Twitter War Over Political Tactics

In case you missed it, a Twitter war broke out over a Tweet by Zaid Jilani using the suicide of a TEA Partier as an opportunity to criticize the TEA Party and Governor Deal. As I mentioned in the Morning Reads, our own Mike Hassinger took exception and responded. Below are tweets back and forth between Zaid, Mike and others who got involved. Jilani veered off into other topics as the evening wore on. You’ll see him go after Erick Erickson, Tim Carney and a host of others. Not every Tweet is included because there were just too many, but the essence of the debate is there.

Read the tweets and discuss. Is it right for Zaid Jilani to use the death of this man to advance his attacks, or is Mike Hassinger right that things like this should be out of bounds?


  1. John Konop says:

    The pro life movement uses language like murder, holocaust, killing babies………his point is rather tame compared to the pro life movement. Agree or not the issue is about life and death. The fear I had was similar to what was tweeted when I thought I had cancer. I know I am not the only one…..The truth is this could be a great opening to have the real debate…..without the political BS…..

    • Noway says:

      Not to be a a jerk to tweak you, John, but abortion does result in the deaths of babies. It’s not murder by definition, but it does end a life. I guess there is no nice way to say it.

      • John Konop says:

        I am not taking it anyway…..I am just pointing out that the pro-life crowd uses tougher language……I am all for free speech….But a pro-life person to complain about this… rather shocking if you ever been at a rally, protest………You would think they would be on the side of protecting life when it comes to healthcare.

  2. griftdrift says:

    He’s a good example of what’s wrong with both extremes – convinced that if people would only covert to his worldview everything would be ideal – meanwhile they only preach to the choir using tactics that only turn away any potential new congregants.

  3. Napoleon says:

    First off, neither Mike H., Zaid J., or most of us on here knows this guy or his situation. The fact he had a stroke and went blind and lost his house and felt his only option was to kill himself is not as simple as a lack of anything to do with socialized medicine expanding in Georgia. Where was his payments for disability through Social Security? Wouldn’t that help with the bills? What insurance (if any) did he have or not have? Did he not have family or friends or a place of worship or a charity he could turn to (I see fundraisers all of the time to help people who have mounting bills)?

    The situation looks like one where he suffered a catastrophic injury, had difficulty coping. Friends and family ignored the warning signs of severe depression (a recent study in the news this week reported men are much less likely to admit they suffer from depression and to get help for it). The depression resulted in things not being done and other avenues not being explored. The house was lost and, soon, so was he.

    Unless the hospital was seizing his assets and garnishing his income, he could have done a lot to not let it break him.

    For anyone to wave the bloody shirt of this tragedy to push a political agenda is this sign of a sick and disturbed person, but that just goes to what Neal Boortz always used to say…liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • griftdrift says:

      Yeah. Because waving the bloody flag is limited to liberals. You’ve obviously never driven past the pro-life protests on 14th street. The bloody flags are quite literal.

      • Napoleon says:

        I said shirt, not flag, as the phrase, “waving the bloody shirt.” refers to one person who is used as a martyr for a political cause, as opposed to a bloody flag which would seem to me to be more of a general protest tactic, but as to not be pedantic, I will say they are similar enough.

        The difference is one group of protestors are protesting a practice that they see as ending an individual human life.

        Not even close to a similar situation. It’s like saying a flashlight is exactly like the sun because both give off light.

    • John Konop says:

      ………Where was his payments for disability through Social Security?……..

      1) Seriously you really think this is close to covering any of the bills flying in?

      ……What insurance (if any) did he have or not have?…..

      2) You really do not get the problem……I hope you or a love one never has to walk in this guy shoes…..

      ……Did he not have family or friends or a place of worship or a charity he could turn to (I see fundraisers all of the time to help people who have mounting bills)? …………

      3) Do you have any idea what this cost? You guys are against the guy being protected with a preexisting condition, so he can afford the insurance payment. Many of you accused people in his situation of asking for hand out via preexisting condition even though people like him want to make the payment…..Your solution instead is get on your hands and knees and beg for money…..Do you not see the problem?

      • Napoleon says:

        John, do you personally know all of this information or, as usual, are you spouting off about things you know nothing about? So your solution is to have the government take more money from me and my family? He’s begging for money from somewhere. At least the community will meet more than his physical needs.

        Also, this is an area where I do know a little more than the average person give my career background.

        It is obvious you don’t.

        • John Konop says:

          If that is your view fine……do not ever lecture us about being pro-life. You are definetly support the atheist views of Ayn Rand. If you do not believe in life, liberty……so be it. You do understand that concept came from a moral philosopher and leading abolishanist of his time. The diference between Adam Smith and Ayn Rand is he believed in God. Btw it is your God given right to not care about anybody but yourself.

