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September 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Are Obama critics creating a hateful, dangerous environment?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tom Friedman writes a scary and sobering column in today's New York Times called "Where did 'we' go?" In it - he compares the political climate today in the U.S. to Israel in 1995... right before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Friedman describes the "ugly mood" in Israel at the time... where right-wingers were trying to de-legitimize Rabin. They questioned his authority and shouted death threats at rallies.

Friedman says the parallels to America today turn his stomach:

"I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening."

Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into de-legitimizing his presidency.

He's right. You don't have to look any further than protesters comparing President Obama to a Nazi or a Facebook poll asking if he should be killed.

Friedman says even if you're not worried about violence against Mr. Obama - you should be worried about what's happening to American politics.

He talks about the "cocktail of political and technological trends" that make it possible for "idiots of all political stripes" to take advantage of the system... things like excess of money in politics, the 24/7 cable news cycle, the blogosphere and a permanent presidential campaign.

Meanwhile - Republicans are pushing back against claims that conservative rhetoric is creating a dangerous environment for the president.

Party Chairman Michael Steele says of people like Friedman, "Where do these nut jobs come from?" Which to me sort of proves Friedman's whole point.

Here’s my question to you: Are critics of Pres. Obama crossing the line in creating a hateful and dangerous environment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Don writes:
The "nut jobs" have always been here; now they have a forum. As long as "legitimate" media give free air time to Sarah Palin's death panels, Glenn Beck's bogus racism charge, and congressmen who disrespect the president, more will emerge. Treat them with the contempt they deserve and hopefully they will wither and die!

David from Scott, Louisiana writes:
After 8 years of extreme criticism of President Bush, I think it's a little hypocritical to now start complaining about criticism of President Obama.

Norma writes:
Glad someone is taking this seriously. I am appalled that it has taken this long to state the obvious. Sometimes acquiescence is acceptance. We as a country are all responsible if we allow this to go unchecked or look the other way. It is extremely unsettling what has transpired in such a short time.

Mike writes:
Jack, I don't think the critics are crossing a line at all. Liberals have had a near monopoly on protesting for the last half century and the media is simply unaccustomed to seeing people from a different ideology vocalize and demonstrate their point of view. It's this fascination and general tendency of the media to highlight 'right-wing' lone wolves' actions that would lead someone to believe it's only coming from one side. In reality, labor unions' intimidation tactics, environmentalist terrorism, anti-white and anti-religious violence is hardly covered in the media at all, despite being more commonplace than one would think.

Thomas writes:
Need we look any further for your answer than to the teacher/census worker found hanging from a Kentucky tree with the word "Fed" carved into him? As the opposition ratchets up its rhetoric, its fringe elements are emboldened to lash out violently at any representative of the government.

Tom from Texas writes:
The bigotry in America is coming to a head, especially here in Texas. There was anger before the election but the hatred since has boiled over. Yes, we should be fearful.

soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Helen Templeton

    You bet! Conservatives who talk hate in regard to our president have created an atmosphere of hate. There are people who take this kind of talk as a right to kill and maim.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  2. jim williams

    I think what is happening in this country with respect to the far right is the scariest situation I've ever witnessed. I am just left of center and think that the president has a little too much on his plate but I'm still for him 100%. I am a 71 year old Christian that is and has always been a democrat.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Suellen

    YES!!!

    I think it is about time the news media is calling these Right Wing Nuts out on this. Of course we won't hear from Fox News on this as they are part of the problem.

    I simple don't understand how you can love the USA and be so disrespectful & hateful.

    The Right is so wrong!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  4. Jim

    Friedman is partially right – there are nut cases out there who want Obama assassinated. On the other hand, if I remember correctly, I there were also nut cases during Bush's administration who were saying that they would not mind if he died. There was also a movie made in England in which he was assassinated by Cheney in a miltary coup. Of course our media did not report on that nor were there any editorials by any major newspapers decrying that movie.

    Friedman also says "even if you’re not worried about violence against Mr. Obama — you should be worried about what’s happening to American politics." I wholeheartedly disagree! If I were a LIBERAL, then I would be worried. Since I am an independent, I find it refreshing to find that so many people are FINALLY standing up to government and basically telling the President, the Senators, and the House that the majority of them are completely out of touch with what the majority of we the people of this country elected them to do! They just don't seem to have a clue, and what is worse, they just don't seem to care!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Jennifer

    Yes they are. The conservative right spews and breeds contempt by creating confusion among less informed people who are poised to want to believe the lies they are being fed. Public option in point. Do these people realize it's the insurance companies that fear it most? And why are ordinary people denouncing an option for their lives? A choice? Somehow they've been blinded.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  6. Tracy Crosley

    This is a no-brainer question. Of course they are creating a hateful dangerous environment. That makes it easier to use the "fear mongering" tactics that have worked very well in past political tactics. Lets stir up anger and hate, then step in and say "you should be afraid and we are the heroes who can fix it". This has moved beyond disrupting town hall meetings to a level that is becoming scary and dangerous.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  7. Joel Heumann

    They are creating MORE than just a dangerous environment for the president; they are creating a dangerous environment for all but the extreme right wing. When Obama was elected I thought it would be safe to proudly call myself a liberal again. It is the RIGHT-WING'S extremist threats, ignorance and fear-mongering that are reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
    -Joel, in Peekskill NY

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  8. saminmontana

    YES Jack.Republicans need to tone down there rediculous rhetoric so they don't fuel the extreme hateful sect of republicans that seem to dominate the media coverage. They are like children that had a toy taken away from them. In there anger, they will do or say anything. Dangerous? YES! Ignorant? YES! I'm all for free speech but gimme a freakn break!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  9. Kurt

    Regarding Friedman's column, I continue to be amazed (but not surprised) at the short memories of those on the left. Funny how they do not seem to recollect George W. Bush being called a Nazi, a murderer, a war criminal, etc. Does anyone remember the film that fictionalized his assassination or Michael Moore's God-awful, loose-with-the-facts "documentary"? Now that we have a liberal president who happens to be black, any criticizing of him or his policies are labeled as racist and dismissed out of hand. Our left-leaning Congress, who are supposed to represent all interests of their constituents, call those who disagree with them "unruly mobs." What a bunch of incredible hypocrites!!! I certainly hope the house gets thoroughly cleaned in the next election cycle, but we have created such a needy group of whiners in this country, I have my doubts.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  10. Jeff from Orlando

    The constant hateful rhetoric created by the far right is really stirring up the worst in this nation. It's going beyond politics. This is going to turn into a civil war seriously.

    I've never seen so much energy geared toward undermining the President. It disgusts me to see groups with signs calling the President a Marxist, or 'lets take our country back' with a background of a confederate flag. Talks of a coup and overthrowing the government by militia's is growing now.

