Tea Party Violence and Conservative Threats

The Tea Party is a hotbed of violence and racial hatred, and conservatives everywhere are resorting to threats and violence against peaceful, polite, gentle, and well-meaning liberals. Or at least, that’s what the mainstream media will have you believe. But what’s really going on?

Well, first off, it seems that there have been a few minor incidents of threats or violence.

From the Politico:

The Maryland Democrat said more than 10 House Democrats have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment about their support of the highly divisive health insurance overhaul vote. Hoyer emphasized that he didn’t have a specific number of threats and that was just an estimate.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Capitol Police and sergeant at arms briefed Democrats behind closed doors today about the incidents of violence — the most high profile of which have been toward Democratic Reps. Thomas Perriello of Virginia, Steve Driehaus of Ohio and Louise Slaughter of New York.

And from Yahoo News:

The FBI is investigating threats against lawmakers stemming from intense opposition to the health care overhaul law.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says more than 10 Democratic lawmakers have reported incidents. Hoyer adds that the FBI and Capitol Police briefed Democrats on how to handle perceived security threats.

The FBI says that all threats and incidents directed against members of Congress are taken seriously and are being investigated by the FBI. The bureau’s Washington field office issued the statement.

Also from the Politico:

The threats against members of Congress who voted for health care reform have turned from a nuisance to a serious law enforcement issue, increasing security concerns as lawmakers prepare to head home for spring recess.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Capitol Police and the House sergeant at arms on Wednesday were brought into a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting, during which lawmakers expressed fear for their safety and the safety of their families.

The Capitol Police, according to several in the caucus meeting, encouraged members to report any incidents to the department. They also offered security assessments of district offices and even members’ homes.

[...]

A brick was thrown through the window of the Democratic Party’s Cincinnati office.

And Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who negotiated the breakthrough on abortion language in the health care bill, has received numerous death threats and faxes with violent images at his office.

[...]

A brick was thrown through the window of the Democratic Party’s Cincinnati office.

And Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who negotiated the breakthrough on abortion language in the health care bill, has received numerous death threats and faxes with violent images at his office.

So there has been some threatening statements and a few cases of vandalism. Obviously this is a threat of monumental proportion, and represents and unprecedented amount of violence and hatred directed at political officials.

Oh, wait – I missed that part in the first Politico story. What did it say again?

A Republican aide also pointed out that over the years Republican members of Congress received their fair share of death threats during volatile times. Newt Gingrich after the 1994 Republican revolution and the late Henry Hyde during the Clinton impeachment in 1998 both received numerous death threats. And just last month, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) received death threats after his filibuster of unemployment benefits, according to a report in Roll Call.

Wait, what? You mean those evil, horrible, nasty Republicans get threats from honest, peaceful, caring Democrats? I can’t believe it!

Erick Erickson at Red State offers some perspective:

Here comes the controversial part that still must be said: I have heard the audio of some of the threats. I get worse stuff routinely. Rush Limbaugh gets worse stuff on a daily basis. Republican members of Congress have gotten similar and worse stuff. Thank God this wasn’t a free trade vote or a variety of left wing groups would have half the country in flames right now. I do believe the 24 hours of threats, many of which were pretty weak, has gotten more national coverage than the leftist anarchists in Texas who molotov cocktailed the Texas Governor’s Mansion — for which arrests have never been made.

Let’s get this straight: any and all threats and acts of vandalism or violence are inappropriate and uncalled for. They should be condemned, stopped, and prosecuted when possible.

But there’s more to this: it seems to be getting a disproportionately high amount of coverage in the media. And frankly, rather uncritical coverage. Like the non-incident incident at the Washington Tea Party, in which the media unquestioningly repeated unsubstantiated claims of mass racism as fact, the media are blindly accepting the dominant narrative that conservatives are dangerous and hyping these few incidents as much as they can, in a rather obvious effort to smear the conservatism in general and the Tea Party in specific.

Brent Bozell comments on this phenomenon at Townhall:

Democrats claimed racial slurs were used against black politicians on Capitol Hill, and an “anti-gay slur” was allegedly heard around Congressman Barney Frank. It is understandable that Democrats would want this opposition to their power grab to be reduced to absurdity, a spasm of racism and homophobia instead of organized conservative idealism. It is deplorable that our national “news” media went into overdrive on this Democrat public-relations initiative. To listen to the press, the Tea Party’s presence in Washington was violent, dangerous, uncivil and unprecedented, and their protests threatened to ruin the Republican image — as if that isn’t at the top of the liberal media’s To Do list every day.

