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Posted by on Mar 25, 2010 in Media, Politics, Society | 40 comments

Could Threats to Democrats Start Scaring Independent Voters Away from the GOP? (UPDATED)


Could some particularly extremist members of the Republican party’s talk radio political culture scare away crucial swing voters who appear to be poised to swing th GOP’s way come November? If the pattern of independent voter behavior and preferences in the past is any indication, the answer is yes.

The news that some House members voted for health care reform now find themselves and their families threatened (verbal threats, emails, phone calls, a blatantly racist fax and bricks through windows are among some of the reports so far) and that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer estimates it involves some 10 members was eyebrow raising enough. Then came details that House members were offered more security and talking with local police and the FBI since these threats are being taken seriously. CBS even posted this audio of a threatening call to Bart Stupak.

You listen to that video and you think: so THIS is what democracy has come to mean to some people? Vote our way the we want or someone will bump you off you piece of $*&! and there are millions of us.. (With language like that who does she think she is? Joe Biden?)

Democracy at work? Hardly.

(UPDATE: See Update below. Two GOPers now say they have been targetted as well)

In past eras leaders the media, the partisan and ideological punditry, and leaders of both parties would move on a dime to unify and to denounce it in no uncertain terms — particularly if this had occured during the late 60s, when Americans saw left-right confrontations in the streets, huge demonstrations on campuses, and the assassinations of a host of political and African American leaders. Those of us who lived in that era in both parties often asked:”What is HAPPENING to our politics and our democracy?”

This was particularly asked by people in the middle. The danger for the GOP now is: this question could start coming up again. And it’s most likely to be asked by the independent voters who now seem to be leaning the GOP’s.

The reason: the bottom lines are this:

1. Our political debate has gotten more personal and more angry and the pattern is that it will continue in this direction.

2. A whole industry (talk radio and cable political shows) and a new part of the media that is essentially op-ed writing, in many cases by outright partisans (cyberspace), has a vested interest in appealing to specific segments of society, in effect sawing them off, and trying to keep and expand upon getting their attention. Some in this industry simply state their views; some others may seek to increase audience share by significantly pushing the envelope since to be noticed over the others means you have to be more and more outrageous. The common factor in attracting such an audience is often tapping into resentment and rage by articulating it and providing a gathering point. This does not lend itself to talk about common ground or criticizing one’s own side strongly.

3. The “yes but” brigade is out in force. It’s the “yes, but under Clinton” or “yes, but under Bush.” Earth to apologists: there is NO YES BUT when elected officials homes and families are being threatened and bricks are being thrown through windows.

3. It is CLEAR where this is HEADING if the trend continues. If this escalates, someone could be seriously hurt, injured or assassinated. And then it’ll be defense-position time for whatever side’s person was responsible for it.

Just as health care reform proponents’ image was not helped by one on their side biting off the finger of a HCR opponent some months ago, those opposed to it are not helped by these stories.
This does NOT mean that the few in the Twlight Zone reflect the larger group. But there should be concern due to the societal context:

In the past few years we’ve had students killing students and teachers in schools, drivers dying or being injured in road rage incidents, and even reports of shopping cart rage at supermarkets.

Don’t expect to hear a no-conditions, no-politics inserted denunciation of this behavior on some talk radio stations. A scan of some talk show yesterday and a quick surf of the Internet already showed that some (callers or hosts) were arguing that the reports of threats showed how Democrats can whine, how the mainstream media will work with the Dems to seize on something and exaggerate it to discredit the GOP, that it’s really probably just one or two members and the numbers are inflated (let’s get this straight: so the FBI and local police officials were meeting with Dems to sign them up for Amway?) and how people only complain when Democrats are threatened (so exactly when did it occur that more than a half a dozen Republican elected officials were threatened, were told their families could be at risk and had bricks thrown through their windows?).

It is no secret that independent voters do not like the mega partisan atmosphere in recent years and that the perception among a chunk of the voters that Barack Obama and the Democrats had discarded reaching across the aisle was starting to hurt them. So this could be a monkey wrench thrown into what seemed to be a trend indicating future GOP gains. CNN reports:

Polls indicate that independents are increasingly worried about single-party control of Congress, as well as the current state of the economy. Because of that, independents are more likely to support Republicans come November.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday, independent voters appear to be favoring the GOP. Among registered voters who call themselves independents, 43 percent plan to vote Republican, while 32 percent plan to vote for a Democrat.