    Although the Grand Ole Party (GOP) will never admit to being racists the rhetoric shows contrary. This hateful 24/7 agenda driven by Fox news, Rush Limbaugh is out of hand. The comments I see on blogs are mind blowing. I've never seen so much hatred and anger geared toward any politician ever. It's not like he led us into a war based on false pretenses.

    Where was this anger when things were going out of hand the past few years which led us into this demise?

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  11. Brian

    It does not matter who is in the white house, we always have hate speech against them in this country. It is not always helpful but it is called free speech. When people on the left speak it is creative. When the right speaks it is hate speech. George Bush's presidency was not de-legitimized? He was also called a Nazi by the left.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  12. El

    No, Jack. They are building on the poisonous attitudes that we saw against Bush in the 2000 presidential election. What goes around comes around.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  13. Derek

    I have never seen such animosity towards a certain section of the American population as I have seen with this administration. An administration that would consider veterans and right-wing radio a bigger threat than al Qaida is a bad sign. In my opinion, their isn't enough criticism of Obama.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  14. Barbars

    Sure I do. I am so tired of some of our Americans, President Obama is giving this country what he said he would before we elected him now all of a sudden its a problem. Tha climate that is being created is changing the face of politics and putting our Predident in arms way.

    Barbara

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Daniel - Miami, FL

    We all acknowledge the President's critics have a right to criticize him, granted by the First Amendment. However, with right comes responsibility, and when they engage in far-fetched characterizations, bent truths, and outright lies, it shouldn't be difficult to also acknowledge that it can breed rancor among between Obama supporters and critics. We are living in an exceedingly politically-passionate time and irresponsible dialogue and actions from those that oppose the President and his agenda only help fuel the fires of violence, illegitimate concerns, and dangerous delusions. The recent Facebook poll about whether or not the President should be killed is a firm example of this.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  16. Victoria

    Yes they are. It feels like a roller coaster- going faster and faster – my fear is that one day it will go off its tracks......and the unthinkable will happen.....once it does I can guarantee that all the hatemongers will spare themselves of any blame – just like they always do. I can even imagine them saying that the unthinkable was God's will – that is how perverted they have become. It it the scariest time that I can remember; it is visceral.
    Victoria
    Alexandria,VA

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  17. Jay Balouge

    Jack. I think that when the line is blurred between political opposition (party lines) and social opposition (race, class, etc.) the political climate changes for the worst. I am surprised to see that hardly any members of Congress have come out publicly against these terrorizing protest tactics.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  18. Dave

    Legitimacy of the president was first challenged in 2000. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of State referred to it recently in Nigeria. That treatment of a president continues today with Barak Obama.

    The use of Nazi comparisons goes back to Reagan. There was an article, book or movie (I'm not sure which) that was titled the Assassination of George W Bush or implied as much.

    What's new?

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  19. Bill Jagger

    In regard to Freedmans column, I don't particularly like the dehumanizing of Obama, it's very disrespectful. However, where was all the righteous indignation when George Bush was being dehumanized? Neither is justified, but you guys in the press have very short memories.

    Huntington Beach, California

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  20. deb, Montana

    I'm old enough to remember the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, and the political climate in those days was absolutely benign compared to the toxicity I'm seeing today.

    Heaven forbid anything horrible happen to our young President, but if it did, you and I both know that the GOP aparatchniks–the pundits, the party regulars, and the Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity idiots –would be the first out of the gate to condemn the crime, and deny any culpability in it.

    President Obama and his family remain in my prayers, Jack.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  21. Janet Show

    Absoulutely! and only a small percentage of whites like you Jack and Pelosi have been honest enough to admit it. Those who do not study the history are doomed to repeat it and if we don't start taking these overt threats on the life of the our President seriously, it will be the proverbial straw that will cast America into the global political cesspool that we report on with disdain and pretend we are not a part of.......

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  22. guy mallarino

    Yes, it's a very scary time in America's history...For the first time we have a president for the people, not special interests...Both parties are reacting in negative ways...
    These career politicians, in the pocket of big business, want "business as usual" in DC....IT appears they will do anything to keep it that way......
    Look what the
    "powers that be" did to JFK.....

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  23. Rosetta from CIncinnati

    Absolutely and it is scary. I do worry about the president's safety and I also am very worried about the state of our country when because of who is in the White House, there are those who feel they actually have the right to delegitmize the power of the Office. It is bad enough that if the President even says the sky is blue, his opponents will argue that it is a different color and criticize him for even making the statement. The media is not entirely off the hook, Jack. You guys give too much legitimacy to some of these crackpots bu broadcasting some of their rhetoric and antics.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  24. Mary- Augusta,Georgia

    Of course they are. I agree with Friedman 100%. The shame is that
    the GOP is not doing anything to deter this type of behavior and in some cases those in congress are egging it on and saying things just as ignorant and disrspectful to President Obama as the other 'nut jobs' out there. ("Birds of a feather") They had better pray that nothing happens to him.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  25. David

    When you control the press you control what you want mindless viewers and readers think. Hmmm...can you say the name of the owner of most news services in the U.S. ?? Would that be the ultra-right winger Rupert Murdoch. Just tune in to Fox news ( not me) or read the NY Post..(not me)...hate mongers all day, all hours.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  26. Roger

    Robust debate and free speech are so important in this country. I think for every extreme comment today about Obama there was likely two such comments in the waning days of the Bush Administration What is good for the goose is surely good for gander! The alternative is censorship and while some of the comments are extreme Americans are smart enough to recognize and filter same.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  27. Faith Bammer

    It is a shame to think that people in America still assoiate themselves with such hate and discontent. We finally have a president that actually seems to care about ALL the people and the direction he wants to take this country...why are they so scared ?

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  28. Natalie Dayton Ohio

    From the perspective of a 20 year military veteran and former police officer who happens to have 47 years experience of being "Black in America" – NO! Critics are not "creating " anything...these are people who the rest of the world has always viewed as hateful and dangerous.

