After being threatened with death for supporting health-care reform, Rep. Vic Snyder said, “I think people who make these kinds of threats need to know that Americans, regardless of political view, do not condone the threat of violence.”
Yes, and it would help if leaders of the Republican Party, which unanimously opposed the health-care bill, would declare loudly their outrage over the threats that domestic terrorists have been making against Democrats since the bill passed. But the comments of Republican leaders have been barely audible, and often weakened by suggestions that Democrats brought this on themselves.
Some Republicans have even criticized Democrats for complaining about being threatened with murder. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor accused Democratic leaders of “reprehensible” exploitation of the threats for political gain, and said that Democrats were “dangerously fanning the flames” of violent confrontation by discussing the warnings they'd received. Can anyone imagine the temperate Vic Snyder fanning flames? No, what Snyder did to offend Cantor was to read aloud a copy of a letter he'd received:
“It is apparent that it will take a few assassinations to stop Obamacare. Militia central has selected you for assassination. If we cannot stalk and find you in Washington, D.C., we will get you in Little Rock.” Cantor finds that reprehensible. Not the letter, but Snyder's calling attention to it.
Fanning furiously, former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is showing herself even less principled and more dangerous than we realized, advising her Twitter followers “Don't retreat — RELOAD,” and putting Democratic office-holders in rifle cross hairs on her Facebook page.
A dozen or so Democratic congressmen have been menaced or harassed while their Republican colleagues make statements like this, from Rep. Steve King of Iowa to a group of right-wing extremists: “Let's beat that other side to a pulp! Let's take them out. Let's chase them down.” The usually noisy House Republican Leader John Boehner lies low. A Republican feigning moderation, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, says that the issues Democrats are pursuing (health care for everybody) are “so polarizing that they're really bringing out emotions and the darker sides of people on both sides.” But only one side is carrying guns to public rallies and talking about murder.
President Obama tried very hard to work with Republicans — too hard, perhaps — and the effort came to nothing. There's no reasoning with thugs, no cooperating with a mob, and a mob is what the Republican Party has become. America is threatened.