The Manchurian Listserv

“Rev. Wright is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

There's an amusing moment in the classic Frank Sinatra/John Frankenheimer original version of The Manchurian Candidate, which you can watch about a minute into this clip:

James Gregory's Joe McCarthy-inspired character asks his wife, the Red Queen, played by that paragon of eeeeeevil, Angela Lansbury(!), if there a was an easy way to keep track of how many communists he was supposed to claim were working in the Defense Department. The camera then zooms into the Heinz 57 logo on his ketchup bottle, followed by a cut to Gregory in the Senate bellowing, "There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the Department of Defense at this time!"

And yes, McCarthy himself famously claimed, "I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy." (Van Jones and Anita Dunn could not be reached for comment.)

In perhaps the best-known pull quote from yesterday's Daily Caller story on the JournoList, Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent, now with Condé Nast-owned Wired magazine, said:

It’s not necessary to jump to Wright-qua-Wright’s defense. What is necessary is to raise the cost on the right of going after the left. In other words, find a rightwinger’s [sic] and smash it through a plate-glass window. Take a snapshot of the bleeding mess and send it out in a Christmas card to let the right know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. Obviously I mean this rhetorically.

If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes *them* sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.

Jim Geraghty notes the bruising tone of the above passage:

Considering Weigel’s talk of setting Matt Drudge on fire, Ezra Klein’s off-color recommendation for Tim Russert, and now Ackerman fantasizing about putting conservatives through plate-glass windows, there is a bizarre addiction to lurid, violent, threatening language — not just among the commenters of liberal blogs, but among the folks who we are told represent their best and brightest. It’s disturbing, and the fact that it doesn’t bother more people is disturbing.

As Jim puts it, hey, "Just Another High-Minded Chat About Throwing People Through Windows."