May 8, 2012

Romney needs to be more like McCain... Obama supporters insist.

Isn't it funny, this "treason" incident? Obama supporters everywhere are chastising Romney and holding up McCain as the exemplar of how to respond to overstatements about Obama:
A backer introduced Romney by slamming President Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, comparing Obama to Ronald McDonald. And when a woman said Obama should be tried for treason, Romney didn't disagree and asked the woman to follow up her question.

Later, when asked by reporters about the treason comment, Romney said he did not believe the president should be tried.

But by then, the moment was already being compared unfavorably to Sen. John McCain's handling of a similar situation during his 2008 run against Obama.

When a woman said she couldn't trust Obama because "he's an Arab," McCain responded immediately and forcefully: "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about."
That was awfully nice of McCain, but let's remember he lost. And I think I remember him having a rather exaggerated fear of criticizing Obama. Now, I think McCain had some reason to worry that people in the audience would say something racist or arguably racist or somewhat racial and that anything like that would be exploited by the Obama campaign. But at this point in American history, 4 years later, we are free to criticize Obama. Romney doesn't need to go all beta when an audience member states her antagonism to Obama in a strong way. He doesn't need to scold and discipline Obama's antagonists. Romney's approach to answering the question asked was just fine, though it is perfectly understandable why the Obama campaign would like Romney to get sidetracked into defending Obama.

***

Do you remember the 1964 book "None Dare Call It Treason"?



John A. Stormer's polemic sold 7 million copies in its day. Here's Daniel Pipes reviewing the "25 Years Later" republication, in 1991:
Arguing that the United States had been betrayed by its elite, it is a classic in what Hannah Arendt has called "backstairs political literature." Surprisingly for the genre, it did not contain the usual virulent animosity toward Catholics, Jews, and the like; rather, it blamed communist sympathizers. Nor did it unambiguously point to a plan: "Is there a conspiratorial plan to destroy the United States into which foreign add, planned inflation, distortion of treaty-making powers and disarmament all fit?" Stormer went no further than to resort to a metaphor about the pieces all fitting, whether planned by communists or not.
The "treason" label has a venerable tradition. Anyone who has taught Constitutional Law — like me or the President of the United States — is familiar with the way Chief Justice John Marshall used it in Cohens v. Virginia: to express the wrongness of exceeding the bounds of the Constitution:
It is most true that this Court will not take jurisdiction if it should not; but it is equally true that it must take jurisdiction if it should. The judiciary cannot, as the legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the confines of the Constitution. We cannot pass it by because it is doubtful. With whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be attended, we must decide it if it be brought before us. We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the Constitution.
With Marshall's great example, the word treason belongs in the American tradition of free political speech.

IN THE COMMENTS: Bryan C reminds us of an even earlier venerable use of the word treason in American history. Patrick Henry said: "If this be treason, make the most of it." The country was founded on treason. We celebrate the treason we like.

60 comments:

Alex said...

haha - concern trolling at it's absolute best. What Romney needs is a dash of Lee Atwater and James Carville!

rhhardin said...

It's the treason tradition.

Scott M said...

Just a related addendum, but was McCain ahead in the polls leading up to 2008's crash?

Romney owes those people exactly nothing. If our society could get to a place were we're not held accountable for others' words purely through association, with the cries of denouncement falling like a flan in a cupboard, we would all be infinitely better off.

ricpic said...

Until Romney does a complete McCain and assures us peasant dumpkopfs that a 2nd Obama term wouldn't be such a bad thing...well, until then he'll continue to be just another crazed right winger of the extremely extreme variety.

Alex said...

For one thing Romney will not choose a total flake like Palin for the VP.

harrogate said...

Well then, in the spirit of tradition, let's all use the word "treason" exactly as thoughtfully as this Romneyite did. It will only damage the principle of free speech to do otherwise!

Bob Ellison said...

"Treason" is a harsh word, but it's also descriptive, and I agree with the Professor's point (if I understand it correctly) that it should be used, appropriately, and not feared.

Wikipedia has a list of treason convictions throughout the world. The USA list is short, and almost all of the examples come from major wars: the American Revolution, the Civil War, and WW2. Why were these crimes treasonous, but those of Aldrich Ames, Bill Ayers, and José Padilla were not?

To paraphrase Eric Holder, we're a nation of cowards, linguistically.

ricpic said...

FDR was treasonous for manipulating us into WW II.

X said...

Point of order. She was a black woman, possibly a single mom, so while she may not have been right, she could not have been wrong.

AJ Lynch said...

Just a few weeks ago, it was perfectly acceptable for the MSM to call the Repub primaries a clown show etc.

Matthew Sablan said...

