So much hate, so little decency

When NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert died, too many readers of this web site cheered his death. The same thing happened this past weekend when former Bush Presidential Press Secretary Tony Show succumbed to colon cancer.

Some of what I read in the comments section on Capitol Hill Blue turned my stomach. I vomited my guts out after reading the bile. Readers showed no compassion for a man who fought an insidious disease with bravery and grace. They lacked compassion for someone who left behind a loving wife and children. They cared little for someone who died before his time.

Instead, they used his death to spew hate, aiming their anger over the fact that Tony was a conservative and, for a while, the voice of the Bush Administration in the White House. Their hate spread through this web site like the cancer that killed him.

My anger led me to disable, briefly, the ability of readers to post comments directly to news stories. After conversations with the staff, I decided – reluctantly – to allow comments again but I’m serving notice to everyone that the hate stops or the comments will be history.

The ability to comment directly to stories and columns is not a right that anyone who visits here enjoys. Capitol Hill Blue is not a government or a publicly-owned entity. It is a private web site that I own and comments are a privilege that I alone can grant or take away. It’s my web site and I can do with it whatever I damn well want. It’s not a business so threatening me with loss of readership or revenue is useless. I’ve never cared how many people visit here or read the site. Those of us who work daily to keep the site on the Web do so as a labor of love – nothing more, nothing less.

My various enterprises operate under a single slogan: Determine what sucks, don’t do it.  When something becomes a pain in the ass, I simply stop doing it. Right now, the hate I see taking over this web site has put a rash on my butt. If that rash gets worse, I’ll cure it by eliminating the symptom.

Earlier this morning, Carl Nemo posted the following comment on the story about Tony’s death:

Tony Snow was not close to any of us; ie., a family member etc. The Snow editorial and the subsequent postings to CHB are not necessarily to be those expected at his wake.

As my lawyer would say, such a comment is assuming facts not in evidence.

In fact, Tony Snow was someone I knew during my sojourn to the dark side when I worked in politics for both the Republican Party and GOP members of Congress.

Although we did not share the same philosophy, we did share a mutual respect for each other. Tony loved his family. He loved his country. His political beliefs were strongly conservative but they were genuine.  I respected him and so did a lot of my fellow journalists – liberal and conservative.

But even if I did not know him, he is due respect for his devotion to family and country. Common decency demands that we honor our dead and political differences must not be turned into justifications for hate.

Sadly, we have lost the ability to have differences in this nation, be them political or philosophical, without hate replacing reason. I disagree strongly with the policies of President George W. Bush but I don’t hate the man. I don’t know him well enough to judge whether or not he believes his policies but I do know a lot of people who work for him and the Republican Party and most of them are true believers in their cause just as many who oppose their cause are true believers in their point of view.

Yet those with different philosophies are too often treated with disrespect and hatred and the usual justification for such actions is the standard childish excuse that the other side  "did it first!"

There are people in this country who truly believe that the Iraq war is just and that what others see as excesses in security and loss of freedoms is justified because of the threat of terrorism. I know some who have such views and they love their country just as much as I do. Having such beliefs does not make them criminal, corrupt or stupid. It simply means they have a different point of view.

One of Capitol Hill Blue’s columnists told me over the weekend that my style of writing contributes to the growth of hate on this web site. He may be right. I use strong language. I go over the top. I assumed that readers understood that my positions stemmed from love of country and not from hatred of differing points of view.  Like Carl Nemo, I assumed facts not in evidence.

I don’t know if I can change the way I write. I don’t know if I can stem the hate that is consuming this country.

But I can change what happens on this web site. I have told columnists to feel free to moderate comments to their columns when those comments degenerate into hate, racism or bigotry. If the hate continues, I will remove the privilege of posting comments directly to stories, columns and blogs. If I do so, no one will be able to talk me into allowing them ever again.

Those who cannot control their hate should pack up and leave now. Capitol Hill Blue is a non-partisan news site where differing points of view are welcome as long as readers show respect for each other and express those views with a modicum of civility.

