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Pulitzer-Winning Author Who Wanted Bush 'Shot' Spews Hate on Huff Post

Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer-winning novelist who once mused on Salon.com that she'd like to see President Bush, Vice President Cheney and others “taken out and shot,” has unleashed another vitriolic tirade against conservatives on the most popular leftwing blogsite, The Huffington Post.  Isn't nasty, partisan incivility one of the elements of politics the left wants to change?


In an Oct. 30 Huff Post entry, “Goodbye, Cruel World,” Smiley blames “the right” for, well, nearly everything wrong with human civilization.  On Capitol Hill, congressional staffs teach their legislative correspondents that anybody who raises more than three topics in a letter to his Congressman is, to put it charitably, not to be taken seriously.   Smiley hits at least eight topics in her first eight sentences:


The world would be a better place if the American right wing had never existed. Thousands of Americans and Iraqis would still be alive, tens of thousands or Iraqis would still be living in their own homes. The American economy would not have hopped from bubble to bubble if the right wing had not put all of their faith in deregulation, and American jobs would not have been sent abroad. Our tax dollars would not have flowed upward into the coffers of the rich, and the war machine would not comprise such a large part of our economy. We would have retained the respect of other nations, and not aroused the absolute hatred of those we have attempted to bomb into submission. We would get along better with one another if the right wing had not used tribal hatreds to arouse their base against black people, immigrants, liberals, and the well-educated. Our infrastructure, health care, and schools would be better if the billions spent on futile wars had been spent on domestic needs. The planet would be a better place if our addiction to oil had been broken 25 years ago.


Eight topics already, and Smiley's just getting started.  She goes on to vent at capitalism, the religious right, God and John McCain before she finally gets to her main point, urging readers to vote for Barack Obama.  A few illustrative nuggets:


    In the capitalist world, you are not just supposed to starve, you are supposed to deserve starving – insult added to injury, humiliation added [to] pain. The religious right has been determined to enforce the unhappiness of others, no doubt so that that unhappiness will match their own. They also want to make sure that every woman in the world understands that her interests are secondary to those of any embryo, any man, even, indeed, any sperm cell. This would be the “James Dobson Position”. The God of the right wing, and of the Bible, is a pretty arbitrary guy. [John McCain] is hot-headed, erratic, and has been remarkably cruel. Barack Obama rarely changes the subject, because he is fully capable of looking at an issue and considering it. When we choose between these two men, we are choosing between two worlds – the world of ignorance, fear, manipulation, and cruelty, and the world of rational investigation, weighing of options, and planning.

 According to comScore, Inc., The Huffington Post, founded by celebrity Arianna Huffington, is the leading leftwing blogsite.  Smiley, who won the Pulitzer in 1992 for her novel A Thousand Acres, is not the only leftie given a free pass to spit venom on Huff Post.


Robert L. Borosage is the former director of the far-left Institute for Policy Studies, a former Jesse Jackson speechwriter, and founder of several progressive political organizations.  Borosage asserts in an Oct 28th post that Election Day will, “expose the Republicans as a minority, regional, aging, whites only party in the grip of its evangelical extreme.”


On Oct. 29, it was music video producer Bob Cesca's turn.  Cesca is known for directing an award-winning independent documentary film that poked fun at America's post-9/11 patriotism.  In his scathing piece, “The Mandatory Rejection of Sarah Palin,” the three-year Huff Post blogger called Palin supporters “easily-led gomers … bigots and witch hunters.”


Human nature being fallen, The Huffington Post can't expect its passionate political partisans to argue logically the week before an election.  But the editors could require them to argue with civility.  


Erin Brown is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute. Brian Fitzpatrick is CMI's senior editor.