Lars Larson: Members of Congress Need to Get a Grip on Themselves

I really think the Democrat members of Congress need to get a grip on themselves on these Town Hall meetings. Last week, Congressman Brian Baird from Washington State said the kind of mood and language being used by protestors at his Town Hall meetings was reminiscent of the kind of language that drove Tim McVey to bomb the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Are you kidding?

He’s suggesting it’s a lynch mob mentality; that these people are “brown shirts”. He’s even compared them to the Nazi’s.

The White House isn’t much better. The White House wants people to turn each other in if they are saying anything negative about the President’s plans. This is craziness.

This is democracy in action.

How is it that during the entire Bush Administration protest and dissent was patriotic, and now all of a sudden if you shout at a Congressman he has to run screaming for his life.

These guys are like little girls. Get a grip on yourselves!

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Posted by at 04:58 | Posted in Measure 37 | 12 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Britt Storkson

    We already have government-run health care. The problem is that it’s run to benefit the health care providers and lawyers, not the patients. The health care system is run by the government to drive up costs – not to mention profits – and it’s working very well for certain people. That’s why this system is in place. It didn’t just happen.

    That’s why very little is going to change. All this heath care “debate” is – is a straw man designed to maintain the status quo. The mode of operation is obvious: Propose all sorts of draconian measures – the more radical and nonsensical the better – and warn people that they’re just about to pass. This “gins up” campaign contributions (from none other than doctors, trial lawyers, big pharma and others) to stop such insanity. The legislators “see the light”, vote it down, get re-elected (with lots of campaign cash) and very little changes.

    Also if the lawmakers cared so much about the patients why don’t they give the health care dollars to the patients instead of the health care providers and (indirectly) the insurance companies?

  • Josephine

    These “representatives” are simply afraid of their own constituents.
    How silly.

  • Eddie

    Well, it should be noted that Glen Beck had to recently remind his listeners not to kill anybody, because — what did he say — “one Tim McVey nut could derail the whole thing”?

    I think that most of the “dissenters” at these town halls are just fine, polite people excercising their constututional right to express their views…

    But I also think that if you feel a need to REMIND your audience not to kill people then you need to step back an reevaluate the rhetoric that is at the top of this movement, too.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      I should point out, Becks emphasis is not so much to remind his audience not to engage in a McVeigh event as it is his hopes against such an event happening. Beck mentions almost every day of his prayers against this happening. This might seem a subtle difference but we all know what he was saying.

      Any violence from the right would be treated as massively more serious than such things from the left. We all know should a violent event occur that was linked to conservatives that the hammer would come down. The press would play it up, not excuse it. History is pretty clear on that.

      Did we see any clamp down on the left after the violence of the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the FALN in the 70’s? Not really. Those involved went to jail, sure, but we hardly so an indictment of the left as a whole.

      How about in the 90’s? Did we see any massive investigation of the anti global movement after numerous violent protests and massive property damage at WTO meetings? No, of course not.

      How about after Oklahoma city?

      Well, then we saw the militias, notably the Michigan militia as I recall, hauled up before congress. Somehow they were blamed, at least tacitly, for McVeigh’s actions. Did anyone want to hear about the fact that months earlier the Michigan Militia had asked McVeigh to get lost and had notified the authorities of him? Of course not. The NRA was also hauled up before congress. When Wayne LaPierre also informed congress that McVeigh had contacted them and that they had informed the ATF about the danger he posed, was an apology given? No, of course not.

      That is what Beck was warning about. This was hardly a case of Beck feeling that his audience had a greater propensity of violence than any other. It was more about the basic reality that we all know is true. One act of major violence will be all the excuse that is needed to discredit those who oppose Obama’s policies. The same does not attend to left wing violence in opposition to a Republican president.

      Meanwhile, Squeaky Fromme will be granted parole on Sunday.

      For the youngsters out there, Squaky pointed a gun in then president Fords face among other things and was doing quite a bit of time for it.

      The reason for pointing the gun in Fords face? Squeaky was concerned about environmental devastation and felt that was the only way she could get attention.

      Can anyone name me a single environmental group that was brought before congress due to concern about violent elements within the environmental movement?

      Of course not, Squeaky was a nut job. There was no reason to indict all enviromentalists due to one loonatic.

      Think the results would be the same, complete lack of concern regarding conservative groups if some right wing nut pointed a gun in BO’s face?

      That’s what Beck is talking about.

      Disclaimer – Me giving an example of Fromme and relating it to a hypothetical regarding the president should in no way be taken as condoning either what Fromme did or encouraging the hypothetical example I set forth. Me discussing what I see as disparate emphasis on right and left wing terrorist actions should not be taken as condoning either. Me being aware of such disparate treatment and having concern over it should be taken as my being a conservative and thus it is reasonable to assume that I do eat puppies, preferably when snatched from small children’s hands.

