March 23, 2010
SMEARING THE TEA PARTIES: Dana Loesch responds on O’Reilly. And, yes, that’s a “Public Enemy” t-shirt she’s wearing. And yes, O’Reilly was fairly clueless.
UPDATE: Related thoughts from Roger Pilon at CATO:
One hesitates to weigh in on this mud-slinging for fear of getting muddy oneself. But neither should commentary on Republican and tea-party reaction to Sunday’s House vote be left to the suddenly self-righteous Democratic left: After all, it’s their appalling disregard for democratic principles and processes that gave rise to the weekend’s demonstrations and outbursts. So a few points are in order, simply to put things in perspective.
First, let’s not leap to factual conclusions. Last evening the Lehrer News Hour reported (along with Politico this morning) that Rep. Randy Neugebauer shouted “baby killer” as Rep. Bart Stupak was speaking Sunday night. Yet NPR reported that Neugebauer actually shouted “It’s a baby killer” — referring to the bill, not to Stupak. Neither version is acceptable, but there is a difference. Likewise, claims about protesters taunts should be treated cautiously as well, especially since they’ve been denied, and as yet no footage has emerged to support them. Yet we see here at the Arena this morning that Harvard’s Theda Skocpol is writing, without a shred of evidence, that ”Quite a few Republican public officials are even flirting with threats of violence against political figures they oppose.” So let’s not pretend that the right has a corner on irresponsibility.
Second, even if the claims about protester’s taunts prove to be true, how is that a warrant for condemning the entire tea-party movement, or the Republican party, as many on the left are doing? No broad political movement can control its every “member.” Yet we find people like House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn saying that GOP leaders “ought to be ashamed of themselves for bringing these people here to Washington.” Perhaps Rep. Clyburn has forgotten that we still have the right to protest. That’s what the first tea party was about. And let’s remember that George Washington had to wade into the “mob” from time to time to keep order.
And that brings me to a final point. The symbolism of the Democratic left’s hostility to the “tea baggers” should not go unnoticed. The tea party movement’s roots are in the American Revolution. These ordinary Americans are protesting the Washington ”Establishment” — which presently is the Democratic juggernaut – much as American Patriots were protesting the oppressive British Establishment that was “eating out their substance” with “a long train of abuses and usurpations.” The Democratic left should think long and hard about those parallels. The times they are a-changin’.
I should also note — as Dana points out above — that when goons, wearing SEIU t-shirts even, beat up Ken Gladney and called him a “nigger” the press wasn’t interested at all despite the presence of video, and charges filed, while it’s been happy to run with a story about tea partiers that the video contradicts. So the whole have-you-no-decency routine here seems kinda contrived and desperate.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Members of Congress playing the race card. “These people are very powerful members of Congress. It’s unbecoming to act like you’re some woebegone victim.”
MORE: Further thoughts at Power Line.
STILL MORE: Ed Frank emails:
I’ve seen your coverage of the “racial slur” charges on the Hill last weekend, and I know there’s no way to prove a negative, but the video posted on Instapundit seems to show Congressman Jesse Jackson filming the crowd with two Flip video cameras as he and his colleagues walk toward the Cannon Building. Since he apparently walked the entire way with those cameras rolling, at least one of them presumably would have picked up any racial slurs that were uttered along the way. Interestingly, I don’t think Congressman Jackson has released the video he filmed on Saturday – maybe it’s out there, but I can’t find it anywhere. And I’m pretty sure that if there were racial slurs captured on his camera, he would’ve had the clips out there in a heartbeat. In any case, he should probably release whatever footage he shot, just to add some additional transparency to the discussion.