(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Wednesday beat back suggestions from some political commentators - most recently from the New York Times' Tom Friedman - that conservative opposition to President Obama is creating a political climate that may foreshadow attempts of violence against the commander-in-chief.
"Where do these nut jobs come from? Come on, stop this," Steele told CNN's John Roberts on American Morning in direct response to a quote from Friedman's column Wednesday equating the current political environment to that which occurred ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in 1995.
"To make those equations, examples and put that out there that way, to me is just crazy and yeah, I'm sorry, but if you're going to approach this discussion, approach it from a rational position," Steele continued. "[They're] saying, because you disagree with the president on policy, that all of the sudden we're going to make this leap into, you know, assassinations and all this other stuff. I mean, at the height of all this stuff on Bush and people complaining and protesting, and jumping up and down, you didn't have this kind of conversation."
"There are passions that run deep and long on both sides of the aisle," Steele also said. "Don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that, because someone says something vitriolic or hot that's necessarily from the right or the left. It's reflecting deep-seeded frustrations people have."
Steele also criticized accusations that many of the president's critics are driven by race, rather than pure policy disagreements.
"I'm always very careful about going down that road, you know, so blindly and so quickly," said Steele, adding later, "I applaud the president on this front. He has been out there saying look, let's separate all of this into the appropriate pockets and not go down this road unnecessarily."
The Republican Party chairman was also quick to condemn a user posted poll on Facebook over the weekend asking if the president should be assassinated.
"How stupid is that? Why would you even put something like that on Facebook?" he said. "It takes us to a place where we don't need to be, quite frankly in the debate of any public policy issue."
The problem is when I go to conservative websites, I hear a lot of racially motivated slang in the comments like referring to the President as Stinkle Barry or Odumbo. These have nothing to do with policy and are attacks on his race and physical appearance. But I do understand the frustration of those who simply disagree with the president
Apparently Steele is yet another willfully ignorant individual who doesn't acknowledge that the death threats issued against President Obama exceed those against Bush by a factor of four.
Some in America can't accept the reality of an intelligent and articulate person (that makes him an elitist, huh?) at the helm. So cling to your guns and assault weapons, which will no doubt compensate for your insecurities.
And when you have congressmen screaming "You lie" and calling the president an "enemy of humanity" they're just expressing themselves. God knows what these guys would say if Obama farts the wrong way. Do I hear impeachment?
Steele is nothing more than a pawn.
Let's stop calling each other names and establish a country with civil discourse.
We have a nut job here, no doubt. But it is not Tom Friedman.
Dear Mr. Steele: You ask "Where do these nut jobs come from?" I'd suggest stepping back and taking a look at the political party to which you belong. Seems that there are a fair number of vocal nut jobs there. (Give Trent Franks a call, or talk to the party leaders: Rush, Beck, Palin...)
Yeah, putting a poll out on Facebook asking how many people would like the President killed is just protesting against the administration.
Steele and other republicans may try to come across as moral and religious, but they will be roasting in Hades come Judgement Day.
Well lets see.... the opposition to Bush led to everything from hand grenades to shoes being thrown at him. The worst Obama has had to deal with has been insults.
Yeah I guess your right. All this free speech against the President is dangerous. Maybe we should suspend the Constitution and make laws preventing such "harsh" language.
Michael is so deep into chewing that oreo cookie he can't tell what's real and what's not.
Learn to read Michael – the birthers – the pictures of Obama being painted as Hitler.
And learn to open your ears Michael – the President of the United States being called a liar by a member of congress in open session in his first term in office while making a speech about proposing legislation.
There are many levels of debate: reasoned, resoned with intesity and then there are the "birthers" unreasonable borderline insane. These are the people Friedman is taking about and these are the people we need to watch out for.
WOW- that's funny. A republican telling someone to be rational!!
Yes. And while George W. Bush was president a movie was made in Canada and shown in this country about the assasination of Mr. Bush while he was president. Did anyone on the left think this should not be happening?
A party that, through it's surrogates, incites far right wing entities that further incite the even more far right lunatic fringe to lawlessness must be intimately linked to that lawlessness and be recognized as similarly driven.
Given the Republican party enbrace of the lunatic fringe, other indirectly sanctioned hate-driven formulas are sure to be bubbling up from bottom of this moral swamp and it is anyone's guess when and which lunatic will heed the swamps rotten call.
If Michael Steele can't see that the level of hate coming from the radical conservative/christian right is taking us closer every day to a very violent explosive situation then he's just blind fool. Keep drinking that Beck/Limbaugh cool aid Michael.
Michael, you're an idiot if you think the reasons people are showing so much hatred for our president are purely policy-based.
Let's see, Mr. Steele, where do these crazy ideas come from?
How about this? They come from Republican politicians and pundits who, for lack of useful ideas, deliberately violate the 9th Commandmend and bear false witness against the president with such outrageous lies as: claiming he wasn't born in the US, claiming he's a Nazi, claiming he's a Socialist, claiming he's a Communist, claiming he's a terrorist, claiming he hates white people, claiming he's going to take our guns away, claiming he's enlisting the Census Bureau to round up dissenters into concentration camps. It's not that hard to connect the dots between that pack of lies and the fact that it does result in such treasonous public speech as threats of violence, secession from the Union, and civil war.
Why did Republicans abandon the good ideas they once had, and embrace instead such hatred for America?
Duh! What do you think all this hate monging and fear monging by Republicans is going to lead to?
They incite violence… just like McCain/Palin rallies in 2008. Remember?
Republicans attract the nut jobs.
Thomas Friedman-best selling author, 3 Pulitzer Prizes, syndicated newspaper column, Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis, Master's from Oxford, visiting professor at Harvard. Need I go on.?
Michael Steele-Maryland politico, lawyer to be sure and what else, but one of the chief negative "spouters" of the GOP. Nut job? You decide.
Takes one to know one Mikey!
We all know why you were picked as RNC Chair, Mr. Steele.
Why is it that the GOPers have been able to say and do pretty much anything they like these past nine months, yet when questioned over their tactics, they get all huffy and try to redirect the negativism as if it's coming from the left or center, but never from themselves? The party of dementia is getting sillier and sillier.
Quite laughable really.
Friedman's observations are correct. Steele is in denial and could more appropriately be labled a "nut job."
Steele is half right. It's a nutty comment, but this is the left-wing strategy right now. Call names. Call oppositiion raciest. Espouse fear. This is a nutty strategy, but it is being carefully implemented by Obama and his minions.
Left-wingers policies are radical, and wrong, so they don't want to debate issues, just create fear and call names. Scary times, my friends!
tomorrow, sarah palin's second cousin is going to disney world. i bet CNN will cover it live!
Ah, a true Republican... back to the basics of name-calling.
A person of Steele's position should be providing a more professional response than to start calling folks nutjobs... sounds like another person who's been brainwashed by Rush.