Stephen Broden, a “constitutionalist pastor” from Texas who won the Republican nomination for Texas’ 30th Congressional District, made a vaguely threatening statement at a Tea Party event last year. He described the federal government as “tyrannical” and said that “we have a constitutional remedy. And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”
Yesterday, a political reporter for WFAA in Dallas-Fort Worth asked Broden to explain whether he was actually calling for violence against the federal government. After a “prolonged back-and-forth,” Broden said a violent overthrow is “on the table”:
“If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary,” Broden said, adding the nation was founded on a violent revolt against Britain’s King George III.
Watson asked if violence would be in option in 2010, under the current government.
“The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms,” Broden said, without elaborating. “However, it is not the first option.”
Broden’s comments were chastised by local Republican officials, but they continue to endorse his run for office. Jonathan Neerman, head of the Dallas County Republican Party, said “it is a disappointing, isolated incident,” and that he planned to “discuss” it with the campaign. Ken Emanuelson, a leading tea party organizer in Dallas, said he did not disagree with the “philosophical point” that people had the right to resist a tyrannical government, but added, “do I see our government today anywhere close to that point? No, I don’t.”
Republicans and the national press already made a great deal of commotion over this race, when Broden’s opponent, Eddie Bernice Johnson, became involved in a scandal over the distribution of scholarship money. Broden’s stunning comments seem to deserve at least as much attention.