    Theres a problem in America Jack: Anyone who does not view the world through the same lens as those who like to call themselves far right conservatives is written off as unchristian-like and unpatriotic. The truth? These are indeed people with conservative dirty, dirty south values which translates into racists dressed in suit, tie and oh yeah tea bag garnishments.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  29. GJShow

    I have personally witnessed comments and heard suggestions that turn my stomach and tear at my love for America and AmericansI
    People I have met and some I know well are full of sick...racist and extremist hated that sometimes even wishes harm, upon someone I admire and respect, someone who gives all Americans some genuine hope for a brighter today and future...."OUR PRESIDENT" ... Barrack Obama! I am totally bewildered by these sad and ugly times!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  30. Maestro

    This is idiotic! For eight years we heard endless vile rhetoric about George Bush and never once did you wonder if this was creating a "hateful" environment. Just because you thought the criticism was true doesn't make less critical. I like President Obama and I see no more or less attacks than that heaped on the last administration. It sounds like we may be gearing up for free speech suppression with CNN and the NYT fanning the flames.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  31. Dennis from Detroit

    I have blogged about this issue months ago. Now, I guess even you Jack are finally getting it. Let's face it. Millions of Americans who voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, are seriously angry that a Black man is now the leader of the free world. It is up to the people of good will, of all races, ages, sexual preferences, physical, ablity or disablity and religions in this country to stand together against the vile hatred that threatens to ruin our society.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  32. rob shelton

    Yes Jack, extreme right-wing rhetoric has crossed the line. But it's the Republican Party that is being delegitimzed. After all the lies and distortions perpetrated by the right and the refusal of Republican politicians to bring order and sanity to their constituents – who can trust anything they say about anything?
    Rob

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  33. SS from Reston VA

    What the right wingers don't realize is that such hateful rhetoric demeans the country. There are ways to express displeasure but statements like "Freidman is a nut job", "this guy (refering to Obama) is a socialist and does not know what he is doing", "you lie – rhetoric", and standing for everything against Obama, does not show any class.
    How quickly they forget that over 8 years, THEY (the right wing) created a large government, a budget deficit, 2 wars, and a wall street that collapsed. Obama inherited all of these. Do they have selective memory? I am an independent and an objective person. What the right wingers are doing is wrong and they better wake up before we become a second world country – it won't be Obama's fault, it will be theirs.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  34. Christian Uriarte

    I think some media outlets are encouraging more negativity about the president, thus changing public opinion about President Obama.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  35. colleen

    You speak of the hate addressed toward President Obama.. It was the same hatred that was addressed toward President Bush. There were the same signs comparing him to HItler, demanding he die, etc... I was there / I saw those signs... I did not see you cover it on CNN. Not like you do now... I wish the media can take a step back and cover things more objectively – because HATE is not partial to any side...

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  36. Kirk, Atlanta, GA

    Of course not, Jack., because Lord knows America does not have a history of that kind of violence. I'm sure if you could ask the following Presidents, they'd all agree with me: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Jack Kennedy, Ronald Regan (shot, not killed).

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  37. Mike R

    No Jack, I remember seeing president 's Bush face with devil horn's on him.Obama community organizing politics is what's getting him in so much hot water.He takes his eye off the ball to often for his own stardom.He should be a president not a rock star.He is letting the evil dictators get away with evil things by showing he is weak and apologetic instead of strong and telling the rest of the world the good America has done through out the world.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  38. craig

    Jack it does not take a world renown writer such as friedman to tell you what the averag black person in America can tell you. WHen you see the folks at the rallies you can see the hate dripping off them like sweat. I personally hope President Obama does like Sarah Palin and just resigns from his post regardless because it is too dangerous for him here with all the ignorant and racist folks he is trying to help. I pray he makes it through the complete 4 years as he is most likely not going to resign. Too many cameras and cell phones in his face scares me to death. Craig

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  39. Art Bosch

    Jack, the "Brown Shirt Republicans" are promoting the exact agenda they are so busy hurling at President Obama. Surely, I'm not the only one who sees this. The Republican party is becoming the Nazi party; not the other way around. They're promoting the same tactics Hitler used against the Jews and other minorities. I will never, repeat NEVER vote Republican again!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  40. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Friedman is a winner of numerous pulitzer prizes and is an honored newsman. One of the few I have to admit.
    The anger, unrest, radical, racists behavior within our country is indeed frightening.
    I have never seen our country at the level it is.
    And, to witness it being incited, supported by politicians and big
    business is even more discouraging.
    The whole world is watching, many believing this irresponsible
    behavior represents the American people, when in fact, it is
    a minority being fueled by a political party and the media.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  41. jon ridge

    Yes, comments are getting out of hand but then freedom of speech was exercised, in the same manner against bush as well as obama.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  42. Anne

    Yes, I do believe the critics are crossing the line and I fear they are playing a very dangerous game. Their rhetoric only serves to divide Americans at a time where we need to be united. It is alright to disagree with ideas and policies, and I encourage healthy debate, but I cannot condone hate mongering and believe it is highly destructive.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  43. Dave (Altoona, PA)

    Absolutely- there are legitimate complaints out there but when the argument degenerates into name calling, such as labeling the president's supporters as "Obamanistas", the rest of the criticism is irrelevant and I refuse to pretend that the speaker has any opinion of value.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  44. Susan

    The US has gone over the edge insulting and behaving badly about our elected presidents since President George W. Bush was elected, and it continued throughout his presidency. President Obama is being insulted by different people, but the effect is equally vituperous and vicious. I do believe that the 24/7 media fuels this behavior. The entire population in all fields should behave with better manners.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  45. Toni

    Yes they are crossing the line, and proud of it because they know it works to "work up" their base. Right, wrong or indifferent, their only goal is to influence future elections no matter what's good for the American people. The very kind of values they claim to promote, they violate with reckless abandon!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  46. ed in ri

    Jack;
    When I listen to the right-side radio likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck. My blood boils; They are the equivalent to an armed-force with their sophmoric, slandering ,opinionated propaganda debates.
    NPR , for anyone with any brain cells; picks a topic, and has both sides debate the issues. These right-wing talk warriors should be dis-pelled, and let the "Fairness Doctrine" be re-instituted for the good of the typical American moronic audience that these people have a huge influence over. This issue contributes to the great divide in our country; typical of the Civil War mentality of the citizens.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  47. Bernardo Moreno Jr.

    In my opinion I believe so. I just wish this politicians wether they are rep. or dem. would spend as much effort into doing right for the people instead of putting all their efforts into commercials and causing all this drama. After all aren't we all paying them to do a job, instead of pointing fingers at one another and crying. They should do their jobs and do whats right for the people and not themselves and their parties.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  48. ray williams

    yes, it is a hateful and dangerous attitude surrounding our president, and its a shame that the republican party thinks downplaying it will convince people otherwise, some of it has to do with the policies of the administration, but honestly, much of it has to do with his race, especially the critism from the far right, this country is really showing its true colors right now because as quiet as its kept, even some in the democratic party are fighting against him partly due to his race. I know this doesnt mean much but america, the world is watching.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  49. El

    No, Jack. They are building on the poisonous attitudes that we saw against Bush in the 2000 presidential election. What goes around comes around.

