Bill Maher: transmitter of eliminationist rhetoric?

In a disturbing pattern with obvious historical parallels (no doubt familiar to experts on the subject of the rise of fascism), eliminationist rhetoric which began in the fringes of the blogosphere is now being laundered and mainstreamed by supposedly legitimate media satraps.

Echoing deleted comments from the Huffington Post, TV host Bill Maher endorsed the idea that the assassination of Dick Cheney would be a good thing.

I can't help notice that in doing so, he used what initially struck me as mere bad logic:

I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow. (applause)
(Via Glenn Reynolds, who notes that leftists feel good about some calls for assassination.)

But what I immediately noticed was Maher's qualifier. He didn't just say they wouldn't be dying tomorrow; he said "needlessly." What that means, of course, is that Bill Maher concedes while people would still die after Dick Cheney's assassination, their deaths would no longer be needless.

Considering that the context of the statement was the war in Iraq, what might Maher possibly mean that future deaths would no longer be needless?

That the Cheney assassination would be a good start, maybe?

Haven't we seen it all before?

I'll close by quoting a leading expert on the subject:

Memes from the far right -- some of them with deep historical roots, like this one -- not only continue to have a half-life in modern society, they have been finding their way into mainstream conservatism in recent years.

Many of them appear almost unconsciously, out of the zeitgeist, the environment created by the shifts in the political framework that make society more receptive to these ideas. Many are boosted by the increasing interactions of mainstream conservatives with extremist belief systems. "Transmitters" -- figures like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter -- play key roles in bridging the two sectors by picking up extremist ideas and agendas and clothing them in rhetoric suitable for mainstream consumption. Regardless of the mechanism, ordinary conservatives then pick them up and run with them, often utterly oblivious about the origins of the ideas they're absorbing and then promoting.

posted by Eric on 03.03.07 at 01:23 PM


It's very simple. Lefties would rather see Dick Cheney die for our country than see our country die for Dick Cheney.

markg8   ·  March 3, 2007 7:29 PM

Did you follow the Tom Alciere thing a while back?

He was a Libertarian. He and I exchanged numerous e-mails. Oh the frustrations of fringe politics.

M. Simon   ·  March 4, 2007 2:49 AM

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