On Thursday, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) referred to the government as a “gangster government,” telling a group of conservative activists, “We’re on to them. We’re on to this gangster government. And we are not going to let them have their way.” The following day, President Clinton — who has drawn parallels between the Oklahoma City bombing incident in 1995 and the current atmosphere of right-wing, anti-government hatred — took aim at Bachmann’s comments. “They are not gangsters. They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”
Clinton said people involved with “hatriot” groups like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters may take the wrong lessons from irresponsible rhetoric. “Ninety-nine percent of them will never do anything they shouldn’t do, but there are people who advocate violence and anticipate violence,” he warned. Fortunately, some of Bachmann’s conservative colleagues are heeding Clinton’s warning. This morning, during an appearance on Meet The Press, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — also a strong supporter of the Tea Parties — refused to endorse Bachmann’s “gangster government” rhetoric:
GREGORY: Do those kinds of words, April 19th is coming up, which is the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, when an anti-government person who was obviously a sociopath attacked the federal government. When you describe a “gangster government,” do you think that is over the line and inappropriate in our political discourse?
BLACKBURN: It would not have been a choice in words that I made. And what we have to realize is that any time you have large public gatherings, whether it is a group from the left, or a group from the right, you’re going to have lots of individuals with different opinions who show up.
This wasn’t the first time Bachmann has described the government as “gangster.” In June of 2009, Bachman took to the floor of the House and declared, “We have gangster government when the federal government has set up a new cartel and private businesses now have to go begging with their hand out to their local — hopefully well-politically connected — congressman or their senator so they can buy a peace offering for that local business.” In May of 2009, Bachmann compared Washington, D.C. to “enemy lines” and urged her supporters to become “armed and dangerous” and fight a “revolution” against cap and trade legislation.