There are lots of web sites out there that pander to hate. There are many that pander to partisans.

Capitol Hill Blue is not one of those web sites.


  1. RichardKanePA


    Some people have the warmest friendliest smile, and seem to show genuine concern, while they go around hurting people.

    Some say that about Bush Jr. But I genuinely think he is a moron being pushed around by the wind or advisers, smiling like a little kid who says his lines right oblivious to what the words he uttered. I could have just fell for his con I don’t know.

    Tony Snow was as sharp and as alert has he could be, with far more determination than Ted Kennedy in doing his job and perusing his goals despite being wreaked with cancer.

    I don’t hate him but fear a warm memory of him will cause lingering harm the way warm memories of Reagan still does.

    I’m suspicious that he got his start as part of Sun Myung Moon’s conglomerate. The Washington Times, UPI, Comcast etc. conglomerate. A friend of mine who never reached the point of selling flowers 14 hours a day, still tells me what warm and loving people the Mooonies are.

    After I got hit by a car, I was already on low income medical state insurance. When I went to get welfare and food stamps, I was totally helpless, afraid of falling off my crutches, and had trouble concentrating. The Korean case worker was so warm and helpful and seemed embarrassed about my problems, I realized later he was acting embarrassed, more about my hyperactivity than my helplessness, something I had to deal with my whole life.

    He told me to get a letter from my part time job that I was fired. The secretary hadn’t even took my keys back hoping I’d be back. It turned out he never signed me up for food stands or welfare, but cut me off medical assistance for not having a part time job anymore.

    Anyway I fear fond memories of Tony Snow will cause harm into the future the way warm memories of Reagan still does.

    All I know for sure is Tony Snows warmth, dedication to his ideals, and what looked like genuine concern tended make the world slightly less nice a place to live in.


  2. Doug Thompson

    "Writer for the left?" Back when Bill Clinton was President I was being called a propagandist for the right. God, I wish people would make up their minds.

  3. woody188

    Please do not blame me for your decision to remove comments. That’s like taking a hostage and then blaming the police when you shoot them.

    I do not hate Tony. I feel for his family as I said. But I can’t show respect for a man that worked for a person you called the “American Hitler.”

    You quit when you found out about the lies you were made to disperse. Did Tony just never question what he was told? We don’t know, but maybe you do! Instead of insisting he was a good man, how about sharing some of that first hand knowledge and use your writing talent to prove it.

    Otherwise you are just telling us that this nice man worked for a person you called, “an international war criminal, a despot who sanctions torture and a madman who is nothing less than a mass murderer.”

  4. jay_spaan_sr

    Doug, you have created a monster. You are an exceptional writer for the left. But you became a “Rush Limbugh” for the left.

    You wrote such things as “Obama says We, Hillary says I”.

    Now we must deal with this situation.

    You have no more confidence in your canidate of choice. Thousands admire you and take your word as gospel. Now you change your mind.

    You are getting what you should expect: extreme left hatred with no reason or knowledge.

    Embrace your people that you created. It is your Frankenstein.

    “I’m a goalie.
    your a sieve… and it’s all your fault”
    Jay Spaan Sr. still proudly backing Hillary.

  5. woody188

    That was just a link to a collection of links to Snow’s own work that just happens to be maintained by Media Matters. I’ll keep that in mind Doug, but I’ve found Media Matters to be very credible and they typically link to the original work so you can make up your own mind. Yes, they only collect conservative news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible, as per their web site.

  6. incog99

    OK, an expression invented by my ancestor Martin Van Buren, 8th president of the US and vice president to Andrew Jackson, meaning Old Kinderhook who also invented the party system as we know it, oh but I diverge, um, you are saying that Capitolhillblue is NOT a Democracy or do I understand your rant incorrectly?


  7. ekaton

    I don’t know, Doug. Maybe it WOULD be best to terminate the comments after the articles. Emotions are running high, and sometimes, or often times, emotions cloud logic. Please keep writing “the rant” in any case. CHB is still the first and the best either way.

