The growing violence on the right

Someone left a comment earlier today about Democratic offices around the country having their windows smashed in the wake of the historic vote earlier in the week on health care reform. I was planning to write about it tonight, but a reader by the name of Jim Essex just informed me that Rachel Maddow had already done a pretty good job of putting it in context. So, with that, I give you her thoughtful analysis.

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Oh, and it looks as though there may have been a half-assed attempt on the life of a Democratic Congressman in Virginia too.

And, if you can believe it, there are some in the audience who would deny that there’s any link between these recent acts of violence and the rhetoric of the right. To me, though, the connection seems pretty obvious… People who are told outrageous lies about their beloved country being overrun by godless Nazi Socialists, are likely to act.

Speaking of which, the Harris polling firm released some interesting statistics today. Following is a clip from a report posted at The Daily Beast.

On the heels of health care, a new Harris poll reveals Republican attitudes about Obama: Two-thirds think he’s a socialist, 57 percent a Muslim—and 24 percent say “he may be the Antichrist.”

To anyone who thinks the end of the health-care vote means a return to civility, wake up.
Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party. Here’s new data to prove it:

67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.

The belief that Obama is a “domestic enemy” is widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come.

57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president” 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did” Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.” These numbers all come from a brand-new Harris poll, inspired in part by my new book Wingnuts. It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country…

Not knowing the methodology of the poll, I can’t speak to the accuracy of the results, but anecdotal evidence would, I think, tend to support the conclusion that there are a lot of fucking crazy right-wingers out there in the world today who really, honestly feel as though our government has been overtaken by some kind of sinister entity. We can quibble about the percentages, but the fact remains that there are heavily armed people out there, living among us, who feel as though, thanks to FOX News and others, their government wants to put them into concentration camps. It’s horrifying stuff. An it needs to stop before someone is killed.

[This post was brought to you by that dick Jim Cramer, who recently warned that the stock market would collapse if health care reform was passed… Well, guess what? He was wrong.]

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  1. dragon
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    How dare you call it violence. In the true spirit of American Exceptionalism I think the phrase being used is “enhanced protest techniques”.

  2. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    And, if you can believe it, there are some in the audience who would deny that there’s any link between these recent acts of violence and the rhetoric of the right.

    No, I said there’s no link between the hung census worker, Joe Stack, and that crazy ass Pentagon shooter and the Glenn Beck / Tea Party shit, you liar.

  3. Ted
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Brackinald, it sounds as though you’re now saying that you acknowledge there being a link between the Tea Party movement and violent behavior. That hasn’t been your position in the past. Every time an instance was brought up, you’d argue that the two were not necessarily related. Someone in a crowd would shout in the face of a man with Parkinson’s, and you’d say that the guy was “one bad apple”. Someone else would go on a shooting spree at the Pentagon, and you’d argue that his having a Ron Paul email address wasn’t conclusive proof that he was a Libertarian. A well respected African-American Congressman, who isn’t known to make things up, says that he was spit at and called a nigger by Tea Partiers, and you say that since there was no video, it might not have actually happened. At every turn you defend these people. But I guess that now you’ve had a change of heart. What was it, the 5 smashed windows, all the death threats?

    I’ll agree with you on the census worker in Kentucky. Many of us jumped in too quickly, assuming that some paranoid Republican gun nut had strung him up. That’s just one incident, though, out of hundreds. As for Joe Stack, I think the jury is still out. But I get your point. You don’t want people to envision these Tea Party Republicans as more of a threat than they really are. You want to believe in your heart that the individuals going to rallies with guns on their hips, waving signs about violent revolution, don’t really intend to harm anyone. And you might be right. I don’t think we can take that chance, though.

    What perplexes me is why, given your interest in making sure that people don’t judge others too harshly, you spend your time here, defending the Libertarians gone wild, instead of at a site where much more destructive things are being said about our President. If it makes you irate when someone suggests that Joe Stack could be a Fox News watcher, I would think it would make you even madder when people claim that our President is raising a secret black army to take away people’s guns and lead them to concentration camps. Unless, that is, you believe that to be true.

  4. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Ted, it sounds as though you’re an idiot who can’t fucking read, or who can and just doesn’t have a problem making shit up about what I said and didn’t say.

  5. Salon Reader
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    In case you don’t read Salon, there’s a good piece this morning on exactly this topic. Here’s the beginning.

