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March 26th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Avlon: Hate is cheap political tool

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of the new book "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

CNN Independent analyst John Avlon says an escalation of angry rhetoric and actions this week are the results of hate in the service of hyper-partisanship.

CNN Independent analyst John Avlon says an escalation of angry rhetoric and actions this week are the results of hate in the service of hyper-partisanship.

By John Avlon, Special to CNN

In the wake of the health care vote, we’ve seen an escalation of angry rhetoric and actions, fueling this week’s wingnuts to ugly new heights of incitement.

At least ten members of the House of Representatives received death threats this week while Republican House Leader Eric Cantor reported that bullets had been fired at his district offices in Virginia. Four local Democratic Party offices and district congressional offices had their windows broken with bricks.

All this follows the online exhortations of militia leader Mike Vanderboegh, who wrote on his blog this past Friday: “If we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”

I interviewed Vanderboegh at length late last year for my book "Wingnuts." He is a self-described “former leftist” and SDS member who became a Second Amendment activist and leader in the militia movement during the 1990s. Last year, he co-founded a loosely-affiliated Hatriot group known as the Three Percenters.

Over the past year, he has detailed his unhinged opposition to the Obama administration: “You should understand that we are rapidly coming to a point in this country when half of the people are going to become convinced of the illegitimacy of this administration and its designs upon our liberty. Need I remind you that this side is the one with most of the firearms?”

This week he’s been hitting the radio show circuit to promote his message. This isn’t just wingnut stuff, it’s indicative of a new breed of Hatriot militias – those who believe its patriotic to fear the government and hate the president. It’s the politics of incitement.

At a time when Sarah Palin posted a Facebook page with gun-scope cross-hairs on the districts of Democratic representatives she is seeking to unseat this fall, the unhinged could be getting further encouragement from the former GOP VP nominee. In light of the death threats, decency and a modicum of good judgment should inspire Palin to take that map down immediately.

On the left, radio host Mike Malloy is at the ugly rhetoric again, this time targeting conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni. Mrs. Thomas formed a group with sympathies for the Tea Party protesters, remarking “I did not give up my First Amendment rights when my husband became a justice of the Supreme Court.”

Send in your suggestions for 'Wingnuts of the Week'

Malloy exercised his first amendment rights by launching an ugly attack on Justice Thomas, calling him a “House Negro” and in transcripts raising the question of whether the Thomas’ interracial marriage ("She’s a very, very, very, very, very white Omaha, Nebraska woman married to a very, very, very, very black South Georgia man") would cause a problem for the Tea Party protesters he reflexively calls racist. This is an example of race-baiting from the left, wrapped in the arrogance of assumed ideological superiority.

Hate is a cheap and easy recruiting tool in politics – and in talk radio. But we are starting to see the results of hate in the service of hyper-partisanship. The extremes encourage and incite each other. We shouldn’t have to wait for further escalation to recognize the danger of this dynamic on our domestic politics.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.

Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. Nick

    Interesting how the morons on the left will condemn Palin and this other fringe militia idiot, and rightfully so, but no mention of the leftest race-baitor calling a supreme court judge a house negro.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  2. Brooklyn

    Eric Cantor is full of crap. Now the police say it was a just a stray bullet from some random 2nd amendmenter exercising his rights to shoot his deadly weapon in some random direction. So Eric is totally cool with this. His other supposed threats? Yeah, right Eric.

    Nope, ladies and gentlemen of the Right, the fact is it's only Dems who are getting shot at, threatened and otherwise attacked. The left is still part of the civilized world....perhaps unfortunately. So go make up some other lies. You can't possibly have run out of things to lie about?

    March 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  3. Had enough

    Hate. Why has noone mentioned that Obama hates the middle to upper middle class? Laughing out loud, behind closed doors as is his style, at all of us as our liberties vanish. Why would his next step be to give amnesty to illegals? Talk about inciting! Wake up people.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Christopher McElree

    ...please...these are the same liberal bridge trolls that insist cross-hairs on the video games their dullard children play dozens of hours per week don't cause violent behavior...but on a facebook page they do?

    Members of Congress are routinely threatened now. This isn't unique to Democrats, or this situation. This is politics. Perhaps the Democrat headquarters smashed their own window.

    Only 41% of likely voters were in favor of the bill...but they sent it through anyway...blatantly and openly bribing key people along the way. What do they expect? Roses?

    March 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  5. sly

    Wing nuts or not. The truth behind people like Mr. Vanderboegh and the tea "partiers" is their surreptitious prejudice. Not only do they wear camouflage, but they camouflage their racism behind their contemptible right wing political views. The first black President is causing these people to panic. Shades of Harold Washington.

