Streams

Rhetorical Fire

Friday, March 26, 2010

Virginia congressman Tom Perriello ((D 5th)), talks about the recent health care debate and threats made against him and his brother. Then Erick Erickson, editor of Red State and one of the founders of Rebuild the Party, and Emily Bazelon, senior editor of Slate and founding editor of Double X, examine the fiery rhetoric around health care reform.

Guests:

Emily Bazelon, Erick Erickson and Tom Perriello
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Comments [108]

LK from Manhattan

If I'm against the bill does it mean I agree with the right? No. The opposite. I agree with them not at all. I really don't get being an American and not wanting to help take care of America. I love my country, so why would I want to malign other Americans in this way?

Mar. 26 2010 09:51 PM
Anita Mackey from Fairfield CT & the Bronx

Mr. Erickson seemed to approve of the contents of the Patriot Act which included warrentless wiretaps and surveillance of our reading habits (a clear violation of the unreasonable search and seizure provisions of the Bill of Rights) and equated that with protecting our democracy -- which I seem to recall was done in complete secrecy in an unbelievably short time -- while at the same time condemning the passage -- in plain sight and after a year of debate -- of HCR as some form of socialism -- which I might remind him is not synonimous with totalitarianism. He must be kidding but I'm afraid, very afraid he is not.

Mar. 26 2010 04:55 PM
Sylvain Leroux from Manhattan

There was a free and fair election, the public has clearly spoken. The opposition has not honored the electorate's wishes and has stubbornly refused good will cooperation to the new government at a time of profound national and international challenges.

Obama decidedly won the 2008 election. He now steers the course of the nation for the duration of his mandate.

It is time for the opposition to be quiet for a while and demonstrate by their good behavior, rather than their excessive oratory, that they have the national interest at heart.

We are not talking about what terrible example they are setting for the kids. That is how adults resolve their problems? With abusive language, exaggerations, libels, and falsehoods?

If you believe in America, you believe in democracy, they are one and the same. Democracy is a spirit before being a system. Let that spirit move us in brotherhood to solve the world's problems.

There is a point where free speech spills over into sedition. Exaggerators beware!

Mar. 26 2010 12:47 PM
Hank from Brooklyn

I am astonished at how the Republican thinking is fused with Tea Party and further right wing rhetoric. It seems to me that the concerns of government takeover and socialism, have to be addressed in talking points almost campaign style. So that if someone says socialism that is answered by pointing to the public schools, roads, and post office. If its said that this health law is dragging down the economy then its pointed out that we end up paying for the uninsured anyway and better to control the costs in the long run.
It just seems that the anti health care forces boil their argument into simple phrases and that the pro legislation people need to give simple answers back.
I've been worried about this violence ever since the internet talk show host in NJ was encouraging assassinations of judges and congress people. From time to time this show champions contests in dialogue and I wonder if one could be started around these talking points.
I think the Red state commentator even caught Brian a little off guard today. It is clear from the last weeks that there is extremely little dialogue. Where are the points of commonality ?

Mar. 26 2010 12:01 PM
Peg from way off in some rural area of our great NY state

Hey Mark #101 - So you are also from Brooklyn? in NY State?

Welcome to the Empire State! - where we also have plenty of the same loonies in our rural regions - ("This strikes me as a perspective on the Midwest loony fringe by an East Coast intellectual awaaaaaay of in New York. Perhaps New Yorkers need to be aware that citizens of Texas & Kansas & Idaho are used to having these folks in their midst").

There are urban intellectuals and other loony fringes all over our great country. The challenge is - how do we continue to be civil and tolerant despite our differences.

Mar. 26 2010 11:30 AM
Peg - peaceful hippie since the 60's

Yes! Follow the money! Thank you Randy from the Bronx #95.
-Although I don't agree with you about the definition of 60's Hippies. We were and are peaceful people and never would condone the violent acts of left wing Radicals (who were definitely not hippies).

Mar. 26 2010 11:18 AM
Peg

I don't really understand what the Tea Party-ers and the militias et al. want. Do they want to stop paying all taxes? Do they disagree with all programs administered by government?

Will they stop driving on our roads and and provide their own personal water and sewer systems? Will they not use schools and libraries? Will they refuse to take any job that taxpayers fund? Is it OK to get rid of public health administrations and have epidemics run rampant?

In the US, over half of all health insurance policies are funded through some sort of government agency. Shall we revoke ALL funding?(medicare, medicaid, veterans, military, all government jobs (federal state and local - teachers, professors, firefighters, police, lawmakers, county clerks, ... and more...)

Who DESERVES health care? Do some of us deserve it more than others? Do some of us deserve better treatment than others? Do some of us deserve that tax payers pay our way while others have to provide for themselves?

