John Boehner’s Statements Contributing to the Giffords Shootings

Most politicians are now talking about how the “heated” political rhetoric needs to be “toned down.”  But, of course, not much is expected to change.  Does anyone really believe that Sarah Palin will no longer talk about “targeting” someone?  Does anyone really believe that tea party supporters will not do something as obscene as screaming racial epithets at Rep. John Lewis (as they did when Lewis left a health care reform meeting)?  Does anyone believe that tea party supporters will no longer do something as obscene  as spitting on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (as one did when Cleaver walked to the Capitol)?  Does anyone believe that tea party supporters will no longer do something as obscene as hurling anti-gay epithets at Rep. Barney Frank (as they did when Frank left a health care reform meeting)?

One politician who might be able to get Republic Congress members to tone down the rhetoric is is newly-installed Speaker of the House John Boehner.  But does anyone really believe that he will do it?  After all, Boehner is the person who, when speaking about former Ohio Democratic Congress member Steve Driehaus, suggested that, by voting for Obama’s health care reform package, Driehaus “may be a dead man” and “can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati” because “the Catholics will run him out of town.”  After those statements, Driehaus began receiving death threats, and a right-wing website published directions to his house.

Does anyone really doubt that, after a brief hiatus, the rhetoric will be any less incendiary?  At the least, we need to keep reminding people that it is politicians like Boehner and Palin who contributed heavily to the atmosphere that led to the Giffords shootings.  As the Daily Kos wrote yesterday:

 

The conversation between Driehaus and Boehner . . . needs to be retold again and again in the wake of the Giffords shooting.  Especially in the context of the paranoid lies and deceit that lay like a dark shroud over the healthcare debate at the time, it is exemplary of everything that is wrong with the modern Right.

 

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