Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
The whole “issue’ of violence directed at the Democrats for passing their bailout of the insurance companies – called “healthcare reform” in Washington parlance – is a gigantic red herring. If you look at the story in Politico, for example, you see that the headline – “Democrats fear for their families” – has little if anything to do with the actual facts reported.
Politico reports “One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois, said he knows several Democrats who have told their spouses to move out of the home districts while the lawmakers are in Washington.” Nothing about any specific threats – just a generalized vague fear, and hearsay. Hare says his wife is pleading with him not to hold town meetings – but, again, we get nothing specific. I can see why Democrats are afraid to face their constituents – after all, the voters are bound to eventually discover the wide array of taxes, fees, and onerous regulations stuffed into the “healthcare” bill. Do they plan on cowering in their offices for the next couple of years?
Politico tells us that “incidents are sprouting up all over the country,” but if you look at these “incidents” closely, what you discover is that, as Gertrude Stein said of her home town, “There is no there there.” “Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) had his address posted on the Internet,” the paper reports, “with a message from a right-wing blogger asking people to show up at Driehaus’s Cincinnati ‘mansion’ to protest his health care vote. A photo of Driehaus’s family appeared in a Cincinnati newspaper ad urging the lawmaker to vote against the health care bill last week.” A demonstration at a lawmaker’s home is hardly a threat of violence: indeed, antiwar protesters showed up at Nancy Pelosi’s Pacific Heights mansion – and yes, it is quite a mansion – to demonstrate their opposition to our multiple wars. They camped out on her lawn. Somehow the news media failed to take this as a threat to the Speaker.
And Rep. Driehaus’s address was posted on the internet – so what? Anybody can find anybody’s address on the internet, I can guarantee you that. Don’t people have a right to protest? If Rep. Driehaus doesn’t have the cojones to face his own constituents, then he ought to do the right thing: resign.
The whole issue of violence on the part of the tea-partiers is phony from beginning to end. It’s part and parcel of the Democratic-“progressive” pushback against the rising tide of “anti-government” (i.e. pro-freedom) movement in this country. The liberal media has been violence-baiting and smearing this movement from the get-go, but it won’t work: they won’t marginalize us that way. So go back to the drawing board, Democrats, and come up with something else.
Damon N. Spiegel, entrepreneur and writer, said:
Republicans should keep their mouths shut. They warned the country and the world about the fact that this bill was going to cause uproar and chaos; that the majority of the people in this country were fearlessly against it. While threats of violence and vandalism are terribly irresponsible; if citizens right to free speech isn’t heard what are their other options? This country was born from a revolution – it’s a quintessential element of the blood that boils deep within the veins of this country. The democrats had their chance to listen yet they refused. A price will be paid come November. The out-lash today is simply a precursor to how loud and firm Americans can be.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said:
The most effective response to the vandalism and threats of violence targeting political leaders would be for the senior leadership of both parties, Republicans and Democrats, to stand together on the same platform, at the same time, and insist that the insults and demonization that have come to characterize our political discourse stop immediately. Americans must be able to use political means – rather than violence, intimidation, or threats – to resolve policy differences.
Four months ago, ADL documented an undercurrent of rage sweeping across the United States. Unfortunately, that rage is spreading, like a rash, creeping steadily from the fringes of our society into the mainstream. Our leaders should demand criminal prosecution for those who cross the line. Acts like throwing bricks through the windows of Congressional offices, spitting on African-American elected officials, slinging of same racial slurs en rout to the Capitol – the same that Rep John Lewis was subjected to in 1965 in Selma, Alabama -- and mailing anti-Semitic threats are not constitutionally protected, and require a strong legal response.
It is clear that this warrants more than a one time condemnation. It is time for both parties to condemn the hate and to stand together to demonstrate a new commitment to civility going forward.
John Feehery, Pundits Blog Contributor, said:
Being in the public eye is dangerous for any public servant these days, and these attacks against these Democratic offices are reprehensible. Republicans and Democrats should join together in trying to calm the public down, fight policy on the merits, and bring some responsible leadership to the country. Whatever happened to disagreeing without being disagreeable? And this is not just a Republican problem. Elements of the left are every bit as nasty, as vicious and as uncivil as elements of the right. What the country needs now is adult leadership on both sides of the divide.
Cheri Jacobus, Pundits Blog contributor, said:
House Republican Leader John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE has already condemned the threats. However, for Democrats to assume the threats are coming from Republicans is quite a leap, when for many months, polls showed the majority of Americans were opposed to ObamaCare. As well, Democrats are now claiming that phone calls from constituents expressing their anger over the health care vote somehow constitute threats or harrassment. This obvious ploy for pity and an excuse to slam their Republican colleagues in an effort to shift attention from the tyrannical methods used and threatened to be utilized by congressional Democrats is merely a ruse for nervous Democrats afraid to answer to their electorate.
Violence is wrong, and Republicans have said so, even though Democrats have refused in the past to condemn similar threats against Republicans and engaged in borderline verbal abuse of President Bush and others themselves. But tyranny often incites anarchy, and Democrats must accept blame for voter anger and be very, very careful with what they are perhaps too eager to define as threats or harrassment just after they have torn away a bit of our liberty.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.org, said:
We all need work work together to fight terrorism.
Bruce E. Gronbeck, professor of Public Address at the University of Iowa, said:
A party that's willing to propose a health care amendment banning sales of Viagra to convicted rapists doesn't seem to be a cooperative ally in shutting down political extremism. Throughout U.S. history, at least from Shay's Rebellion onward, the line between political protest and mob tactics that close down debate has been regularly erased. The problem is endemic to "e pluribus unam": how can we create a one out of many without erring either toward repression in one direction or debilitating fragmentation in the other? That issue cannot be settled because circumstances, communication technologies, and political allegiances especially in a two-party system are in states of constant change.
One can only hope that party leadership will be able to exert some control, first, over its own elected and appointed officers, and, second, over its own desires to use legislative opposition any way it can to win an election. Will political responsibility be exercised by both majorities and minorities? The answer to that question will tell us a lot about both public politics and public morality.
Ira Forman, executive director of National Jewish Democratic Council, said:
Republicans should speak out forcefully against threats of violence and vandalism. This violent behavior erodes a democratic society and the GOP leadership should respond because it is the right thing to do. But it is also the right political move for the Republican leadership. There are short term risks in alienating some of this right-wing, extremist base. In the long run, however, GOP political fortunes lie in moving toward the center and respectability.
Bill Press, host of the "Bill Press Show" and a contributor to the Pundits Blog, said:
The only answer is for Republicans, starting with John Boehner, to stop fanning the flames of violence with their irresponsible,overheated rhetoric.
Frank Askin, professor of law at Rutgers University, said:
They should respond like statesmen (and women), not the thugs they have acted like lately. They should demand the arrest and prosecution of anyone committing criminal acts against members of Congress.
John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:
Republicans should deny that any acts of vandalism and threats of violence have never either suggested or condoned by their party. Until there is proof that the isolated vandalism was caused by some GOP operatives (hardly likely), the Republicans should characterize as desperation any attempts to elevate a few small incidents into something of national importance.
As for the suggestion it is an incitement to violence to "target" some Democrats for defeat or use similar military-like terms that are frequently employed in political races, Republicans should scoff, even laugh uproariously.
The issue isn't small acts of vandalism or non-existent threats toward violence. The issue is that the Obama healthcare measure is unconstitutional, will push America into socialism, can't help but become another costly bureaucracy, and will harmfully impact the best medical profession on earth.
Craig Newmark, craigslist.org, said:
We all need work work together to fight terrorism.
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit Blogger, said:
As law professor Ann Althouse has demonstrated already, there's much less to these reports of "threats" and "vandalism" than press accounts have made it seem. (What's more, the "coffin" at Russ Carnahan's house was a prop in a prayer vigil for victims of ObamaCare, not a threat, as has been falsely reported). Given that this appears primarily to be a concerted effort to intimidate and smear healthcare bill opponents, I think that Republicans should push back hard, with the facts. It's fine to remind people that threats and violence are wrong, but it's also worth noting that President Obama threatened bankers with pitchfork mobs even as ACORN was sending busloads of protesters to target executives' homes. Goose, gander, and all that.