said.

“When our son was president they just hammered him mercilessly and I think obscenely a lot of the time and now it’s moved to a new president,” he added.

With a chuckle, Mr. Bush said his son’s critics “weren’t singled out as much as they should have been.”

For what it’s worth, President Obama was and is one of his son’s critics, and according to the Boston Globe:

The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service…

Obama, who was given Secret Service protection 18 months before the election – the earliest ever for a presidential candidate – has been the target of more threats since his inauguration than his predecessors.

I think it’s fair to say that W’s critics have been singled out. Indeed, David Neiwert has done a great job cataloging the eliminationist rhetoric emanating from conservatives.

It’s true, of course, that people said mean things about President W. They said he didn’t care about black people (just because he let a city full of black people drown), they say that he was a war-monger (just because he sold a needless and foolish war). They called him a torturer, just for authorizing torture. They called him a fascist, just for locking his critics in fenced off enclosures (free speech zones!), illegally tapping their phones, exploiting a state of military emergency to unite government and industry, establishing secret prisons, etc. I guess that balances out the overt death threats directed at President Obama, candidate Obama, liberals and Democrats in general and liberalism’s most visible representatives in particular. Yep, the equivalence is perfect.


  1. #1 Jim Thomerson
    October 20, 2009

    I think Keith Olbermann sometimes shows to much of his sportscaster heritage, and Rachel Maddow is occasionally a little arch. However, the major criticism a conservative could legitimately make of them is that they exhibit excessive facticity.

  2. #2 Joe
    October 21, 2009

    What did G.H.W. Bush say about Geraldine Ferraro after their VP debate in 1984? Was that civil? Whose campaign produced the Willie Horton ad? Was that civil? Which ex-president’s wife said the victims of Katrina were better off? Was that civil? Methinks somebody shouldn’t talk about civility in politics until they act civil themselves.

  3. #3 Physicalist
    October 21, 2009

    They called him a fascist, just for locking his critics in fenced off enclosures (free speech zones!)

    It’s worth remembering that Democrats have had these Orwellian “free speech zones” at their recent conventions too. (Wiki)

    Neither side of the political aisle is willing to stand up for freedom.

  4. #4 M. Deane
    October 21, 2009

    Certainly George H. W. Bush has no credibility in savaging media liberals for critiques of his son’s presidency, considering the dark history of George H W’s political record. He is, for example, the person who employed the political assassin Lee Atwater and gave his son’s arch villain, Karl Rove, his first job. Poppi’s son’s record as President is a major disaster for the nation,the full blowback for which the country is yet to experience. More significant, the elder Bush’s long-term unsavory activities and machinations (as well as past generations of the Bush family) raise serious doubts about the questionable Bush legacy, which the major media refuses to cover. If you want the facts and the truth, read “Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America,” by Russ Baker.

  5. #5 Anthony McCarthy
    October 21, 2009

    Ah, GHW Bush, the man who, among other things, used the Willie Horton ad and whose wife wouldn’t say it but it rhymed with “witch”. Not to mention a daughter who was part of a mob to prevent counting the vote in a state governed by one son so that the Republican dominated Supreme Court could award the presidency to another son.

    Lecturing us about civility. I won’t use the word but it rhymes with “lip is split”.

  6. #6 Benjamin Nelson
    October 22, 2009

    This may be where the Overton window of possibilities may come in. If there really were leftist radicals to point to, then we wouldn’t have to waste time defending against the spurious HW Bush clutched-pearls approach to honest fact-based arguments.

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