    — Kent Shaw

  8. ekaton

    Black. White. Left. Right. Conservative. Liberal. Democrat. Republican.

    There has to be a way out of the “labels”. There has to be a way to find the correct path for our country. There has to be a way toward logic, compassion, positive action.

    I wish I knew the way.

    — Kent Shaw

  9. Ann

    Glad I was not reading for a little while because I would have done that same as you Doug. So little respect Tim Russet and Tony Snow I didn’t know but it is sad they leave their family and friends. Tony Snow fought a big fight to live as long as he did and I have nothing but compassion for his family and their lost also Tim Russet it was sad he had to leave so young.
    They loved what they did and I didn’t agree with Tony but both of these men had beautiful smiles and so much life.
    We have got to start to be a Nation of feelings for people that have horrible problem and it doesn’t matter is they are Rep. or Dem. they are first off humans that love their country and their families.
    What in the world is wrong with out country hating and not careing about anyone who suffers.
    Things have to change we are a bitter country and well if we were having to live through war here we wouldn’t have time for that crap. I pray all the time for the people I don’t know and for their saftey. Better start caring and not always hating it is not good for you or our country.

  10. jyakubow

    Okay, you’re right, I should have left the decency bit out, because you could probably go back even further than Nixon.

    The point I was trying to make is that I have never seen so much hate and divisiveness in the 29 years that I’ve been eligible to vote. And in my experience, that hate and divisiveness is coming form the so called “values voters” or “moral majority” who want to force their beliefs down my throat and if I disagree they label me as immoral and unpatriotic. That really kind of gets my goat.


  11. Carl Nemo

    Hi Doug Thompson…

    I felt quite happy for you when you decided to pull the plug on the blogs and commentary to your site, mainly on your behalf and health.

    It’s too bad that you’ve become so emotional concerning postings to your site. It simply isn’t healthy behavior.

    As you’ve stated succinctly you don’t need me or anybody else to contribute commentary to your site. I don’t consider it a privilege to communicate with you, I do so because I choose to do so and your forum has served my needs well over time in spreading the word about the evil forces that are stalking this once great nation. Thanks for having provided me and no doubt others with such a platform.

    “May you live long and prosper”…Spock

    Carl Nemo **==

  12. DejaVuAllOver

    I’m sorry, Doug. From hereon henceforth, I’ll just try and have only happy thoughts about the Nazis that have plunged this country into fascism. Hitler had a family, too.

  13. Doug Thompson

    Emotional? Hardly. Disappointed? Absolutely.

    I had higher expectations from those who read this site. Most meet those expectations. Sadly, others do not.

    Why is it "too bad" that I expect common courtesy and decency from those who post here?

    Why is it "too bad" to expect a reasoned discussion of issues rather than angry outbursts and hate?

    Why is it "too bad" to expect people to act like adults?

    It’s "too bad" that I have to ask those questions.


  14. Doug Thompson

    Yeah, Woody said it all and that may be all the reason I need to send comments packing and rid this site of the hate that infects it.

    The lack of decency and compassion I see here makes me sick. Keep up the bitterness, anger and invective folks and you will ruin a good thing for everyone. and you will have only yourselves to blame.

  15. Doug Thompson

    Citing media matters as a source hardly bolsters your case. They have a partisan agenda and admit it. I don’t like partisans and I seldom accept their arguments as anything but what they are — partisan pap.

  16. Doug Thompson

    I’m sorry but decency took a hike long before November 2001. Bill Clinton’s Presidency was hardly a hallmark of decency, fairness or honesty. Neither was Richard Nixon’s. Neither political party has a patent on decency. Both put party above country and partisanship above the best interests of the nation.

  17. Doug Thompson


    I knew the man. You didn’t. We discussed the challenges he faced many times.

    You speak from a distrust of an administration that I suspect stems from partisanship and a belief that all things Republican are evil.  I’m a non-partisan who judges everyone by the same yardstick.

    I trust my friends.