In the Iraq War protests of 2003, the leftist protesters were on the wrong side of the polls. In the health “reform” protests of 2010, the protesters represented an angry majority. Since Shuster works for MSNBC, in that parallel universe, the majority had become a dangerous and ugly mob.

Shuster asked black conservative Robert Traynham to blame the conservative media for these overheard outbursts (not that any network had them on tape): “Do any conservative media outlets, Robert, bear any responsibility for that? Because when people hear over and over that this is Nazism on the march, or fascism, or that Armageddon is coming, of course some people are going to flip out.”

The whole smear turned ridiculous when conservative radio host Mark Simone told Shuster that every protest has some overenthusiastic people yelling stupid things. Shuster insisted the left had never behaved in that fashion in the Bush years: “Nobody spit on a lawmaker. Nobody used a N-word. Nobody used an F-word.”

Nobody? Ever? Assuming the illogical to be true, so what? I have a line Mr. Shuster will remember well because his network allowed it to be aired countless times: “Bush lied, thousands died.” Maybe not the F-word, but he was accused of being a mass murderer.

But surely the media wouldn’t run stories accusing conservatives of things they didn’t have proof of! Well, aside from the racial comments and spitting on thing. Surely they wouldn’t do it again!

Take, for example, this story here, about poor, innocent Representative Russ Carnahan finding a coffin on his lawn! If that’s not a death threat, I don’t know what is!

Well, unless the Politico wasn’t that thorough, didn’t bother to fact check the obvious death threat, and missed the fact that the coffin in question was a small prop used during a protest prayer vigil, and was not left behind on the property. From Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, who was actually there:

We prayed for Russ Carnahan. We prayed that God would forgive him for taking away our freedom. We prayed for the babies who will never feel the warmth of the sun or a gentle spring rain. We prayed for the elderly who will die waiting for care because they couldn’t make it past the Obama death panels.

We prayed for Russ Carnahan. So obviously it came as quite a shock tonight to see that the Carnahan people and the Democratic-media complex had twisted this innocent prayer vigil into some kind of threat against Russ Carnahan.

[...]

UPDATE: The Carnahans told reporters that the coffin was left on their lawn. This is an absolute lie. We had a prayer service and then left. The state-run media didn’t bother to follow up on this outrageous lie before they published their hit piece… Oh, and the protest was on SUNDAY not Wednesday.

UPDATE: The coffin is currently in a garage.

I’ll admit, some of the rhetoric may be a bit out there. But I fail to see how a coffin intended to represent aborted babies is a death threat. I fail to see how praying for someone is a death threat (well, unless you pray for that person to die, but that doesn’t seem to be the case). It seems that Russ Carnahan is making this up, and the media are helping him milk it for all its worth.

Dana Loesch has some unkind words for representative Carnahan:

I’m left to assume that Carnahan just wanted sympathy from this because it boggles the mind how (or why) someone could twist a prayer vigil into a “threat.” I mean, unless you’re afraid of God and honestly, after voting for legislation that includes (by Kathleen Sebelius’ own video-taped words and her “accounting procedure” admission of last year) means for abortion funding, I would be afraid to answer to God for that charge at the pearly gates.

This is a guy who ignored how myself and other conservatives in this area were threatened last summer simply because we dissented with this administration’s policies. His own mother, Jean Carnahan, threw fuel to the fire and tried to whip the vitriol to a frenzy when she attacked his constituents and said that the “teabagger” remarks “bordered on treason.” This is a man who had one of the most under-reported (not to mention caught-on-tape with police report) hate crimes ever to happen at his town hall and the next morning he denied its existence in a press conference.  Now this man is going to add further insult to injury by making up malicious intent for people having a prayer vigil? What does he hope to gain from this?

Moe Lane at Red State also comments on the Carnahan fiasco.

So does Matt Welch at Reason Magazine.

Well, there has been some real violence against some in congress. In fact, one congressman’s office was shot up during the night! Proof of evil, teabagging hatemongers roving the streets looking for blood!

Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor said Thursday that his Richmond campaign office has been shot at and that he’s received “threatening e-mails” — but at the same time the House minority whip accused top Democrats of trying to exploit the threats they’ve been receiving for “political gain.”

Cantor said “a bullet was shot through the window” of his campaign office. The incident happened Monday, Fox News has learned, the latest in a rash of apparent threats and acts of intimidation against members of Congress. Most of the threats so far have been reported by Democrats, but Cantor — the No. 2 Republican in the House — is one of about 10 lawmakers who has asked for increased security protection, Fox News has learned.

Wait, he was a Republican? That can’t be! It’s the conservatives that are evil and violent, not good liberals!

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

3:40 p.m. The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism agsinst the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., where Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-7th, has a campagn office.

Police said a first floor window was struck by a bullet at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday. The building was not occupied, police said. A preliminary investigation determined that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window at a downward direction, landing about a foot from the window. The bullet had enough force to break the windowpane but not penetrate the window blinds, according to a news release.

CNN:

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

Political weapons. Yeah, that seems to be the case. And the mainstream media are firing them.

RedState covers the Cantor incident, and mentions that there have been more Republicans subject to threats. The Hill has more on those:

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.

Surely this is the work of evil teabaggers angry at Republicans for not doing enough to stop Obamacare, right? Well, let’s look at the message transcript:

Yes, uh. Yeah, I’m glad, uh. the president passed healthcare, yeah. Funky-ass, racist-ass Republicans hate that, don’t you? Jean [sic] Smith, when you got hit by that car or when you fell or whatever, you should’ve broke your back, b***h. You, and Boehner motherf***er, that Mitch McConnell — all you racist f***ing Republicans. Why don’t you just change y’all’s party name to “racist”? ‘Cause if one of those little f***ing Teabaggers would’ve spit on me, I would have socked them in the f***ing face with my f***ing .09 mm. F*** all you racist motherf***ers.

Yup. Pure right-wing talking points there.

Isn’t it interesting that the worst of the violence seem to be from the left directed at politicians on the right. Even though the left one this one, their stormtroopers are still trying all they can to intimidate their opponents.

But the media narrative is that all of the violence is on the right, and there isn’t any anger or violence on the left.

Matt Welch at Reason Magazine points out this very interesting (yet lengthy, but read it anyway) analysis done by Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard.

The Weekly Standard‘s Mary Katherine Ham decided to do what so many journalists echoing this line did not–actually tally up the numbers of townhall meetings and notable incidents. Her conclusion was much different:

One public calendar, compiled by RedState.com, lists more than 400 congressional town hall meetings in the month of August. It’s likely not an exhaustive list, but it represents an average of more than 13 live town halls conducted per day in America during the monthlong span. At these meetings, there were fewer than ten documented incidents that could be described as violent, and most of them involved very little physical contact. [...]

That’s the full list of documented violence from the August meetings. In more than 400 events: one slap, one shove, three punches, two signs grabbed, one self-inflicted vandalism incident by a liberal, one unsolved vandalism incident, and one serious assault. Despite the left’s insistence on the essentially barbaric nature of Obamacare critics, the video, photographic, and police report evidence is fairly clear in showing that 7 of the 10 incidents were perpetrated by Obama supporters and union members on Obama critics. If you add a phoned death threat to Democrat representative Brad Miller of N.C., from an Obama-care critic, the tally is 7 of 11.

And if you extend the census into September, you can add the most severe injury of all, which happened during a fight at a September 2 rally backing Obamacare in Thousand Oaks, Calif., hosted by the left-wing activist group MoveOn.org. Police have not determined who started the fight, but it ended when one of the Obamacare supporters “bit off the left pinky” of counterdemonstrator William Rice after Rice threw a punch, according to police. The Obamacare supporter, who could be charged with mayhem, left the scene before police arrived, and though Rice’s missing digit was recovered, doctors were unable to reattach it because “a human bite has so much bacteria,” Rice told me. Several liberal commentators took the opportunity to hail the forcible amputation as a victory of government-run medicine over a hypocritical Obama critic.

Whole thing here.

In fact, NewBusters fairly thoroughly destroys the media narrative of right wing violence:

(Jawa Report and Moonbattery also cite this list.)

Counterculture Conservative has some interesting pictures from a left-wing rally. Who knew that peace, love, and tolerance required castrating Jews?