Mar. 26 2010 11:07 AM
Mark Zimmermann from Brooklyn

Brian: As a former Kansan, I really have to wonder about your reference to the events "leading up to" Oklahoma City. This strikes me as a perspective on the Midwest loony fringe by an East Coast intellectual awaaaaaay of in New York. Perhaps New Yorkers need to be aware that citizens of Texas & Kansas & Idaho are used to having these folks in their midst (or perhaps way off in some remote area of the state). The downside of having wide open spaces in much of the US is that it can be peopled by Americans who feel they need to insulate themselves from everybody else in the country. It may sound weird to urban occupants, these fringe types have been tolerated ever since the founding (of the US). Mostly, they do nothing but grouse to each other of how the world is trying to kill them with fluoridation. The thing that worries me is that surburbanites in Virginia now feel safe such malignant stuff.

Mar. 26 2010 11:03 AM
Maybe A. Simpleton from NYC

Why is all this, or parts of it, not being treated as terrorism? A congressman getting postcards with swastikas, anti-semitic "screeds", envelopes with white powder, requiring hazmat teams to rush there and investigate - when you try to push your agenda using threats of violence and acts calculated to induce terror in groups of people - I don't get it - is it not terrorism because the people doing it are not dark skinned and muslim? Does anyone have any illusions that if the thugs were dark-skinned they would indubitably be treated as terrorists? Is there a 'white' pass for terrorists - is that the lesson? The underlying rhetoric of "terrorists" and the tea-baggers is identical - they want the world ordered in particular ways and if it is not, they will do something about it. It is no longer a question of degree when you cross the line from using the N word to sending out envelopes with white powder.

Mar. 26 2010 10:57 AM
Bill Mullen from New Rochelle

TEA-KLANNERS, stop whining.

The neo-conservatives who have taker over the GOP chose not to participate in governing; just as their brothers-in-ignorance, the Sunnis who boycotted the Iraq elections chose not to govern in 2005.

Turn your back, make threats of violence, you are just anti-democratic thugs.
Govern, or shut up.

Mar. 26 2010 10:54 AM
benito from Harlem

HYPOCRICY OF THE LEFT IS SO TRANSPARENT AND EVIDENT

LUCKILY, THE RIGHT REMEMBERS THE WILD SHOUTS OF "DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC" FROM THE CRAZED ANT-BUSH PROTESTERS

THE CHICKEN HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST AND THE LEFT DOESN'T LIKE THE BLOWBACK

BOO HOO

Mar. 26 2010 10:52 AM
the truth from Betty

Divide and conquer! The world is watching us implode!!! and biding their time, Idiots!!

Mar. 26 2010 10:51 AM
Padma from Nj

Yes the GOP is to blame partly for the threats.
When the most loved Conservative says Retreat and Reload or puts the cross-hairs in the map with names of the Dems in the map, it inciting the fringe to take arms. Glenn Beck implying on his show revolution when a legislation passes it does incite people. GOP and its leaders have been doing it for 2 years now.

Mar. 26 2010 10:51 AM
Randy from Bronx

Wait a minute. Didn't your beloved hippies of the 60s resort to violence to get their point across. The difference here is that it's not a bunch of young people. I guess it's true 30 is the new 20.

Though the left did resort to violence in the 60s and said outrageous things about George Bush earlier this decade I disagree with the Republican Congressman on the show that used the argument that just because one group did something it makes it OK for another group to do it. 2nd graders use that logic. And why Air America Radio was frequently just as awful as Hannity and Limbaugh.

And for all those interested in violence congress is small potatos. Follow the money.

Mar. 26 2010 10:49 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

What a foolish statement by Erickson and the other right-wing reactionaries:

"The American experiment has failed."

That is assuming an endpoint or conclusion that is predetermined. An experiment is by definition a procedure that tests "unknown effects" and therefore no outcome is guaranteed.

Just because you are a reactionary right-winger with a particular notion of how the U.S. should be, doesn't mean that you can predict its structure or the path the country follows because concrete reality determines those facts, not just your personal wishes and desires.

Unfortunately, theory, scientific method (including observation), rationality are jettisoned during the course of their unbalanced, reactionary, fear-based madness.

Mar. 26 2010 10:49 AM
Bob from Pelham

You don't have to go back in history -- only a few weeks ago a self-described right winger flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas to protest "big government". That wasn't a rhetorical threat -- real people were killed and injured, whose only "crime" was to show up for work.

Mar. 26 2010 10:48 AM
Barbara from Monmouth Beach, NJ

I visit Israel a lot, and there it is generally agreed that incendiary rhetoric led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Even here in the US: "In the U.S., liberal Jews who support the peace process assailed their right-wing opponents for their past rhetoric, which leaders such as Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism said "helped create a climate that allowed this actual assassination to take place." http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_n34_v112/ai_17829286/

Mar. 26 2010 10:46 AM
Spot from NYC

This may be helpful to those attempting to understand the new Health Care Bill:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/91/Armageddon_flowchart.png

Mar. 26 2010 10:45 AM
a. g. from hudson county nj

jeremiah wright never spoke of reloading or killing white people or anyone. he spoke about racism,slavery and imperialism. things which either never happened or don't matter in the convoluded minds of neo- con fools. historical asymetry never is far from a conservative neuron.