  18. jyakubow

    This hate and lack of decency you speak of started in November 2001 when George W. Bush said to the world “You are either with us or you are against us…” That’s when I started receiving emails from my conservative friends with Christian themes that pretty much said the same thing; if you’re not with us, you’re against us; if you’re a liberal, then you’re immoral, if you don’t forward this email to everyone in your address book, then you’re not patriotic and YOU DON’T LOVE GOD!

    I’m a Christian, I believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but around 2004 I realized that I had a deep seated loathing for anything religious, especially evangelical ministers with their 3 karate diamond pinky rings, $45,000 Mercedes Benzes and $3 million dollar mansions, who use their power and influence to buy politicians who will legislate their brand of morality and force it down the rest of the Nations throat. I used to feel sorry for the vulnerable people who fall prey to these charlatans, but now I look at them and think they’re just plain STUPID!!! Am I angry? Am I full of hate? YES I AM and I blame the George W. Bush administration and their brand of divisive politics!


  19. woody188

    I’m sorry Doug, but Tony was claiming we weren’t torturing people at Gitmo before his stint as Press Secretary. Check out his articles here. He occasionally detracted from Junior, but most of the articles are extremely partisan and supportive of the Administration no matter what they did.

    I challenge you to read some of his articles and not change your mind.

    I don’t want to upset you Doug. You have become a personal hero to me. I don’t want to be banned. You have consistently spoken out against the wrongs and rights of government to this point. And you do it because you love it, not because you are paid to do it.

    I think you may need to read Hal’s idealization column and apply it to your relationship with Tony. The man has literally blinded you with his charisma. But isn’t that why Bush chose him for the job in the first place?

    Ask yourself this, if Tony were asked today if America tortured it’s prisoners, would Tony answer no just like George W. Bush does?

  20. Doug Thompson

    No, I don’t believe Tony lied for Bush. Press Secretaries are seldom privy to inside information within a Presidential administration. Scott McClellan’s book showed that.

    My first job in Washington when i took a break from journalism was as press secretary to a Congressman. I passed on information given to me most often by the chief of staff. I later found out some of it wasn’t true. That’s when I quit.

  21. Wayne K Dolik

    You’re not over the top. Thank God someone speaks truth to power around here.

  22. pollchecker

    When the rules of he game are changed, you either adapt or lose. A lose to these people is the end of this nation and humanity. I for one will not go quietly into the night.

    I totally agree. But I see it as the fear/hate mongers versus everyone average joe. In fact I believe the responses to this column show that.

    As long as we buy their product, they will play it over and over like a broken record. It’s easy to buy into at times even when you know exactly what is happening around you…there is always that “what if?”.

    However, strong words will always evoke strong emotions on both sides. The words of the Declaration of Independence may seem like “old hat” to us that have always had them, but they were indeed strong words in that time, strong enough to be tried for treason if King George so demanded.

    They were strong enough to rally the masses to put their life on the line … to usurp personal fortune and proudly stand up for a common cause, a common good. I can’t imagine what words would it take to inspire that in today’s citizen…if it is even possible at all.

  23. Belle

    Never having met Tony Snow, I cannot vouch for his character OFF the podium at the White House. Woody you said it all. If I acted like I had lost a best friend I would be the worlds worst hypocrite, because of the times I watched that man stand there and utter what a lot of our citizens knew to be lies. How can anyone stand and say some of the things he did with a clear conscience.?I lost a husband and a 56 year old daughter, one from lung cancer and the other from breast cancer., I know how the family feels..and so do the thousands of families left mourning someone they lost in bushes war. Tony did what he was told PERIOD…I am sure he must have known he was lying to our country…He as a man and the life he lived under bush could very well be 2 different people, but as I have said before one does not attain saint hood when one dies….we ALL die sooner or later………….

  24. RealityBytes

    Doug, 2 questions:

    You say you ‘respected’ Tony Snow – do you believe he lied for Bush and, if so, how can you respect that?

