Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) received praise for expressing that violence against members of Congress is "unacceptable." He added that people need to channel their actions into "positive change."
Of course, the only reason this even appeared like a condemnation of violence is because as opposed to previous Republican reactions, President Obama was not called the anti-Christ.
In truth, what Mr. Boehner said was reprehensible.
You see, lots of things are "unacceptable." Putting a salad fork on the right side of a formal dinner plate is unacceptable. What the Republican Minority Leader conveniently left out was that violence against members of Congress is a federal crime. It's an attack on the foundation of American society. When done by organized mobs, it's a terrorist act. People fomenting violence against members of Congress should be put in jail. Not told they should "go volunteer on a political campaign."
But it gets worse.
You see, before supposedly speaking out against violence against Congress, John Boehner, House leader of the Republican Party, actual condoned the reasons behind the violence. And pointed where the violence should be directed.
"I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill," he began his statement, "and that Washington Democrats just aren't listening."
Those are the very first words people heard from John Boehner. And it's not unreasonable to think that that's all they heard. Justification for their stirred-up anger and actions. And a target.
But it gets worse.
Republican leadership made this a one-two Punch-and-Judy act. Mr. Boehner's second-in-command, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) then had the shameless gall to say with a straight face that all this stirred-up violence was the responsibility...of Democrats!!
Mr. Cantor actually chastised Democratic leaders that it was they who were "dangerously fanning the flames" for pointing out that they were being threatened and attacked.
It is with shock that the ground didn't open up directly beneath Rep. Cantor and swallow him into the dark recesses of hell.
(It should be noted that Mr. Cantor even tried to make himself a victim by stating that shots had been fired into his Richmond office. Alas, police later reported that no shots were directed at Cantor's office, but came from a completely separate event. There is no record of Mr. Cantor correcting the wrong impression he left.)
So, while Republican Minority leader Boehner is whipping up violence against Democrats, and Republican Minority Whip Cantor is blaming Democrats for violence against themselves, it's worth looking at reality. Something that Republicans want to avoid like the plague.
Here is what I wrote long before the GOP-stirred up "anger" at fake Death Panels and fake fears of socialized medicine, on August 25 of last year. Seven months ago --
"I would be for an exemplary hanging or two. Have it in Times Square...If that's what it takes to maintain popular support, let's do it."
- Charles Krauthammer, on killing AIG executives
"I was going to recommend boiling in oil in Times Square,"
- Mort Kondracke, on killing AIG executives
"I'd use American snipers on some of these guys -- what do you call them? -- coyotes."
- Pat Buchanan, on how he'd handle Mexican border security by killing, if he was U.S. Ambassador.
"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.
- Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), on killing those who support reducing carbon emissions.
"Totally ironically, Zeke Emanuel is on my death list. Hold the applause. I'm going to be on the death panel."
- Ann Coulter, on killing the senior health care advisor to President Obama
"You gonna drink your wine?...Drink it. Drink it. Drink it...By the way, I put poison in your....(laughs) Nooo."
- Glenn Beck joking about poisoning Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
"We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box."
-Catherine Crabill, Republican nominee for Virginia's House of Delegates, on killing people who are against the Tea Party movement
"The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better towards them if they'd follow the Japanese model and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, 'I'm sorry,' and then either do one of two things -- resign, or go commit suicide."
- Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), on suggesting AIG executives kill themselves
"John Murtha. The reason soldiers invented fragging."
- Ann Coulter, quipping about killing Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
"...if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death.
- David Feherty, CBS golf commentator, on killing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
"Different people from Washington, DC, have come back to their districts and have town hall meetings, and they almost got lynched." (The audience breaks into applause.) "I would assume you're not approving lynchings, because we don't want to do that" (Then makes a choking gesture that provokes further laughter.)
- Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) joking with a laughing crowd, on killing Democrats in Congress
"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens's creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."
- Ann Coulter, joking about killing Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
And this only just touches the surface of right-wing efforts to make violence seem a valid part of the political process.
This doesn't even include Sarah Palin putting bulls-eyes on her webpage against Democrats she wants to "reload" and target.
It doesn't include the former half-term governor Palin riling up crowds during the presidential campaign by suggesting Barack Obama "pals around with terrorists."
It doesn't include John McCain and Ms. Palin whipping their campaign crowds into fearful frenzies that Mr. Obama might be un-American, to the extent that shouts of "Kill him!" were screaming out at their rallies. And no one ever told them to stop.
It doesn't include the Republican frenzy against Michelle Obama, trying to terrify the public into believing that she too was against America.
It doesn't include Republican politicians and punditry agitating the Republican base for the past year-and-a-half that Barack Obama is a socialist, Nazi, terrorist, communist, Muslim who wasn't born in America, wants to kill old people and is out to destroy this nation. And that the Democratic Party supposedly is following lock-step in his anti-American footsteps.
And Eric Cantor dares blame Democrats for fanning the flame of "anger."
Here's a tip: For there to be a flame to fan, someone had to long ago light the match.
Republicans not only lit that match, they have been pouring the kerosene on daily.
As John Boehner gives comfort to that very violence and racial and homophobic slurs he supposedly condemns, Republican Party leaders and pundits need to do deep soul-searching to handle their responsibility. And their responsibility alone.
Of course, first they have to find that pesky soul.