Mar. 26 2010 10:44 AM
superf88

I'm disappointed the Tea Party let itself get taken over and formed by its lowest common denomination.

I liked some of their original ideas.

Mar. 26 2010 10:44 AM
George from Astoria

By the way, starting two wars to bring Democracy to the Middle East IS big government. Were where all those people during the run up to the wars?? They are all a bunch of hypocrites.

Mar. 26 2010 10:42 AM
benito from Harlem

CUBA'S CASTRO CHEERS OBAMACARE 'MIRACLE'!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Cuban-leader-applauds-US-apf-124808403.html?x=0&.v=1

Dems are such phonies - they called Bush Hitler, but now they one when their prophet's socialist healthcare plan is criticized - wha! wha !

Mar. 26 2010 10:42 AM
Robert from NYC

Yes we said that about Bush but did we say get your guns ready!!!! There's the big difference. We wanted to get him out of office thru possible legal methods, no one said get out your guns and go after these people or if anyone did it was a few of the nuts not whole groups with posters and, in fact, carrying guns. REmember that a month or so ago, those people at a rally with guns?

Mar. 26 2010 10:41 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

What about the comparison to the 1960s? The difference between rt wing threats and those on the left is that the right have history of acting on the threats. All the assassinations in the 60s were people on the left.

Mar. 26 2010 10:41 AM
Sam from Manhattan

People on the left did argue that Bush was illegitimate vis a vis the 2000 election.

Mar. 26 2010 10:40 AM
Laurie Spiegel from Tribeca

The level of extremism also has to do with the levels of desparation and fear of many people who are unemployed, forclosed or on the brink of either, whose emotions are being being exploited and directed for financial and political purposes.

Mar. 26 2010 10:40 AM
Carrie from Brooklyn

Isn't the difference between "typical" death threats against public figures like Limbaugh and what is going on now the confluence of rising threats of violence among Tea Partiers and other fringe figures with Republican leaders egging them on...like Michele Bauchman saying people need to be "armed and dangerous" against the government? Like Michael Steele saying Nancy Pelosi should be in front of a firing squad in November??

Democratic party leaders NEVER said things like that in the Bush years.

Mar. 26 2010 10:39 AM
Bruce from Highland PArk, NJ

The violence is now an accepted pattern of conservative politcs. First the Gucci riot by Republican staffers during the Florida recount. Then threats against federal judges that former Supreme Court Justice O'Conner is worrying about. Floww that with the shooting of the abortion provider. Now, the threats. Conservatives are convincing themselves that violence is "understnadable". The next step is that the GOP will officially endorse it.

Mar. 26 2010 10:39 AM
Nick from Upper West Side

A huge proportion of the American people did not want the Iraq war, and there were endless demonstrations against it. Yet the Bush administration ignored them and pushed it right through, spending a hell of a lot more money than the damn health care bill will cost and breaking Constitutional law right and left. So who's acting like a totalitarian state? God....screw 'em all.

Mar. 26 2010 10:39 AM
Mark Zimmermann from Brooklyn

Erickson seemed to see this right-wing death threat business as Democrat's comeupance for smearing the Bush Adiminstration for getting us into Iraq. This may be Erickson's But the lack of willingness by Republican/Conservative leaders to cross their base only demonstrates the power vacuum by the Right. NOBODY's really leading, they are just trying to keep themselves at the front of the pack (or lynchmob).

Mar. 26 2010 10:38 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

This is the result of the dumbing down of the American populace with our lousy primary education and infantilization of society. Now a bunch of adults who have little understanding of history and civics (and the need for tolerance and diversity) think it's normal to act like adolescents. Or, more properly, to act out in a most childish way, i.e., I lost the game (election) and therefore I'm going to have a temper tantrum (spit on elected official). The fact that the Republican party and its media outlet (Fox) are egging on intimidation, violence and racist behavior is outrageous, and they must be called out on it.

Mar. 26 2010 10:38 AM
jacqueline from Connecticut

I wonder if there would have been these types of violent threats from the Democrats if the bill did not pass.

I just don't think so.

Political comments and frustration, yes, but not rhetoric that invokes violence. I am sick over the actions taken against Perrillo's family. All Republicans need to stand up to CLEARLY and FIRMLY state that this type of thing is wrong and cannot be encouraged.

Mar. 26 2010 10:38 AM
Callie from Downtown

Rush Limbaugh is also an extreme figure who's practically begging for that kind of attention. It legitimizes him, in his point of view (I bet).