          • Three Jack says:

            Is this the same Randy Bell who is/was a commissioner in Gilmer County? If so, he had insurance available as a commissioner one would think. And according to the local paper, his house was not yet scheduled to be sold, but was in foreclosure.

            Seems to me this is not the best example for either side to base their debate as Mr. Bell obviously had other issues beyond healthcare availability.

  4. A bit more of a recent comment by “Perspicacious One – ‏@JessSmith_TPC”:

    @ZaidJilani you’re still ignoring the overarching concept of personal responsibility. Let me grab my crayons so I can break it down for you

    Hahaha. Awesome.

  5. Scott65 says:

    My question is why should I care? Those that support the TP can be rabid in the way they attack anyone who criticizes them on Twitter (its like they have a ‘go-to’ list or something…kind of creepy if you ask me)…I have not read the tweets, but I dont think anyone should be disrespectful when someone dies…

    • pettifogger says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think Zaid is trolling, I think he’s just stupid. If he’s trolling then I applaud the effort.

        • Someone explain to me why it matters if he’s a bad person or if he’s trolling or even if he’s exploiting one person’s story if his point is right?

          To boil it down for people: there are people (maybe even like the guy who committed suicide) who would be better off if we made changes to our healthcare delivery system, and while Medicaid expansion may not directly relate to this guy (but if he’s losing his house, I’d argue it probably does) it’s part of the larger story.

          How is that any different from Buzz wanting to (admirably) change laws dealing with sexual slavery? Did Mike Hassinger and others want to have the sexual slavery debate in Excel rather than on emotional terms?

          • Sure using personal stories to advance policy happens in politics and I confess I’ve probably done it at some point – my complaint is he used someone’s death to bash opponents of Obamacare and later on, the entire right side of the political spectrum.

            I would say in the case of the human trafficking issues, while advocates like myself may use personal stories of victims, it’s not used to say “because Democrats won’t do “X” these women are suffering” because there are no politicians out there advocating for more human trafficking. Person stories are used to explain what the problem is and I think it’s appropriate.

        • And additionally, one of the most persuasive arguments that the right has against Obamacare/healthcare expansion (see the Americans for Prosperity ad above) is that some affluent person who already has health care will lose it or it will get devalued if we expand access.

          In that case, isn’t the Americans for Prosperity ad just as exploitative?

          I get that in some magical independent world where everyone watches Charlie Rose and talks it out, we can have debates about issues where we don’t use anecdotes or exploit individual experiences, but that’s not how our debates work.

  6. benevolus says:

    How many times have we discussed- right here- specific gun deaths? Sometimes we still talk about Trayvon Martin, right? But that’s OK?

  7. Harry says:

    The problem with Obamacare is that it will make bigger financial problems for most people, not improve the situation. And being on a waiting list for months to have a medical procedure under a socialist scheme, does not save lives.

  8. Salmo says:

    Missed in all of this is the point that the first reason it became politicized is because it was posted by Debbie Dooley. She’s made herself a lightning rod that intentionally pisses off as many people as she can for the sake of camera/microphone time. If she was a more sane person, this whole “war” may have never come to fruition. Instead, she has embraced the idea that she IS the tea party rather than a regular human being.

    Not that this makes this other dude right. I just wish DD would fade into Bolivia.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The general approach of berating a lack of compassion until it strikes home is applicable in some circumstances, for example the case of Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman coming out in favor of same-sex marriage after revealing that his son is gay, is often OK. It’s generally not so in the case of personalized tragedy, whether someone else started it or not. The tweets lacked taste.

      FWIW I had concerns about comments on Brockway’s PP post on Clint Murphy a couple of weeks ago going south, but glad the commentariat here remained civil (at least as I recollect).

  9. WesleyC says:

    This post is troll bait. Zaid Jilani’s influence approaches zero. Who cares what he randomly tweeted. Back to issues please.

  10. analogkid says:

    Zaid is a turbo-douche, but his initial point, no matter how insensitive, is a good one. The rest of the “twitter war” is and should be embarrassing for everyone involved.

  11. Rick Day says:


    Take it from a pro.

    Is what he said totes out of line & disrespectful? You betcha.

    Did you have the right to say what you said? Of course. Were you correct? Well..your comment affirms an underlying issue that is the bedrock of our gridlock; disrespect in political discourse.

    It got out of hand when you responded back. Then by the time you realized what happened, he got ALL the last say.

    Starve the Trolls™. It’s our only hope 🙂

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