Cheap Conservative Attacks Tearing Country Apart

Monday, 15 Mar 2010 04:31 PM

By Susan Estrich

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Conservative loudmouths are crowing that they are driving President Barack Obama's popularity ratings below 50 percent. They are very proud of themselves. They shouldn't be. Destroying what is best about our country is not something to brag to your children about. And the other shoe is dropping.

"I've stopped using Claritin," one of my friends told me. "Zyrtec is just as good, and besides, you can buy generic versions of Claritin." This is not a column about allergies. I really don't know if Zyrtec is just as good or not. But they don't advertise on Fox News. Claritin is, I am told, No. 1 on this month's boycott list.

Getting rid of Van Jones, the co-founder of one of the groups now organizing the boycotts, is not going to slow the movement. Quite the contrary. It may strengthen the cause. When folks start telling someone who has been a contributor at Fox for 10 years (me) to cut out the Claritin, you know it's spreading.

The same day, I found myself sitting with a group of people who share my strong commitment to the security of the state of Israel. To a one, they supported Hillary Clinton or John McCain. To a one, they have "issues" with Obama: These folks are worried about the economy and the deficit, worried about terrorism around the world, and, yes, deeply worried about what they see as ambivalence from this administration to the threats faced by Israel. But — and this is my point — despite all of that, every one of these people is now an angry Obama supporter. Not just an Obama supporter, but an angry one.

The right may be mad as hell, but I've got news for congressman Joe Wilson and his know-nothing cronies: You have turned your natural allies, people who might have agreed with you on properly raised criticisms, who might have agreed with you on substance, into your enemies.

Not critics, enemies.

Not people who won't vote for you or contribute to your cause or watch your show, but people who would like to see you driven from the television, driven from office, recognized as pariahs in a culture of civility, respect, and decency.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was right on Sunday when she said out loud what so many of us have been thinking. "Boy." That's the subtext here. I don't use the term lightly. Just because you disagree with someone who is black doesn't make you a racist. John McCain is not a racist. Cal Thomas is not a racist. Mike Huckabee is not a racist. These are men I know, whose integrity I respect, even if we disagree. But Joe Wilson? And others who shall remain nameless here, but you can easily fill in the blank?

Obama has made mistakes. Every president does. But thousands of brave men and women died as a result of George W. Bush's mistakes, and no Democrat ever stood in the back of the Congress and attacked him as a liar during a joint session of Congress. Respect? Dignity? Integrity? Honor? These people have none.

It's too bad. At a time when the country might be proud of its commitment to equality, we are torn apart. At a time when the country so needs to pull together to deal with the problems we face, the divisions among us are becoming deeper and uglier. At a time when those of us who are parents struggle to teach our children to live with honor in a difficult world, powerful men are celebrated for acting like the worst kid on the playground.

May God protect this president, not only for his sake, but for all of ours.

© Creators Syndicate Inc.

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