    March 27, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  6. wm scot

    The differance between the left wing nuts and the right wing nuts are the left wing wants to save people from killing other people ie; Iraq unlike the right wing nuts do not want to save anyone other than themselves and their pocket books !

    March 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  7. Ray E.

    Perhaps when all else fails mob rule breaks out. I am reminded of Louis the VI If I remember right when the Peasents Beheaded him and his wife. People are upset. The Constution has been violated again and again. The Federal Government has no business in the Health Business, the Federal Government has no business in the Welfare Business. The Federal Government, Congress, is supposed to make the laws as fair as possible, not run interference for one group over another.

    If this Health Bill is a Jobs killer as some say then expect a lot more outbursts, and the upcoming election to replace a lot of elected officials.

    March 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  8. Tammy B

    Wow, Don't know where to start. I'm so sad about how the right has decided that they represent All Americans. Are they mad about getting health care or are they mad that they can't just shoot all the democrates and take over the country. The anger and hate speech is so hard to take. The fact the Sarah Palin quit her job as Governer of Alaska to go around making lots of money representing mothers, apple pie and "ALL REAL AMERICANS is really amazing since she just has a young child with special needs. Who is paying for her health care? What about the parents with children with special needs and cancer who lose their homes because they can't pay the health care costs. I have never been as scared about the crazy people on the far right as I am now. It shows how bad the US education system really has become. This is a democracy isn't it? Did someone burn the constitution when I was looking?

    March 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  9. VegasRage


    March 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  10. Lawrence

    So just what was Rep. Eric Cantor's motivation when he went on national TV recently to lie about also having been subjected to dangerous and hateful intimidation when in fact he already knew that the hole in his campaign office window had been made a week or so earlier by an errant bullet…and in Mr. Cantor’s same statement, he went on to accuse the Democrats of attempting to use the hateful actions of “TEA PARTY” rabble-rousers for their political advantage.

    I say that Mr. Cantor’s lies clearly exemplify just how Republicans willfully attempt to confuse and deceive the American people for political purposes, or are they just compulsive liars?

    March 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  11. Amanda in Texas (Independent in a Red State)

    I work in an office where I have wing-nuts from both sides. I just keep hoping that no one goes postal. I am tired of the angry rhetoric spouted by both sides.

    I agree we needed to change the health care industry, but I do wish that a more 'middle-ground' approach on the subjects that all 'parties' agreed were problematic were addressed first. With this being rolled into one large package, the risk is that it runs a much higher chance of all or part of the packagebeing repealed or thrown out by the judiciary on some relatively small item.

    There were issues that really did need addressing and that were 'common ground.' Yet, all of the news outlets focus on how the differences are being magnified by various groups espousing some version of hate.

    I have long felt that both parties were 'tax and spend,' the differences were on WHERE the money gets spent.

    I am afraid of where we go from here as it seems polarization is all that is occuring.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  12. slc/nyc

    There is a lot of rhetoric and hatred being spread by many of the party of "No". With the House minority speaker standing up and screaming and using all of that profane language does not help either. The tea party on Saturday reminded me of the KKK. Is the a revival of the KKK with Sarah Palin as the grand mistress. American watch out, do not go backwards. There are many "wolves" in "sheeps" clothing.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Threatening or carrying out violence against our elected leaders is clearly unacceptable. Why is it, though, that CNN and the rest of the left-wing media begins suffering the vapors and decrying the "hate movement" in the U.S. when people get upset about President Obama and the Democrats, but when the left wing nutjobs cheer the deaths of Americans in Iraq and elsewhere and used similar "hate" speech about George Bush, Ronald Reagan, etc., the media treats this as healthy political debate. Here's a wingnut candidate for you: John Avlon and the rest of the CNN/left wing media.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  14. D. Bunker

    "This is an example of race-baiting from the left, wrapped in the arrogance of assumed ideological superiority."

    Actually, no; this is sly underhanded right-wing deception attempting to perpetuate a false equivalence. This is NOT "assumed ideological superiority" but rather a rational observation clear to anyone who has paid attention to Tea Party signs and rhetoric.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  15. Acute observer

    True. And it was also hate that led Obama to abandom Netanyahu in order to eat dinner with "Michelle and the girls". This hate was learned in Wright's church.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  16. John

    tens of thousands of people died in numerous wars so that these people could say what they wanted. It is the personal responsibility of people to not act on these words. You liberals want to urinate on the sacrifices that Americans have made while eliminating the right of free speech of those that disagree with you. Hypocrisy is a synonym for the liberal ideology of branding those who disagree negatively while preaching tolerance and acceptance in public.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  17. Carolyn Cherry

    I am well-informed on the health care issue, but was only able to find good information on the bill on the news services AFTER it was passed, which is considerably too late.