Don't worry; in 2016 or 2020, they'll all wish the new radical right wing Republican nominee could be as moderate as good old Romney. It's how it works, don't you know. The only Republican president not to become kinder and gentler in political rhetoric is George W. Bush, but give it time before his ability to work across the aisle with the likes of Ted Kennedy is fondly remembered and used to bludgeon other Republicans. It just might be a bit more years so people forget the worst of the vitriol spewed at him.

garage mahal said...

I'm surprised you didn't quote the John Birch Society or the Posse Comitatus to make your point. Which is what this babbling winger was probably reading before that townhall.

Bryan C said...

If this be treason, make the most of it.

Andy R. said...

"If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership."
-Bryan Fischer

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

roesch/voltaire said...

Mitt who lacks core values and can not even stand up to Right Wing radio pressure on his gay advisors, all the while showing the power to telling lies over and over does deserve the charge of treason to our democracy.

Matthew Sablan said...

I saw much more vicious things said about Romney's adviser by people on the left calling him a traitor and the like for daring to support a Republican than I ever saw from the right.

Also, you can't claim Mitt doesn't have a core AND claim that he is a radical right winger. Please, choose one of these attacks and stick to it, instead of picking whichever one feeds into the meme of the day.

Matthew Sablan said...

Andy: Romney clearly won't have the flexibility needed to deal with Putin.

Oh, wait.

Scott M said...

Which is what this babbling winger was probably reading before that townhall.

Racist.

campy said...

But at this point in American history, 4 years later, we are free to criticize Obama.

Sez you. I still say it's racist.

Bob Ellison said...

roesch/voltaire has ably freed "treason" from its prison. Romney's lies and failure to stand up for r/v's positions are treasonous. Yay! Treason is everywhere! 7-11 commits treason by selling junk food to minors! My dog commits treason by farting!

Pogo said...

France just elected a socialist, and we elected one in 2008.

Why not say it loud and proud?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Treason to the Constitution. I would say that 95% of all Congress critters are committing treason and probably the same number of State elected politicians.

Every day that they don't do their duty. Don't read the bills that they are passing. Don't ponder the long term or even short term effects of their actions. Don't pass a required budget. Ignore the safety of the country for partisan political purposes. Refuse to defend the borders of the United States or of their respective States!!!

They are committing treason. And I think they SHOULD be tried, sentenced and punished.

Hanging would be nice. In public. Sell tickets. I bet we could reduce the deficit.

Mitchell said...

Romney doesn't need to go all beta when an audience member states her antagonism to Obama in a strong way.

And here we see the term "beta" used to mean something akin to "lame." This is a pervasive corruption of the term as used in ethology to identify a group member who is strong, second only to the alpha. The beta will likely supplant the alpha, usually by force.

It should be noted that dictionary.com gives an example of the use of the word "pervasive," as follows: "The corruption is so pervasive that it is accepted as the way of doing business."

And so it goes.

ricpic said...

By "democracy" Roeschi means rule by faculty lounge lefties like his smug self and Barry.

X said...

what about John Kerry? He was democratically rejected by the voters of Mass. and then went to negotiate with the North Vietnamese while still in the reserves. No wonder he hides his military records.

Andy Freeman said...

Remind me - how often does Obama chide folks for saying "wrong things" about Republicans?

Dust Bunny Queen said...


Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.


Maybe he [Romney] doesn't disagree with her about the treason. Just disagrees with the idea of a trial. Too time consuming and costly. Better to just get rid of the treasonous person and move along.

edutcher said...

I don't doubt for an instant the Zeros would love it if the Romster ran his campaign the way Junior did.

Scott M said...

Just a related addendum, but was McCain ahead in the polls leading up to 2008's crash?

Oh, yes.

Andy R. said...

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

The word "plant" ring a bell, genius?

Will Collier said...

I don't think Obama ought to be tried for treason, but the couple whose apartment he borrowed to kick off his political career damn well should have been. Bernadine Dohrn went to Cuba to meet with and take orders from the North Vietnamese version of the KGB during the height of the Vietnam War. Dohrn and Weatherman pal (later husband) Bill Ayers were all too happy to carry out those orders, carrying out and abetting violent terrorist attacks inside the US ("Bring the war home"). If that isn't the definition of treason, I don't know what actions would fit it.

None of that is even a matter of supposition; it's just history. Dohrn and Ayers have bragged about it. Not that I expect the media to ever report that, of course...

damikesc said...

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

Obama saw no reason to leave a bigoted church for 20 years.

YMMV.

We can now hold Obama as being wrong for not criticizing what his supporters say. ANY supporter.

So, Obama, about Bill Maher...

Mitt who lacks core values and can not even stand up to Right Wing radio pressure on his gay advisors

Who were these hosts? When did they blast him?

Thorley Winston said...

Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but during the 2008 campaign weren’t Obama and/or Biden asked about putting outgoing members of the Bush administration (including President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney) on trial. Does anyone remember their response?


That being said, “politely dismiss and move on” is usually a better response than getting into a protracted argument with someone who is either a plant or a nutter or both.

Saint Croix said...

I am going to vote today and put an end to this Romney juggurnaut before we nominate the wrong...

Oh, wait. Never mind. As you were.

X said...

Did John Kerry ever apologize for calling CEO's "Benedict Arnold"? Kerry's probably 1/32 Arnold anyway, so it always seemed odd.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

The word "plant" ring a bell, genius?


This is what the left has come to? Cut comment by heckler, paste on Romney?

Ann Althouse said...

"Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but during the 2008 campaign weren’t Obama and/or Biden asked about putting outgoing members of the Bush administration (including President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney) on trial. Does anyone remember their response?"

Yes, I should dig out the old Bloggingheads I did with Jane Hamsher going on and on about how Bush should be criminally prosecuted. She acted aghast that I — a law professor! — could even think that it might be inappropriate.

Matthew Sablan said...

You still have people talking about citizen arrests of Bush and Cheney. Let's not forget the WAR CRIMES that suddenly aren't any more (except for the rare, consistent few).

Scott M said...

Let's not forget the WAR CRIMES that suddenly aren't any more (except for the rare, consistent few).

Is that anything like the legions of homeless people our nation was afflicted with that suddenly ended in January of 1993?

BK said...

People are still equating criticism of Obama with racism? Hilarious!

Bruce Hayden said...

what about John Kerry? He was democratically rejected by the voters of Mass. and then went to negotiate with the North Vietnamese while still in the reserves. No wonder he hides his military records.

Well, maybe we are saying the same thing, but I expect that the reason is that he was the officer's equivalent to a dishonorable discharge, either for going to North Vietnam, or failing to even try to fulfill his reserve commitment.

That is why the thing that so many on the left had about GWB not filling his National Guard commitment were so humorous - Bush did complete his, though maybe things had to be stretched a bit at the end, and got his honorable discharge, on time. Kerry, with an essentially identical reserve commitment, didn't apparently even try to fulfill his. Worse, he only got his medals back, under Carter Administration amnesty, and it appears that the general amnesty may not have been sufficient for his egregious case, which is apparently why his ultimate Senate colleague, Ted Kennedy apparently had to intervene on his behalf.

Of course, it would be interesting to see if Kerry was thrown out of the naval reserves for failing to perform his required duties, for going to North Vietnam, or for defaming our military and its veterans with his false testimony before Congress. My guess is that it was his testimony that triggered his separation, but they also used his failure to perform his reserve duties as a good part of the justification.

Keep that in mind the next time that Bush's TANG service is questioned - and remember, he was honorably discharged, on time, after fulfilling his legal commitments, and after following the rules. Kerry had to get a Presidential amnesty and the personal help of his Senator.

bagoh20 said...

"We celebrate the treason we like. "

I think there are better reasons to oppose Obama, than there was to oppose King George.

campy said...

People are still equating criticism of Obama with racism? Hilarious!

Glad you can laugh now. You won't find it so funny in November.

Bruce Hayden said...

None of that is even a matter of supposition; it's just history. Dohrn and Ayers have bragged about it. Not that I expect the media to ever report that, of course...

Now, if you are going to bring up those two - as many probably know here, there is some evidence that Obama and Ayers were a lot closer than that. For example, a USPS mailman has claimed that he used to deliver mail to Bill Ayers' parents, and that they claimed to have been helping a foreign student through school, and he met that foreign student, and it was none other than Barack Hussein Obama II. Which may be part of why many question whether the younger (and more treasonous) Ayers was the one who might have actually written Obama's "autobiography".

Bruce Hayden said...

I find the criticisms of Romney here interesting - esp. because they mostly come from some of our resident leftists. Should he be treating Obama with kid gloves? That sure isn't what the Republican base wants, and was one of their big criticisms of McCain and his campaign. And, how much responsibility should Romney have for what his supporters say? Should Obama then be held to the same standards for what his supporters say? Or, are there two standards, because apparently criticizing Obama is both racist and unpatriotic, while criticizing Romney is just good politics?

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting table and article. Not quite on topic - but does mention treason: The Chart That Should Have Destroyed #Occupy Wall Street.

Justin said...

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

Oh for God's sake. Please listen to the actual clip. You wouldn't have said that if you had.

campy said...

Or, are there two standards, because apparently criticizing Obama is both racist and unpatriotic, while criticizing Romney is just good politics?

Yes.

Christopher in MA said...

It's Fen's Law - The left doesn't actually believe in the things it lectures us about.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDN said...

"Why doth Treason never prosper? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it Treason!"

Fast and Furious was all that was needed for treason charges against Obama.

Alex said...

The left as usual attempts to hold the right to standards it rejects. It's pure Alinsky.

KenK said...

I remember reading that book when I was a kid. It seemed impossible that those sort of predictions could come true. And they pretty much all have.

Revenant said...

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

Why would he want to "stand up" to her?

I mean, sure, I guess you could make the argument that while Obama IS a crooked politician who has betrayed both his oath to the Constitution and his promises to the American people, he isn't technically guilty of "treason" because he isn't in league with foreign powers.

But why would you want to? It is a bit like saying "how DARE you call him a child molester, the woman he raped was over the age of consent". :)

damikesc said...

Well then, in the spirit of tradition, let's all use the word "treason" exactly as thoughtfully as this Romneyite did.

Can I use "racism" as thoughtfully as Obamabots do? Because, if I can, you are a racist.

Romney can't even stand up to a random woman at a rally that he disagrees with.

Who says he disagrees? A Resident who chooses to violate the seperation of powers and blatantly violates federal law isn't exactly a paragon of patriotism.

Hell, using Obama's own standards, he un-Patriotic.

Remind me - how often does Obama chide folks for saying "wrong things" about Republicans?

Is it possible to say "wrong things" about Republicans? That he doesn't perform mass executions, in some circles, is proof that he's too soft.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm loving it:

First, the liberals say the conservatives should pick Romney because he'd be the strongest candidate, and now that the morons have done it, they're telling him how to campaign.

Is this a joke, or what?

Let the election from the planet Kolab proceed!

After watching a socialist win in France, I'd say the goofiest race for world domination has just begun - cultists vs. socialists - and there can be no winners:

Whether Romney or Obama wins, we lose - I mean, can you imagine what a president from the planet Kolab is going to do for our prestige internationally?

Come on, Christians, pray with me:

"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,..."

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

I think this black woman democrat plant will fail to advance the Axelrod/NY Times progressive jewish media "Narrative" of Romney as either weak or an extremist that associates Obama with treason.

Romney is just too moderate and tempered in his language to pull an Al Gore or Teddy Kennedy "Thundering Red-Faced in Anger" speech of the sort they pulled on Bush "Betraying The Country".

In fact, like much of the "war on women" backfiring for the NY Times and Axelrod operatives like Rosen - the HOW DARE YOU LET OBAMA BE CALLED A TRAITOR meme could backfire.

Reasons:

1. People can buy into a drunken Teddy, Newt, Santorum cussing away and bellowing away about treason...but not a HW Bush. Too gentlemanly. "It wouldn't be proper". Romney is like HW Bush.

2. Honestly, the longer the Dems float the issue "Why isn't Romney defending Obama against the charge that he is treasonous and out to blow off the Constitution and ruin America" - the more the questions are implanted in swing voters heads.

a. "Is he treasonous? Maybe just a little bit? What was that stuff about apologizing for America and telling the Russians he will have more flexibility after he is re-elected?"
b. "I don't know, there are all those stories of Fed gov't people intoxicated with power, living high on the hog and screwing us..and all those cases where the Supreme Court is going to say if the Obamites went to far and violated the Constitution."
c. "Is he ruining the country, making us all weaker? I have thought a lot about my kids future."

3. A growing sense that the Obamites are not honest, straight shooters but are feverishly trying to gin up issues and trying to have it both ways on things like gay marriage and patriotism.

visachris327 said...

oh, your post is so great. I like it very much.I love ray ban sunglasses very much and concern on ray ban sunglasses 2012, discount ray ban sunglasses are highly recommended.

visachris327 said...

oh, your post is so great. I like it very much.I love ray ban sunglasses very much and concern on ray ban sunglasses 2012, discount ray ban sunglasses are highly recommended.

Rafique said...

I must admit I must have missed something. Has anyone argued that this woman should be prosecuted--that she should be silenced, simply because people take issue with her assertion that the President is a traitor, either in the moral or legal sense?

Also, I think the use of the word "tried" pretty much anchors the context, doesn't it? These alternative explanations seem like grabbing at straws.

Assuming one rejects the idea that Obama is somehow guilty of actual treason, it hardly seems too costly a move to do the right thing, as McCain (and Santorum) did.

One more thing: If anyone seriously believes that if the situation were reversed, and someone at an Obama rally accused Romney or conservatives of a similar charge, and Obama failed to respond, that Obama would be given a similar pass, I have some land in the Caribbean you might be interested in...