A vote on health care, however, is not an extreme measure. Especially the kind of bill the Democrats came up with.

Mar. 26 2010 10:38 AM
Art from Mantoloking, NJ

Brian,
Yeterday I listened to Terry Gross interview Mr. potok from the Southern Poverty Law Center. They talked about a upcoming rally in DC organized by a sect of the Minute Men Militia and they called for people to come Armed. Has anything further been reported.

Mar. 26 2010 10:38 AM
Zen from South Salem

If I go in to a Movie theator and yell something totaly untrue like "FIRE!!!! "
I would get in big trouble.

Why is it that the talking heads like Limbaugh and Beck shout out totaly untrue statements ,create a panic reation and hve no responsibility for their statements.

Mar. 26 2010 10:37 AM
James from Brooklyn

I think the protesters see the health care bill as a sweeping change that connects to changes such as the financial collapse and the recession and, arguably, a political collapse by the republicans. Also, they're speaking from parts of the country that have been hit far harder by the economy than many "blue" areas - devastated by manufacturing losses, etc. I think they connect these economic, demographic, and political shifts in ways health care supporters don't, looking at just what the bill says.

Mar. 26 2010 10:37 AM
Robert from NYC

Look, this is not one of those wimpy gray area issues, this is a black and white issue, Armageddon IS extreme by definition. Health care reform being Armageddon is just stupid but scary. Scary to think that if these folks think of it as Armageddon they could rise up in violence and caos takes over.

Mar. 26 2010 10:37 AM
Leslie Duval from New Jersey

Of course not re: totalitarianism! If it is, then what is the socialism that bailed out the bank debt? All taxpayers will be paying for that socialism for quite some time. Why do so-called conservatives decry helping so many people achieve health care security, hear pleas for money from their religious leaders to pay for the "good work" with the poor; meanwhile the same people would now choose to leave our poor, unemployed and the working poor with no healthcare option other than an ER that BOTH sides agree is extremely expensive treatment? The right appears to be all smoke and mirrors with nothing to do but incite their followers to attain media money points.

Mar. 26 2010 10:36 AM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I do wish that someone would point out that the members of Congress (Randy Neugebauer & Joe Wilson) who yell out invectives are not simply interrupting (as the NYTimes put it yesterday an article: "They Can’t Wait to Tell You"). They are inciting a break with the normal process of democracy. It seems to have been intentional--as though they are broadcasting to a specific audience, "I am with you, I'll be your voice."

Mar. 26 2010 10:35 AM
skip from Maplewood NJ

The media leaves unchallenged that the anger and violence comes from both sides. No rational quantitative analysis can support this.

The right points to anti-war demonstrations of forty years ago – which with a few exceptions was either non-violent or directed at institutions rather than people. In the last thirty years how many have been killed or physically threatened by the left?

Mar. 26 2010 10:35 AM
Person

But the thing about poking a hornet's nest is that one or more of those hornets can sting you. And if you're unlucky, kill you.

Mar. 26 2010 10:33 AM
LM

For some reason I can't get REM out of my head..

"it's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine"

Mar. 26 2010 10:33 AM
ellsworth@nyc.rr.com from UWS

New term - TeaHadist

Mar. 26 2010 10:33 AM
Nick from Upper West Side

These are people who think wars are OK and are to be encouraged, but health care is not. Who needs people like that.

Mar. 26 2010 10:33 AM
louis netter from Yonkers

Lets not forget. THe militia reference is valid. Remember that they ran out of bullets quickly after Obama got elected. You are right on Brian.

Mar. 26 2010 10:33 AM
George from Astoria

Bush was called Hitler because he conducted preemptive strike (similar to blitkreig) Guantanamo bay, (similar to concentration camps) and used the terror of 9/11 to start a all out war in the Middle East (the burning of the Reichstag started German takeover of Europe).It made more sense to call Bush Hitler than to call our President Obama Hitler for wanting to give Health Care to the citizens of America. Bush deserved it. Obama doesn't. Saying a black man supports Nazi ideology is plain ridiculous.

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
Adria from manhattan

what upsets me so much right now is when they say how terrible it is that healthcare is 16% of the GDP, it's a take over etc.... What about the military spending!?! More than 50%!! And that's not a take over?

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Right, how dare the Democrats use these rare parliamentary maneuvers to get the bill through! That's only OK when Republicans do it! (which they did a couple of dozen times when they had the majority)

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
RLewis from bowery

Doesn't the media just love fueling this fire? They should be careful what kind of monster they are feeding. It's sad that public radio plays right into it. I thought this was the kind of stuff we avoid regular radio for and come to npr for something different.

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
Spot from NYC

I sent the following email to John Boehner last weekend, needless to say I have not heard back.