But what about all those claims of racism? Everyone knows that Republicans have always been racist, right?

From NewsBusters:

PBS’s Jim Lehrer on Tuesday wrongly accused Republicans of always being against major social legislation in this country including the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, and Medicare.

“[T]hrough history, recent history in particular, Republicans have opposed things like Social Security, Medicare, even civil rights legislation, but then, once they lost, they took some deep breaths and moved on, and then finally ended up embracing many of these major changes in — in laws and in the way we do business here,” the News Hour host amazingly said to his guest Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and Kyl quickly corrected Lehrer …

More from NewsBusters:

When [David] Shuster asked if [Kevin] Jackson had been at the Capitol Saturday when members of the Democratic Black Caucus were supposedly “greeted with derogatory racial slurs,” he calmly responded, “Wasn’t there for that, but saw the video about it, and determined that a lot of what they were saying had happened actually hadn’t occurred”

[...]

Shuster later asked if Jackson was okay with how President Obama is depicted in signs at Tea Party rallies, “whether it’s the Hitler mustache, or being depicted as like the Joker.”

Jackson marvelously responded:

It’s par for the course. Every President that’s been elected has gone through something like that. Bush has been, was demonized as a, as a gorilla, as a chimpanzee, as a cowboy, cowpoke, and a host of other things. In fact, he was depicted as Hitler many, many times. I did a blog about how Bush was depicted as Hitler more than Obama was. So, that’s just par for the course. That’s what happens. One side wins, the other side goes after him. So I don’t see any difference between him, between Obama and any other President in this respect.

Shuster clearly didn’t like this answer, and pressed Jackson to give examples of Republican offices being vandalized when Bush was President.

Jackson then asked the pivotal question that real journalists would be asking if they weren’t acting as advocates: “Do you have the actual evidence of the people who threw [bricks into Democrat office windows]?”

Again, as I’ve already said, there have been some threats and they should be strongly condemned. But the history of the Tea Party does not indicate violence or racism anywhere near the magnitude portrayed in the media. The left has demonstrated a far greater propensity for hatred and violence.

And just for a brief history lesson, here’s an old (and very long) post from Zombie that covers just a few of the incidents of death threats directed at President Bush over the past several years by “peace activists” at Democratic riots protests, virtually all of which were ignored.

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  1. #1 by Montana on Thu 25 Mar 2010 - 21:37

    Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) have been “haters not debaters”. In my opinion this is what the small portions of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. They are good at “Follow the Leader” of their dullard leaders, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think? The world is complicated and most republicans (Hamiliton, Lincoln, Roosevelt) believe that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them are just going along and fanning the flames.

    • #2 by The Republican Heretic on Fri 26 Mar 2010 - 10:14

      Thanks for illustrating my point completely, but being so eager to buy the media narrative that you’re apparently oblivious to what’s really going on.

      The Tea Party movement has show bigger numbers than the anti-war movement. But it doesn’t have numbers or clout? Almost two million people march on Washington DC, and the media are mum to it. A republican win election to Teddy Kennedy’s old Senate seat, but there is not clout behind the Tea Party. Uhuh.

      And we go back to the birthers slur. The Birthers were an invention of the left. The first lawsuit challenging Obama’s elligibility to be president was filed by a Hillary Clinton supporter — the same one who was involved in fabricating the documents in Rathergate. If you want to find the birthers and truthers, check in on the Libertarian Party.

      Please, tell me who the “leaders” of the Tea Party are. There are no leaders. That is why it’s a grass roots movement. It has been just as critical of Republicans as Democrats. But that goes against the narrative, so you charge Beck and Limbaugh with running the while thing. Limbaugh was initially against the Tea Party, and Beck was a late-comer to the movement. Oh, but Beck gave a speech at one, so he’s in charge! Uhuh.

      How on earth has the Republican party ever supported social mobility through the government? At least, other than ending that slavery thing that the Democrats were so desperate to cling to. Teddy Roosevelt supported some progressive ideas, and many conservatives have criticized him for it. Hamilton wasn’t even alive when the Republican Party was founded, and while some of his ideas were embraced, some weren’t.

      The Tea Party has always been about debate. The Tea Party has always been about engaging politicians and lawmakers and attempting to discuss the issues. In response it has been subject to slurs, slanders, and unfounded charges, like the one you are making.

