Monday, March 29, 2010

What are Republicans thinking?

Here's New York Time Op Ed from a couple of days ago that everyone from any side of the political aisle should read.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

It seems to me that America is sinking farther and farther into a political divid from which it will be harder and harder to pull out. And I don't have any good answers. I just know that if we've come to this cross roads over the matter of healthcare, I fear for the country mydaughters are growing up in.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.


Mike at The Big Stick said...

I was discussing this on another blog recently. I wonder what the Left wants Republican leaders to do? If they decry the rhetoric, etc then it gives it weight. Then liberals say, "See, the Right is so kooky that even their leaders are concerned."

It's something like .000001% of Republicans that are behaving this way. The media just likes to sensationalize things.

Philip H. said...

The short answer is what would Republicans want Democrats to do if the roles were reversed? We'd be hounded daily by calls for public smackdowns, and any failure to confront this on the Left would be met with "serious" discourse about how the inability or unwillingness to control the fringe makes us unfit to govern.

Since the media does like to sensationalize things, a lack of a hard, firm, "no you don't" from Republican leaders means this small minority is the image that many Americans now have of Conservatives in general. And if the reporting in this piece is correct that 75% of these folks self-identify as Republicans, then your Party is getting its good name muddied by that fringe.

jg said...

Ironically, the popup add shown under this post when I visited said "Repeal the Health Care Bill Now!"

I too am puzzled about the hostility of this movement, but I shouldn't be. Climate researchers are getting death threats too, so that suggests a broad range of complaints bottled up in one ideology. The primary tea-bagger organizers in my community are some of the loudest climate science deniers. This observation scale up when I see Palin capitalizing on the movement. Republicans may not all approve of the tea bagger movement, but they probably benefit. Just as liberals may benefit from Michael Moore, yet not approve of one of his films.

Normally I'd suggest leading by example, but this may only show how to get hit by a brick.

Thomas Joseph said...

This country has undergone its fair share of strong divides. The country wasn't unified over Civil Rights, it wasn't unified over Vietnam. Yet, we moved beyond it.