    Forrest City, AR

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  50. Paul Ernest Show

    The environment these extremist Republicans and their loyalists, financed by big insurance, is more than dangerous. It is divisive, disruptive of the peace of the country. It is something we have always rejected, when it is done to any of our presidents while they are traveling overseas. There is no difference between what these nut Republicans are doing and what extremists in Pakistan, Iran or Syria do when an American president visits these countries. This is a party that claims to be the future of America.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  51. Susan Downing

    Yes. I don't think anyone, Democrat or Republican, who remembers November 22, 1963 would ever want to relive the days that surrounded the assassination of the leader of our nation.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  52. Alex Phillips

    Asolutely it is creating a dangerous climate in our country. This goes past free speech and political discourse. These comments are very suggestive & destructive to this country. Anyone who thinks that is doesn't needs to be evaluated and committed to treatment and probally the same crackpots making the comments.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  53. Larry L, Torrance, CA

    They have crossed it many times already. The carrying of loaded military weapons to Presidential events (allowed by state law) really crossed the line.

    I see almost no Democratic push back on this hateful speech and these intimidational actions by the right wing.

    The best way for this hateful environment to succeed is for people of honor to do nothing. And that's what's happening now. Nothing.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  54. Darrell Brown

    It is appalling. This started at the begining of the campaign when the GOP thought it was appropriate to refer to him as a muslim,(as if there is something evil about being one) Saying he pals around with terrorist. And it continues to get Our leaders have to stand up, let the kooks know this kind of behavior will not be tolereated and those responsible will be punished. Anyone who is so disrespectful of the POTUS is not fit to be called an american

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  55. manny nat from madison wisconsin

    As a minority myself, the climate is becomingly increasingly hostile not just for the president but for everyone of color. Sometimes we use the word extremeist and immediatley we think of a jihadist but trith be told we have a lot of political extremists here in our backyard. We are supposed to be united as a country and to support and have trust in our government. It seems as if elements of the republican party and figures like Rush LImbaugh would love to see Obama fail and they will stop at nothing to achieve that. What that creates is more and more divide and cahos. Poitics..What a thing it is

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  56. Gerry

    Anyone who denies this discourse, disgrace, disrespect has been going on is denying the truth. There are too many hatred undertones to these rallies that it are bound, at some point, to surface. When that happens, we may be entering a political climate of violent actions and reactions.

    It won't be pretty.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  57. Cameron

    Jack I just don't know anymore. I just started college last year and I can never recall a time during either the Clinton or Bush administration when our country was more divided. I feel like followers on both the right and the left need to take heart a little phrase I picked up three years ago called Gracious Professionalism. Your life feels a lot better when you compete so everyone wins.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  58. Kathleen Walker

    The only nut jobs are the irrational bloggers who participate in the Facebook poll with a "yes" vote to kill the president. The only nut jobs are those who bring big guns to rallies or with signs "We don't come armed THIS TIME." The only nut jobs are the birthers and deathers. The only nut jobs are those people who won't let the President of the United States speak to children about the importance of their education. Rational thought is needed. Respect for opposing views is needed. President Obama is correct when he speaks of the "coarsening dialogue" in this country. Unfortunately, the "coarsening" is turning into vitriolic hatefulness. Obama is our president. Respect the office, if not the man.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  59. Tommy

    I completely agree that there is hateful and disgusting "politics" at play here. If the worst came to worst and President Obama was assassinated, I wonder how the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs would react. Would they cheer? Would they be thankful? I find it absolutely nauseating that the Republican leaders have not condemned the rhetoric coming from the far right. Instead they have perpetuated it.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  60. Aaron Gorga

    Yes Jack, Hell yes. It is all of the things Mr. Friedman sights, but what has to be addressed, what is at the core of this is that the truth is not the most important part of the argument anymore, its not about facts, its about loudness and crazy. We don't reward people, at least the right doesn't reward people who make solid fact based points, its about hyperbolic rhetoric and who gets the dumb dumbs drooling and shouting the most. Lets be honest about this, there are people that are not informed and the politicians taking advantage of confusion and rage are at least as culpable as the Becks and Limbaughs that are creating it.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  61. george

    jack tom friedman hit the ball so hard it hasent landed yet.
    the answer to your qustion is yes in my opinion. the gop and the extreme rite are putting spin on the general mood of the country and fueling the flames of so called discontent via the fear card.
    americans these days are not only lazy and mostly stupid but extremely gullible.
    the good news here is that most of us are not buying any of this crap however the people who are appear to be the most dangerous and need to be kept on a very short leash.
    george
    chester,ct.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  62. Wally Pendleton

    We are living in frightening times. I dispair that the ugly, hateful
    underside of the nation is so revealed and given voice. There is little,
    I believe, that can be done. I only hope that this too shall pass.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  63. will

    Those who sit on the far right and talk of how President Obama has acquired " nazi" like traits, are merely portraying to the American educated public how ignorant they truly are. President Obama is a president who will redefine the very term in itself, and those who have prospered from the previous administration will do whatever necessary to criticize his progressive ideas. I believe every American is entitled to free speech, but to make a poll on facebook about whether the President should be killed or not is an extremely serious and eye opening issue.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  64. Sam R

    I am very worried that the violence we had seen in August will be turned against President Obama, and God forbid, that they might harm him, or even worse. If some nut wants to harm him, and he has been practicing to do that, I am afraid he will succeed and no one, including the Secret Service could protect him. Remember Isaac Rabin. If some nut should harm the President, I think the Republicans, everyone of them who made derogatory and racial comments about the President, should be rounded up and charged with the worst crime, and put on trial for conviction. I remember the Preacher in Tempe AZ, will be my first pick.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  65. Ronnie Moehrke

    YES, These nuts have crossed a dangerous line....it started with Lee Atwater – during Reagans and senior Bush campaign – he died sorrowful and in pain over all the lies and vitriol he had introduced into campaigning that has escalated since then – I'm very afraid...

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  66. Elisa Cordova

    Yes, These comments stretch far beyond consctructive criticsm, beyond insult, and into the realm of thinly veiled racism. It's the sort of language you would expect from a radical terrorist organization and there's simply nothing patriotic about it.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  67. Janey

    The extreme right and religious zealots in the USA have gone to extremes, not only to try and turn this county into a stew of intolerance but also attempted to ostrasize anyone and everyone who disagrees with them. When the GOP will tuck tail to apologize publically for offending Limbaugh and Palin invents the idea of Death Panels to frighten the public, we can honestly say we have a severly ill country.

    You may not agree with Obama but when the ideology of one small portion can cause such hatred and distrust, it is time for the citizens of this country to step up to the bat and do what is right, not what is politically favorable.

    The question of "who has the moral autority" in the USA is ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. If each of us stopped the stupidity from spreading and did what is truly right for our country and fellow Americans, there would not be this kind of hatred and ignorance running our country anymore.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  68. stephanie M Hughes

    All I want to reply is one big YES. Thank you and God Bless Our Country. From Mobile,Al

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  69. jean quinn

    NO !
    Steele did not call Freidman a nut job as you insinuated.

