Thank goodness I love irony. Irony #1: I have been thinking for some time, ever since the Tea Party took off, that I should write Mr. Cockburn and The Nation to ask if they are ready to eat crow on their past ridicule of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (I'm talking about the attack on the SPLC's purpose and claims, not the scrutiny of their money management, which seems more legit.) Then I open up the latest edition of The Nation on my Kindle and there's a new diatribe by Mr. Cockburn--so I guess not!
No crow eaten here, despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security's report last April perfectly echoes the warnings of the SPLC, and events have proved both to be dead on. Perhaps Mr. Cockburn agrees with Limbaugh, Steele and all those who were outraged by the DHS's report.
Irony #2: Cockburn's labeling Rich's article "hysterical": delicious irony! If Cockburn's ramblings about class warfare (as if out of some early-twentieth-century Red playbook) represent calm, rational argument, then, yes, Rich's article is hysterical.
Instead of sweeping generalizations, Mr. Cockburn needs to think concretely: the FBI reported 7, 783 hate crimes in 2008. My guess is that Mr. Cockburn wouldn't dismiss drawing attention to these crimes as "regular alarums" and "scaremongering" if he'd ever been a victim of one of them. I understand that he's moved by the "ferment" of the Tea Partiers, but then that's rather like bringing your kids a dog that's foaming at the mouth and telling them, with a touch of embarrassment, "After all, you got a pet!"