    And whether or not you believed Tony Snow lied for Bush, or was an honorable person, do you believe that a person’s death should change the public’s opinion of them, or at least the publicized opinion of them?

    As for me, I liked Tim Russert. I do think he lobbed softballs too often, but very few high profile ‘reporters’ these days are much different. I did not see much hate or even anger in the comments I read upon his death (then again, I didn’t bother reading many of them), but I did see a lot of the rehashing of disappointment that he was not a better reporter. Even though I was a fan of Tim Russert, I could not find fault with such comments.

    Indeed, for someone to rant against someone while they are alive and then temper that after they are dead, is sheer hypocrisy. What changes? What makes them any more saintly, or any less evil?

    I do not have a strong opinion of Tony Snow; although the fact that he was Bush’s mouthpiece lowers my opinion of him, I can see how it is barely possible that one can be an honorable person and do evil, mistakenly or even unknowingly… I’d like to think that of Scott McClellan, for instance, but from the little I know of Tony Snow, it seems less likely. I do know that those who expressed anger with Tony Snow after his death also did so while he was alive; assuming their opinions had significant validity while he was alive, I see nothing wrong with reminding people of the evil that was done, and will continue to do harm, after his death.

    So, Doug, in the end I guess I have a third question – did you really respect Tony Snow and the work he did, as press secretary for President Bush, while he was alive? If I go back and read your comments on the subject, is that what they will reflect?

    Evil is evil. If you think it is important to inform other people of the evil done while someone is alive, in my opinion it is no less justifiable to do the same after their death.

  25. Janice

    I would like challenge the readers of CHB to come together to work for solutions to the problems we face as a nation. Doug tried this, but there was not enough interest (or maybe money). I would like to challenge each of us to reach beyond our partisian politics and try to come up with a solution to some of the problems facing our country. I am sure, with the intelligence of readers here, that we can set aside our political differences, listen to each other’s ideas, and develop solutions that will work. I am also certain that we can bring these solutions which warrant public scrutiny to the appropriate news media, organizations, and representatives. I am also sure we will be able to generate the appropriate amount of noise to make sure these ideas are given the attention they deserve.

    Or, we can just keep sitting on our collective behinds and continue with our impotent bitching …

  26. Elmo

    I’m still trying to figure out why I should be subjected to weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth about either one of them. For those of you who knew one or both, the loss is as personal as you make it but for me it’s just a change in whichever talking head happens to be perched on whatever chair the camera is pointed at.

  27. scytherius

    Ya know, there was a time when I would have agreed. This is not that time. Years upon years of treason by our elected officials and their enablers changes a man/woman. When your country leads the world in dead and maimed teenagers in an oil war, torture (some of them children), institutionalized cruelty against it’s own people and so many other crimes against humanity that it boggles the mind . . . when that happens it changes you. I cheer the demise of the supporters of this regime (the worst in recorded history) just as I would Hitler’s press secretary.

    When the rules of he game are changed, you either adapt or lose. A lose to these people is the end of this nation and humanity. I for one will not go quietly into the night.

  28. Janice

    This hatred has spread across our nation – and our world – like a cancer. It is fueled by partisan politics and the for profit media. When we had real news – it was to report the days events. Now the news channels seem to exist to generate news and fuel the fires of partisianship in order to increase viewers and profits.

    I think today’s ‘win-at-all-costs’ political attitude probably dates back to the Nixon administration and the Watergate cover-up. It has since continued from administration to administration until today we have an inoperable cancer festering in government which is rapidly consuming the flesh of our political system and our national identity.

    We used to listen to those of opposing viewpoints, consider their points, debate it, and come to a compromise. Now we just spew hate. That gets us no where. It sidetracks us from dealing with the real problems facing our society. It also clouds our judgement and distracts us from the reality of what is going on. It is easier to bitch and argue, than to pay attention to what is being done. We have lost our focus as a people and as a nation. Doug, and many others, are right. It is time to set the hatred aside come together to find solutions to the challenges facing us.