    I voted for a BLACK president and now find myself called a racist if I disagree with his radical agenda and corrupt friends.

    I am a LIBERAL ON ALL SOCIAL ISSUES
    BUT A CONSERVATIVE ABOUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

    jean quinn

    September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  70. micheal

    The criticism has crossed the line every since the election. Our politics have taken a turn for the worse. When the talk of killing our President has grown to be ok, there is a huge problem. The right has condoned this speech and makes their politics more distasteful. It's sad to see that our current President has been in office for less than a year and this country will not give him the time of day when it took 8 years to create the problems of this magnitude. Wake up America, you can't fix an 8 year natural disaster in 9 months.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  71. theodore

    Obama bashing is the new fad for the "disgruntled" left wingers who cant seem to come up with a viable solution to any of the US "ills". It is developing into increased division in society and breeding an environment for escalating rage which will, without question, lead to violence. I think the Obama admin. has bent over backward to try and offer "common ground" but it is now time to get some things DONE !

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  72. Sam

    Friedman's article is excellent. I've had the same thoughts in conversation with friends and family. Some cable tv, radio stations and politicans who have the peoples ear need to look at what they have fueled. It is a very concerning time in this country.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  73. ed schleker

    is it to critisise or to stir up hate that people are spuing out.
    it is all in how they say it – and to whom-

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  74. Chris Chisholm

    Hi Jack!

    I am a Canadian who was on a cruise ship the day of the election. The evening before I was seated at dinner with 2 couples from Texas who said if Obama was elected they were moving to Canada. When we told them Canadians loved Obama and for that matter the Clintons. The next day these people were walking around like Zombies... in total shock.

    I believe the far right has never gotten over this shock and will stop at nothing to bring down this president. The day of reckoning is coming however as in the not too distant future the white man will be in the minority and these intloerant buffoons will have to suck it up!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  75. Penny Kovarik

    Jack, Michael Steele is a heel... Just go's to show nut jobs come in all colors...

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  76. Ken - Long Beach, CA

    The right wing and Fox news have been in total denial about this, but yes, the rhetoric and threats surpass even legit free speech. I havenever seen protests ever where extremists came out carrying rifles and guns. And most the signs and rhetoric that are being spewed is just a cleverly disguised way of saying, "someone kill the president". when you really think about it and do a comparative analysis, you see that this thinking is exactly akin to what the al qaeda extremists preach. The only difference is the brand of religion.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  77. Rita

    Jack, i think this freedom of speech is crossing the line and somewhere along the line, is causing a threat to the President. All this hatred remarks and the assassination poll found on facebook concerning Obama should be taken seriously. Full investigation should be conducted and this is not a something that we Americans should take as a joke. I watch CNN all the time and i was very speechless when i heard the Assassination poll someone has created on facebook.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  78. Frank Nardo Cape Coral,FL

    the only problem I see is the press that these far right or far left have gotten in the last few years, President Bush had some very ugly things aimed at him and now President Obama is getting his, the sad thing about this trend is it's not going away anytime soon, Anyone choosing to become president will have to deal with the lunatic's we have in America, numbers growing, I would just say stop giving them the press coverage the lune's thrive on and maybe they'll disappear.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  79. David Keenan

    Yes they are and it gets worse every day.

    Yesterday there was an article on Newsmax basically calling for a Military Coup. Limbaugh said today that Obama was destroying Western civilization and Beck yesterday told Newsmax he feared a Reichstag.

    Today Beck put a cancer warning sign on his board next to Michelle Obama, using a container of "Copenhagen Snuff" as his visual aid!!

    While they make disclaimers that their rhetoric is not intended to incite violence, the fact is that there is a very unhealthy and dangerous undercurrent in this country that is being exploited and encouraged by these idiots – very well paid idiots – and it is not far from exploding to the surface.

    The rhetoric being spewed by these talking heads has gone too far and needs to be roped in.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  80. Gary E.

    The political environment in this country is going to hell! I don't trust anyone anymore to represent my views or my rights as an American citizen. We watched for 8 years as Bush ran our country into the ground, and now our new president in office for only 8 months is being called Socialist, Nazi, Communist and anything else these idiots can think of. It's time for all of us to take a step back and look at what we are doing to each other, are we really or neighbor's judge?? It still all boils down to the "Have's" against the "Have Not's".

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  81. Linda

    Of course the critics of President Obama are creating a hateful and dangerous situation. Millions of us are very frightened about it. Where are the moderate Republicans on this issue? Why are the moderate Republicans not speaking out against the rude and dangerous actions and comments we have seen displayed against our president? Are there actually any moderate Republicans left or are they all neocons helping to fan the flames, which is what we have been observing in recent months.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  82. Nancy, Tennessee

    We don't have to look at Israel in 1995 to see a hateful and dangerous environment. Our own country has had periods of unrest and resentment toward political figures which ended sadly. President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy both took bullets because of their political views. President Reagan survived an assasin's bullet. The country is in an uproar now over health care reform and tensions are running high because of an economy which is still teetering on the edge of failure. The discourse on how to fix our problems needs to become more civil and constructive so that "nuts" will not get the idea that they can solve all of our problems.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  83. Dianne Cousins

    There is no question that many of the President's critics have crossed the line. Right wing nut job talkers like Rush and Glen Beck just fan the flames of anger, suspicion and frustration that exists on the fringe. What is really disheartening is that the Republican leadership says nothing to discourage this; rather they actually seem pleased by the frenzy that's being whipped up. I can't help but believe that if this were a liberal white President the intensity of the rhetoric would not be so strong. I remember during Clinton's Presidency Rush making up jokes and funny songs about him'; generally mocking him, but nothing like this hatred that we hear now. Where is the personal responsibility they are so fond of talking about?

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  84. becky richards

    Yes. My husband and I voted against each other on this election but we only hope the best. The hatred being displayed is dispicable and can only lead to further harm. We must work together if we ever want any progress in this trepedacious situation we are in.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  85. Daniel Martinez, Georgetown, TX

    Yes to the point that hate groups memberships are rising. To another point no. Protesters were using Bush as a Nazi posters. It goes both ways. What is more important is the increasing level of anger and rudeness in our society. This is more of a comment of the current human condition which has always had a high level of immaturity. We elect those who are in calable of the job at hand. Politicians say they represent the people, yet still they represent the corporate sector. A democratically elected government is a direct reflection of it's constituency. Wall St. doesn't even ge a slap on thier hands as well as the mortgage industry add to that the industries in health care and insurance. It's a high level of frustration form thepeople. The problem is that the people really don't know how to vote, or put pressure on the government and the industries it protects. It's not a matter of party, it's a matter of money as well.
    Daniel
    Austin, TX

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  86. Robert

    I fear for the safety of our President when I overhear “I hope Obama gets killed,” spoken out loud by a belligerent white male in his 20’s in a public establishment in Southern California. “It would be a notional holiday if that happened. I would take the day off to watch.” He spouted to a group of other white individuals of various ages sitting at his table. When I peered over at him to see who was spreading such venom so loudly, I received a look that chilled my spine. Suddenly I felt like I was no longer in America.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  87. Alwell

    Fox News and Radio shows are creating a dangerous atmosphere here in the U.S.
    I'm scared about what i hear from Fox news and other republican members.
    If nothing is done as soon as possible, it might be out of hand.

