Yesterday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) falsely charged that his office was “directly threatened” in a gun attack. Cantor used the incident to provide partisan cover to his unruly GOP colleagues, who have been pandering to tea party activists with increasingly unhinged and extreme rhetoric.
Last weekend, as the House vote on health reform legislation neared, Republican lawmakers whipped tea party crowds into an angry mob. For instance, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) spoke to the crowd with a megaphone, conjuring up debunked conspiracy theories about government spying into medical records and decrying what he called “tyranny.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) held up a picture of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the crowd, mocking it and “slapping” it. Throughout the day, the tea party protesters accosted Democratic members of Congress with racial and homophobic slurs, and one protester even spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).
Cantor asserted that no lawmaker “would incite threats.” However, ThinkProgress has compiled a short snapshot of Republican lawmakers speeches to angry tea party crowds throughout the year, using extremely violent rhetoric. The compilation below features Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and King:
MCCAUL: They fought against tyranny and oppressive taxes, do that sound familiar? We’re continuing that revolution right here in Austin, Texas today. Thomas Jefferson said the Tree of Liberty will be fed by the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the modern day patriots. […]* * * * *
BARTON: What are the homeland security people calling us now? AUDIENCE: Domestic terrorists! Terrorists! BARTON: Welcome right-wing activists — is that what we are? AUDIENCE: Extremists! BARTON: Yeah extreme, well I’m going to get me a button.
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AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’m a proud right-wing terrorist. … HERGER: Amen god bless you, there’s a great American.
* * * * *
BACHMANN: I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.
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KING: If I could start a country with a bunch of people it would be the folks standing out here the last few days. Let’s hope we don’t have to do that. Let’s beat that other side to a pulp. Let’s take them out, let’s chase them down.