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September 30th, 2009
09:58 AM ET

Steele calls Tom Friedman a 'nut job' over latest column

From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Steele appeared on CNN's American Morning Wednesday."]

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Wednesday beat back suggestions from some political commentators — most recently from the New York Times' Tom Friedman — that conservative opposition to President Obama is creating a political climate that may foreshadow attempts of violence against the commander in chief.

"Where do these nut jobs come from? Come on, stop this," Steele told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning in direct response to a quote from Friedman's column Wednesday equating the current political environment to that which occurred ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995.

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Filed under: Politics
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Anne

    LETTER TO TOM FRIEDMAN (NY Times is declining comments to his 9/30/09 column)

    Before you start pointing your finger at the guilty far right fringe again, take a long look in the mirror. You have lost the wide-eyed innocence that endeared you to Times readers and brought you fame and fortune. And now you are an official member of the elite, dining with kings and princes, golfing with the pro’s and on a first name basis with world leaders. WHAT YOU NEED IS A ROAD TRIP!

    For the first time in years I agree with you Tom. You are right, I am also worried about what is happening to American politics. But stop right there. Before you paint everyone who disagrees with climate/energy legislation and health care reform, as conspirators from the right fringe, take another look with the eyes of that young reporter you once were. How audacious of you to claim that “we” (and yes, I still believe in the concept) now have a “One-Party Democracy”.

    Open your eyes and look at the America where the rest of us live. As you have noted in your column, education is the key to our country’s future and for a myriad of reasons, public education isn’t what it used to be. In my neighborhood, white, black, brown and yellow skinned moms and dads work hard in hopes of bringing about a better future for themselves and their children. But the obstacles are greater now than ever. Twenty years ago one of the great challenges facing the teachers and administrators in my Dallas suburban school district was graduating the highest number of National Merit Scholars. Those days are long gone. Now they spend their time figuring out how to educate a population whose collective student population speaks 82 languages. That wasn’t much of a problem back in St. Louis Park, was it Tom?

    These moms and dads know their kids don’t have a chance without a solid education. They are willing to pay the property taxes it takes to pay for it. But, right now, they cannot afford and do not want to pay an amorphous “cap and trade tax” and as much as they don’t want to see anyone in America die because of inaccessibility to medical care, they can barely afford to pay for their own medical care, let alone somebody else’s.

    What gives you the right to judge others? It boils down to priorities. What if you were given a choice between paying for your child’s college or a “cap and trade tax”, would you really choose the tax?

    September 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  2. Cheryl

    Thank you, riddy_d for your pity, but no thanks. FYI, I don't consider myself a failure since I have a university degree, I own my own business and live comfortably enough. This is despite how hard people with racist agendas try their very best to put up roadblocks. Trust me, I do stack up.
    I wonder why some people hate to hear that that there are those who have frightening racist attitudes. "Thou doth protesteth too much"

    I do say to every black person, it's time to stand up and take note of what's happening now, to educate yourselves, to work hard and teach your children that they can be anything they aspire to; so that people with small minds and great hatred can not have a hold any longer on you. We need to unite against this evil that seems to want to take us back to the past.

    September 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  3. riddy_d

    Cheryl–I feel sorry for you, but not in the way you would like. You were lead to believe your entire life that your failures were the result of racism, rather than the fact that you just may not stack up. Your memory loss is staggering, however. Remember movies of Bush getting assassinated? How funny! Not racist though, right? Remember Bush being portrayed as a primate? And for that special touch, burned in effegy? Again, not racism! And ther's my favorite–Bush = Hitler. Ha! But for Obama, the compliant media portray any slight as life threatening. Give me a break.

    kgreenlee–uncle tom?!? You really want to go down that route? I know you are all protective of your guy Obama, but you need to relax and think through your posting before pressing send.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  4. riddy_d

    Steele–Here's what you need to brush up on:

    1) Friedman IS in fact political. He writes Op-Ed (political) for the NYT, and although you may not be aware, this is the sounding board for the far-left. Didn't you here Howell Raines admission yesterday? Do you even know who that it? Doubt it.