Dear Congressman Boehner,

I write to you not as a Republican or a Democrat but as a fellow American. I was deeply distressed by reports that certain protesters assailed members of the Congressional Black Caucus with racial epithets on Saturday. I was particularly saddened to hear that any American would say such a thing to the likes of John Lewis, who has proved his devotion to the highest ideals of our nation to an extent few of us can even imagine.

Therefore, I urge you, as the House Republican Leader, to make clear that such actions are intolerable by introducing a resolution condemning these actions. While it is appropriate that people feel strongly about important issues, no issue is so important that it justifies committing acts of such hatred against men so undeserving. I support the protesters rights to protest, but it should be made clear to them that their actions are not considered acceptable by any responsible members of society.

As the House Republican Leader you could insist that we must respect our fellow Americans, recognize the sincerity of their commitments, and admire their achievements even if we may disagree on particular issues.

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
RAI from Manhattan

"Armageddon" sick and tired of the outright lies and extremist rhetoric emanating from the right wing.

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
Alan Rapp from Brooklyn

Erickson just knowingly fabricated Representative Alan Grayson's quote that Republicans want people to "die." He said on the House floor that the Republican plan is "Don't get sick" and "If you do get sick, die quickly."

Mar. 26 2010 10:32 AM
Betty Anne from UES

Brian thank you for doing this show. Just yesterday a man from Tennessee got angry at an Obama bumper sticker and purposefully crashed into a car with a child in it.

When is too much too much?

The big difference I see here is that during Bush's term we were arrested for protesting. Everything was stymied then, even the media refused to cover our war protests. This seems to be all over the news. If it bleeds it leads.

Mar. 26 2010 10:31 AM
Mayo

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Armageddon.
Armageddon who?
Armageddon outta here if this Healthcare reform passes!

Mar. 26 2010 10:31 AM
J G Jones from Philadelphia

Erickson should just change the name of his blog to RED MEAT.com. Typical of the neocons, he throws gasoline on the flames of right wing rage, then comes on your show and plays the meek mouse who is wronged by the Big Bad Lefty Media.

Mar. 26 2010 10:31 AM
Mike from Croton on Hudson

They should be throwing rocks through George W's window, if it wasn't for him messing things up so bad the Republicans would not have lost power.

Mar. 26 2010 10:31 AM
Mike from Chelsea

There's no public option. So it's obviously not even a small "takeover", let alone one for 1/6 of the economy, as Erickson claims. There is a mandate of buying some form of *private* insurance, which the industry wanted, along with tax breaks for small businesses. So do you think "corporatist" might be a more accurate term than "socialist"?

And when Erickson repeats the talking point (based on a CNN poll of 59% against the bill), he selectively ignores a follow-up question which found that 43% oppose the bill on the grounds that it is too liberal, while 13% oppose it on the grounds that it is not liberal enough!

The very CNN poll he cites shows that
- 52% say they *like it or it doesn't go far enough*
- 43% oppose it on the grounds that it is too liberal

Another question in the poll:

"Who do you trust more to handle major changes in the country's health care system - Barack Obama or the Republicans in Congress?"
Obama 51%, Republicans 39%

Mar. 26 2010 10:30 AM
Graham from new york city


You lost the Civil War. The country is not going to go back to the feudal agricultural society of the Old South. You were wrong then and you are still wrong.

Mar. 26 2010 10:30 AM
Bill from NYC

Ugly stuff, but as a Democrat and Obama supporter I would see that this is the greatest thing that could happen for us. The Rep hyperbole and the ugly rhetoric, once held up in the light of day will be rejected by the majority. Strategically, we've got the Reps in a box. We should poke em with a stick and keep them barking.

Mar. 26 2010 10:30 AM
Sarah from Harlem

*What* did Erickson say happens "every time the leftists get together," i.e., "if this were a free trade meeting"? I'm hesitant to say it here in case it's inaccurate, not wanting to spread this stuff, but I *think* it was something really irresponsible.

Mar. 26 2010 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

Oddly I think it more toward fascism, corporate fascism. I mean it gets fuzzy. Totalitarianism is found on both sides with different ideologies be they socialist/communist or fascist. Those on the right have a more fascist ideology and on the left a more socialist/communist one. Seems, however, the right is more violent and therefore more dangerous, very scary.

Mar. 26 2010 10:29 AM
Person

So Erickson concedes that a repeat of Olkahoma City could happen Oklahoma City because of the "rhetoric on both sides" - what *possible* motivation would the "left" have to aim violence against the government, considering that they are achieving their policy goals?

Mar. 26 2010 10:29 AM
Dave from Wall Street

When your guest, and GOP lawmakers, make statements like "it's understandable that there is a lot of anger out there" it gives a nudge and a wink that violence against the government is not only permissible, but desirable. Boehner got way too much credit yesterday for "toning down the rhetoric" when his comments were really just more of the same.

