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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

 
Policing Their Own

by digby


Lest anyone think it's only Democrats who are concerned about right wing violent rhetoric and imagery, remember this ad? And it was run in a state that cares as much about guns as Texas:



I think she asked a good question and it was brave of her to do it.

There were other Republicans who spoke out, but they got swiftly punished:

It was the middle of a tough primary contest, and Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) had convened a small meeting with donors who had contributed thousands of dollars to his previous campaigns. But this year, as Inglis faced a challenge from tea party-backed Republican candidates claiming Inglis wasn't sufficiently conservative, these donors hadn't ponied up. Inglis' task: Get them back on the team. "They were upset with me," Inglis recalls. "They are all Glenn Beck watchers." About 90 minutes into the meeting, as he remembers it, "They say, 'Bob, what don't you get? Barack Obama is a socialist, communist Marxist who wants to destroy the American economy so he can take over as dictator. Health care is part of that. And he wants to open up the Mexican border and turn [the US] into a Muslim nation.'" Inglis didn't know how to respond.

As he tells this story, the veteran lawmaker is sitting in his congressional office, which he will have to vacate in a few months. On June 22, he was defeated in the primary runoff by Spartanburg County 7th Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy, who had assailed Inglis for supposedly straying from his conservative roots, pointing to his vote for the bank bailout and against George W. Bush's surge in Iraq. Inglis, who served six years in Congress during the 1990s as a conservative firebrand before being reelected to the House in 2004, had also ticked off right-wingers in the state's 4th Congressional District by urging tea-party activists to "turn Glenn Beck off" and by calling on Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) to apologize for shouting "You lie!" at Obama during the president's State of the Union address. For this, Inglis, who boasts (literally) a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, received the wrath of the tea party, losing to Gowdy 71 to 29 percent. In the weeks since, Inglis has criticized Republican House leaders for acquiescing to a poisonous, tea party-driven "demagoguery" that he believes will undermine the GOP's long-term credibility. And he's freely recounting his frustrating interactions with tea party types, while noting that Republican leaders are pushing rhetoric tainted with racism, that conservative activists are dabbling in anti-Semitic conspiracy theory nonsense, and that Sarah Palin celebrates ignorance.

The week after that meeting with his past funders—whom he failed to bring back into the fold—Inglis asked House Republican leader John Boehner what he would have told this group of Obama-bashers. Inglis recalls what happened:

[Boehner] said, "I would have told them that it's not quite that bad. We disagree with him on the issues." I said, "Hold on Boehner, that doesn't work. Let me tell you, I tried that and it did not work." I said [to Boehner], "If you're going to lead these people and the fearful stampede to the cliff that they're heading to, you have to turn around and say over your shoulder, 'Hey, you don't know the half of it.'"

In other words, feed and fuel the anger and paranoia of the right.

During his primary campaign, Inglis repeatedly encountered enraged conservatives whom he couldn't—or wouldn't—satisfy. Shortly before the runoff primary election, Inglis met with about a dozen tea party activists at the modest ranch-style home of one of them. Here's what took place:

I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there's a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a proj
ection of your life's earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, "What the heck are you talking about?" I'm trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, "You don't know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don't know this?!" And I said, "Please forgive me. I'm just ignorant of these things." And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.


I think this dynamic is worth thinking about a little bit. It's true that Republican leaders must be held liable for their kowtowing to the not-so-subtle threats of their aroused, paranoid base. But they are in the proverbial "crosshairs" too aren't they? If they step out of line even the tiniest bit, they are subjected to wrath of a political movement which is determined to intimidate not only the opposition, but anyone who strays even slightly from their own party line. Many of them are scared to death.

Remember this?:

Yesterday, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, complained to Politico about how Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers are able to “stand back and throw bricks” instead of offering “real leadership” in the middle of high-profile public policy battles. Gingrey’s brave remarks got him in hot water.

This morning — because of what he called “high volume of phone calls and correspondence” in response to his comments — Gingrey issued a retraction, declaring his loyalty to hate radio. “I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh,” he said, later adding that he, Sean Hannity, and Newt Gingrich were “the voices of the conservative movement’s conscience.”

But Gingrey’s mea culpa was not yet complete. Apparently concluding that his criticism of Limbaugh was so off-base that it merited a personal, on-air apology to Limbaugh, Gingrey made a rare guest appearance on Limbaugh’s radio show this afternoon. Addressing the hate radio host as a “conservative giant,” Gingrey apologized for what he termed his “foot-in-mouth disease“:

GINGREY: Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on. … Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments. … I regret those stupid comments.

LIMBAUGH: Well, look, I appreciate that. … I’m glad that you called.



Today, Rush Limbaugh announced that Jared "Loughner has the full support of the Democratic Party."


.