Today’s big news story, along with the epic debate on health care taking place in the Senate, is the Democrats’ claim that some of their Congressmen have been threatened with violence after voting for the government’s takeover of health care. Steny Hoyer claims that more than ten House members “have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment.” He also admits that figure is “just an estimate,” which I guess means he made it up. Nor is it clear what “other forms of harassment” means; angry phone calls from constituents, perhaps.
We condemn political violence in virtually all circumstances; certainly in all circumstances that could arise in our democracy. Threats of violence, sadly, are not uncommon in politics; let alone “harassment.” Even insignificant conservatives like us have been threatened with violence on several occasions, and the linked article notes that Jim Bunning received threats after he temporarily held up the extension of unemployment benefits a few weeks ago.
The current threats (assuming they are real, as I assume some of them are) are being played up in the press because the Democrats want to dampen the anger that has erupted over their adoption of a government medicine program through a series of legislative maneuvers that are in some respects unprecedented. It is important for the Democrats and their press minions to understand that there are many millions of Americans who regard Obamacare not just as misguided public policy, but as an illegitimate usurpation of power. I am one of the many millions who are outraged at the Left’s attempt to destroy the private health care system that has served my family so well, and who regard Obamacare as illegitimate.
As for the threats, we will take them more seriously if they result in the cancellation of a public appearance by a liberal due to security concerns. But that never happens to liberals, only to conservatives. It happened again last night. That was in Canada, of course; the home of government medicine and little regard for free speech. No coincidence, that.
In large part, the current focus on threats of violence is aimed at the tea partiers, just as they were accused, apparently falsely, of racism. It is not hard to understand the Democrats’ motives; the tea parties are the most vital force, and likely the most popular force, in American politics, so smearing them is mandatory. But anyone who has attended a tea party rally will consider laughable the idea that the movement somehow tends toward violence.
The tea parties, and conservative pundits’ reaction to them, was the subject of Glenn Reynolds’ interview of Jonah Goldberg on PJTV. It’s a fun conversation between two very smart guys. Glenn posed the question, “why are so many conservative pundits wimps?” But he made clear that he wasn’t talking about web-based pundits like us. Or him.
It is important for conservative leaders to embrace the tea party movement, and it seems that nearly all do. For what it is worth, I do not consider David Brooks to be a conservative leader. To be a leader, you need to have at least a handful of followers.
The fact is that, unlike conservatives, modern liberals have had little quarrel with political violence. This is best demonstrated by their support for card check legislation, the entire point of which it to abolish the secret ballot so that union goons can use the threat of violence to extend union power and thereby enrich the Democratic Party. (If you doubt the truth of that proposition, try to think of another reason why the Democrats want to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections.) The beating of Kenneth Gladrey by union goons–more specifically, the lack of any interest in it by anyone in the Democratic Party, the media, or on the Left generally–shows how hypocritical the Democrats’ current pacifism is. If the day ever comes when conservative groups start hiring goons, we can take the liberals’ purported fears of violence more seriously.
Here is the silver lining: it may be quite a while before Democrats resume quoting Thomas Jefferson’s most offensive and delusional aphorism. Jefferson was, after all, the founder of the Democratic Party.
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