Threats and Theater
Threats have no place in any political discourse in the U.S. — but conservatives can't afford to let over-dramatized threats either paralyze them or goad them into stupidity. (Watch the latest Hicks File, and comment here.)
March 31, 2010 - 12:00 am
Democrats say they’ve been the targets of political attacks since they passed President Obama’s health care bill. Is this true, or are they trying to exploit the threats some have received for political gain?
Okay, some of these reports have been troubling. Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter said her office received death threats. Gabrielle Gifford’s office was vandalized. Bart Stupak received nasty voicemail messages. A brick was thrown through the window of Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.
Black Democrats like James Clyburn claimed the N-word was shouted at them as they walked into the Capitol building, and Emanuel Cleaver said he was spit on by someone in the crowd.
There’s evidence that some acts of vandalism and threats have taken place, but tea party protesters who were there say the stories of Clyburn and Cleaver are baloney. They say they heard nothing of the kind, and no videotapes or other corroborating evidence have surfaced to corroborate these black Democrats’ claims.
First, let’s stipulate that there are idiots, fools, and knuckle-draggers of all sorts at the fringes of American politics — on the left and on the right.
Second, as House Republican Leader John Boehner has correctly said, “violence and threats are unacceptable. It is not the American way.”
But, is there really some larger concern about populist anger, or are leftists and liberals just playing the victim card? Nancy Pelosi has used these incidents in just that fashion, asking the Capitol Police to meet with House Republicans — as if they had orchestrated and directed the acts.
House Democrat Phil Hare argued that Boehner needs to come to the floor and condemn the violence and apologize. But Boehner had already made a statement condemning the events and there was nothing for him, or any other House Republicans for that matter, to apologize for. They can’t be held responsible for the acts of a few crazed individuals.
Still, it has gotten increasingly bizarre since Democrats reported the first incident.
One writer at the Huffington Post offered the following brain-dead analysis: Sarah Palin is encouraging violence against Democrats because she has targeted 20 Democrats for defeat in the upcoming midterm elections. Why? Well, she has a map on her Facebook page that identifies the 20 with what appear to liberals to be “crosshairs.”