So there was Elizabeth Edwards, wife of the Blow-Dried One, berating Ann Coulter on the art of civil discourse last week. After her phone-in appearance on the Chris Matthews show, St. Elizabeth was the toast of the media town, making the rounds from one network to the next, with rose petals strewn in her path to guide her to her seat, denouncing the "hatefulness" and "ugliness" of conservative commentators. "We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language," she lectured.
It's a good thing none of her interviewers pretended to be objective. It's a good thing she wasn't asked about hatefulness and ugliness on the left. It would have been painful.
For instance, what if she'd been asked to denounce a quote from a leading liberal who favors rage as a necessary ingredient in fighting for a rapid timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, and who attacked congressional Democrats as weaklings: "We needed uncompromising rage, and we got silence. We needed courage, and we got silence. And that silence was, have no doubt about it, a betrayal: of the soldiers, of the voters in 2006, of humanity and morality."
Accusing someone of betraying our soldiers (never mind all of humanity) -- that registers as hateful and ugly in my book. So who said that? The author of those words would be one St. Elizabeth Edwards, on June 8, accepting the "Rage for Justice Award" from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Naderite "consumer" lobby.
What of the person who suggested America is a country that is not only obsessed with wealth, it criminally neglects the poor, and that racism was part of that cruel formula? "We have a country that is complacent about the creation of a permanent underclass, largely an underclass of color, while paying lip service to words like equality and opportunity."
Anyone who resents an association, direct or otherwise, with policies that acquiesce to racism would find those words hateful and ugly, to say the least. OK, so who said them? Elizabeth Edwards, meet Elizabeth Edwards.
How about comparing the Bush administration to the slaughtering nomads of Darfur, with the poor as victims of Washington's "genocide"? "The White House has led the charge against working people, in their own class war. The late, great Molly Ivins once wrote: 'If there was class warfare, that war was long over. And it was a massacre ... a genocide to which there have been words of acknowledgement, as there have in Darfur, but as with Darfur, no meaningful action.'"
Even Chris Matthews would find those words hateful and ugly. I can only hope he was ignorant of them, or it would have been most embarrassing asking St. Elizabeth to denounce herself.
More rage from St. Elizabeth, this time against America: "A country made great by men and women who work with their hands now debases and ignores them, and celebrates instead the investment banker, the money changers, while holding a Bible (which would teach them otherwise) as a sword against gays and lesbians, against women, and even against science itself."
Then there is the hate and ugliness coming from some of her husband's presidential campaign staff.
"God is a sadistic bastard." Sen. Rick Santorum talks about sex "lest his lack of self-control be manifested by f---ing his desk on the Senate floor." In the Duke Lacrosse case, "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?" These statements, among others, are the proud utterances of the erstwhile official Edwards for President blogger, Amanda Marcotte.
President Bush has a "wingnut Christofascist base." "When CNN invited Ann Coulter to comment on the 2004 presidential debates ... they had officially transformed into the C--- News Network." These were some of the offerings from the other official campaign blogger, Melissa McEwan.
How in the world did these vile women find positions as the official bloggers in the Edwards campaign? According to Men's Vogue magazine, they were hired by, you guessed it, St. Elizabeth. And even after their wretched bigotry triggered a national outcry, John Edwards refused to fire them.
But Elizabeth Edwards wasn't confronted on a single one of these statements during any of her media appearances. In the collective eyes of the press, conservatives, almost by definition, are ugly and hateful, and their raging deserves denouncement. Liberals, on the contrary, are permitted to rage, and when they froth at the mouth with the most hateful language imaginable, they're celebrated for that raging, even presented with "Rage" awards. Such are the standards of civil discourse in the land of liberalism.