The most frequent dissent I received in response to my post about Tea Party bigotry is that racist teabaggers are a small part of the Republican Party, and they do not represent the party at large.
But there has been a shocking lack of condemnation on the part of Republican leadership in the wake of these vicious and bigoted attacks on Democratic lawmakers. Not only has there been a lack of castigation, but in some cases, Republican leadership have encouraged this emotive climate.
Color of Change called upon Republican leadership to stop inciting and supporting hate, citing that the RNC endorsed the rallies in which teabaggers carried signs that announced “Obama’s Plan: White Slavery,” “The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama’s Oven,” and “Guns Tomorrow.”
When reports of the signs surfaced, Michael Steele did nothing to distance his party from the fear-mongering. In fact, he embraced the radicals by saying he’d be “out there with the tea partiers” if — ya’ know — he wasn’t already chairman of the RNC.
Color of Change adds that Republican governors — far from denouncing their radical fringe — wanted to instead plan a “Tea Party 2.0.”
This behavior escalated over the summer.
After one meeting in Atlanta, a swastika was painted on the office of Congressman David Scott (D-GA), who had also received a flier addressed to “nigga David Scott.” Some protesters showed up at town hall meetings carrying guns, including at least one man who was armed at an event where the President was speaking. Again, Republicans responded to these tactics with silence, doing nothing to denounce them.
Similarly, there was no public outcry from Republican leadership when Mark Williams, a leader of the Tea Party movement, was exposed for having described the President as “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief” on his blog. Instead, members of the GOP continued to show up to and endorse Tea Party rallies. And as recently as Sunday — the day that the historic health care bill passed the House — Republican members of the House riled up the same Tea Party crowd that had earlier harassed their fellow members with hate and bigotry.
The de facto leadership of the Republican Party, radio hate-mongers, continued the assault. Glenn Beck calls Progressivism a cancer, while Rush Limbaugh, who grows evermore popular among Republicans, adhered to his long, proud tradition of being a disgusting racist.
Protesters called hero of the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a “nigger,” and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), a “faggot,” and spat at Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), and another veteran of the civil rights movement, received racist faxes that included images of a noose.
More recently, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) promised to “beat that other side to a pulp,” and at least one teabagger sign threatened gun violence if the reform passed. Sarah Palin posted a map on her Facebook titled, “It’s Time To Take A Stand,” which marked the 20 House Democrats from districts McCain-Palin carried in 2008…with gun sights, and told her Twitter family, “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”
After the vote, there were reports of death threats directed at a Democratic lawmaker in Colorado and vandalism of Democrats’ offices in Arizona, New York, Ohio, and Kansas. The NY vandalism included an assassination threat against the children of lawmakers who voted for health reform.
Danville Tea Party leader, Nigel Coleman, erroneously posted the address of a Virginia Congressman’s brother online. Tom Perriello’s brother received a threatening letter in the mail on the same day that someone apparently severed a gas line at the home in Ivy.
According to the Politico Web site, when Coleman learned that the address actually belonged to the congressman’s brother, he responded on a blog: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”
Even Bart Stupak, the militantly anti-choice Senator, received multiple threatening calls, including a man who recited the old Christian aphorism: “Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing motherfucker… I hope you bleed out your ass, got cancer and die, you motherfucker.”
Perhaps the only funny thing to emerge from this culture of fear and violence is that certain Republican leaders are now trying to take credit for legislation they tirelessly attempted to obstruct.
We all remember the exciting time when anti-stimulus Republicans kept taking credit for stimulus projects. Ditto that for health care reform. Longtime (and vocal) critic of healthcare reform, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has started taking credit for some provisions in the bill, and talking up his own role in shaping the legislation.
Now, Grassley seems to be jumping through the same hoops after the bill has been signed, talking up the changes reforms he once said will allow the government to “decide when to pull the plug on Grandma” are making to the health care system.
In the memo send out to reporters by his staff on on the Senate Finance Commitee, Grassley claims that the bill will ensure that “Congress, the IRS, and the public will now have additional tools and information to ensure that charitable hospitals act charitably.”
There’s a reason the bill is so good when it comes to hospitals, Grassley’s staff writes — bipartisanship.
HAHAHAWHAT. No Republicans voted to pass the Senate bill. In fact, the Republicans have done nothing except obstruct reform efforts. I guess the Senator has an odd definition of “bipartisanship.”
And the GOP must have an odd definition of “terrorism” if they’re willing to condemn suicide bombers in the Middle East, but allow some Republicans to openly sympathize with domestic terrorists, all while facilitating a volatile environment in which lawmakers are threatened and intimidated to the point where the FBI and Capitol Police are brought in to teach Democrats how to handle security threats.
If one of these nut jobs takes a shot at a politician, or their child, everyone — GOP leadership, the hate jockeys, Conservative bloggers — will claim this couldn’t have been prevented. Well, it can be. Republican leaders must unequivocally condemn this violent rhetoric and behavior.
It would also be nice if Republicans stopped lying about stuff (like how abortions are going to go up by 30 percent post-reform,) but let’s take on one issue at a time.
Update: Something tells me this may be a bad idea.
Mission: The mission of the “Restore the Constitution” rally is that it be held at a firearms carry-legal location as close to DC as possible and that it attracts as many participants as possible in order to underscore the seriousness and urgency of a simple message:
Restore the Constitution!
Where were these Constitution defenders during the Bush years when The Leader was launching illegal wars, spying on citizens, and torturing human beings?
Or is “Restore the Constitution” code for “Darkie, Go Home” now?