Civility Watchdog: Kuhner Calls Obama a “Traitor”

Pundit Jeffrey Kuhner, appearing as guest host September 26, 2011, on The Michael Savage Show, said this about President Barack Obama:

“There is a traitor in the White House.”

Kuhner said this while criticizing Obama on various topics, economic policy and U.S. relations with Israel in particular. It’s fine for him to disagree with Obama on these issues, but nothing Obama has done makes him a traitor.

In other words, Kuhner is resorting to name-calling and demonizing. Rather than just saying that Obama is wrong about economics, Israel, etc., he describes Obama as being intentionally malicious, as someone who is consciously betraying the country. (It’s akin to the ad referring to U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus as “General Betray Us”.)

As I’ve said before, there are typically two ways that people demonize their opponents: describe them as too stupid to know what the right thing to do is, or describe them as evil people who choose to do what they know is wrong. Kuhner is adopting the latter method.

Conservatives such as Kuhner are frequently demonized in the same way: liberals and progressives often say that critics of Obama and his policies are racists. During his stint on Michael Savage’s show, Kuhner found time to complain about such name-calling, and he’s correct. Conservatives shouldn’t be caricatured as racists. But neither should Obama be demonized as a traitor to the country.

As is typical of politicians and pundits (and Obama himself), Kuhner notices it when he’s a victim of name-calling, but not when he’s a perpetrator of it. He was wrong to call Obama a traitor, and Savage was wrong to give Kuhner a platform to broadcast such invective.

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