The 2004 election gave syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin an up-close view of unhinged liberals. In fact, she received so much hate mail and witnessed so many loony acts by the left that she wrote a scathing book, Unhinged (published by Regnery—a Human Events sister company), about the tirades. Malkin shared her reasons for writing the book with Human Events Managing Editor Robert Bluey.
Why are liberals so unhinged?
MICHELLE MALKIN: I think a lot of the left has been off the rail since the monopoly on the control of information was broken by conservative media. There was a time when they had a complete grip on how news and information was disseminated. And thanks to conservative talk radio, the rise of the Internet and blogs, and, of course, Fox News, that monopoly has been completely shattered. Because they don’t control how news is framed, I think what we see on a daily basis—when conservative media call them on their lies and propaganda—are their fits. They can’t get away with it any more. Just like my 5-year-old and my 2-year-old, when they don’t get what they want, we see the results of that—a lot of whining and foot stomping. That’s the most benign example.
As I show in the book, they’ve really crossed the line. Certainly, the presidential losses in 2000 and 2004 exacerbated their condition. I think also the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made it difficult for them to cope with the fact that we live in a time of war, and the kind of non-leadership the Democratic Party had been offering before September 11 is unacceptable now.
Why did you decide to chronicle these “unhinged” incidents?
MALKIN: There has been a need for this book for some time, but it was as I was blogging on a daily basis during the 2004 campaign, this word—“unhinged”—was a theme in a lot of my blog posts. Seeing the myth of liberal tolerance and the myth of liberal civility shattered over and over again, and the amazing amount of outright violence and hatred that was exhibited during 2004, really fueled my passion to do this book.
I also thought it was time for a conservative Margaret Mead to step up to the plate. You know how the New York Times has assigned that one reporter, David Kilpatrick, to cover conservatives like we’re gorillas in the mist? Well, I thought it was time to answer him. This is my rejoinder to the mainstream media. I thought it was time to look at these alien creatures of the unhinged left and paint an anthropological picture of what’s going on.
What was the single most unhinged thing a liberal did that you document in the book?
MALKIN: One of the scariest episodes dealt with the Florida Democrat who tried to run down Katherine Harris while she was campaigning for Congress. It was a guy named Barry Seltzer, a registered Democrat, who literally plowed his car into a sidewalk where Katherine Harris was campaigning. She said she was afraid for her life. It’s astounding to me this was not front-page news—that liberals in the mainstream media can simply look the other way when these violent assaults occur. I’m sure that a lot of people on the left will dismiss the hundreds and hundreds of examples I do supply in the book by saying it was an exception. But after the 200th example, I think their credibility is going to be greatly strained.
It’s important to emphasize it’s not just a few isolated examples. It is not just people on the fringes. The kind of unhingedness I document has permeated the left from the fringes to the liberal mainstream to the Democratic leadership. Look who is in charge of the Democratic Party.
What does it say about Democrats that you have someone like Howard Dean, who tops your list of unhinged politicians, leading the party? Have Democrats reached the point that most people fall into the “unhinged” category?
MALKIN: I want to be fair here. I tried to bend over backwards to find examples of liberal sanity. And I do mention a few examples. John Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, chastised some nutballs on the Democratic Underground website, which is a main gathering place for some of these crazy liberals. They had said some awful things about talk-show host Laura Ingraham when she announced she had breast cancer. Elizabeth Edwards, who has a personal stake in trying to maintain civility over that, said to these people, you may disagree with her politically, but that kind of viciousness has no place in public discourse. Of course, she was run over by some of the crazies there. It shows that the people who populate websites like Democratic Underground are not riding in the back of the bus, they are driving it. You do not see any rebuke from Democratic Party leaders when this rhetoric goes overboard.
Your book includes some pretty raw and profane language uttered by liberals. Why did you decide to report it verbatim and not censor it?
MALKIN: I think it’s about time we stop whitewashing what unhinged liberals are all about. I thought it was really important to open my own mailbox and show people how racist, sexist and homophobic liberals can be. I think this is the dirty, little secret the mainstream media don’t want you to see. I give example after example of unhinged liberals saying the most racist things—not just about me or other minority Republicans, but also their own colleagues. I was uncomfortable about using the language, but there’s no way around it.