  • v person

    “How is it that during the entire Bush Administration protest and dissent was patriotic, and now all of a sudden if you shout at a Congressman he has to run screaming for his life.”

    Because during the Bush administration the protesters were not threatening. Code Pink for example, while disruptive and frankly obnoxious, never threatened anyone with violence directly or implicitly. In the current situation, we have people packing weapons to town meetings where Obama is speaking. There has also been a whipping up of people with extreme rhetoric, calling Obama a nazi, crying socialism, telling people the government is going to put your granny to death, that it is “taking over” our health care system (I wish) and so forth. Its way over the top and like with the recent abortion doctor murder, it only takes a few unbalanced people to absorb that rhetoric and act out on it.

    Having said all that, I have no particular problem with people showing up to town halls, organized or otherwise, and raising their voices, shouting, whatever to make their point. It is part of the messiness of democracy. Just drop the implied threats and stop making things up.

  • Oregometry

    Lars,

    This rhetoric is EXACTLY the kind of ideological fervor that led to the Oklahoma City bombing. A congressman has been hanged in effigy, tombstones were brought to a town hall, and just this week in Maryland a man was arrested for holding a sign saying “Death to Obama. Death to Michelle and her two stupid girls.”

    A more fitting analogy, and a bit closer to home than Oklahoma, is the “agency” issue brought up in the late ’80s with the brutal killing in SE Portland of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw. Those skinheads had been riled up by a white supremacist leader in California who was calling for violence against blacks, just like folks on the hard right are calling for violence against everyone from SEIU workers to the president to members of Congress.

    It’s all “democracy in action” and “patriotic protest and dissent” until someone takes it too far and kills an elected leader. I doubt Lars will give us a retraction then.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >This rhetoric is EXACTLY the kind of ideological fervor that led to the Oklahoma City bombing. A congressman has been hanged in effigy, tombstones were brought to a town hall, and just this week in Maryland a man was arrested for holding a sign saying “Death to Obama. Death to Michelle and her two stupid girls.”

      Ok, so can we all assume that you have been against this sort of thing for a while now? I mean we had movies about assassinating George Bush, bumper stickers accusing him of mass murder ( no one died when Clinton lied ) and probably enough Bush effigies in eight years of left wing protest rants to launch a complete new line of Barbie dolls. We had posters all over declaring Bush and Cheney war criminals and Democrat senators and congressmen alleging Nazi atrocities in speeches at the Capitol.

      Sure, burning people in effigy is bad form, but me thinks the concern now is more over who is being burned rather than the incendiary event itself.

      My apologies if you spent the last eight years excoriating the exact same thing and are now upset to see it possibly continuing for four more. I hope your interest is truly in civil discourse, not simply a partisan protestation over what those on the right had to endure for close to a decade.

      • v person

        There is rudeness and obnoxious behavior, and then there are implicit or not so implicit threats of violence. Packing guns to public meetings is a threat of violence. There are crazies on both sides, and there are those who profit by whipping them up into a frenzy while they wash their hands of the predictable results.

        We are where we are. Obama is the present occupant of the White House, and Democrats have big majorities in Congress. We ought to focus on the present situation and deal with it. In other words, if, and I stress IF…present rhetoric on the right either is or may lead to violence directed at those in office, then that rhetoric ought to be toned down and responsible parties on the right ought to do what they can to quiet things down. If the shoe were on the other foot, responsible parties on the left would be expected to do the same.

        Losing elections has real policy consequences and leads those temporarily on the outs to great frustration. The greatness of our system is that for the most part, most of us don’t resort to violence or threats of violence when we are on the outs. We get organized, find better candidates, and try to win power back the right way.

        Burning people in effigy is more than bad form. It implies you want that person dead. There is a wise old saying Rupert, that 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >>Packing guns to public meetings is a threat of violence.

          So if I wear a hat to a meeting I am threatening haberdashery?

          I don’t know what specific event you are referring to but I have a feeling some idiot with a CCW probably went to an Obama meeting and made a big stink about his second amendment rights when Secret Service caught him at the door. That’s an idiot, not a conspiracy.

          You are simply trying to blow it up into something it isn’t so that you can justify being angry at dissent now when you thought the same was justified under Bush. We saw plenty of Bush effigys then so lets not pretend indignation now.

          We all know what you are trying to do, find an excuse to justify shutting down dissent you don’t like. Its agressive nature, which is no worse than what we saw the past eight years, garners coverage which detracts from your leaders patina. You don’t like that.

          >Losing elections has real policy consequences and leads those temporarily on the outs to great frustration.

          It sure can, look at how the left behaved for the last eight years!

          And you cheered them on all the way, even going so far as to accuse the president of treason ( lying to get us into a war ).

