My jaw dropped when I read the following by syndicated Orlando Sentinel columnist Kathleen Parker:
Here's a note I got recently from a friend and former Delta Force member, who has been observing American politics from the trenches: "These bastards like Clark and Kerry and that incipient ass, Dean, and Gephardt and Kucinich and that absolute mental midget Sharpton, race baiter, should all be lined up and shot."
Obviously I was surprised that someone would advocate summary execution for Democratic candidates, and that a widely syndicated columnist would see fit to repeat the suggestion. (Parker excuses her friend as "a little emotional" because a former military comrade had just died in Afghanistan. I'm not sure how this is the Democrats' fault, but whatever.) However, I was also surprised at the quote given that Parker offered this as her column's central point: "Americans are willing to entertain legitimate criticism and discussion, but not bile and invective driven by the politics of self-promotion."
If I understand Parker right, Democratic criticisms of Bush and his war should be filed under "bile and invective," while declarations that those critics should be "lined up and shot" fall under the heading of "legitimate criticism and discussion."
Accepting this classification scheme, I had to laugh when Parker wrote this:
"56 percent of Americans ... are sticking with him despite imperfections, such as that prewar intelligence was weak to wrong, depending on the item; postwar planning was inadequate; American soldiers' falling to snipers and suicide bombers is distressing and apparently unexpected."
In the next paragraph, Parker added that she finds "reprehensible the administration's policy of concealing our military dead." Let me get this straight, Ms. Parker: Bush backs a "reprehensible" policy, used lousy intelligence, planned for a war poorly and created a situation where U.S. troops are being killed daily. Somehow this criticism is OK coming from you, but it's "bile and invective" worthy of capital punishment when the other side says it?
There's an interesting side issue with the column as well. You'll notice the quote above suggests Dems should be "shot." However, if you check the text of the column (here or here, for example), you'll notice the suggestion has been softened to "slapped." Which version is correct? The following notation was sent to publications that runs the Parker column:
ATTENTION EDITORS: There is a correction in Kathleen Parker's column. In the last line of the third paragraph, the Delta Force member has changed his quote from "shot" to "slapped." Please used this version.
No, "slapped" wasn't a typo; it was just a conservative changing his mind to suit the situation, a la Bush. (The original version of the column is here.)