In 1987, when I was a 24 year old rookie talk show host working the graveyard shift at around 3AM one Sunday night/Monday morning, I took a call. We’d spent the first hour talknig with – and beating on – a noted Holocaust denier.
It’s pretty much axiomatic in talk radio that the callers turn out in droves for gun control and abortion; babies and crime/self-defense are topics pretty much everyone can relate to. Holocaust Denial is another one – or so I found out that night. It’d been a very busy hour; while I never had to beg for callers on my old graveyard-shift show – there were always lots of drunks, third-shifters, aspiring novelists, crazies and (oddly) handicappers tuned in and dying to sound off – that night was particularly heavy – it was a red-letter night. The phone lines crackled with revulsion; a guy claiming to be a Jewish Defense League member said that if the guest had been in the Twin Cities rather than on the phone, he’d have come out to the studio and shot him.
Now, that’s brisk, baby.
And it carried on into the second hour. Full banks of callers, mostly angry; some wondering why I’d given the guy any play at all, most tearing his positions apart, many with stories of relatives who’d served in the war and fought their way into camps, and the stories they’d told.
And then, late in the final half-hour, someone called; in my mind’s eye at 23 years’ remove, he sounded a little like Dennis Hopper. And he said “We’re coming for you, Jew -boy. You can run but you can’t hide”.
I mentioned that I was about as Jewish as a bacon cheeseburger, and that he needed to take his meds as I hung up.
The lesson for the evening?
It’s obvious: Jews and Democrats are violence-prone!
Well, no. It means that when people get angry (and maybe just a tad demented) and find a way to lash out at the targets of their anger from behind the cover of anonymity, they say things they’d never dare say in person. It happens on the phone (ask any talk show screener), and in blog comments, with anonymous leftybloggers – anyone, really, any time that anger isn’t tempered by accountability.
If you’re ap public figure at any level, you’ve tun into this – and you know it’s one of the little stressors that happens.
Congresspeople? Sure, they know it.
It’s tiresome – and more than a little insulting – to have to iterate every time the topic of threats and violence comes up “…now, I don’t advocate threats or violence…”.
Doyy. No kidding?
Tiresome and insulting.
And that’s exactly what the Democrat leadership intended with the stories they’ve run since last weekend in re the Tea Party’s purported response to Obamacare.
It’s several stories, really. +
It’s A Loogie World: “Tea Partiers” ostensibly “spit” on Democrat congresspeople as they walked across the Mall.
Except it’s looking pretty doubtful that it actually happened (around 1:20 of the video in the link):
I can’t get it to link to the specific time code, but fast-forward to the 1:20 mark. Looks to me like that dude was yelling at him and maybe a drop of spittle flew at him. Which still sucks. Nobody likes to be yelled at, especially by some redneck who won’t just shut up and pay his taxes. But it’s not like somebody hocked a loogie in Cleaver’s face.
I know, I know. It doesn’t matter anyway because the Tea Parties are racist. I’m just providing… what’s it called? Oh yeah: Evidence.
Cleaver declined to press charges over this, which is a good thing because no arrests were made that day.
No arrests? Why, spitting is both assault and, most likely, a hate crime. If it happened.
The “T” Word: “Tea Partiers” – plural – purportedly screamed the “N”-word at civil rights movement veteran, Rep. John Lewis. Except, again, there’s no evidence that it actually happened:
According to the article, Lewis was walking from the Cannon Office Building to the Capitol when protesters started shouting. According to Lewis, however, what they shouted was not a racial slur, but “Kill the bill, kill the bill.” If he heard anything more derogatory, he does not seem to have told Douglas about it.
Lewis, it should be noted, is no slouch when it comes to race-baiting. During the 2008 campaign, he compared the McCain-Palin campaign to that of “presidential candidate George Wallace,” whose comparable “atmosphere of hate” led to the fatal church bombing in Birmingham. So egregious were Lewis’s comments that McCain called on Obama to “condemn” them.As Douglas reports, it was Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), a Lewis colleague walking a few steps behind him, who actually claimed to have heard the slur. Note the way that Douglas runs these sentences together.
Do you hear a “Chorus” of “N”-bombs? “Kill the Bill”, sure. But there’s a difference, isn’t there?
So far, at least?
Well, all you leftybloggers out there who want to cling to the idea of Republican/Tea Party thuggishness; Andrew Breitbart is putting his money where his blog’s mouth is:
It’s time for the allegedly pristine character of Rep. John Lewis to put up or shut up. Therefore, I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once. Surely one of those two cameras wielded by members of his entourage will prove his point.
I’d almost bet that same amount that he never, ever gets a taker.
Anger and Pique and Threats, Oh My: Steny Hoyer got front page coverage yesterday when he claimed that…:
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.
Michael Walsh wonders:
Naturally, the media accepts this allegation at face value, and never once stops to question whether the Alinsky Party is, you know, exaggerating or even lying — as the spiritual mentor of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton taught it to do.
The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work.
The horse-race-obsessed Mainstream Media might want to look up the term, agents provocateurs…
While I suspect there’s more than a little chance that some of the “estimated” “threats” were phoned in or are complete fabrications, it doesn’t matter; people get angry, regardless of their politics, and some of them say dumb, hateful, even illegal things.
Erick Erickson at RedState has heard the threats, and isn’t impressed:
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.
Certainly more than the houseful of bomb-making goodies, vandalism supplies and buckets of urine that police found when they raided a Saint Paul house being used as a staging ground for “anarchists” at the Saint Paul RNC in 2008.
The Dems’ “concerns” are long on feelings, short on actual actions. To date, there are only two actual physical actions that have been reported to law enforcement (if you leave out the real shooting at Eric Cantor’s office, which much of the media has done).
Gas Attack: A gas line to an outdoor grill was allegedly cut at the house of Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, after a “Tea Partier” ostensibly posted the address online.
I really want to know the details about this one. Who did it and why? Let me see the photographs. I want to know all about it. I don’t like the home addresses being posted on line, and I don’t like even peaceful protests at any individual’s house. I can see why you’d be upset that your address is known. But anyone could commit an act of vandalism (including dirty tricksters on the Democrat’s side). Is the press following up about what, exactly, happened? Or are they complacently passing this story on to be used to propagate the violence meme?
After the Sparkman, Bedell and the Texas IRS-plane-crasher, I’ll take “B”.
Like A Brick: There was an alleged brick attack at a Democrat office in Cincinnati. Again – we have no idea who did it, or why; no note was attached, no threats received, no nothing.
So while it could be an angry tea partier, it could just as easily be a punk kid, a drunk or, for that matter, a Democrat activist. There is no evidence at all, either way.
But this isn’t about individuals breaking laws; this is about the Democrat party using those acts, real, imagined, fabricated or instigated, to try to not only defame dissenters, but to give their own, increasingly embattled supporters the sort of “us against them” siege mentality that they’ll need to survive and keep the fire going during what promises to be an ugly electoral season.
Back to Erick Erickson, who is onto the real reason for the flap:
I am forced to largely conclude that the Democrats are running to the nearest microphone in an effort to play the victim and generate sympathy as they try to steer poll numbers back in their direction.
I never bet m0ney; I don’t much believe in gambling. But I’ll bet bragging rights that nothing ever comes of any of these complaints.
Because they’re not intended to be “real”. They’re intended to set the majority party (for now) up as “victims” of a huge, benighted, ugly conspiracy that just happens to hate black people, doncha know.
And I’d have to hope this is wearing thin with the American people.
In fact, I’ll do my best to make sure it does.