    Thanks.
    Alwell

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  88. John Salamone

    The answer is... yes, they are creating a hateful, dangerous environment. Also, I should say that Thomas Friedman is a respected journalist, while MICHAEL STEELE is clearly the NUT JOB.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  89. vick

    yes, they are
    when we questioned or criticized Bush we were called unpatriotic;
    not only is Obama being called criticized for trying to fix the Republican mess of the last 8 years, they are calling for his death.......what kind of republican Values are those?? give the man a chance, he's been on the job only eight months.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  90. Cindy

    Simply put yes. To me the people fanning the flames of hate and violence in regards to President Barrack Obama are in my mind no different then those fanning the violence against that young honors student who tragically lost his life recently. It is a mob mentality where people feel because popular celebrities, politicians, news media and others are free to rant against our President while walking a tight line. To those easily pushed over the line this is just the permission needed to feed the fire and hate built up and waiting to be released, and as adults we should not be surprised by the violence seen exhibited by these teens in Chicago recently. As adults we need to be aware of the examples we are exhibiting to our young people and set the example of Civility. The whole ability of our country to respect civility, diversity and the right to disagree on position and policy is what has made this country great over the past and we owe our parents and those that stand the line past and present nothing less. That is the true definition of patriotism and the honor given to us as citizens.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  91. sh

    Explain the difference between the critics drawing conclusions about Obama from history vs Friedman drawing conclusions from history-are they both wrong or both right-

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  92. Christian Uriarte

    I agree critics are taking it to a new level. in fueling hate, anger, and a sense of fear of our President.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  93. Bob Bentley

    I fear for the president's safety daily. The rage against him among a decidedly dangerous group is perpetuated by hate-radio and the howling head progagandists of Fox, who undoubtedly will go into a Pontius Pilate blood-on-hands mode should tragedy strike. They should be ashamed of such irresponsbility and indecency.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  94. Jack Kramer in California

    Jack,

    I certainly do not support comparing Obama or anyone to Nazis. I do think this concern is overblown by the left. These comparisons of Obama to the Nazis is done by a very few people. The left did not seem too concerned when Bush was having just as much said about him. There were all kinds of posters comparing him to Hitler, and stil more cartoons and posters suggesting that he be assassinated. I think that the left wants to play up this angle so that Obama's opposition can be summarily dissmissed as a bunch of lunatics.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  95. Morton Lyle

    Hey Jack, Jimmy Carter has this right regardless of what people say. I live in the south and he's right sorry to say.

    This got its jump start with the Fox News Network. Programs such as Hannity and Beck are lighting the fires of racism, hate and fear. Daily they peach not politics, but fear and race speech.

    I could be wrong but isn't FNN owned by an outsider from another country.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  96. Tim Mulcahy

    Jack,

    You betcha it does. Using explosive, negative, threatening rhetoric itself becomes a problem. Will people even remember what the original issue was whether taxes or health care, etc? Anger begets more anger and fear. We seem to be heading that direction. Is extremism ever any good? The radical right needs to cool it.

    Tim
    Medina, Ohio

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  97. Michael Curtsinger

    It's crystal clear, Jack, that the right will do anything to cultivate a positive publisc image. Look how they spen 70 million dollars investigating Whitewate in order to detract from the investigation of Timothy McVeigh, for the fear that right wingers would look bad.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  98. Allen L Wenger

    Yes they are. We all know there are too many gun owning Americans with such a deep love for this country, that they would do anything to protect it. These hard working, honest neighbors and friends, can be manipulated into believing just about anything by people they trust. Unfortunately, the people that they trust, don't seem to have any respect for the truth.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  99. t

    uh yeah you have to be either to stupid, in denial or a selfish republican not to see that. he is trying to save money on health care, and bring us out of debt. how did we get here anyways. i think the senators taking BRIBES not to reform healthcareshould be charged with a crime BRIBERY? i dont get money for my opinion.

    america does not make me proud to hear this kinda stuff more ashamed then anything

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  100. Mike

    Jack,
    I don't think the anti-establishment rhetoric is aimed at Obama any more so than Congress. It's time all government officials realized for whom they are working. They all need to stop being power hungry egomaniacal greed mongers and do the will of the people or lose their job!!! Obama included!!! The American people are tired of the B.S. I personally think all incumbents, regardless of party affiliation, should be voted out in 2010. Then maybe ...just maybe...somebody in D.C. would get the message.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  101. Elaine Stewart

    I am very concerned about the direction our country is taking. There is so much evil hate and anger. And I honestly feel that most of it is being generated by those Republicans who are who want so badly for President Obama to fail. I pray to God that nothing else so horrible as 9/11 will happen to our country or that anything will happen to our President; but if it does, we should hold the Republican party responsible. The world is watching. And they see that we are no longer united. They will also see that we have fostered the actions of lunatics who are encouraging violence – crazies who perhaps might be persuaded to work inside our country for terrorists. And it will all be the fault of the lunatic fringe of the Republicans. May God have mercy on us!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  102. Denise Jurgens

    Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk , are trying to start a "race war" in this country. It is both despicable, and frightening. We are already seeing the fruits of their labor, (no pun intended) with the murder of a Census taker, an abortion doctor, and a security guard at the Holocaust Museum. Stoking domestic terrorism isn't exactly patriotic now is it?