The poll, conducted March 19-21, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

But Republicans could “burn the bridge” to independents if they increasingly go negative in debating health care reform and the economy, said an expert on independent voters.

“For Republicans, the bridge to independents lies in fiscal responsibility, fiscal conservatism,” said John P. Avlon, a senior political columnist for the Daily Beast and author of “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.”

Avlon, also a CNN contributor, added: “What burns that bridge down is predominance of the extremes, the appearance that extremes will be empowered if the Republicans take Congress.”

Republicans have been deemed “obstructionists” by Democrats and other critics and are seen as having strong ties to the Tea Party movement, outspoken opponents of health care reform and what they deem big-government spending.

Opponents have also linked the GOP to some protesters who use hate-filled speech and racially insensitive posters at health care rallies.

So what’s the solution? GOP leaders have to make it clear that threatening people who don’t vote the way you want is not democratic and unwelcome among Republicans, Democrats and independent voters. Talk show hosts who seem to excuse it can NOT be given a pass (this goes for hosts on the left) — or allowed to quote a perfunctory condemnation as they also offer little loophole escape clauses to excuse the behavior and thus in effect encourage it. Politicians who seem to encourage it need to be called out by the media and taken to task in public or in private by their party bigwigs.

In the Great Minds Think Alike Department, here’s what the politically perceptive First Read team says about the threats to Dems and threat this posts to the GOP’s goals:

*** Over the line: If you’ve played organized sports, you heard many a coach say something like this: You learn a lot more about someone after they lose rather than after they win. Well, we’ve learned quite a bit from a few conservative activists, as well as the some in the GOP, during and after health care’s passage. Let’s first start with the vandalism and threats of violence against House Democrats who voted for the health-care legislation. “The pitched battle over health care has unleashed a rash of vandalism and attacks directed at politicians, with at least 10 House Democrats reporting death threats or incidents of harassment or vandalism at their district offices over the past week,” the Washington Post writes. House Minority Leader John Boehner said the incidents were unacceptable and needed to be channeled in a better way. NBC’s Luke Russert reports that Boehner will address the violence/threats at his weekly press conference today. This is a danger for Republicans right now as the skeptical middle (not happy about the health care plan but also unhappy about the tone in Washington) watches all this unfold.

If Boehner adds any “yes buts” in there it will undermine his message. It’s a NO on this kind of violence. If the goal is to reassure INDEPENDENTS that this kind of behavior is to be repudiated in a democracy, he will condemn it and say it has no place in politics — which will not cost the GOP votes except among some of the things squirrels like to harvest when they fall from trees. What the GOP loses in nuts it will make up for in keeping its growing independent voter support.

An example of a sincere take on this that will only impress partisans comes from the must-read, always meaty conservative blog Powerline. It’s an argument that will cause Republicans to nod their heads and shout yes but will sound to some independents as if it’s trying to excuse the behavior or shift the focus — even though it makes it clear at the beginning of the piece that the behavior is not condoned. This is how not to condemn it:

We condemn political violence in virtually all circumstances; certainly in all circumstances that could arise in our democracy. Threats of violence, sadly, are not uncommon in politics; let alone “harassment.” Even insignificant conservatives like us have been threatened with violence on several occasions, and the linked article notes that Jim Bunning received threats after he temporarily held up the extension of unemployment benefits a few weeks ago.

The current threats (assuming they are real, as I assume some of them are) are being played up in the press because the Democrats want to dampen the anger that has erupted over their adoption of a government medicine program through a series of legislative maneuvers that are in some respects unprecedented. It is important for the Democrats and their press minions to understand that there are many millions of Americans who regard Obamacare not just as misguided public policy, but as an illegitimate usurpation of power. I am one of the many millions who are outraged at the Left’s attempt to destroy the private health care system that has served my family so well, and who regard Obamacare as illegitimate.

As for the threats, we will take them more seriously if they result in the cancellation of a public appearance by a liberal due to security concerns. But that never happens to liberals, only to conservatives. It happened again last night. That was in Canada, of course; the home of government medicine and little regard for free speech. No coincidence, that.

In large part, the current focus on threats of violence is aimed at the tea partiers, just as they were accused, apparently falsely, of racism. It is not hard to understand the Democrats’ motives; the tea parties are the most vital force, and likely the most popular force, in American politics, so smearing them is mandatory. But anyone who has attended a tea party rally will consider laughable the idea that the movement somehow tends toward violence.