      What hate? Read the article. Aside form a very few isolated incidents, which were in every case denounced on site by other Tea Partiers, what example is there of “hate”? Oh, I forgot — opposing any progressive policy is hateful, just like opposing the President’s policy is racist. Yeah, you got anything real for me? Better yet, where’s the violence? There was more violence and property damage in one day at those recent “student protests” on California than there has ever been shown at any Tea Party.

      You know, for someone who is trying to label an entire movement as nothing but a bunch of mindless followers, perhaps you shouldn’t stick so strongly to the DailyKos and Huffinton Post talking points. Maybe you might want to actually take a look at what Tea Partiers are actually doing and saying, instead of buying all of the propaganda out there. Which has been my point all along — the narrative has been doing all it can to portray the Tea Party in a negative light, and you’ve bought it wholesale.

  2. #3 by Christian on Sun 28 Mar 2010 - 19:40

    The Republicans need to get right with God! First the Republicans wanted to give Obama his Waterloo defeat over healthcare but instead they gave themselves their own Waterloo defeat by not participating in the debate of ideas and by becoming the party of obstructionist. Waterloo defeat refers of course to the defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon’s rule as Emperor of the French and was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon’s last. Republicans get right with God or get ready for future losses and Rush Limbaugh I real hope you enjoy your new home Costa Rica!

    • #4 by The Republican Heretic on Mon 29 Mar 2010 - 09:54

      So, the Republicans are being punished by God? Uhuh. The Republican didn’t participate in a “debate of ideas” that they were prevented from being involved with, and “obstructed” a Democratic supermajority, because God is mad at them.

      Do you have any grasp on reality?

  3. #5 by Christian on Mon 29 Mar 2010 - 11:48

    The Republicans had 8 years to deal with health care, immigration, financial oversight and governance but they failed. They did not even win one of the two wars they started (body bags are still coming in). Its time to clean house, deal with it.

    • #6 by The Republican Heretic on Mon 29 Mar 2010 - 13:53

      So, you’re upset because the Republican didn’t “fix” health care by instituting a massive socialist takeover of the health care industry that will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, increase costs for employers, tank the economy, decrease the availability of health care, and only benefit unions and health insurance companies that heavily contribute to Democrats? Gosh, those Republicans had 8 years to implement policies that are against everything they stand for! Why didn’t they act when they had the chance?

      Oh, financial oversight. That’s a good one. If only the Republicans had tried to prevent the financial crisis. Oh, wait — they did. They were stopped by the Democrats in congress, who are the ones who implemented the policies that led to the crisis in the first place.

      Do you realize how silly you sound blaming Republicans for not taking the chance to enact far-left policies?

  4. #7 by Bill on Sun 04 Apr 2010 - 08:11

    Strikes me funny that police officer standing between congressman and man accused of spatting on him had no reactions to incident whats so ever

  5. #8 by Chuck on Mon 19 Apr 2010 - 09:10

    I’m so sick of the “socialist” this, “socialist” that thing. *If* you have any credibility to start with, it goes out the window as soon as you throw that incendiary and impolitic word in there.

    • #9 by The Republican Heretic on Mon 19 Apr 2010 - 11:04

      I’m sick of the “socialist” this and “socialist” that as well. Federal government controlling the banks, controlling the auto industry, controlling health care — how many socialist policies do we need?

      I do, however, very adamantly reject your supposition that I somehow lack credibility because I am calling socialist policies socialist. Yes, socialism does seem to be an incendiary word — probably because socialism is morally and ethically corrupt. But a word being incendiary or “impolitic” does not mean it isn’t accurate. Would you refuse to call Roman Polanski a rapist, or Tim Metzger a racist, or Michael Moore fat? Because if you object to that, as you object to my referring to government control of the economy and means of production as socialism, then it is you who lacks credibility, as you are more worried about the political correctness of the language used than the actual reality they describe.

  6. #10 by Stamson on Sat 16 Oct 2010 - 15:29

    Haha, very interesting! I find that well-worded arguments against the ever-growing attitude of entitlement/political correctness in the US are becoming harder to find. I greatly enjoy your rebuttals to the arguments and comments made regarding your article. Anyway, I’m going to get back to reading my progressive history of America- “How white supremacists teamed up with tea-baggers and caused 9/11 in order to help the Jews stop healthcare.” Sigh.

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