    I strongly fault the major news organizations for spending far more time reporting on the emotional disturbance around the bill than they did on telling people what was actually IN the bill.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  18. James

    At least ten members of the House of Representatives received death threats this week while Republican House Leader Eric Cantor reported that bullets had been fired at his district offices in Virginia. Four local Democratic Party offices and district congressional offices had their windows broken with bricks....

    In response to the selective reading that stated no republicans were mentioned as targets. This is a problem with nut cases on the right and left. They stop the moment they see something that irritates them, focus on that and ignore everything else. That's a great way to take everything out of context. Stop being such a reactionary goof ball and read the ENTIRE article. Don't just invalidate everything when you see one thing you don't like.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  19. Coffeeparty

    "Why has CNN been harping on the threats to the democrats this week and hardly no mention of the fact that the republicans had threats, also?"
    Everywhere I read about this, it is noted that the office of Eric Cantor, R-VA was targeted by everything from bricks to bullets. Cantor was one of the highest profile opponents of the health care reform. So it is reasonable to conclude he was not targeted by Republicans.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  20. Dave

    Max Baucus D-Montana said, "Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America." And you wonder why so many of us are angry? Vladimir Lenin described socialism as a transition state between capitalism and communism. This is where the Democrats are taking us.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  21. D. Bunker

    It's too bad the author, as a speechwriter for Rudy G., didn't admit his own complicity in the nonsense he objects to. Rudy is just as bad as Sarah the Quitbull when it comes to spreading ignorant hateful lies.

    And to the three or four Tea Party members who still have a brain, if you REALLY oppose the current trends in DC, you need to get behind campaign reform. Support public financing of elections and support a constitutional amendment barring corporate "personhood" and corporate "free speech." Remember, oligarchies tend to be run by big business, not the "libs" you are so hell-bent on hating.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  22. Ken

    Didnt the right in texas just delete just Thomas Jefferson from their textbooks because he didnt believe in God enough for them Totalitarian communist regimes have alot of things in common with our repulican americans. Especially tacticts. Indoctrination. Hate for4 others that dont belive like you do. Radio shows that spew hate toward instead of just reporting the facts and letting us make up our on minds When the right crammed the patriot act down our thoats. Where was the teabaggers then. Their way or the highway no compromising for the rest of the year. They havent compromised the first part of the year So no change dont want to make the teabaggers mad. Oh yeah they are already.This is the same Hate we saw at John Mcain rallies durring the election. If the republican leadership stood with dems to condemn the violence directed at any public officials.
    The teabaggers would have slammed them standing with a dem on anything. Hate and fear will only get you so far. I find the Rights whole approch to tear Obama down as treason against the U.S.A

    March 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  23. Exasperated

    because almost every single threat is Republican on Democrats, thats why.

    While true that there are wingnuts, This author had to search to find someone hardly anyone knows about to try and draw equivalence. There is not a mirror image. Constrast this guy who doesn't matter to the audience of Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Palin who all have huge audiences.

    CNN and this author are trolling us and trying to steer the conversation.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  24. Bob

    But if you can't use the threat of violence to intimate someone else's elected representatives into voting the way you want them to instead of the way the majority of their constituents want them to vote, then what will happen to our democratic system?

    March 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  25. Jim

    The Democrats were given a mandate for change, and now they are implementing a modest change to health care, using free-market principles. There is no "government take-over" of health care at all.

    What is really happening is that right-wing Republicans can't stand the fact that they have lost both houses of Congress and the Presidency due to their incompetence, arrogance, and misrepresentations of the truth. They ignore the trillions of dollars of deficits that were run up under Repulican administratrions, including huge tax breaks for the wealthy and a questionable war in Iraq.

    The only recourse apparantly available is to misrepresent the truth, incite hate, and try to delegitimize their opponents. What incredibly sore losers!

