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In Frank Rich's column for tomorrow's New York Times, he summarizes the virulent right wing hatred that's been building for months and calls for someone in the Republican Party to be brave enough to step forward and denounce it.

The only voices that might penetrate their alternative reality — I emphasize might — belong to conservative leaders with the guts and clout to step up as McCain did last fall. Where are they? The genteel public debate in right-leaning intellectual circles about the conservative movement’s future will be buried by history if these insistent alarms are met with silence.

Mr. Rich finds a cogent comment by someone on FOX News so remarkable, he leads his column with the warning Shepard Smith issued.  There were diaries written here on Kos and many other liberal blogs about Smith's reaction to the Holocaust Museum shootings.  It's quite stunning that a sane voice on an insane network garners that kind of reaction.  It's also very sad.

WHEN a Fox News anchor, reacting to his own network’s surging e-mail traffic, warns urgently on-camera of a rise in hate-filled, "amped up" Americans who are "taking the extra step and getting the gun out," maybe we should listen. He has better sources in that underground than most.

As Frank notes, the government of Barack Obama has certainly not been radical enough to warrant the rantings, and now, scarily, the actions of the far right nutjobs.

....he tied the far-right loners who had gotten their guns out in Wichita and Washington to the mounting fury of Obama haters.

What is this fury about? In his scant 145 days in office, the new president has not remotely matched the Bush record in deficit creation. Nor has he repealed the right to bear arms or exacerbated the wars he inherited. He has tried more than his predecessor ever did to reach across the aisle. But none of that seems to matter.

For all the apologists who claim that the wild rantings from men like Hannity and O'Reilly and Buchanan and Limbaugh are just 'entertainment' and that it doesn't have a real life affect on their audience, Frank makes a good point.

We don’t know whether the tiny subset of domestic terrorists in this crowd is egged on by political or media demagogues — though we do tend to assume that foreign jihadists respond like Pavlov’s dogs to the words of their most fanatical leaders and polemicists.

Virtually all of us saw this surreal tone of anger and fear starting back in the campaign when Sarah Palin's rhetoric of palling around with terrorists encouraged the nutjobs to spew their taunts and insults.  When will she be held responsible for inciting the right wing fringe?  The supposed liberal media today continues to give her relevancy and to promote her as a legitimate contender for 2012.  

Rich gives John McCain too much credit for toning down the feverish atmosphere of those rallies.  One halting rebuttal of 'he's not Arab' was not nearly sufficient in my opinion.  But it was more than we're hearing from any other Republicans of stature these days.  When will one of them have the guts to take a place of leadership in a party that sorely needs it?  The country needs it.  

Originally posted to vernonbc on Sat Jun 13, 2009 at 07:52 PM PDT.

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