Mar. 26 2010 10:29 AM
Shar in AZ from Arizona

RE: the Republican Talking Points, when they state "takeover of 1/5 of American economy" (so-called "Obamacare")why are they not asked to explain the "FACTS" of such a statement. Why are the talking points never questioned during an interview. This health insurance reform bill is very moderate, nowhere near so called socialism. The Republicans are continuing to scream like two-year-olds because their efforts to block the bill failed. After all the aim of the bill was to extend affordable health care to all American citizens. Why has that been deemed revolutionary???

Mar. 26 2010 10:29 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

"God DAMN America!" - Rev Jeremiah Wright

"Too many of your [Pres Obama's] military advisors are implicated in torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace. Your Justice Department operates at the zenith of injustice, defending Bush Administration criminality in U.S. Courtrooms.
"I wrote to you earlier suggesting that if you did not investigate the crimes of the Bush Administration, you would be viewed as their accessory. Sadly, war crimes and torture are now committed with your name on them." - Fmr Rep Cynthia McKinney

"Peace is not patriotic. Peace is subversive, because peace anticipates a very different world than the one in which we live--a world where the U.S. would have no place. . . .
"The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus." - Columbia University professor Nicholas De Genova

Let's not get holier-than-thou: hysterical, inflamatory, and downright stupid rhetoric is hardly the exclusive province of the Republican Party.

Mar. 26 2010 10:28 AM
a. g. from hudson county nj

one cannot have a conversation with right wing goons.

Mar. 26 2010 10:28 AM
tony from NYC

Well, about 51% of the population did not want Bush as president in 2000. i would say that hijacking of democracy was the real end of the American experiment, if you are going to insist on the idea.

Mar. 26 2010 10:28 AM
michael from brooklyn

@Greg, Thomas who? They just took him out of texas textbooks, so many americans might not even know the name in the future.

Mar. 26 2010 10:28 AM
Seth from Astoria

1/6th of the national economy? So, health care, Insurance companies, equal 1/6th of everything? That's a lot, and I don't want a small group of powerful companies controling that much. Sorry, the balance of power is starting to level out by passing this reform.

I don't mind that apple controls the other 5/6ths though.

Mar. 26 2010 10:27 AM
maria

I think this guy has amnesia. if he thinks a majority of people wanted the wars we are involved in ?? it is sickmaking that people like him are in power.

Mar. 26 2010 10:27 AM
Gaines Hubbell from Troy, NY

Language and communication is very powerful and can, undeniably, incite people to anger and violence. Mr. Erickson is avoiding the issue by charging that the Democratic party engages in the same rhetoric. Rather than admitting that Republican rhetoric is culpable, he is implicitly saying that Republican rhetoric is culpable and that the Democrats were culpable first. At what point do we expect people to take responsibility? Please don't let him bury the issue with rhetorical fallacies.

Mar. 26 2010 10:26 AM
skip from Maplewood NJ

"no matter how much they scream, the Dem's will never listen."

Screaming is not the method of civil discourse. If the tea party (and their ilk) want to engage in a rational, fact-based discussion then there is the beginnings of a discussion.

But hate-fueled, fact-free screaming does nothing productive

Mar. 26 2010 10:26 AM
louis netter from Yonkers

What specifically do these people want? It is not clarified. Do they represent general dissatisfaction or what? There is no comparison with rhetoric on the left and right. The right are a politically manipulated group. They have lost sight of what their platform is. It is irrational and that is the most dangerous aspect of this knuckledragging movement.

Mar. 26 2010 10:26 AM
Moshe Feder from Flushing, NY

Could Brian ask his Republican guest how it's "the end of the American experiment" or is "creeping socialism" to have a health care plan that basically duplicates the centrist ideas the Republicans proposed in the 90s. That is, a plan dependent on free-enterprise for-profit insurance companies, rather than an actual government-run plan as in the well-known 'socialist paradises' of Canada and Great Britain?

Mar. 26 2010 10:26 AM
Debra from Montclair

56% didn't want health care

didn't about 58% of the people say that the Iraq war is a mistake too?

Mar. 26 2010 10:26 AM
roni from nj

this is really scary. this is definitely racist at its core. i don't understand how the violent threats can be taken so lightly. i wish this extreme movement would actually look at a history book instead of just donning some colonial garb. no one is educating themselves on American history or health care policy. and no one is offering a reasonable alternative to the policies they loathe so much...

Mar. 26 2010 10:25 AM
Robert from New York

The current republican representative is disingenuous -- he faults the democratic process for inciting violence. The health care reform -- which is primarily an attempt to bring health care to millions of uninsured -- was voted in by a majority of congress, not "pushed through", and to say that "anger is understandable" -- these words are PRECISELY the absurd rhetoric that right is using. The farther to the right the debate stretches, the more ridiculous the middle becomes in which we debate. Clearly the republican tone is far-right and inciting.

