Across the U.S. political and media spectrum, there was wide agreement yesterday: Name-calling and personal attacks are bad for national and global dialogue. Prompting the unity were Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' comments that President Bush was the devil incarnate, "El Diablo."
Among those exercised (and exorcized) about Chavez' name-calling were some of the loudest name-callers in American media today -- including Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing talk hosts. Limbaugh tried to equate Chavez' remarks with the alleged Bush-bashing that comes from top U.S. Democrats. In case you've forgotten, it was Limbaugh who ridiculed Chelsea Clinton, then 13, as the "White House dog."
Let me be clear: Those of us who use facts instead of rant; reason and argument instead of name-calling and personal attacks; evidence instead of intimidation and accusations of disloyalty -- we have the moral authority to tell Hugo Chavez that his comments were out of line.
How about those of us who use fact, reason, and evidence as rant, name-calling, intimidation, and accusations of disloyalty?
But the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Scarboroughs and O'Reillys are in no position to point any fingers. Nor are the executives at Disney, GE and News Corp who have made them the loudest voices in American media.
Nor, for that matter, is Team Bush -- whose strategy has been to demonize and intimidate critics and other members of the "reality-based community."
As Shakey's Sis sez: "No, Mr. Chavez - Bush isn't the devil. I've seen the devil's work. He's competent."
Mr. Chavez has the right in this country, unlike in Venezuela, to say any damn fool thing he wants to, even if it is a little over the top. I think he owes the Devil an apology, though.