The violence and lies post-reform medley

A supporter of the Tea Party movement salutes ...

Image by AFP via Daylife

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?


  1. dougem

    Good job with this timely article! The Republicans need to own the hate and potential violence they have stirred up. I’d like to see somebody do an article about the new face of hate in America and have John Boehner’s picture displayed with the title. The Republican leadership is responsible for getting these mindless teabaggers all worked up and this hate needs to become the new Republican brand.

  2. andylevinson

    The “jew baiters” are coming out of pelosi’s office….

    But have a Nice Wait…..because you have a looong time to wait for Obamacare….starts in 2014-2019

  3. skippy2010

    Why is there no mention of Acorn attendees specifically placed, at Tea Parties, to initiate riots? Also, no mention of hate mail and death threats received by Rush Limbaugh daily. True/Slant is a great name for this website, love the connotation.

  4. qabal

    Lol, ACORN conspiracist.

  5. dbroms

    Boy you don’t waste any time at all publicly distributing sexually derogatory verbiage, do you? An what, three, four references in this article alone? I want to read about political views and not sexual acts performed with someone’s testicles (ref, negative euphamism for TEA Party). An opposing view does not give a writer carte blanche to infuse derogatory sexually explicit statements into publicly accessed writing. Doing so is perverted and reprehensible. This is not the imagery I expect being spewed from the mind of a lady or journalist.

  6. andylevinson

    This is nothing…you want to see violence

    Wait until Obama’s goose stepping Obamacare SS
    come to put people in jail for not buying Obamacare in 2014 and refusing to pay the fine…..and it is implied in the Constitution and specifically stated in the Declaration of Independence that the people have a right to defined themselves against government tyranny

  7. Sounds like 2014 will be a fun year to be a journalist.

  8. You sound like my grandmother.

    It’s just sex – everybody does it. Why is it okay to describe and show violence, but not sex?

    Puritanical prick.

  9. dbroms

    Dude, I’m just sayin’. Sexually explicit material has no place on publicly accessed publications or speeches. I actually saw a congressmen use this term on the floor of congress. That is reprehensible. Hey, I’m no saint; the fact that I know where the term is derived could arguably stand as proof of that. And most refer to me using a slightly darker region of the lower extremities (so thanks for the compliment), but I don’t think it’s appropriate or valuable to use sexually explicit euphemisms in a public forum. Based on your appraisal of me I’m certain I’m wasting my time telling you that. But I think it’s worth it.

    Look, the TEA Partiers are a bunch of concerned citizens that are exercising civic responsibility by getting off the couch and demonstrating. That is in the best tradition of America. Why attack that? Frankly I was getting a little disillusioned regarding the conservative apathy toward politics in this country (let’s face it Bush was no jewel). The TEA Party is proof of conservative’s interest in our nation. That should be applauded by all, regardless of wither or not you agree with them.

  10. Allison Kilkenny

    It’s not a *real* thread until they start commenting, is it?

  11. Allison Kilkenny

    It would be nice to see some Republican leadership beyond Eric Cantor’s passive-aggressive non-apology:

  12. Ken Simon

    Because there’s no evidence of it? Unless, of course, you have some share.

  13. “Look, the TEA Partiers are a bunch of concerned citizens that are exercising civic responsibility by getting off the couch and demonstrating. That is in the best tradition of America. Why attack that?”

    The best tradition in America does not involve yelling “nigger and faggot” at our representatives. It does not involve spitting on them, and it certainly does not involve death threats.

  14. Ken Simon

    It’s ironic that you deride Allison for using a term you find objectionable and then defend a group that has engaged in racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and threats of violence as just “a bunch of concerned citizens.”

    Plus, teabagger has precedence independent of alternative sexual meaning. The movement started with protest activity phrased as “Teabag the White House” Thus, “teabagger” is far more apt description of the movement’s origin than “tea partier”, which attempts to inaccurately appropriate the Boston Tea Party. The latter’s motivation was the British government taxing the colonies without being representation in their Parliament. Thus, to refer to oneself as part of the Tea Party movemement demonstrates political ignorance as we live and function in a representative democracy. Just because policies one doesn’t like get passed doesn’t mean you are therefore unrepresented. It’s as ignorant as those who pull out the old “He’s (and someday, “She’s) not my president” because they didn’t vote for that individual. So teabagger is more accurate, and accuracy is more primary than whatever connections can be associated that offended sensibilities.