[EDITOR’s NOTE: Due to an editing error this quote was not earlier put in blockquotes and due to being offline this was not corrected until several hours later. We regret the error.]

This issue isn’t that this is a smear. The issue is not all the tea parties and the many sincere and dedicated people who attend them and clamor for a smaller government and what they consider to be a more authentic democracy.

The issue is people who apparently need to re-read what democracy is because they are proving themselves to be enemies of democracy — a system where elected officials can vote their consciences without fearing that their families will be murdered, they will be assassinated or that a brick will fly through their windows.

There is no “yes but” in this except “yes” its unacceptable and “but” in the sense that “we welcome passion but denounce and repudiate those who threaten violence.”

Even in these polarized times, the vast majority of Americans — and independent voters in particular — will agree on that.

Now you can follow Joe Gandelman on Twitter.

UPDATE: Two Republicans now also report that they have been subject to intimidation as well.
1. Rep. Jean Schmidt’s office reports that it got a threatening voicemail. The Hill:
U.S. Capitol Police are investigating a threatening voicemail left in the office of Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), her chief of staff said Thursday.

Schmidt’s office was left a voicemail late Wednesday night in what appears to be the first instance of a Republican lawmaker being targeted for their healthcare vote.

The voicemail features a caller who talks of wishing the congresswoman had broken her back in a 2008, according to a recording send to the media by Schmidt’s chief of staff, Barry Bennett.

The voicemail makes reference to Schmidt, as well as Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House GOP Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), calling them and the Republican Party racist.

The voicemail specifically references a 2008 incident when Schmidt was hit by a car while jogging, due to which she suffered broken ribs and a broken vertebrae.

The caller also threatens using a gun to assault Tea Party members had spat on the caller, as Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said that anti-health reform protesters had done to him during weekend protests on Capitol Hill.

2. House Minority leader Eric Cantor says that his office was shot at:

House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) revealed moments ago that his Richmond, VA office was shot at, becoming one of the first Republicans to acknowledge being a victim of the harassment that has mostly targeted Democrats. “Just recently, I have been directly threatened,” he said. “A bullet was shot through the window of my campaign office in Richmond this week, and I’ve received threatening emails.” Cantor used the terror incident to attack Democrats who have raised alarms over the GOP leadership’s failure to tone down their rhetoric. “It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain,” Cantor said, standing before a media pool of reporters and cameras.

The threat is under investigation by Capitol Police, according to Bennett.

Some addition thoughts on these developments:

  • See my above post. Both parties — with no political hedges, no attempt to discredit reports about incidents at the other side, and no attempt to use this against the other side — need to condemn and repudiate this kind of behavior…which isn’t politics but thuggery.
  • Cantor is correct in announcing this. But it is NOT reckless for the Democrats to have reported that more than a half dozen members who just coincidentally voted in favor of health care reform were subject to threats to them and their families, brick throwing and racist emails. His attempt to turn characterize the reports — which were serious enough for the local police and FBI to investigate — itself suggests he’s in partisan political mode rather than focusing on the big issue: the fact that physical intimidation and violence are not welcome in politics.
  • If both sides are reporting this, it says something about how American politics is starting to veer out of control with overripe rhetoric.
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    • DdW

      Just watched Conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck in no uncertain terms condemn the recent rightist violence, threats, hate speech,etc.

      Good for you Ma’m

      Now watch the rightist backlash against Mrs. Hasselbeck for doing the right thing.

      • Laughingatallofyou

        I doubt that the right will condemn her for making a sound statement. The extremists come in all sides. I don’t see anyone condemning the left for their threats, bombs and stupid demonstrations that gets them nothing. I remember the 60’s, remember the Panthers and all the others, I also remember Cointelpro and some of the other techniques to suppress. We must be careful on both extremes because just like there are communists hoping for the revolution; likewise there are many on the right waiting for the opportunity to wipe out what they consider a mistake of history, i.e. the failure to send back to Africa or kill every black in America.

    • vey9

      Not just independents, but people like my Dad who only recently saw the light. He voted Republican for 60 years, but not any more. Not when he sees the crazies, not just on TV, but his neighbors acting crazy as well. This “anger” thing has spun out of control

    • sandymchoots

      This is really tiresome. People who brought up Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers during the 2008 installment of the permanent campaign were told to stop blowing theatrical statements out of proportion or smearing an entire political party with the rhetoric of a few. The famous “chickens home to roost” statement about 9/11 was likened to the odd views of a beloved uncle, and we were all told to move on. But one alleged fax from some lone nut is supposed to cause the GOP to stop complaining about the biggest single expansion of the federal government since 1965.

