- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 13, 2004

So far, Democratic Party leaders have not said anything about the rash of drive-by shootings, theft, vandalism, unlawful entry and physical attacks committed by low-level anti-Bush partisans over the last few weeks. It would demonstrate real leadership if they — and all persons of goodwill, regardless of political affiliation — were to condemn this behavior in no uncertain terms.

Here’s a partial selection of what is alleged to have occurred: Gunshots were fired into Bush-Cheney offices in Knoxville, Tenn. and Huntington, W.Va. The latter barely missed campaign staffers as they watched President Bush’s nomination acceptance speech on Sept. 2. Charges of misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief were filed against a Gainesville, Fla., college professor who attacked the Republican county chairman last month. There were instances of forcible entry causing minor injuries at Republican offices in Miami, Tampa and Orlando. In Orlando, a Republican field organizer had his wrist fractured when a mob of protesters stormed local GOP headquarters. Burglaries occurred at campaign headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., Spokane, Wash. and Canton, Ohio.

Fifty Republican members of Congress led by Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida have sent a letter asking the Justice Department to investigate whether the coordinated protests violated any federal laws on protecting the rights to campaign and vote. It will be interesting to see if Mary Berry or other members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission — people who inveighed endlessly four years ago about spurious reports of voter intimidation — will demonstrate any interest in investigating reports that Republicans are the ones being targeted.

In many elections, there are rogue elements who seek to employ thuggery to advance a political agenda or intimidate those who disagree with them. At a minimum, responsible people — whatever their affiliation — should condemn such behavior and not employ fevered rhetoric that can only encourage unstable people to engage in anti-social behavior. Unfortunately, some partisans on the left engage in beyond-the-pale attacks aimed at dehumanizing their political adversaries. Al Gore, for example, referred to Republican activists as “digital Brown Shirts” in June in a speech before the American ConstitutionSocietyinWashington.A MoveOn.org ad used Nazi imagery to compare President Bush to Hitler. Federal Appeals Court Judge Guido Calabresi also suggested that President Bush’s election was somehow analogous to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League expressed grave concern to Mr. Gore in a letter after his remarks in June, saying they had the effect of trivializing the Holocaust and urging Mr. Gore to stop using the analogy. Mr. Gore never responded. A public outcry and sharp condemnations by figures across the political spectrum forced George Soros’ MoveOn.org to pull its Nazi Web ad earlier this year. It’s long past time for decent people of every political persuasion to marginalize those who employ hate speech or physical intimidation to advance their agendas.

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