As the controversial healthcare reform bill was being debated in Washington two Sundays ago, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a black Democrat from Missouri, claims he was spit on outside the Capitol by an enraged white Tea Party protester. The accusation has sparked heated passions on both sides, with Democrats condemning the vile behavior while Republicans uniformly accuse Cleaver of lying. Right wing talking heads Sean Hannity and others have spent hours of radio and TV time mitigating the circumstances and denying the despicable act occurred. Tea Party groups have even offered cash rewards for evidence of said spitting. One conservative lightweight, Sirius Satellite Radio's Andrew Wilkow, arrogantly barked "This did not happen," as if he was there and witnessed the whole thing, and claimed it was more of a "say it don't spray it" fluke in which a "spit-like" fluid came out of the angry, screaming protester's mouth as the Congressman passed him on the Capitol steps. Yes, my Republican friends, this is nothing more than projectile drool, right?
Well, below is new video of the alleged spitting. I admit, it's pretty hard to tell if the enraged Tea Bagger intentionally spit on the Congressman. But some highly suspect circumstantial evidence clearly exists: (1) Cleaver obviously is either a great physical actor or some "spit-like" fluid definitely hit him in the face as he passed the protester, causing his entire body to jerk away from the accused; (2) the angry, visceral reaction from Cleaver to the protester clearly signals that something very bad had just happened. Something beyond simple partisan, anti-reform shouting; (3) notice how the protester's hands are strategically cupped over his mouth, which would conveniently conceal the act of spitting. Keep in mind that both men at this point are perhaps two feet away from each other, which would mean the rabid protester's vein-popping shouting at Cleaver would easily be heard sans hand-cupping, and that such distance might also make the "spray it" theory a bit of a stretch; (4) After he passes, Cleaver begins to wipe something off his face in disgust. Again, great acting?
Maybe, just maybe, this cretin actually did spit on Cleaver. And to be sure, he clearly did something highly offensive to the Congressman. Why can't Republicans then, out of simple human decency, just acknowledge and condemn this unacceptable behavior? They can't. It's simply not in their DNA. The vitriolic response from the right over SpitGate is therefore no surprise. The rush to unequivocally deny the occurrence, while simultaneously attacking Cleaver's credibility, reputation and motives, is despicable and shameful.