I read Garrison Keillor’s response

I read Garrison Keillor’s response to his Republican critics in Salon earlier today, but found it too appalling for immediate comment. Having thought about it for a while, I can only say that Keillor has gone around the bend. He begins his rebuttal by denouncing Norm Coleman as “truly evil,” “cheap and cynical and unpatriotic,” an “empty suit.” What was the transgression that prompted this vicious denunciation? Coleman, during the Senate campaign, “came within an inch of accusing Wellstone of being an agent of al-Qaida.” Only Coleman didn’t. As any Minnesotan can attest, Coleman ran a dignified and principled campaign. (The mud that was slung in that campaign was slung mainly by Wellstone.) If Coleman had said or implied that Wellstone was an agent of al-Qaida, Keillor no doubt would have told us when and how Coleman did so. But Coleman didn’t, and Keillor doesn’t pretend to have any evidence to back up his slur. Coleman disagreed with Wellstone on the Iraq resolution, to be sure. Wellstone’s pacifism in the face of the terrorist attack on America was at odds with the views of most Minnesotans, and, had he not been killed in a tragic plane crash, would have cost him the election. But to suggest that Coleman accused Wellstone of being unpatriotic is absurd. Note, however, the irony that Keillor–a famous ironist–explicitly accuses Coleman of being “unpatriotic.” For liberals these days, there is no such thing as a disagreement over policy. But from that very low point, Keillor goes farther downhill. Coleman is a “son of a bitch,” a “cynic,” “evil,” “offensive to our national memory and obscenely evil.” Keillor descends deeper and deeper: “I personally don’t believe he had anything to do with the crash of Paul’s plane. Plenty of people suspect he did. I don’t.” And then Keillor, who has never been big on self-awareness, seems to look into a mirror: “All you had to do was look at Coleman’s face, that weird smile, the anger in the forehead. Or see how poorly his L.A. wife played the part of Mrs. Coleman, posing for pictures with him, standing apart, stiff, angry.” Well, someone is angry here, but it isn’t Norm or Laurie Coleman. And speaking of weird smiles with anger in the forehead, check out the picture of Keillor that accompanies the Slate article. Keillor concludes his piece by putting himself in the shoes of God: “To gain the whole world and lose your own soul is not a course that Scripture recommends….God has a way of returning and straightening those things out. Sinner beware.” If Pat Robertson wrote something this over the top, it would be front page news. In the end, Keillor has located himself somewhere in Chomskyland: the domain of the mentally ill. In the aftermath of the election, a lot of masks have fallen from the faces of prominent liberals, revealing something beneath that is not pretty. Not pretty at all. But I think the general public is getting a clear view of where the hate, the anger and the irrationality reside.

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