Right-wing media figures -- including Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- have attacked critics of the Arizona immigration law by invoking the idea of a civil war. For example, Beck suggested President Obama is "trying to destroy the country" and pushing America toward civil war.
Conservative media invoke civil war comparisons to criticism of AZ law
Beck: "We're being pushed into an area where civil war" is possible. During the May 19 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, before reading a letter about the City of Los Angeles' boycott of Arizona, Beck said that "we're being pushed into an area where civil war" is possible. He later suggested that President Obama is "trying to destroy the country."
Limbaugh: "This is the kind of stuff that starts civil wars, folks." On the May 20 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Limbaugh said of the Los Angeles boycott of Arizona that "this is the kind of stuff that starts civil wars, folks."
Van Susteren: "It's beginning to look like war between Arizona and the United States." During the May 21 edition of Fox News' On the Record, Greta Van Susteren said of a report that Homeland Security "will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona":
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly is no secret illegal immigration is strangling the state of Arizona. Now, it's been going on for years, and the feds have not solved it. So now Arizona is taking charge, passing a statewide illegal immigration law. And the feds -- well, they don't like what Arizona did, and it's beginning to look like war between Arizona and the United States.
Peter Johnson Jr.: Obama "is engaging in the kind of sectionalism that destroyed the United States in the 19th century." From the May 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
ALISYN CAMEROTA (guest co-host): All right, so first, the president reminded Americans that he's against the Arizona immigration law, then he says a boycott is not up for him to decide. What gives? We have Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. here with his analysis.
JOHNSON: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: So Peter -- but isn't that fair? He doesn't like the law but he's not going to tell the people to boycott the state.
JOHNSON: No, it's not fair. What the president is doing is abdicating two things, his legal responsibility and his moral responsibility. A, he knows full well that there's precedent under federal law and under constitutional law for the Arizona law. B, he knows full well that states, counties, cities engaging in that kind of regulatory boycott against a state is illegal, and unconstitutional, and violates the Interstate Commerce Clause.
CAMEROTA: That's interesting. But what about what he said about the public, has their own rights, it's their prerogative. They can go there or you can not go there.
JOHNSON: The public has their own right but we elect a president to exercise not only a capacity to tell us what the law is but to exercise moral leadership, and so when you have a president who tacitly endorses a boycott, he is engaging in the kind of sectionalism that destroyed the United States in the 19th century. We cannot have a situation where people are ostracized, isolated, demonized, divided, and marginalized by virtue of their beliefs and to say, "I don't have the capacity and I'm not going to get involved as a former community organizer, I'm not going to get involved with Los Angeles and San Francisco and California and San Diego and other states and dozens of cities and counties that are considering an economic boycott of Arizona," that tears the shreds -- the Constitution. That tears at the threads that bond us together as 50 states and to say, well, that's a private choice, that's a cop-out and that's a failure of moral and legal leadership especially when the president knows, going to the Arizona law, that there is a U.S. constitutional case -- the DeCanas case -- that upheld states' rights, that upheld the state police power in doing exactly what Arizona has done.