[T]he dark and personal tone of the final stages of the health fight could complicate Republican efforts to maintain their attacks on the legislation if they are seen as inciting an undue level of outrage and, conversely, could bolster Democrats if opponents of the measure are seen as breaching the boundaries of civility.
The reports of threats, coming after a tense weekend when protesters hurled racial and homophobic slurs at Democrats and spit on one congressman, left many Democrats shaken.
NYT, After Healthcare Vote, Threats On Lawmakers, 25 March 2010.
Dislike of our imperious progressive overlords and opposition to Obamacare is quite real. As to the latter, the latest poll from CBS shows a significant majority - 62% - want the Republicans to work to repeal Obamacare. The breakdown of that vote is telling: 89% of Republicans, 66% of Independents, and even 41% of Democrats.
So what is the left to do? The NYT article quoted above answers the question. They are now making a concerted effort, helped by an equally "progressive" MSM, to portray that there is some new level of violence, racism and homophobia in America, and further, that this violence, racism and homophobia is synonymous with the Tea Party movement who protested Obamacare at the capitol over the weekend. There is no doubt that this is a collateral attack on all of those who protest the passage of Obamacare and an attempt to delegitimize them. It is also just so incredibly hypocritical as to be jaw dropping.
As to politically motivated violence itself, John Hinderaker at Powerline states:
We condemn political violence in virtually all circumstances; certainly in all circumstances that could arise in our democracy
I certainly agree with that as the general rule, though as to what "could" foreseeably arise, I am much less sanguine. But that aside, the reality is, as John points out:
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.
Actually, the hypocrisy of this sudden expression of fear of violence on the left is pretty jaw dropping, given their virtual silence on the political violence of the past few years by the left directed against the right. John at Powerline points to:
The fact is that, unlike conservatives, modern liberals have had little quarrel with political violence. This is best demonstrated by their support for card check legislation, the entire point of which it to abolish the secret ballot so that union goons can use the threat of violence to extend union power and thereby enrich the Democratic Party. (If you doubt the truth of that proposition, try to think of another reason why the Democrats want to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections.) The beating of Kenneth Gladrey by union goons--more specifically, the lack of any interest in it by anyone in the Democratic Party, the media, or on the Left generally--shows how hypocritical the Democrats' current pacifism is. If the day ever comes when conservative groups start hiring goons, we can take the liberals' purported fears of violence more seriously.
To that, Instapundit adds:
REMEMBERING WHEN G.O.P. Offices Were Vandalized: “An apparent mob of vandals attacked the North Carolina Republican Party headquarters, causing minor smoke damage, breaking windows and leaving vulgar messages, police said.” I don’t remember a national panic over this, or over the bullet-riddled Bush/Cheney headquarters.
Then there was this episode. And, of course, this: “A group of protestors stormed and then ransacked a Bush-Cheney headquarters building in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, according to Local 6 News.”
But those represented the righteous indignation of oppressed lefties, rather than the dangerous violence of nasty righties.
As I recall, the left gave critical acclaim to several works that advocated or showed the assassination of President Bush. And indeed, a blogger at Bin's Corner documents the many calls for the murder of Bush common at left-wing rallies. At any rate, I will not, for the purposes of this post, contest that current threats against Democratic law makers are real. But regardless, there is no question that this is being played up and blown out of proportion by the Dems in Congress and their MSM lapdogs in order to delegitimize the opposition to Obamacare. Moreover, the DNC is using these charges of racism and threats of political violence in their mailings to solicit donations.
And on a related matter of the Tea Party protests on Capitol Hill, all of the charges of racism, homophobia and spitting on Rep. Clyburn, made over the weekend, still lack a single scintilla of evidentiary support, despite the plethora of people using audio and visual recording devices at the event. And indeed, as to the charge of someone spitting on Rep. Clyburn, Instapundit goes to the videotape and runs that charge to ground - it appears that Rep. Clyburn was gilding the lilly (shades of Seinfeld). Yet how is the MSM playing this - I refer you to how the NYT, in their article quoted at the top of this post, so blithely describes the crowd of 40,000 people protesting Obamacare on Capitol Hill over the weekend: "The reports of threats, coming after a tense weekend when protesters hurled racial and homophobic slurs at Democrats and spit on one congressman, . . ."
These people are scurillous. As I posted below, we are in an ideological war in the U.S. today, and if conservatives are to win, we must find a way to effectively respond in such a way that everyone who reads or hears the left wing meme also hears the conservative response. With the MSM virtually in the pocket of the progressive left, it is a challenge.
Update: Eric Cantor hits the nail on the head in a statement today:
Update: One of the charges lodged by Politico this morning on the threats against Democrats came from a spokesman for Dem. Rep. Russ Carnahan who told Politico that "a coffin was placed in front of a [Carnahan's] house , another in a string of incidents against lawmakers after their vote Sunday on a health care overhaul." That certainly sounds threatening - until you hear the whole story.
Update: Andrew Breitbart at Big Government has an exceptional essay, 2010 A Race Odyssey, on the efforts by Clyburn and others to create a racist incident over the weekend, as well as a summary of the evidence that the charges lodged by the left are lies. As he opines, "If we let them get away with Saturday’s stunt — using the imagery of the Civil Rights era and hurtful lies to cast aspersions upon the tea party whole — then they really will have won the day." A similar sentiment is expressed at The Right Coast: "This latest Dem hysteria over the scariness of tea partiers is just beneath contempt."
Powerline also has a short post on the central figure in this latest Kabuki racial theatre, Rep. James Clyburn, who has doubled down on the his racism charges and now accuses the Republicans of aiding and abetting "terrorism."