Michael Barone is a liar.
No, let me take that back. Michael Barone offends (and impresses) liars with his commitment to dishonesty. He is a man so committed to dishonesty that it is very likely he is actually the Lindbergh Baby, that is how much I doubt his accounting of his biography in light of the fact that he lies all the goddamn time.
Today, he writes about the liberal stifling of dissent, which, I think, you have to write on at least three times a year if you're going to remain in good standing with the Conservative Commentariat Association. It has all the usual touchpoints: calling racists racist is the most terrible thing of all, liberals are terrible elitists who can handle nothing else except discussing Heidegger over yerba matte...you know, everything you normally hear when your conservative uncle makes fun of you for owning a documentary that didn't come with a subscription to Sports Illustrated. But they, there's the point at which Barone just goes full-bore into lying about acts of violence, which has never, ever been a tactic used by radical groups to blame the targets of their wrath for the ills that befall them.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned us that there's a danger that intense rhetoric can provoke violence, and no decent person wants to see harm come to our president or other leaders. But it's interesting that the two most violent incidents at this summer's town hall meetings came when a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri and when a liberal protester bit off part of a man's finger in California.
These incidents don't justify a conclusion that all liberals are violent. But they are more evidence that American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down.
The first incident he's talking about is Kenneth Gladney's brutal slapfight and tripping match with a half-blind minister. I would point out how, ultimately, we are all Kenneth Gladney, but his attorney forgot to pay the bills, so...never mind. The Gladney matter has been handled with hilarious ineptitude by David Brown, Gladney's attorney/mouthpiece/deadbeat fame-whore hanger-on. Gladney has pursued no suit against the SEIU as of today, has, as far as I've found, pressed no charges, and has pretty much done nothing except do a poor man's Joe the Plumber impersonation...which I didn't think was humanly possible.
The second incident involves a man who ended up biting off an assailant's finger after being punched repeatedly in the face. You could look upon this as an incident of an insane liberal protester savaging the all-American digits of an innocent man or, alternately, you could look at it as someone defending themselves from an assault. I suppose it all depends on whether or not your conception of "facts" includes things that happen before conservatives are inconvenienced.
At the end of the day, this isn't just about Barone being a hack among hacks. It's about a violent populist movement's efforts to justify its own acts of real or implied violence by manufacturing grievances against its target population. Yes, that teabagger should probably have his finger, but it would have helped if he hadn't been ramming it in another person's face in an effort to hurt him. Kenneth Gladney probably has some boo-boos, but it's awfully telling that he has a full PR machine, complete with huckster "agent", before he ever had charges filed against his alleged assailants. Barone is alleging liberal violence here not because any unjustified liberal violence actually happened, but because it helps advance the point that any and all resistance to the evils of liberalism is preemptively and preventatively justified. When someone gets shot, it won't be because some nutcase brought a gun to an event and opened fire against an innocent person, it's because they were trying to prevent the inevitable and terrible harm that liberalism would visit upon them, like when Bill Clinton had Vince Foster killed or when Obama sent out his Youth to pummel white children on school buses.
You can ask Dr. Tiller's family where that line of thought leads, if you'd like.