By the way, what is the alternative the republicans offer? Back to the good old days of pre-existing conditions? Repubs were in power for the better part of eight years, why didn't they enact their grand plan for health reform then? What drivel.

Mar. 26 2010 10:25 AM
Diana from Wanaque, NJ

A significant percentage of the US popluation did NOT want to invade Iraq, and we felt like nobody was listening!!!

Mar. 26 2010 10:25 AM
Chris B. from UWS

This guy Ericson is a total moron.

First of all, Representative Grayson was correct! Policy has consequences, and the consequence of not providing insurance to those who cannot afford or get it are essentially allowing these folks to die.

The difference between Republican and Democratic criticisms of the government are as follows:

Democrats criticize the policies that are enacted.

Republicans criticize policies that do not exist, or are not being proposed.

And besides, attempting to defend yourself on these preposterous claims by pointing out that liberals hated George Bush is laughable. George Bush initiated two wars, tortured people to death, and regularly ignored Congress and the constitution.

This interview makes me want to vomit.

Mar. 26 2010 10:25 AM
Robert from NYC

Marching in the streets is okay but when you talk about getting guns ready and the end of democracy they are stirring up emotions that can cause people getting killed.

Mar. 26 2010 10:24 AM
Jesse from Brooklyn

This is the least responsible interview I’ve heard on your show in a long time. Brian, you need to take this guy on. Its all escalation and equivalency and no effort to tone down the debate. Don’t let him say “you guys did it first.” He needs to condemn the right’s behavior ad let the Democrats deal with their own miscreants.

Mar. 26 2010 10:24 AM
Stephen Klein from Brooklyn

I am terrified. Are we looking at the end of Weimar? Are street mobs next?

Mar. 26 2010 10:24 AM
Betty Anne from UES

See he repeated the rhetoric that 56% of American people don't want this.

He is GENERALIZING. American's did not like that bill but they do (the majority) favor a PUBLIC OPTION. Why does he not add that if he is favor of the majority?

Mar. 26 2010 10:24 AM
michael from brooklyn

Ok, I disagreed with an unwarranted war, the passage of a bill that cut down on our fundamental rights, and the torturing of prisoners, but I never ran around saying kill congress or the president. Protest all you like, if you don't like what's happening, vote in November. Too much of this hate is all based on crazy raciest views, not politics.

Mar. 26 2010 10:23 AM
Barbara from Monmouth Beach, NJ

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) spoke of the Civil War as “the Great War of Yankee Aggression” and Brian said "I wonder what his district is like?" Well, it is NOT unusual in the USA South, among life-long Southerners, to call the War Between the States (or Civil War) "The War of Northern Aggression". In fact, over the years, when visiting the South, we've been told -- not only was/is it the War of Northern Agression -- but it is on PAUSE!!! And they were serious.

Ever notice, the first flag you see when leaving the Richmond, Va. airport is a Confederate flag? It's technically on private property next to the airport, but it is the first flag I see. Not to mention, lots of drivers have Confederate flags. I always feel like I'm in a foreign country.

Mar. 26 2010 10:23 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Tyranny? The Dems won the 2008 election fair'n'square, and got the health care bill through the legislative process. Sorry, tea partiers, that's democracy not tyranny.

Mar. 26 2010 10:23 AM
Bob from Manhattan

Brian,

You really are locked into the liberal mindset. Both parties use inflammatory rhetoric. Is this grist for your program? You don't think people are angry about healthcare "reform," just like they were angry about the Iraq war?

Mar. 26 2010 10:22 AM
mouce

Since when is an up-or-down vote - after a 60 vote cloture motion - "pushing" HCR? Not to mention that a solid plurality, now a solid majority from the polling O've been watching, is indeed in favor.

Mar. 26 2010 10:22 AM
jane from hudson valley, NY

Please ask some of these people "Why is making certain all Americans have Health Care is so Bad? Isn't the prospect of all Americans being healthy better, even if some of the healthy people are people we do not like?"

Mar. 26 2010 10:21 AM
Greg from NYC

Totalitarian tactics?!?!

"Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%."
-Thomas Jefferson

Mar. 26 2010 10:21 AM
Jon from Astoria

I can't believe Erickson is lying as baldly as he is. Obama was elected. The representatives were elected. Erickson, stop your idiotic rhetoric.

Mar. 26 2010 10:21 AM
Jane from New Jersey

Is the redstate.com guy really equating attacks on himself and other pundits with attacks on elected members of congress? Ego check!!!!

Mar. 26 2010 10:20 AM
the truth from Betty

It wasn't "pushed" through! The repubs had every opportunity to participate...I watched the televised meetings!

Mar. 26 2010 10:19 AM
the truth from Betty

Wonder what would happen if the "other Americans" take to the street as well?