  15. Ken Simon

    Getting the sense you want to see violence, Andy, which is unfortunate. You do realize that just because Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be washed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots,” murder is still illegal, right? Well, maybe not, but in any case, it still is against the law even if you want to believe there’s a loophole in the law because a Founding Father made a hyperbolic statement with rhetorical flourish. Moreover, if you truly believe that you are justified in armed revolt because you equate this healthcare bill with tyranny, then you and the rest of the teabaggers have certainly defined yourselves…as potential sociopaths using mental gymnastics to justify their desire for violence and destruction.

  16. dbroms

    Spin away Gregory, nice try. People taking peaceful action to support their political ideology is absolutely in the best tradition of this country. Mob behavior is a different subject altogether. You seem like an educated articulate man, so I certain you know exactly what is being spun for the benefit of both the left and right. If you’re just looking to spin, we could go back and forth, like others do on these blogs, just citing examples and get nowhere. My comment was a generalization of the people associated with the TEA Party movement and I think it’s fair. For the most part, these are everyday folk, just like me and you, that don’t like what’s happening in Washington.

  17. dbroms

    Ken, you sound like someone that would come up with justification for anything so I’m not gonna banter with you suffice to say; there is a sexual connotation to the term, it is currently used antagonistically (at least by those that actually know what in world the sexual meaning is), and in a public forum it is reprehensible. I’m not looking for justification because to me that’s just playing games, or spinning, and I don’t think that’s doing anyone any good right now. I’m not a TEA Partier so I have no stake in defending them; I’m simply saying that a professional of Allison’s caliber should be more considerate to their happenstance readers. And frankly, it just comes off brazen or brash and turned me off from even reading the article through to discover if there was any substance.

    I’m not sure where I stand on the representation issue; I didn’t bring that up. I will say that I’m not happy that our government seems to act against public majority (as reflected in polls), but that is a structural issue. That problem will only be changed if one party rule is changed. It is what it is. I have been struggling with the two party systems as well. Seems to me that once our people get to Washington, our voices at home are less important than the voices of the colleges and leaders in Washington. If that is true, then one could argue that they are not getting representation. I think that’s a different argument than you’re making though.

  18. dbroms

    Whatever. I’ve seen several. And how in the world was Eric Cantor’s statement passive aggressive? I saw nothing passive in his statement. He named who he thought was using aggression for political means and asked them to stop. Anyone out here with a brain knows what these Democrats are up to. It’s almost as funny as watching SNL (I say almost, because it hasn’t been the same since Al left. Now I have to watch him in the Senate’s president seat for a good laugh – now that may be a little passively aggressive, sorry).

  19. Ken Simon

    Dbroms, you sound like someone who would make massive assumptions about someone because you disagree with that they write.

    That there is a sexual connotation is unfortunate for a group of people who started their movement with a phrase that is a sexual connotation, ie, “Teabag the White House.” It was their call to arms. It’s not fair game. That you find it offensive or unnecessary doesn’t make it any less so by Allison or anyone else. It wasn’t pulled out of thin air. And while taste is subjective, reprehensible? Again, we agree to disagree. I know you didn’t bring up representation directly, but when you refer to “Tea Partiers” you unwittingly do so. And my point in a reference to origin of names to this group, is that teabaggers is closer to their original statement than the Boston Tea Party’s theme that they try and co-opt

    And since we are a representative democracy, poll numbers are not legally, judicially, legislatively binding. Elections are. And thus with the majorities the Democrats hold, the passage of the healthcare bill is the will of the people far more than unscientific polls. That not everyone is going to be happy with the results is going to happen in any major reform, but a lack of representation is baseless in a country with continuous elections like the US.

  20. Ken Simon

    And while you chide Gregory for spin, you whitewash mob behavior demonstrated by the teabaggers to paint some idyllic picture that ignores the repeated ugliness in many of the protests.

  21. Ken Simon

    That’s supposed to read “It’s fair game.” Mea culpa.

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