Bernie Sanders Refuses to Denounce Violent Rhetoric on the Left, But He Probably Should, Considering...
You would think that Sen. Bernie Sanders would be more sensitive on the topic of overheated political rhetoric. After all, just over a year ago a Sanders supporter tried to assassinate several Republican lawmakers as they practiced for a bipartisan softball game. But apparently that incident and its connection to him personally have had little to no impact on how he views political confrontations.
At least, that's the case based on his interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday.
Tapper asked Sanders whether he was in favor of the preferred position currently held by Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Maxine Waters — in opposition to civility, embracing "kicking" and restaurant harassment — or whether he believed in former first lady Michelle Obama's famous appeal: "When they go low, we go high." Sanders deflected a lot, muttered something about being "rude," and wholly failed to say, you know, don't try to murder Republicans.
"I don't think it's a question of going high or going low," said Sanders in answer to Tapper. He then spent a lot of words — and one minute and twenty-four seconds of air time — talking about how terrible Trump and Republicans are, a litany that can best be summed up as "they had it coming," and closing his remarks with, "so I think what we have to do is be aggressive in telling the truth that you have a Republican leadership that's working overtime to benefit the wealthy and the powerful while ignoring the needs of working families."
Tapper brought the discussion back to the actual question. "I guess the debate is, and I don't think there's any Democrat, Democratic official who would disagree with what you just said, but the debate is, how aggressive?" Tapper asked. "Should people who are Republican officials be disrupted when they're eating a meal at a restaurant? Is it appropriate for protesters to be banging on the doors of the Supreme Court? That's really what the debate is about."
"Well I am very strongly in favor of mobilizing the American people to stand up and fight for economic justice and social justice and racial and environmental justice, and I think we have to mobilize people," Bernie said, neither condemning anything nor addressing the specific question. "I'm not a great fan of being rude or disrupting activities."
Being rude and disrupting. He's not a fan. Well gee whiz.
I wonder, Senator, would you say that James T. Hodgkinson was being rude? Or was he disrupting activities? Would you say you're not a fan of that?
Why doesn't Sanders get asked this by the press? If someone shot at Democrats, the shooter wouldn't have to be a fan or supporter of any Republican for every Republican in office or on TV to be asked about that every time the issue of "rudeness" or "civility" or heated rhetoric came up.
That's not a theory on my part, it's a historical fact. To this day people attack Sarah Palin and all Republicans over the shooting of Democrat Senator Gabby Giffords — an act of madness perpetrated not by a Republican activist or Palin fan but a genuine lunatic diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. A man obsessively fixated on Giffords, suffering from delusions, who did not watch TV news or engage in political debate. A man wholly unconnected to Republicans, but for whom Republicans have been made to answer over and over. To this day, just about any random Democrat you ask will say Sarah Palin's target map led to the shooting.
But when Bernie Sanders, whose follower tried to murder Republicans, doesn't even have to address the shooting when he says that Democrats should be "aggressive" and "mobilized" and they should "fight back" and offers only that he's "not a fan" of being "rude"?
He literally says "my hope is people stand up and fight back." Republicans can't even use the word fight.
Oh you want the context? Sure thing, watch:
Now reverse the parties and the shooting. Yeah.
Bernie, maybe next time say, "I'm not a fan of being rude OR ATTEMPTED MURDER." Just if you're taking notes.