    2) The democratic party used to be the provence of pro-labor (but pro-capitalist) and pro-military (anti-communist) types. That used to be called "liberal." Now, it is YOU who are out of synch with this hisory. "Progressive" has replaced liberal and your party is now run by statists, racialists, and autocrats.

    Thanks for the advice, though!

    September 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  5. Cheryl

    Michael Steele is trying to legitimize himself in the Republican party by making these commentaries. We know as he does that he is just a figurehead that they have put out there to garner support from so-called 'minorities.' When he makes comments like these, he tries to downplay the atrocities that are coming from the right-wing fanatics. The sad thing is that, he does more harm than good when he does this. There are sickos in the society who use violence when they disagree with anything and the anger and violent behaviour we've seen since this President came into office is very evident. That this anger can easily spur some to try to assassinate a political figure is very real. It's been done before. Why does he deny it?

    That he denies and decries racism, shows how much of a hypocrite and a puppet he is. As a black man he must know how racism plays out. I, as a black person know what racism feel like. I've experienced it all my life. We obviously not saying that every white person is a racist, however, how can he not see racism in the actions of those who display signs of the President with a monkey face, or people screaming to go back home. I'm sure he's had that happen to him before.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  6. kgreenlee

    Uncle Tom! You are being used by the repubs to dispell any claim of racism and you are totally in denial. Many of these racist folks would like to see Obama gone. Just look at the threat level. In the 60's when southerners were allowed to get away with killing negros they did it w/o a second thought, if these people for one second think they can get away with getting rid of our president they would. The end.

    September 30, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  7. CHUCK


    September 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  8. Mobi

    Steele is a COWARD. He can't stand up to Rush but can call Friedman a "nut Job".

    September 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  9. Danny Clarke

    Why do right-wingers use all-caps when they write comments? Is it because this is the way their heroes (the Rush Limbaugh's of the world) talk?

    September 30, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  10. James

    wow meredith, hate much?

    September 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Steele

    @George Samuel, Thomas Friedman, not that I like him, is not a politician. He's a writer who makes a living off reporting and thinking. His opinion matters because Steele is threatened because he knows there is truth to Friedman's statements.

    @riddy_d You are bitter, cynical and terribly misinformed. Brush up on your history. 60 years ago Conservative was a dirty word. One strategic nut-job (Goldwater) found a way to unite the religious fanatics and rich people into the new Conservative movement. So one else has wanted the fanatics (including hate groups) since so yes, they are still with the Conservatives.

    September 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm |


    September 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  13. riddy_d

    Bill Gehring–Pulitzer is a political prize, not a meritocraic one. Remember Yassir Arafat? Also, 47 mil uninsured is a talking point abandoned even by the DNC! The number is closer to 30 mil, half of whom can afford health insurance but make the choice to not pay for it. That leaved 15 million uninsured in a country of 300 million. For that 5%, how about pooling money together from altruistic liberals such as yourself to get them ensured? Oh, wait...all studies show liberals are stingy who like spending other people's money
    And to you Meredith–violent white supremists? Honey, look at what your idiology produced in the streets of Pitsburgh last week. Your comment might make you feel better (it is racist as well), but defies the facts as to what end of the political spectrum really owns extremism and violence. All you have to do is to look in the mirror.

    September 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Meredith

    The violent white supremists are in the conservative Republican party, yet Republicans like Michael Steele are ignoring that fact.
    There is a difference in the political parties. But that difference is that the White Supremists have a strong hold in the Republican party.
    So Steele can deny all he wants. But the numbers do not lie.

    September 30, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  15. Bill Gehring

    Tom Friedman, whether you agree with him or not, is an incredibly gifted and thoughtful writer (three Pulitzer Prizes). Michael Steele's ad hominem attack is typical of the right wing strategy. There is rarely a positive suggestion or thoughtful critique of ideas.

    On another note, the media has come up short in the health care debate. Ask the critics of the proposed plans, "Is acceptable to have 47 million uninsured American?" If it is, please explain. If it isn't, how do you propose solving the problem?

    September 30, 2009 at 10:55 am |