      In no way, shape, or form does any sane person endorse or advocate violence, but you are treating every allegation as fact and are not distinguishing between political theater and actual threats. There’s an excellent post about this issue on this very site by Elrod that makes my point far better than I have.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        What about the gas line? What about the threats that have been followed by things like bricks through windows and the like? If we want to ignore threats then fine but that also takes the Bunning retort away the actions are speaking volumes right now and ignoring them and acting like they have no political affiliations or reason is just fighting for “your side” and not honestly trying to fix or investigate the problem.

        Ya know why? Because if its not a problem then we can of course continue to ignore it and voters though they do not say it out loud will have their own opinions and you will likely not like what they do in the voting booth with those “violence tinted” glasses but sure sweeping it under the rug with false equivalence is much more popular but that would be because of its convenience.

        • sandymchoots

          You’ve misinterpreted my comment, which did not say that one side’s violence is justified by the actions of the other side. What I and some others are saying is that the media attention to stories of violence by the right is disproportionate to its coverage (actually, non-coverage) of violence by the left. This lends a “Captain Renault” air to the media’s (and TMV’s) sudden concern with anger.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            sandymchoots-That makes more sense. Look I do not think the GOP should be smeared with this, I think they WILL BE because they control the only access to the methods to communicate to many of these groups, talk radio/fox news and the blogosphere. I would prefer it if the GOP were not smeared with it but I know the public will make their own decisions…likely ones that the GOP will not appreciate regardless if you believe me or not. The one thing that the left learned about the 60’s was high profile violence from one group and street theatrics from another in the same party often look the same or begin to blend for the public and also the media.

            My interest on the topic is not the GOP’s image whether pro or con nor is it to force those on the other side of the fence to agree with me but to stop the violence before it spins out of control and we get another OKC, which I have been warning about for around a year and the violence has done nothing but escalate since then regardless of how much I was laughed at at that time.

          • DdW

            If you were a reader of a blog like Michelle Malkin’s, I’ll bet that you would find yourself agreeing with some of her criticisms of bad behavior by Dems, but would also find it necessary to say “Yes, but…”

            Fortunately I am not a reader of Malkin’s blog because from what I have seen of her and read about her, she is the embodiment of all the hate speech we are discussing here.

            Other than that, while I don’t necessarily agree with every one of them, your points are well taken.

            • CStanley

              I figured as much, and don’t really blame you but I think your view is exaggerated. I’m not a fan (she’s shrill and one sided in her criticisms) but I don’t think “embodiment of all the hate speech” is accurate.

            • DdW

              Noted, CStanley.

              However, opinions people have of other people are real in their minds,although they may be viewed as exaggerated and inaccurate by others.


    • SteveCan

      I’m thinking that it’s a matter of focus … I don’t remember a national panic when Ken Gladney was assaulted by members of SEIU, and I don’t remember a huge outcry when Mary Landrieu threatened the president of the United States with physical violence when she said “I might likely have to punch him – literally.”.

      Nor do I remember a huge “hue and cry” when the sons of two Milwaukee Democrats, were charged for slashing 40 tires on vehicles rented by Republicans.

      I’m never in favor of violence but here it seems it’s a matter of who the violence is aimed at, not the violence itself.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        You may not remember but I do but slashing tires is a bit different than cutting a gas line. In fact the slashing tires of voters trick has a long and sad history in this nation and it also became a problem in Canada last year. The unions have their violence issues but how many times have they cut a gas line? How many times have they done well any of the batsh*t stuff that has taken place over the last 1.5 years? How many times did the SEIU bomb a building like the OKC building? I know that sounds one sided but I am struggling to find equivalence and all I am finding is falsehood. It is beginning to seem like the Dem’s activists play dirty pool and the Rep’s activists incite violence and terror, is that a meme you wish?

        • SteveCan

          I still say it’s a matter of focus … and “media coverage”.

          Some examples maybe … It wasn’t a Republican or Independent who bit the finger off a man who disagreed with him on health care was it? I don’t think it was a Republican or Independent that burned down those Hummer dealerships and I don’t remember it being a Republican or Independent that fired shots into a GOP campaign headquarters back in 2004.

          I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a a Republican or Independent that was sentenced to two years for bringing bombs and riot shields to the Republican National Convention in 2008. And I’m thinking that Katyanne Marie Kibby wasn’t a a Republican or Independent (she threatened to kill a government informant that had infiltrated a group planning on bombing the RNC).

          And need I mention the two Black Panthers who stood outside polls intimidating people with nightsticks were Republicans or Independents?

          Focus and “coverage”.

          • TheMagicalSkyFather

            First the guy that got his finger bit off started the fight by his own admission, it just did not work out the way he expected it too.

            Next the Hummer’s were eco-activists not Dem’s, they generally vote Green party if anything actually and they were actually charged as Terrorists even though the nation was promised that those laws would not be used in domestic issues. I would also note these are closer to anti-abortion activists that are NOT charged nor called terrorists though they attack people and not property and though they more closely fit the definition of terrorists and they unlike the eco people are part of one of the two major parties, the GOP.

            Nope they did not fire the shots in 2004 you are defending those that are now though as equivalent to those that did in 2004 regardless of the amount of incidence. The funny thing about the 2008 RNC meeting is yes that was vile but did you also catch how the local police treated THE MEDIA and the protesters there? If not I have a nice video of Amy Goodman from Democarcy Now being treated like a terrorist for ya. The place became a police state a week or so before the convention, I am hoping it is because they had warning of this group but if the Dem’s acted as heavy handedly and jailed as many as the GOP did(as well as just detaining many people to ensure they did not protest) we would be hearing charges of Stalinism to this very day.

            Also those black panthers from what I have read were intending to ensure that african americans were not scared away from the polls as the radio stations were insinuating in the area. I have not heard of them threatening people but instead refusing to move and refusing to answer questions to the GOP operative that filmed them, at best they were idiots but I have yet to hear of a single person that was unable to vote that day because of them nor anyone that felt that way except the guy filming. Again though, why is that so very far over the line and the tea party types that carry loaded guns to a heated protest with the president or another elected official close totally acceptable? At best the panthers technically broke a law and the protesters technically are not but these are otherwise pretty equal actions. So that is what happened at the end of 8 years of a GOP presidency but what happened in the early years?

            • $199537

              The funny thing about the 2008 RNC meeting is yes that was vile but did you also catch how the local police treated THE MEDIA and the protesters there?

              I think this qualifies as a YES BUT moment.

            • TheMagicalSkyFather

              I could see that but it was not my intent as the crack down and the bomb thing were very different incidents. It was actually me trying to figure out if they were connected which would suddenly explain what I have found to be a mystery for a little while, basically I was processing while I typed which i have a bad habit of doing. I think that is why they cracked down the way they did but of course without communicating that I was concentrated on the crack down and you were, assuming here, on the bomb(also likely due to separate media outlet choices).

            • SteveCan

              I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the “media coverage” is fairly lopsided … You seem to want to continually point out the GOP is at fault and all I’m saying is that fringe elements right and left aren’t getting “equal coverage” of their misdeeds.

            • TheMagicalSkyFather

              I think I am failing to communicate effectively. This is not the GOP’s fault. Voter’s will take from it what they will though regardless of what the truth is. My issue is not with the GOP. My issue is with those that #1 give false equivalence in the hope of obscuring what is actually a problem. And those that fuel them with populist rhetoric saying things like rfredson did above only to make a single statement of condemnation of violence after an attack and then going right back to stirring the pot. These men have blood on their hands every bit as much as the leaders of the KKK once did or the leaders of the Bolshiviks or the leaders of SDS. Ways exist that this could be handled in a responsible way that would minimize the political fallout but instead from my view they are more concerned with playing a CYA game that makes the problem persist. The truth is that many of these acts come not from left wing nor right wing activists but from the non-voting contingent in this nation that think our democracy is a sham but of course to admit that would mean that both sides would have to grow up which as you can see will not happen. Instead every 4-8 yrs we will change who one side says but…..but…about.

    • DdW

      To quote Joe:

      The “yes but” brigade is out in force. It’s the “yes, but under Clinton” or “yes, but under Bush.” Earth to apologists: there is NO YES BUT when elected officials homes and families are being threatened and bricks are being thrown through windows.

      • CStanley

        At some point DdW you might step back and realize that the frequency of ‘yes but’ responses is directly related to the selectivity of reporting on these types of issues at this blog. Today, fortunately, elrod wrote a more balanced article but that’s the exception, not the norm here.

        If you were a reader of a blog like Michelle Malkin’s, I’ll bet that you would find yourself agreeing with some of her criticisms of bad behavior by Dems, but would also find it necessary to say “Yes, but…”

        There are two separate things to consider- the wrongness of acts being condemned (which can be done unequivocably) and the narrative that is pushed about what those wrong acts imply about a broader group of people.

        Saying ‘Yeah but he did it too” is wrong when it’s done to excuse an action. That’s not what is being said here by most. We’re speaking out against what is implied by the broad brush treatment, the acceptance of all allegations against one group as true even without evidence, and the selectivity of reporting which neglects bad behavior from the other side (again, not that that makes it OK on ‘our’ side, but just that there’s no reason to claim it has some meaning on one side but not the other.)

    • DLS

      The hype by most of the herd on the Left once more dwarfs misconduct by a few on the Right.

      Sore winners, big time!

      (just barely squeaking by, passing greatly watered-down legislation they hated before passage).

    • rfredson

      Actually, when Congress acts against the Consitution of the United States, and basically declares war on the American way of life (as Boehner has bravely pointed out himself,) I think violence should be our expected response. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more violence–which, incidentally, though it might be legally criminal, would be morally totally justified.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        “Actually, when Congress acts against the Consitution of the United States, and basically declares war on the American way of life (as Boehner has bravely pointed out himself,) I think violence should be our expected response. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more violence–which, incidentally, though it might be legally criminal, would be morally totally justified.”

        This statement RIGHT HERE is what righty talkers that I see as inciting violence say every day. When people are harmed and killed have fun washing that American blood off your hands.

    • Davebo

      I think violence should be our expected response. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more violence–which, incidentally, though it might be legally criminal, would be morally totally justified.

      In thirty years when folks are wondering what caused the downfall of the GOP this comment should be referenced in textbooks.

      • DdW

        Davebo, but, but, but…..

    • Schadenfreude_lives

      Will the shooting at GOP House member’s offices drive independent voters to the Republican party?

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        Why aren’t these incidents under investigation? They should be though the reasons for the shooting seem to range from “he opposed the pro-abortion amendment” to “he is Jewish” so I wonder who is actually behind it. Of course threats and bullets and bricks at district offices(usually empty ones) are pretty common occurrences anymore.

    • JSpencer

      Any time you have high profile people with media access and ability, who are willing to pander to and encourage the lowest elements in society, there will be unacceptable incidents resulting. This stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

    • Axel Edgren


    • elrod

      As i said in another thread, threats are just that – threats. Security personnel need to take them seriously, obviously. And people like Mike Vanderbeogh should be placed under arrest for openly inciting riot and mayhem against a Member of Congress. But most of this is just overheated, self-important rhetoric.

      Again, if people start getting actually hurt – and not just in episodic shoving matches between demonstrators – then I’ll change my tune a bit. But right now I think all of this is more bark than bite.

      • DdW

        Again, if people start getting actually hurt – and not just in episodic shoving matches between demonstrators – then I’ll change my tune a bit.

        Sounds reasonable enough, except by then it’ll be too late for the poor fellow who is the first to be “actually hurt”

    • DLS

      “‘media coverage’ is fairly lopsided”

      “Old” and “new” …

    • ProfElwood

      There’s an important point that doesn’t seem to be getting much coverage: organization. Right now, these acts are random (except for people like Mike Vanderboegh, who should be held responsible). No group can control everyone that claims to be part of it. They can try to calm things down. I don’t like the dialogs coming from either side right now, because they’re both making it out to be a bigger deal than what it really is.

    • Leonidas

      I doubt it since most independents and moderates are too intelligent to be driven away from anything due to a few nuts on reither the far right or the far left. Same reasons most moderates and independents don’t listen to ramblings on Media Matters or Rush Limbaugh.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        Nixon and the “silent majority” disagree with you.

    • saltzmas

      Interested in talking more about the passage of the Health Care Reform Bill? This, as well as the prevalence of an African American voice in the media, are the topics of discussion tonight on WGBH’s Basic Black! You can tune in to the conversation at 7:30pm on Channel 2 in Boston or watch online at There will also be a live online chat throughout the show!

    • Leonidas

      Cool might try and catch that, an academic style debate might be a lot more interesting that the Bait and Switch going on regarding these few weirdos.

    • Schadenfreude_lives

      Can the continued lies and misrepresentations of what has actually happened push voter TO the GOP:

    • Leonidas

      Well I like to think the majority of independent have a brain cell and can differentiate between a few kooks, a lot of hyperbole and real issues. If your “silent majority” don’t have one, I feel sorry for them.

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