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The “Firing Line” Comment

John on March 26, 2010 at 9:00 am

Having failed thus far to provide any evidence for claims that the N-word was chanted at them by protesters, Democrats have moved on to a new outrage. RNC chairman Michael Steele said the other day, “let’s start getting Nancy ready for the firing line in November.”

This is clearly a reference to the elections. The Hill notes that “fire Nancy Pelosi” is a mantra at the RNC, but still goes on to suggest that Steele was issuing a threat. They note that Democratic operatives “pounced” on this as another secret signal to right-wing extremists with DNC spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine calling it a death threat:

After a year of scare-tactics from Republican leaders, very little surprises us.  But, death threats like the one Michael Steele has posed to Speaker Pelosi are usually reserved for the farthest right fringe – not the Chairman of the Republican Party.

Rep. Clyburn appeared on MSNBC denouncing Steele and saying much the same:

The head of the Republican party, Mr. Steele, saying something about uh, shooting the speaker — and I forgot what it was — but it implied a violent action…

First of all, Michael Steele has been known to put his foot in his mouth on occasion, so to take a reference to November’s elections using the term “firing line” as a veiled death threat is a stretch.

Secondly, the term “firing line” has a long association with politics, being the name of William F. Buckley’s long-running debate show on PBS. So far as I know, no liberals who appeared on the show during its 33 year run considered it a death threat, implied or otherwise.

Thirdly, there’s the sheer hypocrisy of it. In 2007, the LA Times published a piece by California Senator Dianne Feinstein on the firing of several attorneys general. The headline: “White House Firing Line.” Was the Times making a veiled threat, or is this just a phrase that has been used on both sides of the aisle? Did Feinstein object to the headline as too violent? I doubt she or anyone at the DNC cared at the time. It’s just a phrase until they see an opportunity to whip up the base and raise some cash.

There is a firing line here. It’s the one that DNC has organized to smear lawful protesters and Republican representatives with bogus claims of racism, spitting and death threats.

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