Blanche Lincoln Calls Constituents Un-American, Then Reconsiders
12:50 PM, Aug 7, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Oh, Blanche Lincoln, blue senator in a red state, you must act more wisely than this:
"It's so sad, because it's diminishing to the process, it's diminishing to our outcome," Lincoln said in a conference call with reporters. "I think it's sad that they choose to do that. I think it's un-American and disrespectful."
She later retracted, saying she doesn't actually think everyone who disagrees with her is un-American:
"Although I do believe that some of these protesters are disrespectful of other citizens in the audience who truly want to ask questions about health care, I shouldn't have used the term â€˜un-American.' I support the right of every Arkansan to speak out and have their voices heard. I would just ask that we all continue to work in a constructive way to rebuild our economy and fine-tune out health care system so it works for all of us."
To be fair, these are the talking points she's getting from her party, which actually released this piece of juvenile nonsense to its mass e-mail list this week. Update: No wonder it's so juvenile. The e-mail from Brad Woodhouse, communications director at the RNC is just this Think Progress blog post. Well, at least it's a reliable source, right?)
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) scolded the recent angry disruptions at congressional town halls on his twitter feed. While McCain's opposition to the behavior of right-wing activists is a welcome development, the wave of unfounded, anti-Obama hate found legitimacy through the McCain Presidential campaign last year.
Rather than talking about health care or the economy, once Sarah Palin joined the McCain ticket, calling into question the legitimacy and patriotism of Obama became a central message of the campaign. And with this line of rhetoric, anger directed at Obama found a venue at McCain rallies. To divert attention away from policy issues, Palin focused her attention on decrying Obama's alleged ties to the "unrepentant terrorist" Bill Ayers. Palin's denunciations of Obama were met with loud cries of "kill him!" Instead of immediately clamping down on these calls to violence and racial slurs featured at campaign events, the McCain campaign searched for ways to harness them - notably, for example, embracing the mentally ill Ashley Todd, who faked a racially-motivated political attack.
I realize that Obama blames everything on Bush, but he does realize the power of his rhetoric alone will not make it 2008 again, right?
But the DNC and the White House continue to demonize protesters in the most aggressive of terms. Nancy Pelosi declared that protesters are "carrying swastikas."
Rep. Brian Baird said this of the protester crowds:
"What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics," Baird, D-Vancouver, said in a phone interview. "I mean that very seriously."
In an interview with Tampa TV, Rep. Kathy Castor, whose last-minute SEIU-hosted town hall became heated yesterday, implied the entire crowd was being ginned up by insurance companies. The video has since been removed, but her quote was recorded on Twitter:
"It's clear that big insurance and big pharma doesn't want reform..."
Meanwhile, several Democrats who would like to be re-elected, and don't relish the idea of aggressively insulting their constituents in solidarity with the White House, had more reasonable things to say: