November 09, 2004


The New York Times' Dean E. Murphy calls for divine intervention:

With George W. Bush's re-election, God and a newly triumphant Republican president are once again in the headlines. And there are signs that the present national divide, between the narrow but solid Republican majority and a Democratic party seemingly trapped in second place, may be hardening into a pattern that will persist for years to come.

Democrats, especially, are left to wonder: What will it take to break the pattern - an act of God?

Hmmm ... like the act of God that took out William McKinley?

His death was a tragedy and a fluke, Professor Wilentz said, but it changed the course of political history. Had McKinley not been killed, Marcus A. Hanna, the political handler who was as instrumental to McKinley's success as Karl Rove has been to Mr. Bush's, would have pursued his dream of "creating a Republican machine that would go on forever," Professor Wilentz said ...

"One can't imagine what American history might have looked like had McKinley continued to the end of his second term," Professor Wilentz said.

Just as well he was gut-shot by an anarchist, then. Murphy later returns to our happy academic, and the ominous parallels between McKinley and Bush:

Professor Wilentz of Princeton said that even if the 2004 victory was an incremental one, that should not comfort the Democrats. He said Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush now have a chance to do what Hanna and McKinley never did: Lay the foundation for lasting Republican dominance.

"The Republicans are basically unchecked," Professor Wilentz said. "There is no check in the federal government and no check in the world. They have an unfettered playing field."

Until the next act of God, that is.

Or the next act of anarchist. Little Green Footballs is all over this, and now runs an explanatory e-mail from the author:

As the article states near the beginning, "an act of God" during the Bush presidency could range from "a national calamity, a deep schism in the ruling party, the implosion of a social movement under the excesses of its own agenda or the emergence of an extraordinary political figure." While assassination would certainly qualify as a national calamity, many other events would as well. Certainly, the article never advocated any of them.

No; it merely pointed out that "had McKinley not been killed" he might have succeeded in creating an unimaginable Republican hellworld, much as the "unchecked" Bush is building. By the way, since when is assassination an "act of God"?

Posted by Tim Blair at November 9, 2004 02:55 PM

When arseholes chant "God is great" while hacking off someone's head.
Oops, no, thats and act of arseholes.....

Posted by: FusterCluck at November 9, 2004 at 03:02 PM

Hey! I thought the lefties weren't into this religion thing. You know, how bad the fundies are for praying, the division of the USA in to US of Canada and Jesusland, gay bashing, etc.

So what is Dean Murphy doing comparing Presidential assassinations (and 9/11, BTW) to an "Act of God"? Has he had the same conversion to religion that every atheist gets in a foxhole?

Or is this just another example of hypocrisy on the part of the NYT? cough cough!!

What a worthless turd.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 9, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Even after being assassinated McKinley led a Republican-realignment. The GOP dominated until the Depression - the only way the Dems could win was when Teddy and Taft split the Republican ticket.

Posted by: Quentin George at November 9, 2004 at 03:18 PM

See? This is where the Democrats' obsession with gun control turns around and bites them in the ass. They're reduced to wishing someone else will do their shooting for them...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 9, 2004 at 03:55 PM

Do I detect a note of fear in the hasty Chompskyish evasions in the email to LGF? Would, five years ago, one of the exalted ones deign to respond to the scribbler of a mere web page?

Sounds like the blogosphere is beginning to cast a long shadow over these formerly smug, tenured jackasses.

He advocates political assassination in a major newspaper, artfully expressed through suggestion and innuendo so as to allow sufficient rhetorical wiggle room to later claim otherwise, and now a vengeful blogstorm is forming it's time for some sleazy sophistic back-peddling. Like we’re all to fucking dumb to know bullshit when we smell it.

These people disgust me. Some people get cancer, that’s an act of God, should Dean Murphy get cancer that could be considered an act of God so we should all hope that God cuts Murphy a break and doesn’t give him cancer. And please note that I’m just speculating on two divergent things together for no apparent reason in one sentence, namely Dean Murphy and cancer and my sincere hope is that he doesn’t contract it, so there’s no need to get offended at my tasteless fantasising about your tragic and painful death, Dean, because if you read my post that’s clearly not what I’m doing.

Posted by: Amos at November 9, 2004 at 04:44 PM

The Corner's Rod Dreher nails the liberal "intellectuals" and lefty MSM tools.
"If you want to understand those people, you could hardly do better than to recall the talking cow in Douglas Adams' sci-fi comic novel "The Restaurant At The End of the Universe." The cow has been genetically modified to want to be eaten. It presents itself at the table to discuss its fate with those about to eat it. The cow's job is to assuage the guilt of the diners, and to make them feel better about eating it."

Posted by: max power at November 9, 2004 at 05:40 PM

Bravo Amos.

Posted by: perfectsense at November 9, 2004 at 05:45 PM

What disgusts me is the sheer damn hypocrisy of the left wing atheists invoking God to smite GWB, whilst attacking kids who read bibles on schools.
perhaps the would be more honest if they had invoked ALLAH like their beloved jihad buddies

Posted by: davo at November 9, 2004 at 06:58 PM

They lose the election so they call, from the smug safety of the broadsheets of the New York Times, for some unbalanced nut out there to take a shot at the president.

The more I think about it the more utterly fucking outrageous it is.

Posted by: Amos at November 9, 2004 at 07:12 PM

I like George Bush.I happen to think he has done a good job in difficult circumstances. If some crazy from the left does the unthinkable because of this turd,I'll,I'll I'll try and get a hold of Puce convert the little shit and send him on a mission,oops sorry, an act of God .Where does this creep live?

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 9, 2004 at 07:18 PM

Puce is in Ohio with that Librarian right? Not far to travel.One has to help God where possible.

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 9, 2004 at 07:28 PM

For the next few years, John F. Kerry (who, by the way, was in Vietnam) will probably wake up every night in a cold sweat screaming "I smell Karlie on the wire!!!"

Posted by: Clem Snide at November 9, 2004 at 07:36 PM

"Like we’re all to fucking dumb to know bullshit when we smell it."

According to the Bush haters, anyone who supported Pres. Bush MUST have an IQ in the single digits. They think we are too f*cking dumb to even read, let alone detect the writer's bullshit.

*IF* some crazy leftie decides to bring an 'act of God' to Pres. Bush, we'll end up with Pres. Cheney. Perhaps they prefer a Pres. Cheney to Pres. Bush? No boring press conferences with a Pres. Cheney!! He's likely to tell the Washington press corps to go f*ck themselves.

What an a-hole Murphy is. Probably has wet dreams thinking about all the 'acts of God' that could harm Pres. Bush.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 9, 2004 at 08:19 PM

When it comes to Chumpskyites I favour a strategy of pre-emption. It's guaranteed they won't be able to defend themselves with a gun.

Patriotic Americans should invade the homes of fifth columnist lefties anyway, regardless of the status of their WSD (Weapons of Self Defense).

Posted by: Rob Read at November 9, 2004 at 08:48 PM

Odd that the writer forgets that the death of McKinley led to Teddy Roosevelt's amazing two terms. And the Republicans did reign still after Teddy. Wilson was the only Dem between Teddy and FDR. Indeed, it seems that the Dems almost never have a winning streak in the White House. I wonder why that is.

Obviously, this is about assassination, not the Republicans reigning. Because the Repubs have done it before, and assassination didn't stop that.

In chronological order:
Lincoln was the first Repub Prez. Assassinated.

Andrew Johnson a Dem who got there due to the assassination. Johnson was impeached. He wasn't re-elected.

Then came Grant, a Repub who served 2 terms.
Then Hayes, a Repub who served 1 term on purpose.
Then Garfield, a Repub, was assassinated his first year in office.
Then Arthur, a Repub, who finished Garfield's term.

Then came Cleveland, a Dem. Cleveland served one term, was followed by Harrison, a Repub, and then came back again for one term.

Then came McKinley, and now we're in the 20th century with Teddy.

So... anybody notice a pattern? The Dems, once the Repubs come into the picture, can't keep a run of successes. This is not a new development in the White House. I think what really burns is that they had been able to control Congress for so long, and they lost it. My heart grieves.

Posted by: meep at November 9, 2004 at 09:18 PM

Well then the score got evened up a little with the Kennedys. But they took a shot at Regan too so I guess the moral of this story is.. actually I don't know. But fuck the New York Times, they really have crossed a serious line here.

Posted by: Amos at November 9, 2004 at 11:59 PM

"Hey! I thought the lefties weren't into this religion thing"

You must have missed MoDo on TV this weekend. She says the lefties are going to ascend at the Rapture. Praise Jay-sus, Mo-reen!

Posted by: Dave S. at November 10, 2004 at 02:04 AM

Not to disturb the triumphalist navel-gazing here, or get in the way of another indignant conspiratorial frenzy, but Mark Hanna's calculations for business-driven Republican dominance weren't destroyed by Leon Czolgosz in 1901. They were undone by Hanna's and Charles Platt's 1900 decision to sidetrack good-government-progressive-leaning Theodore Roosevelt's career out of the New York governorship (from which he might emerge as McKinley's successor) and into the vice-presidency (in which he was doomed to irrelevance by the political workings of the time). So, it's entirely defensible to describe an "Act of God" (which can have a purely secular meaning, by the way, as evidenced by the insurance industry) as necessary to derail an a Bush executive branch that's more ideologically consistent than the McKinley Administration, and not a call to off George W. Bush. Does anyone think that Cheney wouldn't pursue identical policies to those of Bush? Anyone suggesting in the article that mass-murder is necessary?

Another day, another reporter's and historian's life made miserable over nothing.

Posted by: Al at November 10, 2004 at 02:35 AM

Sure Al, it was "nothing", "nothing" at all. Just a thinly-disguised public wish for Bush to be assassinated. Bullshit is bullshit, and yours is just as pungent as Murphy's.

Posted by: docob at November 10, 2004 at 03:27 AM

Commenter should try reading Dean E. Murphy’s article “Can History Save the Democrats?” for its simplest & most obvious interpretation—as the professional editors involved in the elaborate editorial process for the NY Times Week In Review do & know well how to do—rather than trying, the commenter, inappropriately & irrelevantly to show that the interpretation is not absolutely necessary.

An author could, without suggesting assassinations in particular, write that it would take an “act of God” to stop the Republicans (though it would be false, e.g., it could happen through the Dem pols’ developing an effective strategy, & this is not unimaginable). The author could cement the non-suggestion of assassinations by discussing, for instance, Republican policies going wrong & especially by not discussing assassinations.

However, Dean E. Murphy’s article begins & ends with discussion of Republican Presidential assassinations. Dean E. Murphy’s article is most simply & obviously interpreted as rhetoric wistfully suggestive of assassinating the current President.

Posted by: ForNow at November 10, 2004 at 03:29 AM

"Since when is an assasination an act of God?"

Isn't it always if the assasin is a muslim fundamentalist?

Posted by: spitfire9 at November 10, 2004 at 05:25 AM

Aactually Murphy is describing the times we live in.

"a national calamity (9/11), a deep schism in the ruling party (so long Florida, West Virginia, Ohio), the implosion of a social movement under the excesses of its own agenda (liberal degeneracy) or the emergence of an extraordinary political figure (why just last week they were calling him chimpyMcBushitler).

Welcome to the 'reality based community' Murph'.

Posted by: Arty at November 10, 2004 at 05:41 AM

First the Guardian, now the New York Times. I really wonder if they'd be happier with President Cheney?

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at November 10, 2004 at 05:57 AM

By the way, since when is assassination an "act of God"?
It is an Act of God when you are a Republican in America. The MSM, Academia and Hollywood elites all would find this aceptable. It is why we are seeing it published in there message outlets.

Posted by: Bill at November 10, 2004 at 06:39 AM

Oh come the fuck off it, Al. Say Kerry had won and David Horowitz had run an article describing the Kennedy assasinations as 'acts of God' instead of political violence, 'acts of God' that just happened to tilt the flow of American history back towards Republican control of America, then went on to lazily speculate about how a Kerry Presidency might run into another unspecified 'act of God'.

Now really, dude, with the partisan blinkers off for a second, what would you read into that? Come on, be honest.

Posted by: Amos at November 10, 2004 at 09:22 AM

Murphy's article displays so many varieties of foolishness it's hard to know where to begin.

I'm always amazed at what passes for intellect in America. You can get a so-called 'liberal' education without being exposed in any depth to history, economics, critical thinking or logic.

The problem is that, for the last 30 years, the liberal arts have been dominated by the Left. (To ensure perspective, I'd prefer a better mix of ideas. Unfortunately, it's damned hard to get tenure if you're 'conservative'. In the U.S., there ain't nothin' liberal in a liberal education.) Thus, most of the poor folks who are currently in the media can listen to a demagogue's ravings without realizing they're being conned. (Kind of like Welles' Eloi.) What Americans end up with are under-educated but well-meaning people who regurgitate leftist crumbs with Pavlovian regularity. They're stuck in 1968 and don't realize it.

A truly alarming side-effect of this kind of thinking is what you find in Murphy's article: an inability to envision the converse of an argument. The inability to realize that if you condone the assassination of one candidate, you condone it for all. It's open season on the marketplace of ideas and society is one step closer to totalitarianism. The beauty of a democracy is that extremes of opinion keep the debate honest. When my opponent calls me on a point, I'm forced to reconsider my opinion.

If you read Murphy's article again, you'll observe that the events of September 11 did not effect the outcome of the election. I was surprised myself. I must have been hallucinating...

Posted by: ahem at November 10, 2004 at 09:52 AM

Ahem and Meep both hit on the crux of the problem for Democrats going forward.

Southern Democrats led the Southern secession and Northern Democrats in 1864 ran on a platform of allowing the slave states to have their way. In short, surrender. Lincoln prevailed, the war was won, yet he died days afterward.

Virtually all of the leading Republicans in the late 19th century were Union veterans (usually officers) and they never let the Democrats or the voters forget it. That many of these GOP politicos were self-serving corrupt hacks just as their Dem counterparts were mattered little because they'd been 'right' when it counted, during the war.

After September 11th, many Dems have disgraced themselves and their Party. The fact that many seem demonstrably more distraught following 11/02 than 9/11 will haunt them in the years to come.

An assasination of Bush, like Lincoln's, would in all probability turn even more Americans against the Democratic Party for decades.

As a side note, the slight majority of presidents who have been assasinated or had attempts made were Republicans. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Ford, & Reagan (plus Saddam's plan for Bush, Sr,) versus Jackson, FDR, Truman, JFK, & Clinton (if we include the goof that crashed a
small plane into the White House.)

Posted by: JDB at November 10, 2004 at 11:06 AM

I've read the article. Twice. I don't find a breath of a call for the assassination of George W. Bush. Why not, from these liberal rags? I mean, didn't McKinley's assassination put an end to Republican occupation of the White House?

Fuck no, you ignorant dipshits. It put Republican Teddy Roosevelt into office. The only thing that stopped Roosevelt from winning the 1908 presidential election was his own early-first-term decision not to seek the nomination in 1908. His was an intra-party dispute, between the Hanna-McKinley faction and a loose confederation of rightist-progressives who had made Roosevelt their champion. The Republicans remained in charge after the 1904 election, as they would have longer if the business-driven wing of the GOP hadn't denied Roosevelt the nomination in 1912. Czolgosz was an anarchist. His plan was to destroy government through terror, not reform it. He'd have killed any president, from any political stripe.

Here's the sad, awful truth: no one in Murphy's article refers to assassination as an "Act of God." Perhaps, because no one marginally thinks that killing George W. Bush would open up the Republican factional dispute that killing McKinley did. Therefore, the "Act of God" to which they refer would have to change the appreciation the entire electorate has of the GOP and its policies, and not just remove the party's leader, whom we assume would be replaced by someone of like political bent. And, not incidentally, because the editors of the New York Times have a firmer grasp of the language and reality than does Little Green Footballs, ever victims in triumph. Get normal.

Posted by: Al at November 10, 2004 at 11:47 AM

Sorry for being an ignorant dipshit, but which part of the McKinley assassination explains how 9/11/01 was an "Act of God"?

Posted by: Angus Jung at November 10, 2004 at 12:13 PM

the editors of the New York Times have a firmer grasp of the language and reality than does Little Green Footballs

An unintentionally hilarious statement if there ever was one. Dude, reality and NYT hasn't gone together in quite a while and if, as Amos suggested, you took the partisan blinders off for a minute, you'd realize just what you've just posted, and why everybody's pointing and laughing at you.

Lemme guess though, you're an aspiring journalist? You certainly sound like you're taking the criticism of Murphy rather personally.

Posted by: PW at November 10, 2004 at 12:49 PM

Your problem, 'Al', is that we can see through the sophistic camouflage leftist ranters like Dean use to give them evasion space while they propose and defend the indefensable- and so can most people.

The fact that this piece of shit is too cowardly to come right out and state what he's clearly thinking just makes him all the more contemptable. Do you see this kind of crap from the right? No, because Columnists like Krauthammer and Hanson have clear, explicite ideological positions that they don't have to conceal from the electorate, diguse in code-worded double-talk or advance through judgicial activism.

Hey Al, I'm adding you to my list of people who I hope don't get cancer. Best wishes buddy!

Posted by: Amos at November 10, 2004 at 01:24 PM

It’s clear that Al hasn’t read the article carefully, he’s in love with his own self-righteous rage. He’s probably scared to look at the article now, would at best skim it with jerky eye movements, in fear lest he find he’s mistaken about it. Poor Al!

The article specifies exactly what its author believes McKinley’s assasination prevented & specifies an analogy involving Karl Rove.

The article discusses a variety of calamitous events, the illustration even shows a meteor. Treasonous scum Dean E. Murphy’s “The next act of God” would be anything which stopped the otherwise invincible Republicans, & that includes assassination of a Republican President, & this is discussed repeatedly & at length in the article

Also, I think that the editors at the NY Times DO have a sufficient grasp of reality & the English language to realize what they published—the treasonous bastards.

Posted by: ForNow at November 10, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Dave S., I missed MoDo on the TV. Thankfully. But I think I got a good imitation from Al above. God knows he's raving and self-delusional as well.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 10, 2004 at 04:12 PM

More from Murphy's "letter of explanation":

"Assassination was discussed by Professor Wilentz (...)
Professor Wilentz pointed to the McKinley example (...)"

Hmmm, so its Professor Wilentz' fault that the topic ever came up.
Talk about blaming the messenger...

Posted by: hm at November 11, 2004 at 08:57 AM