    It’s now been nearly a year since the Department of Homeland Security released its infamous report on the heightened risk of domestic extremist violence. It’s also been almost that long that conservatives have griped that the report was a political smear job by a liberal-run department, unfairly singling out right-wingers and accusing them of being gun-waving, bomb-throwing extremists without any evidence.

    Since the report’s release last April, it’s reemerged periodically as acts of domestic political violence have dominated the news: the killing of Dr. George Tiller, the Holocaust Museum shooting and the suicide attack on the Internal Revenue Service all come to mind, along with a general increase in white supremacist activity. Mainstream conservatives have strenuously denied any ideological overlap with this stuff, some going so far as to say that certain of these incidents belong on liberals’ consciences. You can hardly blame them. A John McCain sticker on the car doesn’t mean a white hood in the closet.

    Still, sometimes the evidence accumulates in front of your nose. As the healthcare debate reached its climax in the past week or so, there’s been an extraordinary outpouring of nastiness from the right, much of it tinged with seething, tribal hatred. People at the tea party protest outside the Capitol flung hateful epithets at Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. And now that the bill has actually passed, there’s been an upswing of acts of intimidation — in some cases, rather concrete — against Democratic members of Congress.

    * Continue reading

    Probably the most symbolically freighted incident thus far has happened to Rep. John Clyburn, D-S.C. An African-American and member of the Democratic leadership, Clyburn reported that his office had received a faxed image of a noose, and that his wife had been threatened over the phone. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., have both had district office windows smashed, as has the office of the Cincinnati Democratic Party. Slaughter, who as chair of the House Rules Committee has had her name associated with House floor procedures, also received a voicemail that used the word “snipers.” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., released a passel of menacing voicemails that he received from abortion opponents who believe he betrayed their cause. And in Virginia, after a tea party activist urged angry healthcare opponents to pay a visit to the house of Rep. Tom Perriello, and mistakenly released his brother’s address instead, someone severed the gas line at Perriello’s brother’s house.

    Capitol police and Democratic officials have begun to take some basic security measures, such as securing residences or moving families away from home districts.

    It’s certainly not the case that, because someone dislikes healthcare reform or wants tax cuts, we can infer support for physical violence or intimidation against Democratic members of Congress. But that’s not really the point.

    Today on his show, Morning Joe, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asked why he never heard these stories of scary voicemails from Republicans. “I’ve got to say, and I’m going to get in trouble for saying this — it’s amazing, I never hear these stories, when it’s Republicans receiving these threats.” The implication was that Democrats are a bunch of cowards who just can’t take the normal amount of heat associated with being an elected official.


  6. Curt Waugh
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Damn Mark, you done got called a liar in your own house! Them’s fightin’ words from B “shoot to kill” Anonymouse. Best watch yo’self.

  7. Kim
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Mark’s only lying if Brack admits that there’s a “link between these recent acts of violence and the rhetoric of the right”. Otherwise, what Mark said would be true.

  8. applejack
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised only 15% of Americans think Obama might be the antichrist. I mean if the survey says that he ‘might be’, it seems strange to rule out the possibility all together. I think he could be the antichrist. but so could the pope. or tony blair for that matter. I’m not a hundred percent sure in any case (well I am since I’m an atheist, but aside from that).

  9. Steph's Dad
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Given the recent news, my money is on the Pope.

  10. Stephen
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    More on that douche Mike Vanderboegh, the blogger who called on his readers to throw bricks through Democratic office windows, and how, at 57, he lives on the government dole.

    Vanderboegh said he once worked as a warehouse manager but now lives on government disability checks. He said he receives $1,300 a month because of his congestive heart failure, diabetes and hypertension. He has private health insurance through his wife, who works for a company that sells forklift products.

    Yeah, we need to stop that big government stuff, don’t we?

  11. Ellen CT
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The violence goes both ways. Republican Eric Cantor says a bullet was shot through his window this week, and suspects it was the result of us Democrats making such a big deal of the smashing of windows, and death threats made against them. Turns out, however, the story is bullshit.

  12. Tim
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Rep. Weiner (D) got a white powder sent to his office. Probably not Anthrax, but definitely intimidation.

  13. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Mark’s only lying if Brack admits that there’s a “link between these recent acts of violence and the rhetoric of the right”. Otherwise, what Mark said would be true.

    Not so. I have neither confirmed nor denied Mark’s premise. Regarding these recent acts of violence (I take to mean post-health care passage acts of violence) I have 1) asked for evidence that these acts were in fact committed by tea-partiers (evidence which isn’t surfacing), and 2) I have stated that that one 3-percenter blogger guy whose name I forget was indeed calling for people to break windows.