          >Burning people in effigy is more than bad form. It implies you want that person dead. There is a wise old saying Rupert, that 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

          There is an even wiser saying, don’t take the indignation of hypocrites very seriously. The left behaved like jerks for eight years. I frankly find it refreshing to see their own tactics thrown back in their face.

          Winning elections has consequences, the left needs to learn to deal with it and stop calling anyone who disagrees with them Nazis ( a la Pelosi ). If you folk can’t put up with the exact same thing you dealt out for eight years you need to maybe think about that the next time around.

          • v person

            “So if I wear a hat to a meeting I am threatening haberdashery?”

            I don’t know. Maybe you are. But haberdashery never killed anyone outside of really bad James Bond movies. Loaded guns are a different kettle of fish.

            “I don’t know what specific event you are referring to but I have a feeling….”

            Not just a feeling Rupert. An actual event. And I did not say anything about a conspiracy did I? I said that raising the rhetoric inflames others who lack self control or good sense. Case in point. I don’t need to blow up anything, and I have no problem with dissent. Its as American as apple pie. I did not see any Bush effigys, but I’ll take your word for it. It was wrong then. Its wrong now. You disagree?

            “We all know what you are trying to do, find an excuse to justify shutting down dissent you don’t like. ”

            Well that just shows how little you know then doesn’t it? Dissent away. Just don’t make threats of violence, implied or otherwise. And don’t pack to public meetings. Wearing hats is fine.

            “And you cheered them on all the way, even going so far as to accuse the president of treason …”

            There you go again Rupert. I made no such accusation. Bush lied to sell a war against a nation that was a zero threat to us. That is not treasonous. That is politics. All politicians lie, exagerate, use information selectively, and so forth. I’m sure Obama is as good at it as the next. Read your Machiavelli. Its not “treason.” Its par for the course. Some lies have larger consequences than others. Bush’s happened to be at a high level of consequence.

            “There is an even wiser saying, don’t take the indignation of hypocrites very seriously.”

            First time I’ve heard that one. You would think if it was wiser it would have caught on by now.

            “I frankly find it refreshing to see their own tactics thrown back in their face.”

            OK…then we are even. I find it refreshing to have smart, capable, progressive minded people who read books and trust in science in control of the White house and congress. You have your satisfaction and I have mine. And hopefully we can maintain our respective positions for some years to come.

            “Winning elections has consequences, the left needs to learn to deal with it and stop calling anyone who disagrees with them Nazis …”

            Oh come now Rupert. Beck, Limbaugh, and Colter have all been calling Obama a Nazi, so this is not a characteristic of “the left”. The one thing the left and right seem to agree on these days is that Nazis are bad, and whomever they disagree with must therefore be one. Maybe we can build from there.

            “If you folk can’t put up with the exact same thing you dealt out for eight years you need to maybe think about that the next time around.”

            I folk can put up with name calling just fine. I folk do not put up with threats of violence, implied or direct. Beyond that, you seem to think that political dissent deteriorating into name calling began with the Bush presidency. You did not live through Clinton’s 8 years? Reagan’s 8? Carter’s 4? And on back all the way through the 19th century for heavens sake. Lighten up and get some perspective Rupert. What I find amusing is angry geezers at town halls yelling at their congresspersons to keep the socialist big government’s hands off of their Medicare. Now THAT is funny. Even you have to admit it.

  • Anonymous

    Let me begin by reiterating that violence is wrong, and should not be used except for self-defense against an imminent threat to life or limb.

    That said, if politicians think there are angry lynch mobs out to kill them, don’t you think it makes sense for these politicians to examine their lives and their service to see what they have done to create such hostility?

    I mean, if there is one nut out to get you, you can blame the nut. But if thousands of people are screaming for your death (whether they really are or not, that is the message being spread about the protests), then maybe the problem isn’t them – it’s you.

    I know if I was politician and felt – whether accurately or not – that thousands of constituents wanted to harm me, I’d stop and rethink what I’ve been doing. Maybe I’d consider that I had been doing a pretty poor job of representing them. Maybe I’d show up at my next town hall with open ears and a closed mouth – instead of being defensive, accusing the crowd, telling people they don’t know what they are talking about, or blaming Rush Limbaugh.

    • v person

      “That said, if politicians think there are angry lynch mobs out to kill them, don’t you think it makes sense for these politicians to examine their lives and their service to see what they have done to create such hostility?”

      No I don’t. That is called blaming the victim. Its like saying an abused spouse should have kept her mouth shut. My advice to her would be to move out and maybe buy her own gun for self defense, not to give into the abuser.

      If politicians elected by a solid majority that want health care reform cave in to what is a loud minority clling for their heads, then we can kiss democracy goodbye.

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