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  103. Steve From Peoria, AZ

    Of course it's dangerous and irresponsible. Moronic people who blindly turn "buzz words" and ignorant fears into hate rhetoric. The president has not anything, one way or the other, to deserve these hateful attacks. These people rant and rave just to be contradictory. Taking a hardline for their political party without even trying to see any common ground.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  104. Dale / Whitehall

    The environment and talk is not only dangerous, it sets new limits as to how we view the president. Jack this will continue not only with President Obama but with anyone who is in office. What’s next if your candidate does not get elected you shoot the person who did? How can the rest of the world view our president with respect if we don’t respect the office ourselves? We need to realize as a country that the majority voted the person into the office and this person speaks for the majority.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  105. michael james butterfield

    Have they crossed the line? No, they have destroyed any line that civilized people would maintain.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  106. David

    Overly harsh or slanderous criticism of the President is both impractical and immature. How does a vicious attack against a single man do anything to solve the issues facing this country? Not only does harsh criticism against Mr Obama delay any progress on the health care solution, but it divides the country and unfairly challenges ordinary citizens to decipher truth from lies, solutions from symantics, and politics from prejudices. Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 16 years old

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  107. John Avis

    Obama critics are creating a hateful, dangerous environment. Politics has become an ongoing race to get re-elected. The people who are supposed to represent us, no longer listen to us. This is the real danger. The spread of lies about their opponents leaves us in a position of not believing any of them.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  108. jack

    I believe the current enviorment is not any worse when on the internet the publishing of Pres. Bushs asssination, the hanging of Sara Palin on a tree doesnt get the same treatment from the media whether newspaper, tv, or radio. So lets treat everything evenly. By the way is the Democratic senator from Georgia going to be chastied for saying Rebublicans want sick people to die and using the term Holocust .

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  109. Geneva Barresi

    The answer to your question is yes. However, this is an appropriate response to hateful and dangerous policies proposed by President Obama.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  110. Dennis E. East

    Yes Jack they are creating a dangerous and hateful environment.United we stand divided we fall. I f anything happens America will be the loser.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  111. Peggy M. Spokane WA

    I am 63 years old. This is the most hateful and vocal time I have ever known. There is absoulutely a cilmate of hate, the likes of which I do not remember.
    I cannot imagine what it would do to this country, on so many levels, if God forbid some nut job was able to do the unthinkable and do harm to President Obama.
    The African Americans would be blaming and rioting. The political party structure would blame each other. And, other countries that do not have our best interest at heart would take complete advantage of the chaos that would be created. It would be the recipe for anarchy, in my opinion.
    Those that are fostering this hateful scenario, need to engage in some critical thinking about what they are responsible for creating. This is going way beyond just disagreement.
    Actions and words have consequences, and as adults in positions of power I wonder if there will ever be a time when that is understood!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  112. Andrew

    Absolutely Jack! Do You remember the backlash against the Dixie Chicks for their one simple comment against President Bush? This really shows how bad it has become now. That should be a wakeup call to everyone.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  113. Marge

    They have most definitely crossed the line. The weirdo's have come out of the woodwork and the FOX network and all those other crazies are just putting fuel on the flame. I am SCARED. I hope John McCain is happy with himself for letting that NUT Sarah Palin out of the bag. What a disgrace all of these people are to our country. God help us all. I pray for Obama and his family every night in my prayers and for all of us–it seems to just keep going down hill and I don't see a chance for recovery of our out of control society, i.e., allowing anyone to carry an open weapon to a President's speech–DISGRACEFUL!

    Marge
    Bend, OR

    September 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  114. josh

    I don't understand why you agree with Mr Friedman on this. I am not terribly fond of GW Bush, but how is it that people so easily forget the hatred, mocking and disrespect that was shown him for years? I don't get it, there is a part of it that comes with being elected the most powerful person in the world. At least GW had some thick skin.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  115. Donna Fiscus

    Yes it is out of hand lots of white supremist are rearing thier ugly heads

    September 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  116. Rod

    It depends on whose side you're on. Some wingnuts on the right would celebrate if our nation's leader was placed in harm's way. And in their minds, Obama crossed the line by becoming the first black President. That's what they mean by "I want my country back."

    Rod
    Oklahoma

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  117. Heidi

    The right wing fanatics will continue to ooze hatred and bigotry as long as the media continues to give the EXTRA air time. The "cable news program" should be the only one mentioning their insanity!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  118. Natalie Dayton Ohio

    What makes me sad Jack is knowing that we are a nation which claims to be built on "christian/Godly principles" and yet we have nut jobs like the Carolina preacher "praying" that our President (someone's father and son, brother and husband) would get brain cancer an die? Really?

    I'm not sure what heaven these guys are going to but send me to Hell right now!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  119. Jeff Davis

    In a word – YES! For the Republican Party Chairman or any other opposition party leader to not speak out against the "haters" is shameful.

    Leah Rabin, the wife of Yitzhak Rabin blamed Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister, for pounding the drums of fear and hate that resulted in her husbands assassination by a fellow Israeli. She did not even acknowledge him at her husbands state funeral. Netanyahu is as far right in Israel as Limbaugh is here. Sometimes, I fear that the "haters" will fan the flames and we will suffer the same fate as Israel and lose an amazing opportunity to turn things around while we have a real thinker in the White House.

    JEFF – Puerto Vallarta

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  120. Pauline Gilgan

    Jack, Don't look outside for the enemy, look within!

    God help us.

    Oldsmar, FL

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  121. Brian Stout

    Friedman is right on. I have long felt that the conservative right has done more harm to America than anyone I can remember. The conservative talk show hosts are unamerican in my opinion. Between the vocal right and corporate America that has sold out the American worker for increased profit, I'm not sure where America will be in the near future. Everyone still looks to the American consumer to market their goods, but are distroying the very people they depend on. We need to stop this craziness and stop re-electing encumbant politicians. Maybe someone will get the message!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  122. kathy from Phoenix

    Why shouldn't they Jack when everyone seems to be doing it and there is no consequences! Look at the idiots that agreed with joe wilson and sent him campaign contributions. It still amazes me everyday the things I hear about our president and people think it's ok to say. Imagine what their children will be like! Scary thought!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  123. Joe McCormick, Tampa, FL

    Yes, critics are going too far - critics on both sides. Politics has become only anger and retribution and beating the other party. Among many politicians, there are almost no statesmen. A politicians' goal is re-election and power – astatesmen's goal is cooperative work for the good of the country. There seems only intolerance at all levels.

    In the 1960's, I willingly served in a war in the interest of what I thought was a great country, I was seriously wounded in doing so. I don't know if what we have today is worth saving, or if it can be saved. Lincoln quoted the biblical Matthew in 1858, "A house divided cannot stand." We are divided.

