INTOLERABLE: Political Rhetoric Has Reached New Lows
“We’re in a bad place,” New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew said to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. “We’re on the precipice. On tone — everyone. The future of democracy and our republic is in all our hands. And we must come together; we must reverse course; we can’t go this way, or we’re gonna lose the greatest nation, the shining light of the whole world. I worry about it every single day.”
China is laughing at us, he said, calling us “stupid and weak.” But our nation does look stupid and weak, because of the way we talk to each other.
Van Drew knows firsthand what’s happened to political discourse in America. When he just couldn’t vote to impeach President Trump just over a year ago, after unrelenting pressure from Democrats, he left the Democrat Party and became a Republican, the first Democrat in 10 years to do so. Van Drew stands by his decision though the bullying from the left has never let up.
Van Drew has released audio of a death threat recorded on his home phone, in the aftermath of his rejection of the certification of two states’ 2020 election results. And, no, it wasn’t from an enraged constituent.
It was from a journalist. (Correction: “journalist.”) Name: John McCall.
Here’s a sample: “As a member of the New Jersey Press Association [!], I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are deposed — if not dead. Anything that I can do to basically get you out of office, I will do. You are a traitor, Jeff Van Drew, and you deserve the fate of all traitors.”
It gets worse. Van Drew wasn’t the one who heard it first, as he was in Washington, DC. It was his wife who heard it.
Vile, Threatening Behavior
He says he’s not worried for his own safety and is “standing firmer” for what he believes. Normally he wouldn’t bring in the police or make a deal out of it. But he brings up two issues that make this threatening behavior “particularly vile.”
First, McCall also threatened the congressman’s wife, and even used sexually-charged words. The man is a freelance reporter and writes for the Ocean City Sentinel. Worse, after he left that message, he wrote an op-ed for the OCS that continued to threaten Van Drew and his wife.
Second, this swill had to get by editors and publishers to get into the paper. Wouldn’t somebody have thought that threats like these were beyond the pale? To his credit, David Nahan, editor and publisher of the OCS, published an apology, in which he even helped make our point by saying, “The partisan vitriol has become so extreme, it is easy to get desensitized to what is being said…We all need to tone down the political anger that is dividing our country.” No kidding.
Beyond the Pale
Van Drew said Sunday that threats against his wife and children are “where the line is drawn in the South Jersey sand.” He’s still considering pressing charges and also suing. “This cannot be the new normal for America, for American journalism,” he said. “It is just intolerable. It’s gonna hurt our society, It’s gonna make us worse and more violent to actually think that these are things that can be printed in the newspaper or in any media.”
The Power of the Press
A defamation case in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals might seem unrelated, but the dissenting opinion of Judge Laurence Silberman could’ve just as easily been written about what the media did to Van Drew:
The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions. Our court was once concerned about the institutional consolidation of the press, leading to a ‘bland and homogenous’ marketplace of ideas. It turns out that ideological consolidation of the press (helped along by economic consolidation) is the far greater threat.
Judge Silberman went on, as reported in this must-read piece, calling The New York Times and The Washington Post “virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.” I suppose we should add the Ocean City Sentinel in New Jersey to that list, if that editorial is at all typical of what they print.
Another snippet of Silberman’s brilliance: “…Ideological homogeneity in the media — or in the channels of information distribution [elsewhere he makes it clear he’s referring to Silicon Valley] — risks repressing certain ideas from the public consciousness just as surely as if access were restricted by the government.” As an example, he cited the suppression by social media of the story about Joe Biden’s involvement with his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.
Liberal Media Bias
Judge Silberman, a Reagan appointee (and thank you, President Reagan), cited a book, LEFT TURN: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, by UCLA political science and economics Prof. Tim Groseclose.
“The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas,” Silberman wrote. “But a biased press can distort the marketplace. And when the media has proven its willingness — if not eagerness — to so distort, it is a profound mistake to stand by unjustified legal rules that serve only to enhance the press’s power.” He was arguing that, with the press as biased as it is and prone to distortion, the bar to prove defamation is too high.
Political Discourse Hits A New Low
Finally, in another example of the level of discourse hitting bottom, Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey — there’s New Jersey again — actually called Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson a racist on the floor of the Senate for comments comparing the Capitol Hill rioters to Black Lives Matter rioters. There is no pooper scooper big enough to accommodate the steaming load Menendez left on the Senate floor.
He read a letter from a member of his staff who’d taken Sen. Johnson’s comments as racist, accusing him of “hate speech” and “stoking fear against black Americans” and also grossly misrepresenting what happened that day. The letter was based on a distortion of what Johnson said; he wasn’t talking about race. Rather, Johnson’s words were based on the enormous violence that Black Lives Matter has perpetrated in our cities. The BLM movement is NOT, as the letter asserted, “overwhelmingly peaceful.”
Unfortunately, Johnson had also defended those who breached the Capitol as “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law…” Now, as much as they might love their country, some DID break the law and did NOT respect law enforcement, and what they did was stupid and wrong, as I’ve repeatedly said.
Even so, the Senator most certainly was not commenting on race. People conveniently forget that many BLM rioters have been radical white leftists.
But it doesn’t matter. In 2021, Democrat Senators can and do call out Republican colleagues by name as racist, falsely, right on the Senate floor. They deserve censure for this new low but will receive no consequences, so brace yourself for more.
By throwing around that word, they continue taking the country down. Just as they mean to do.
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published on MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.