Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ballard of Joe Stack... Best Commentary I could find on the event and the man.

Before the flames from Joseph Stack's suicide run at an Austin, Texas, building had been extinguished, fires broke out on the Internet over whether his attack could or should be linked to the Tea Party movement.

A mere two hours after the plane struck, the liberal site Daily Kos weighed in, saying that Tea Party "anti-government forces ... have struck with their first 9/11-inspired terrorist attack."

Over at the Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart wrote in a blog post that, after reading Stack's manifesto, "I am struck by how his alienation is similar to what we're hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement."

And Chris Rovzar posted on the New York magazine site that "a lot of his rhetoric could have been taken directly from a handwritten sign at a Tea Party rally."

Time magazine made a subtler hint in that direction, with a link to a story about "the making of the Tea Party movement" right after a quote from Stack's apparent suicide note.

- The Pilot's Manifesto:

All of which prompted conservative bloggers to denounce attempts by the "mainstream press" to make such a connection.

"The mainstream liberal media is already having a field [day] with the plane crash," says Habledash. "Their obvious attempts to connect the suicide pilot ... to the Tea Party movement completely unveils their political agenda."

Prison Planet added that "Even before many of the details were confirmed surrounding yesterday's tragic events in Austin, political operatives were callously exploiting the incident to advance their agenda in demonizing opponents of big government."

And declared itself "stunned and outraged by the coverage of the Joseph Stack attack in the liberal blogosphere and then the mainstream media." It went on to quote Tea Party leaders in the Austin area saying that Stack was not a member.

Writing in the Washington Examiner, meanwhile, David Freddoso argues that the press are ignoring Stack's "left-wing discontent," pointing to language in Stack's posting that "could have appeared in some form on any of several left-wing message boards."

Truth is, precious little is known about Stack at this point, except that he was deranged and suicidal nutjob.

And there's certainly no way to glean any coherent political message -- liberal, conservative or any other bent -- from his post.

After all, the centerpiece of his complaint is about a section of the 1986 tax reform act, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The only politicians Stack specifically names are George W. Bush (whom he calls a "presidential puppet") and former centrist New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (who according to Stack was "sleazy"). The Catholic Church comes in for a Stack attack (it's "vulgar, corrupt"), as does organized religion generally ("monsters"), the FAA, GM, capitalism and the entire American public.

Right-leaning PoliPundit summed it up this way: "Mad as Hell, at Everyone!"

But Richard Benjamin, writing for the liberal Huffington Post, perhaps put it best:
"The tortured manifesto cannot be properly labeled as 'left-' or 'right-wing'. Rather, it's a non-partisan screed against problems roiling the Republic -- and Stack's head -- for years."

Commentary by John Merline for AOL

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