Fears of an assassination attempt on President Obama go back to when he was a candidate, but in recent months more pundits have expressed concern. Thomas Friedman joins their ranks on Wednesday. Admitting he's not the first to do so, he compares the anti-Obama atmosphere of today to the "ugly mood" in Israel just before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated:
Something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.
He then reminds readers that just days ago, a Facebook poll asked, "Should Obama Be Killed?", though the poll was removed after widespread denunciation. Is Friedman overreacting? With a tone of notable concern, columnists weigh in.
- Relax, This Is Just Paranoia on the Left...I Think, Matt Welch writes at Reason Magazine. He says Friedman's Israel analogy is off-base. "I'm pretty sure the life-and-death currents in Israeli politics were (and are) a little bit more serious, entrenched, and organized than some retard's Facebook prank." Still, he says, he could be wrong. "It would take only one kook to forever validate the popular thesis that the rednecks are paving the way for racist ultra-violence. For now I can only trust my own (admittedly optimistic) eyes...and I ain't seeing it."
- Friedman Didn't Care When the Left Delegitimized Bush, Peter Wehner hits back at Commentary. "When George W. Bush was being routinely savaged by those on the Left—including prominent Democrats like Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Harry Reid—where were those Friedman columns of ringing condemnation? I don’t recall them; perhaps you do."
- 'Beating the Drum for the Assassination of the President.' At The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan is worried:
You see the right urging a coup, while all but beating a drum for the assassination of the president, an event that would tip this country into a near civil war. In this climate, establishment conservatism for the most part is fanning the flames and pouring on the gasoline. I always thought it would get worse before it gets better. But I never thought it would get this poisonous this soon.
- 'The Right Is Playing With Fire And Doesn't Care,' Steve Benen wrote at The Washington Monthly. "I found Friedman's broader point to be ... entirely convincing."
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