Liberals are all too often eager to charge conservative personalities of using hyperbole to gain a political advantage, especially when it contradicts their world view - whether it's suggesting the Obama administration is taking the country down the path of socialism, fascism or any other -ism.
However, it could be argued there's a different set of standards for those same people when they want to make strong charges. On NBC's April 18 "The Chris Matthews Show," Time columnist Joe Klein all but accused former GOP vice-presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, along with Fox News host Glenn Beck of sedition.
"I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."
As Klein pointed out, the legal definition of sedition is "a revolt or an incitement to revolt against established authority." And, sedition has been declared a felony in Supreme Court opinions, thus making Klein's national television accusation a fairly serious one, one of which New York magazine's John Heilemann agreed with. However, Heilemann added conservative talker Rush Limbaugh to that list.
"And Joe's right and I'll name another person, I'll name Rush Limbaugh who uses this phrase constantly and talks about the Obama administration as a regime," Heilemann said. "That phrase which has connotations of tyranny. And what's so interesting about it to me, to get to Norah's point - what is the focus, what is the cause of this? You think back to 1994, there was Ruby Ridge. There was Waco. There were triggering incidents. There's been nothing like that. The only thing that's changed in the last 15 months is the election of Barack Obama. And as far as I can see, in terms of the policies that Obama has implemented, there's nothing."
Heilemann also suggested that the alleged up tick in militia activity is a result of the Obama presidency. Klein said it was not only the Obama presidency, but that he was "African-American," and had "Hussein" as a middle name, along with the "scary" economic crisis.
"Two are two things going on here and one thing is certainly that," Klein said. "One thing is he is African-American, but that his name is Barack Hussein Obama. The other we've had a very scary economic crisis. And when people get scared, they get defensive and they get a little crazy."