(Also posted at Blue Commonwealth)
As if the Virginia Republicans hadn’t inflicted enough on the rest of us with the timid, hesitating guy who was elected governor and the fire-breathing wing nut who became attorney general, now we have Rep. Eric Cantor (R-7th), GOP House whip, blaming the Democrats for the crazies that the GOP encouraged and assisted in their campaign to demonize the President of the United States and the health care reform bill.
Now we have the absurdity of Cantor blaming the people who have been victimized by death threats and obscene comments left on answering machines for the hatred the Republican party has only too happily promoted.
Cantor angrily lashed out at several Democratic leaders, accusing them of “dangerously fanning the flames” by blaming the GOP. He said he, too, has also been the recipient of threats.
The incident he was evidently referring to was last week when Cantor’s office in Richmond had a window broken by a bullet. Police now believe that someone fired a weapon in the air after hours, and the bullet broke the window as it fell to the earth. It did not even have enough force to penetrate the window’s blinds.
(I once had my classroom penetrated by a bullet after school hours. A window was broken and the bullet lodged in the wall opposite the windows. The police determined the bullet was probably fired by vandals with no malice. So, Mr. Cantor, don’t worry. Your incident was probably like mine.)
That’s not what we are talking about here. We are discussing why Republicans have spent most of this year fanning the fires of extremism and why Eric Cantor would dare to blame the Democrats for it.
Cantor continued, “I have deep concerns that some – DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine in particular – are dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon. Security threats against members of Congress is [sic] not a partisan issue, and they should not be treated that way. To use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible.”
Excuse me, Cantor, but you people have been “fanning” that fire for months. Face it, Cantor. You and the rest of your party have acquiesced in allowing Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and others like them become the face of the GOP. You were deliriously happy when Dick Armey and some of his friends decided to invent the “Tea Party.” Far too many of your party – including Bob Goodlatte – decided that they would jump on the “Tea Party” hate wagon and go for a ride.
I personally witnessed my so-called “representative,” Bob Goodlatte (R-6th), smile and encourage the “Tea Baggers” who packed his phony “town hall meeting” last August. Goodlatte called on many of the extremists in attendance to ask questions. He preened and pranced around, approving the venom they spewed and distorting what the legislation that has now passed Congress would do. The few people who tried to speak rationally were shouted down by the “Tea Beggers,” and Goodlatte did nothing to stop them.
Now, all you Republicans are reaping the harvest of your reliance on hatred to replace a viable political philosophy.
When Republican members of Congress go out and applaud the people in a rowdy crowd below, the same people who had called Rep. Barney Frank a “faggot,” who had called Rep. John Lewis and other Black members of Congress “Ni**ers” and spat on them, who cursed Democratic representatives entering Congress…the result is that the Republicans become part of that mob.
Eric Cantor may try to deflect the backlash from his political party but to no avail. He and his ilk have become the “Party of Hate” as well as “the Party of No.”
I find myself agreeing with David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush, who recently said, “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox. And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party.”
“We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat,” Frum said.
He might have added that it led them to make themselves a laughingstock, instead of a viable alternative to the Democrats. It also unleashed a dangerous force into our society.