    We, as citizens of this country, have many serious issues to deal with, including the crisis facing our financial institutions, the hugh debt our country has, the oil crisis, the failing education system, illegal immagration, job loss, un and under insured citizens, food prices, loss of homes, energy costs, global warming… there is a lot. However, I KNOW that as Americans we can overcome these challenges – IF we move beyond the partisianship and work together.

    We need to stop bickering among ourselves and start working together to solve the problems facing us. If we do not, there will not be a future worth saving.

    One of my favorite quotes is There are no problems, only solutions. Isn’t it time to set aside the problems and start finding the solutions?

  29. buckethead

    Doug – I have never in any of your columns over the past 5 years seen any of your invective directed towards someone immediately after their passing. I agree with your words and wish you the best with your decisions. Thanks for the way you get the discussions flowing.

    Greg Abernathy

  30. woody188

    Snow was just like Mohammad Saeed al-Sahhaf claiming American’s were not attacking while the tanks rolled in behind him. Snow’s lies too are laid bare but he still maintained the facade. That may be commendable for typical corporate spokespeople but we are talking about one of the only sources the public has for information from the most secretive President in history.

    Al-Sahhaf works for Abu Dhabi TV now. Shows corporate and government “journalists” are inter-changeable and should not be trusted to tell the truth because they are paid to speak what they are told. They are over-glorified anchormen. They sell their honor and principles for cold hard cash. Even in death I will not show respect to such men for they deserve none.

    I’m sure there are some very nice people in the halls of government and news media, but this doesn’t excuse them from the decisions they make and who they choose to support or ignore. Nor does it excuse them if they actually believe in what they are doing. This defense never worked at Nuremberg.

    I’m really trying here Doug but when you defend the indefensible based on if someone is a nice guy in person, it’s not surprising people get emotional as rational thought has been tossed aside. I always hear how Bush Jr. is extremely friendly and personable. Would we sing his praises after he kicks the bucket? No, I’m sure many would line up to spit on his grave.

    Were Tony a true conservative, why was he not appalled with the excesses of the Bush Administration? If he was such a good person, why would he not come forward as Scott McClellan did? Is it commendable to ignore the corruption, the power grab, the loss of rights, the torture, the destruction of our nation and Constitution?

    We will never know. Assumingly his lust for money and being connected with the highest echelons of power over-rode his own conservative beliefs.

    I’m sure it is harder for you in this instance, as he was a friend or acquaintance. Objectivity tends to fly out the window when we are personally involved. Perhaps you need to step back on this and reflect on Tony, good and bad, and see how you feel about it all. Is Tony’s being a nice family man that believed in what he was doing an excuse for lying to the nation and supporting a fascist dictator named George W. Bush?

    “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” proposed motto for the Great Seal of the United States by T. Jefferson and B. Franklin.

  31. WaltervdH

    33 years ago, I got divorced and my ex-wife ended up with
    my children, and of course, our house. She lived there together with her long time boyfriend, and I developed a
    hatred for him, and a resentment toward her—-a very typical reaction. I fantasized about being in the days of the Old West, and shooting both of them in the kneecaps,
    and then one shot each, low in the bladder, where it takes
    a person days to die.

    What happened was that I was unable to keep my anger separate from other relationships, and became an angry and
    short-tempered person. It affected my relationship with my
    little children, with my parents and with my friends. It was clear that I had a choice—-continue with the anger and become a mean, spiteful person—-or let go of the dubious luxury of hatred and anger, and become once again a kind, loving father, son and friend.

    I chose life, and love, and gave up my resentments. I still have to be very careful with other situations, as I
    loathe, detest and despise “dubya bush” as a traitor to the values and principles set out in the Declaration of Independence, and Constitution. I have to greatly limit the time and attention spent on current politics, as it
    gets me very angry—-and separates me from my Higher Power.

    So I try to maintain some distance from the whirlpool, lest I be pulled in, and lose my conscious contact with God. The bottom line is that I try not to indulge myself in hatred and negativity for the sake of the other people involved, but because it is not good FOR ME to do so.