|These folks are nuts!|
Two days after the Democrats passed their much-ballyhooed health care reform bill, tea-baggers all across the nation are blowing their collective stack. In true patriotic style, they're responding with death threats and vandalism aimed at Democrats who voted "aye."
One tea-bag leader, Mike Troxel, posted what he believed to be the address of Virginia Representative Tom Perriello and encouraged other tea-baggers to visit the congressman at his home to tell him how they felt about the health care bill. The address actually belonged to the Congressman's brother and family. That evening, the Congressman's brother smelled gas and found that someone had slashed the line connecting a propane tank to a gas-power grill. The FBI is now investigating the matter.
At least ten congresspersons, all of them Democrats, have received death threats. One of them is Representative Bart Stupak, author of the "Stupak Amendment." For a time, Congressman Stupak's ammendment threatened to kill the delicate negotiations upon which passage of the bill depended. But, in the end, Stupak cut a deal with the White House. It involved an executive order explicitly stating that the new legislation should not be interpreted as changing the restriction on federal funding of abortion. In other words, maintain the status quo vis-a-vis abortion. For this great sin, Stupak has received death threats at his home.
The offices of Congressional Democrats across the country, from Arizona to New Hampshire, have been vandalized.
Comments I've seen on conservative blogs are hyperbolic and hilarious. "We cannot wait until November, we cannot wait for the courts to take action, and we cannot wait for others to do the right thing. We must do the right thing now. We must know we are at war, and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the good of our country," raves American Thinker. That's full on delusional thinking, people.
Although I am tempted to laugh, there really is nothing funny about death threats and political intimidation. These are brown-shirt tactics.
Congressional Republicans, for their part, are jabbering nonsensically. House Minority Leader John Boehner condemned the vandalism and threats. But the behavior of some of his own caucus has done much to instigate the vehemence. GOP Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) shouted "baby-killer" during a speech by Congressman Stupak on the floor of the House. Several unidentified Republican congressman egged on protesters in the House gallery during debate, encouraging them to disrupt the proceedings.
Nor have Republicans determined what is to be their political line now that they've lost. Senator John Kyl could only stammer and stutter when asked on national television if he wanted to repeal the new bill and thereby allow insurance companies to return to denying coverage based on "pre-existing conditions." Ghoulish Senator Mitch McConnell now says that the Republican rallying cry for November will be "Repeal and replace!" Get it? They're going to run on health care reform! (I guess plain old "Repeal" isn't likely to work very well, is it, Senator?)
Well, I predict that this vituperation and hysteria is going to boomerang back onto the Republicans. The vast "middle" of the country will be repulsed by this behavior. And to the extent that Republicans seem to comply with it, or indeed encourage it with their antics, they will be seen as pariahs.
Once people get a taste of the protections afforded them by the bill, it will gain popularity. And that can only redound to the benefit of Democrats. All of a sudden, the mid-term elections don't look quite as bleak for Democrats as they did just last week.
It's amazing how things have turned in the two days since the health care bill passed.