January 7, 2013

Pathetic: Des Moines Register Columnist Who Wished Death on GOP Leaders, Gun Owners Now Cries ‘Satire’

On December 30 (originally noted at NewsBusters by MRC’s Tim Graham), twice- or thrice-retired Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, feeling compelled to come back and begin writing columns again, in the Register’s words, “when events move him,” made five immodest proposals: 1) “Repeal the Second Amendment”; 2) “Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal”; 3) “Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony”; 4) People resisting the confiscation efforts of those trying to pry their “guns from their cold, dead hands” should get their wish; 5) “tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner … to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they … (see) the light on gun control.”

Following a firestorm of outrage, Kaul wrote a January 5 follow-up column claiming he was only engaging in satire, while arrogantly comparing himself to Jonathan Swift and the revered satirist’s Modest Proposal. Really. Mr. Kaul seems to have missed something about how his supposedly satirical original column differs from Swift’s work:

It turns out that Kaul’s claims of satire only apply a few of his proposals. Swift’s one and only unmistakably satirical proposal concerned how “one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born … shall be reared and provided for.”

On December 30, Kaul wanted readers to be smart enough to know that he was kidding (and only most so, as will be explained), even though he prefaced his ideas two paragraphs earlier as follows (bold is in online original):

The thing missing from the debate so far is anger — anger that we live in a society where something like the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre can happen and our main concern is not offending the NRA’s sensibilities.

Was your “anger” satirical, too, Don? I call horse manure.

Kaul’s January 5 exercise in excuse-making, which did contain complete “never minds” on Items 4 and 5 above, didn’t even fully back away from the first three.

Concerning Item 1, he wrote that: “Neither do I really want to repeal the Second Amendment. I merely wanted to point out that it is being misinterpreted and misused.” Translating that to leftese, that really means: “I want the courts to pretend that the amendment doesn’t say what it says, because it’s too hard to go through the messy process of persuading people and amending the Constitution our Founding Fathers designed.”

As to Item 2, he claimed that “I may now be closer to believing the NRA is an organization of terrorists … (because) I’ve been getting hostile telephone calls at all hours of the day and night for the past several days. Why would you call a stranger at 3 a.m. if you weren’t trying to frighten him? It’s what terrorists do — frighten people.” No, Don. While instilling fright is an obvious and beneficial (from their point of view) side-effect, terrorists primarily kill and maim people. The NRA doesn’t do that. Hamas and al Qaeda do. And for what it’s worth, pal, almost all of us who do writing on current events have gotten those 3 a.m. phone calls.

Kaul didn’t even address Item 3, “Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony.” The guess here is that he wants to see this happen, or he would have publicly backed away from it.

So Donald Kaul, if we’re to believe him (which I don’t), mixed seriousness with satire, wrapped it up in “anger,” and expected readers to discern what he did mean and what he didn’t mean. Swift, a brilliant satirist, something which at least in this case Kaul obviously was not, didn’t do that.

Take your pick: Either Kaul’s original and follow-up columns represent utter slop emanating from a scrambled mind, or they expose a guy who has vitriolic, murderous hatred for that with which and those with whom he disagrees who is now desperately trying to salvage what’s left of his credibility and acceptability.

I pick Door Number 2.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. Did not Swift propose the ridiculous to prove the wisdom of the opposite course?

    Comment by Jim — January 7, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  2. Great point.

    Comment by Tom — January 7, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

  3. [...] have dug themselves into rhetorical holes is: Stop digging. As noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul ignored that rule on January 5 by claiming that his [...]

    Pingback by BizzyBlog — January 8, 2013 @ 10:36 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.