    So I am merely illuminating the evidence, and/or lack thereof, not jumping to conclusions. Many others seem happily politically motivated to be prejudiced against a political minority in order to shame them into not exercising their right to political speech, or demonize them so that no one will listen.

    So I have neither denied, nor confirmed that “there’s any link between these recent acts of violence and the rhetoric of the right.” You’re creating a false choice (a “with us or with the terrorists” sort of thing).

  14. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    To sum up my position:

    Are most or all of these post-health care passage acts of violence the actions of tea-partiers? — maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t know, factually. Neither do you yet.

    If the first premise is true, were these acts motivated by the “rhetoric” of “the right?” — maybe yes, maybe no. I don’t know, factually. Neither do you yet.

    Is it just to condemn individuals who haven’t done anything wrong for the violent actions of other individuals? — hell no.

  15. James Madison
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


    Your position lacks the validity of reasoning that acknowledges historical context, and instead merely reduces all questions to whether or not absolute knowledge exists to support a position you dislike. Plainly, the rhetorical position of the Right today promotes violence; Sarah Palin, said that the right should not surrender to Obama, but should instead “reload.”

    In the Revolutionary War era, patriots used rhetoric about being willing to pay for their goals with blood — and mobs attacked loyalists accused of being unpatriotic.

    In the 1960s, radical leftists used words of rhetorical violence — “off the pigs,” “Bring the war back home,” “Burn, baby burn” — and indeed some of the leftists acted on that insane rhetoric. If a US army recruiting office was bombed in, say, 1969; or if a British port official was tarred and feathered in 1779, and if in both cases there was no reliable eyewitness report on who had committed the violence, a reasonable person, looking at the event in its context, could reasonably conclude, with a very high degree of probability, what the source of the violence was.

    So too today. The far right uses rhetoric of violence, and claims that the Government is illegitimate and must be opposed by any means. This surely promotes anti-government violent behavior, and is thus a threat to America’s fragile democracy. The Tea Baggers see themselves as heirs to the Boston Tea party, and claim my successor by two centuries, Mr. Obama, is intent on destroying freedom; but the Tea Baggers ignore all historical context and reveal great ignorance or great dishonesty, or both. Obama’s stimulus bill was enacted by elected representatives, and it cut taxes for the great majority of Americans. The tea tax protested in my day was passed by an unrepresentative parliament.

  16. dragon
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    As the 2010 recipient of the Golden Teabag ” Silkiest Saliva” award, we present you…


    p.s. It’s got what plants crave.

  17. Hot Knuckle Lover
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    “shit, you liar.”

    Proud of that?

  18. History Lesson
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Anyone here remember Kristallnacht?

  19. dosag
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    What would you expect for us to do? Having lost the election, you’ve given us no recourse but violence.

  20. Niagra Jones
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    This country was founded on violence. Violence IS patriotic.

  21. j.a.m.
    Posted May 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    You’re a moron who (like most people) just dislikes those who don’t share your particular ideology. You’d rather demonize than humanize—which of course is precisely what you accuse others of doing. And so it goes.

  22. Knox
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    While the Taliban appears to have taken credit for this weekend’s attempted car bombing in Times Square, surveillance footage shows a white male in his 40s getting out of the vehicle. Anyone care to wager whether it was Tea Party or Taliban?

  23. Kim
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yup. Looks like another angry white man.

  24. jonn1
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    This conversation is particularly interesting now.

  25. Kim
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I Miss BA. I wonder if he’ll come back once he’s done building the altar in his back yard.

  26. Joe Tarkin
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Like the poor, violence will always be with us. There’s no denying that it’s part of human nature.

  27. Edward
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t know where to put this, but I assume that people have heard that a right wing Christian fundamentalist extremist in Norway killed 91 yesterday, most of whom were children.

  28. Kim
    Posted July 23, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Early reports indicated that Muslims were responsible.

    But now it turns out that the alleged perpetrator wasn’t from an international Muslim extremist group at all, but was rather a right-wing Norwegian nationalist with a history of anti-Muslim commentary and an affection for Muslim-hating blogs such as Pam Geller’s Atlas Shrugged, Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] if there’s violence, it’s all Obama’s fault… He might as well have been throwing those bricks, yelling the n-word, and making those pipe bombs […]

  2. […] Additional material on the growing threat of violence on the right, and how it’s not their fault, can be found here. […]

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