Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first: no one at PJ Media is advocating violence. I wrote the “dek” — that long subheading each of our PJM pieces uses — for Roger Simon’s open letter to Steny Hoyer. I think it summarizes his position, and certainly does mine:
I unequivocally condemn those threats and any possible acts of violence taken in response to the bill. I also unequivocally condemn the actions of the Democratic Party in running roughshod over the clear will of the American people. You have reaped a whirlwind by subverting a democracy.
So let’s be clear: Roger was not in fact suggesting that a tornado should hit Steny Hoyer, and neither am I.
Let’s refer to this old quote, often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson, and very popular until November 2008:
When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
Now, yesterday’s big deal was the death threat about which Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) was so exercised:
Millions of people wish you ill.
Talking Points Memo, Daily Kos, and other paradigmatic left-side blogs are collapsing in waves of maidenly vapors over this. Of course, no one likes getting called “a piece of human sh*t” by an anonymous caller, but then you should see some of the comments at PJM that never make it out of our comments queue. Still, clearly this is out of line, much worse than, say:
I want to spit on them, take one of their “Obama Plan White Slavery” signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.
That’s Courtland Milloy in the Washington Post on March 24, 2010.
And naturally, no one likes to hear, as Rep. Stupak purportedly did:
Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing motherf—er. … I hope you bleed out your a–, got cancer and die, you motherf—er.
This is, of course, much worse than Sean Penn’s recent gentility:
“Do I hope that those people die screaming of rectal cancer?” he continued. “Yeah.”
This could continue — mobs trashing campaign offices, death threats on signs, popular novels and movies about assassinating the president, radio messages using gunshot sound effects to threaten the president — almost endlessly, but I’ll spare you. Besides, all those were threats or attacks against Bush or Republicans.