Can we at least call Washington tactics a hostage-taking?

August 5, 2011

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I AGREE with Jeff Jacoby (“Smearing the Tea Party,’’ Op-ed, Aug. 3) that Democrats and their allies should choose their words more carefully, particularly when talking about those citizens across the country who have joined together under the Tea Party label for a variety of reasons and motivations.

Democrats should instead direct their “hostage taker’’ analogies at people like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who approvingly used the metaphor to describe his own actions and those of his colleagues: “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this - it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.’’

Not terrorists. Hostage takers. But nice, civilized hostage takers who are willing to release the hostage if the ransom is paid before the deadline. See the difference?

Luke Hill

I AGREE with Jeff Jacoby’s Aug. 3 column “Smearing the Tea Party,’’ in which he criticized some Democrats who had been accused of using the term “terrorists’’ to describe the Tea Party. This is clearly over the top, and anyone who uses this term should be ashamed. I prefer “blackmailers,’’ because it more accurately captures the essence of this maneuver. Something that has been purely routine for years was held hostage purely for the sake of changing policy that is normally handled through other, regular means.

I would give the column more credibility if I saw the same comments addressed to the right-wing crowd who regularly attack liberals. Watch Fox News any night. It’s a constant stream of invective, punctuated by references to “Nazis,’’ “godless,’’ and “un-American.’’ Let’s criticize over-the-top language wherever it occurs. But, let’s also keep some perspective on where most of it seems to originate.

Sumner Blount

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