American politics and political discourse have never been pattycake. In the years of George W. Bush, opponents railed against the president.
But the language lately on air has grown particularly fierce and apocalyptic: President Obama called a dictator and sympathizer with terrorists. His policies called socialist, Marxist, Bolshevik, dangerous. Americans called to rise up in revolt. All this while the economy tanks and gun sales surge.
Is this just the hurly-burly of American politics, or something else?
This hour, On Point: Hot airwaves, fear and anger in the age of Obama and economic bust.
You can join the conversation. Have you heard the talk-show calls to rise up and take back the country? What do you think when you hear President Obama called fascist, Manchurian candidate, terrorist sympathizer? Is this just democracy in action — free speech and political protest? Is it different from the kind of attacks leveled at George W. Bush?
Joining us from Montgomery, Ala., is Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, which tracks extremist groups across the country.
Joining us from Washington, D.C., is Allan Lichtman, professor of history at American University and author of “White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement.”
And joining us from Princeton, N.J., is Mickey Edwards, Republican Congressman from Oklahoma from 1977 to 1993 and a member of the House Republican Leadership in those years. He’s now a lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is “Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost–And How It Can Find Its Way Back.”
A big thanks today to Media Matters, which tracks, catalogues and fact-checks political rhetoric.