Violent Rhetoric on the Trail
The day after I featured Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District candidate Rick Barber’s ad which seamed to be pretty violent among the top 5 campaign ads, Politico posted an article about violent rhetoric being used on the campaign trail. Pretty dangerous and scary stuff. It reminds me of the era in our history when political leaders were being executed left and right (John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, MLK, etc) Not cool.
Here’s the post:
Violent rhetoric on the trail
By: Jonathan Allen -October 22, 2010
A fringe Republican House candidate in Texas said Thursday that the armed overthrow of the government is “on the table.”
“Our nation was founded on violence,” Stephen Broden, a pastor who is seeking to unseat Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Texas’s 30th District, told an interviewer on WFAA-TV in Dallas. “The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms.” He clarified that armed revolution is “not the first option.”
Public references to violent overthrow of the government have been limited to a handful of mostly fringe candidates this cycle, with the exception of Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate who’s running a neck-and-neck race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada.
Angle told an interviewer in January that Americans might seek “Second Amendment remedies” to their problems with government.
Angle and other tea-party-backed candidates cite a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1787 that contained the famous line “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Indeed, the website for the tea party of Mansfield, Ohio, is www.bloodofpatriots.org.
Jefferson was speaking of Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts, not the American Revolution, and the letter made clear he believed such an insurrection should be put down.
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?” he wrote.
But that hasn’t stopped the “blood of patriots” line from becoming a symbol for conservatives seeking wholesale change in Washington.
Days before Broden’s comments, an audience member at a GOP rally in New York said of Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy, “I’d trust him with my bullet.” The comment came at a campaign event for 20th District GOP nominee Chris Gibson.
Gibson asked the crowd whether they “trust a guy like [Murphy] with your guns?” prompting one attendee to yell audibly, “I trust him with my bullet!”
In both the Texas and New York incidents, Republican Party or campaign officials moved to distance themselves from the controversial statements.
According to the Dallas Morning News, local Republicans quickly denounced Broden’s remarks, while a spokesman for Gibson told POLITICO that the New York candidate did not hear the audience member’s shout about Murphy.
“Chris would obviously never condone any violence of any kind,” spokesman Dan Odescalchi said. “In this country we settle differences at the ballot box.”