    The United States of America no longer seems correctly named. We are not unitew. This is no longer a country of which I am proud. It is moving away from being a society, and becoming only a mass of individuals that believe that personal expression in anger is a greater good than serving the greater good of all. When (if ever) we again function for the common good, we will again be great. If we continue this derisive division, we will fail and probably will fail to exist.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  124. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    They make people fearful of politicians and leaders of all kind. They also make people unsure of who to trust, who to depend on and who to believe and they keep confusing everyone with their deceit, and disrespect. THEY MAKE PEOPLE FEARFUL OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  125. Rod

    It is hard to believe that in 2009, and the election of this Nation's first Afican American President, which has served as a new era in the way that the World views our Country that racism is still getting so much daily coverage. We all know that Racism exist, but when it get's this much coverage by the media I have to question the veiws of those who are reporting on it. Sorry, but it as simple as that Jack.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  126. Terry

    Absolutely the hateful demonizing of our president crosses the line. These people fall into the camp of those who want our president to fail to affirm their own politics before country views – sound familiar? The proponents of these messages fire up their base and then sit back to watch the destruction with grins on their faces. It sickens me.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  127. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Every radical and racist action being sensationalized, glamorized by the media has pushed the unrest even further.
    It is very frigtening to see our nation in the state it is in, the unrest,
    fear, misinformation being spewed by the right wing and big
    business.
    Am truly concerned for our president as he has become the
    undeserving victim of the irresponsible.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  128. mycountry2

    Some of the signs on the mall at D.C. during the republican rally looked like the 1960's. Hatred of your fellow man is a terrible thing.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  129. Bob

    Should President Obama be harmed, we will have an internal war not unlike the Civil war. He is the leader of the free world, our world. We, regardless of our beliefs, must support him.

    PS: TERM LIMITS ON CONGRESS

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  130. Silvin

    yes they are, it seems to me that the far right is furious and have lost control in making right politics. Today America´s image throughout the World has changed to positive compered to those Bush´s 8 Years. They sould be happy to have a President who shares the common will of his People.

    Shame to those far right, there´s no way they can do it better

    From Germany

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  131. Richard in Colorado

    All it takes is one simple minded person with a gun to wreak havoc, and these clowns who are doing this know that all too well. They want to bring Obama down and they don't care how they do it. Their lies and threats are very real to those who aren't informed enough or are demented. Regardless of all the denials, many just plain hate a black man.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  132. Keith

    Free Speech is one of our great underlying ideals of America. However Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who play up to the right wing audience whether for ratings or monetary gains do not seem to understand that some of these people are not taking what they say and looking at the big picture. There are always two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is usually the truth. There is a small percentage of the hard right wing audience that does not want any change and may be prone to violence as a solution.
    Keith From Canterbury,NH

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  133. George

    Jack hate in the far right movement is an incubator of the railling dangers that this Nation would face if the President is assasinated. It will be a time when an American will be a public enemy number one in the global eye. American is old enough to act in maturity.

    George California

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  134. R Patel

    Yes they are, and it is very disturbing indeed. It is a direct reflection of what our culture and politics have become. There is no legitimate substantive dialogue of real issues. Regardless of your politics, this is pure nonsense. It speaks volumes with regards to this generation of American society and the direction in which we are headed. I fear for our President, and I am frightened for our country. Stop the madness; we are, can, and should be better than this. Washington, D.C.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  135. Esther Ohio

    I am old enough to remember where I was November 22, 1963 when we lost a leader. I remember watching the news that day and seeing Walter Cronkit crack in his voice when he told us our president was dead. I know freedom of speech is one of our most precious freedoms but freedom shouldn't make others afraid or afraid for our leaders. We joke about giving posion to Nancy Pelosi or that our president is evil or racist and no one condemns this person and his hate. Freedom is just another word for nothing "Left to Lose". Janis Joplin sang that I thought that day would never come but it seems that it is here. We have lost those values that made us a great nation and until we can roll back to that time, I am going to be living in Fear of those who would say those things about our leaders. This is why the 1st Amendment separtes Church and State because those who believe we are living in a Christian Nation want their voice to be the only ones heard.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  136. John

    Jack i always love your segment and i think you are one of the most reasonable once on tv right now.I think it is very hateful and dangerous what the so called conservatives are doing right now i should know,i live in Alabama.
    It is so sad to hear the blantant lies these people are saying about the president especially in the South.I understand the democrats are not trying to cause a scene that's why they do not wish to address these claim since the President will be running for re-election and their response might turn people away next time.But i pray that God blesses this country and our president from people like Glen Beck,Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.They have all but literally called for the assassination of our president.
    They don't actually have to say it in a sentence like i said i live in Alabama and i work with some of these crazy people and hear what they say.Do you think if a pastor had called for the death of a white president he would not have been prosecuted? he was asked by a radio talk show host what he would think of someone who killed Obama and he said he would not call the individual an assassin,this where the words of a supposed man of God.
    I know this is America and we are all entitled to free speech but this is beyond free speech it is dangerous speech which could lead to something unthinkable.
    sometimes i wonder why fox news is called fox news,they are militants.Look at what happened in New Jersey how crazy is that?I lack words to express the way i feel.
    michael Steel thinks he is the leader of the Republican party but he is not.He is a ceremonial leader he has absolutely no control in that party and i hope he knows that.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  137. Van Joseph - Fort Lauderdale

    Jack, it is simple. The status quo will never accept a Black President, whom for century they have considered Inferior Race. The old key words of Real American, True Patriots, Hypocritc Family Values do not work anymore. They do not have an agenda. They have lost Power and Focus. They have become a minority and got caught by surprise.
    They have become angry and weak. Watch the anger in the face of every Republican Lawman being interviewed on TV. The weaks always revert to Violence and Fear to protect their dominance.
    They need to be the ones to protect Obama if they are really LOVE America. I dread that day if something would happen to this MAN. I will leave the Country.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  138. Darrel buccilli

    It is sad that if you don't agree with President Obamas policies you are instantly called a racist and a crazed mob. Where was the liberal media when the left wing nut cases were calling President Bush a nazi and comparing him to hitler and making signs of Bush with a hitler mustache on, oh that's rright they were the ones calling him a nazi and making signs of his with a Hitler mustache, that's right! you just watch I predict right now that the Republicans are going to take back the House at the very least, that is why the democrats and Ms. Nancy lalapolozi is trying to ram this government take over of health care down the countries throat.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  139. LaVonne F

    Yes, Yes, Yes! It scares me. I think some white people, not all, but some do not like having a black president. They do not see America as being black or mixed. Our leaders have always looked like the majority of our people. They have to accept that things are changing.

    When I see signs of Hitler and black vudoo doctors, it worries me that there are some people out there that are really hateful.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  140. Morton Scott

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." – Thomas Jefferson.
    Our republic depends on public discussion. This discussion must be based on facts and knowledge. Discussions based on hate and falsehoods, on lies, will ultimately cost us our freedom. Those who do are the true enemies of our United States.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  141. Mary Guercio

    The line was crossed long ago. The President was referred to as "that man", "Natzi", "Obama" (not President Obama by media and citizenry). Nothing less than respect for the office of President of the United states itself is at stake – Remember, the world is watching, America, and we the people of the "greatest" democracy on earth, are not practicing what we preach.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  142. Alwell

    The Critics of President Obama are crossing the line, period.
    Everyone knew and knows it.
    Thanks
    Alwell

    September 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm |