Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sticks and Stones

The Washington Post is reporting that at least ten Democrats have received death threats over the passage of the healthcare bill.

More than 100 House Democrats met behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon with representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police. The lawmakers voiced what one senior aide who was present described as “serious concern” about their security in Washington and in their home districts when they return this weekend for the spring recess.

Usually only the congressional leadership has regular personal protection from the Capitol Police. But at least 10 lawmakers have been offered increased protection by law enforcement agencies, said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.).

Asked whether members are endangered, Hoyer said: “Yes. [There are] very serious incidents that have occurred.”

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer e-mailed senators and staffers Wednesday telling them to “remain vigilant.” Gainer, a former Capitol Police chief, said in an interview that the warning was meant to “assuage people’s fears.”

But House Democrats say they are unnerved.

“Our democracy is about participation,” Hoyer said. “Our democracy is about differing and debate and animated debate and passionate debate. But it is not about violence.”

The Republicans, in the person of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), offered a limp and equivocating response, basically saying well, yeah, we’re against violence but you can understand why people are angry.

No, actually, I don’t buy that, and if the tables were turned and these were liberals throwing rocks and faxing nooses to black Congressmen — like that would ever happen — the Democratic leaders would be racing to a press conference to condemn it so fast it would take the light three years to catch up to them. After all, the backlash to his making a passing reference to Hitler on the floor of the Senate got Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to practically burst into tears. So if the GOP is truly sincere about condemning the threats, they’ll get the word out to their allies in talk radio like G. Gordon Liddy and Glenn Beck to knock it off. They can’t control all the Cheeto-munching paranoids in Alabama who spend all their waking hours polishing their rifle barrels and sending out missives to “pay a call” on their representatives, but they sure as hell can stop egging them on from the balcony overlooking the Capitol grounds.

What this tells me about the GOP and their teabagger buddies is that they are basically out of ideas and have no coherent way of discussing policy or alternative solutions. In the Senate they’re filing frivolous amendments to slow down the passage of the reconciliation bill and gum up the works. It’s not as violent or physically intimidating as throwing a rock through a plate glass window or cutting the gas line from a propane tank or leaving hate-filled voice mail messages (which are always anonymous because, like anonymous commenters on blogs, they haven’t got the guts to leave a trail of accountability), but the purpose is the same: they can’t stop the bill with reason and ideas so they resort to fear and loathing.

So this is the best that a major political party in the United States has to offer in 2010. Really?

Bonus: I can’t resist putting up this video to show how John Boehner can really get down with his bad self.

HT to skippy for the video.