Mar. 26 2010 10:18 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Is it really possible to be even handed when threats are made against elected officials? Erick Erickson? Do we have to listen to more disengenuous rationalizations about behavior that violates the foundation of our democracy? How is it that every time a President is elected from the Democratic party, Republicans try to delegitimize the other party's right to rule. See Krugman today.

Mar. 26 2010 10:18 AM
mouce

False Equiv Patrol: Eric Cantor's office "shooting" was not that. First, it was his consultant's, not his office; secondly, it was an accident. According to police a bullet fired into the air came down, penetrating the window but not the venetian blinds. And this was long before the HCR vote.

Mar. 26 2010 10:17 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

A seated member of Congress referred to the Civil War as a war of Yankee aggression? It says a lot of the Republican Party.
I find it interesting the sole Republican (Eric Cantor) who claims he was targeted was in Richmond “Gun City” Virginia. Bullets flying through Richmond are just about as common as birds (Ask the guest, he will confirm... 5th most dangerous city in America over 100,000).
The Republicans and Tea Party will not be happy until there is blood on their hands.

Mar. 26 2010 10:16 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Social conservatives have stood in the way of every single progressive program in history: civil rights legislation, women's suffrage, integration of the military, public school integration, Medicare, Social Security, disability protection. And always kicking and screaming along the way that each step was the end of ci...vilized society and America as we know it. Welcome, Healthcare -- you're now in good company.

Mar. 26 2010 10:16 AM
mary

The hyperbolic language and now threats of personal harm we have been hearing around the health reform debate as well as the clear demise of civility and respect in our chambers of government emanates very certainly from the Republican side of the country - the heartiest seeds were planted during the campaign when the likes of Palin and McCain refused to distance themselves from the repugnant behavior, vile threats and idiotic claims of some of their supporters, although McCain feebly attempted to do so when it was too late. You reap what you sow and it is mainly the Republicans have sown a toxic batch of seeds in our country. Shame on them.

Mar. 26 2010 10:16 AM
Bill Mullen from New Rochelle

And how about Ms. "Death Panels," Gov. Palin:
“Commonsense Conservatives And Lovers of America Don’t Retreat — Instead Reload”

This is totalitarian behavior, bordering on brownshirt behavior.
The whipping up of the semi-literate superstitious people who wear Klan Robes, invoke Cofederate slogans, attend tea-bag parties, and/or get their news from FOX; this is where the neo-conservatives who have taken over the GOP have truly crossed the line of honesty, decency, and Americanism,

http://www.topix.net/us/2010/03/reload-pistol-packing-palins-perverted-pretext

Mar. 26 2010 10:15 AM
Steven Paul Mark from United States

Whoever is in power baits the other. This is no different than the 8 years of Bush when Democrats--pliticians and partisans--were spitting blood, making threats and posting addresses We need a leader somewhere in the WH or Congress who will insist upon and practice bipartisanship. Otherwise we're headed for a civil war. This will just happen again when the ttables are turned.

Mar. 26 2010 10:15 AM
Michele from Belmar, NJ

The sound bite referencing "Yankee aggression" & Armageddon is unbelievable! If this wasn't all so scary, it would be comical. My positive thoughts are with everyone who has to endure these threats & attacks.

Mar. 26 2010 10:14 AM
Marissa from Manhattan, NY

So, who are the REAL terrorists we should be afraid of? Closemindedness and ignorance are the war on terror we should be fighting - we should invest more in our education system, less in defense, especially when those we should be defending ourselves from are within the country, not overseas.

Mar. 26 2010 10:13 AM
RLewis from bowery

Democrats have the higher ground and public sympathy right now, but if they cry too much, don't they risk losing our support?

Mar. 26 2010 10:12 AM
Betty Anne from UES

This is racism pure and simple. It's absolutely disgusting. Republicans and Fox news are inciting this violence.

What will it take for these "leaders" to stand up and own up to what is really happening. In general these tea party members seem to be ill-informed and just plain angry. Republicans could easily play on fear during the Bush years because of 9/11, now they are using fear or fuel anger and hate.

The Cantor office shooting is turning out to be a hoax and this all seems to be one-sided.

Mar. 26 2010 10:12 AM
JT from Long Island

Would these threats and violent acts be considered domestic terrorism?

Mar. 26 2010 10:11 AM
the truth from Betty

The repubs and there followers are exhibiting behaviour that is extremely volatile and non productive! The hatred and language that they have reserved for indoor use anduse among their peers is spilling out! I suspect this is not entirely about healthcare! Armageddon?? Ridiculous over the top behaviour.

Mar. 26 2010 10:10 AM
jeff pappas from Ct.

A large part of the Neocons base believe in the Rapture and other Christian based Biblical tales. Separation of church and state should extend to political comments and beliefs.
Can anyone see the similarity to the fiery retoric in the middle east, lets try Not to go that way , Please

Mar. 26 2010 10:07 AM

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