    March 27, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  26. Red Blooded American

    Nut job plain and simple. Democracy is about dialogue and freedom, not intimidation, hate and fear mongering. He can pack it up and move to Cuba if he wants to do this stuff.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm |

    Dispatch the FBI and ATF to take out these terrorists. The USA has exterminated many "threats" to society in history. These wingnuts are begging for it. The mission is already late after that teabagger flew the plane into the federal building. Hoover stamped out the Black Panthers for much less than that. They threw the revolution word around alot too. How long ago did that report about the wingnuts recruiting shellshocked vets come out?
    When not if someone is killed,they will spout the usual "It was an isolated incident" lie like they did when the teagagger flew the plane into the building.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  28. HaveNoFear

    …”rapidly coming to a point in this country when half of the people are going to become convinced of the illegitimacy of this administration…”

    Face it folks – we’re there – thanks to the right wing noise machine, now aided by Congressmen. I cringed yesterday when I saw McCain stand in front of the flag, and heard him repeatedly say: “they’re lying to you” in order to whip up the crowd. This intentionally plants seeds of distrust. Furthermore, he repeatedly used the word “sleazy” about how the process evolved. The real lie is that mathematically, it’s impossible for Republicans to repeal this but his audience can’t be bothered learning about procedural facts on how our government runs. And the real sleaze is that civil debate and discussion has been now dummied down to two words: hell no.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  29. colts_tiger

    well, Diane, it seems the Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor is a liar and just wanted to shift the blame from the Tea Party/Republican House members by claiming he was shot at. Are you really that stupid?

    March 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  30. Dave Calvert

    OBAMA: Your children will no longer be denied health care.
    BUSH: Your children will be sent to the desert to be shot and blown up.

    Oh, yes...I can can certainly see where Obama is the bad guy here; the enemy of America.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  31. davo/kissimmee

    I don't believe a word Cantor says. He and other rethugs are trying to turn the tables on what they started!

    March 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  32. Hawk in texas

    Just look at the posts on here . divided

    March 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  33. Pat

    It's unfortunate that our so called leaders on both sides of the aisle can't behave as well as the average 3 year old. John Boener, Eric Cantor, Chuck Grassley along with Sarah Palin repeated lied about the health care bill and whipped the wingnut fringe into a frenzy. The Republican "leadership" lit the fire, stirred the pot and is now trying to claim that they were never in the kitchen. It would be funny and entertaining if it weren't for the fact that they stirred up a bunch of people who are not only misinformed but also heavily armed.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  34. russ r

    Trying to be logical with republicans is like telling children to stop making noise-they both like to hear themselves making noise-not sense! Remember when Newt and the boys wanted to get rid of Mr. Rogers–he must have insulted their intelligence! If he was alive today Sarah would probably have some incredible words of wisdom that I am sure he would have taken to heart.
    Just so you chest-thumping "elephants" don't get the idea that all liberals don't like a fight-come to my house and you can make the ultimate sacrifice! But we know better, because you people are all mouth-no testicular fortitude–except when it comes to blowing up innocent women and children and throwing rocks thru windows when no one is around.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  35. Nitalynn

    “You should understand that we are rapidly coming to a point in this country when half of the people are going to become convinced of the illegitimacy of this administration and its designs upon our liberty..."
    Ah...what la la land were you hanging out in the day the Supreme Court voted Bush into office over the expressed desire of over half the American voters?

    March 27, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  36. Oakie

    How does Mike Vanderboegh have time to go to all these rallies railing against the government, while the rest of us have to go to work? He's on Welfare Disability, a Federal government program! What a hypocrite! His issue isn't government programs, no matter what he says. If he was serious about this issue, he would get himself off the government dole.

    He's upset the the Dems won in 2008 and he's upset that a Black man is our President.

    Also, the Police in Richmond, VA have conclusively determined that the bullet the broke the window on Cantor's office was a random shot fired into the air that happened to fall back to earth there. Random shot! As well, the address for this office is not in his district, not listed on his web site, etc., so how anyone would know to target it is a real question. Cantor is a sniviling little liar–and he know it.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  37. James L.

    I hear you talking. However, I don't see any proof, but I hope they catch these people, so we can find out who they are. Problem is, these are old Chicago style tricks, planting bad guys in the crowds and causing problems to divert attention away from the bad things politicians are pulling. Another point of interest is that the news media seems to automatically blaming the republicans, odd. There has been no discussion in the main stream media of all the dirty tricks, bribery and back door dealings that the democrats did to pass a bill that most of America was against. Golly, I guess I am the only one that caught that. I hope America is watching. When voting time comes, we will not only be against the democrats, but against a bias news media and big business who want their profits. When do we celebrate news media day????

    March 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  38. Lance

    Freedomworks had various threats, including attacks on their phones and web site that included incredibly violent and vulgar langauge. Insurance companies have seen threats and vandalism all year. Apparently it only makes CNN when Democrtas are the target.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  39. Jack London

    Why would anyone pay attention to this author or CNN? They really are irrelevant. Barry, the Village Idiot and Plastic Face Pelosi have done so much damage to the country, be it removing 500-800 billion from Medicare, excluding themselves from Barry's health care scam or insulting both the British PM and the Israel PM. Bet Barry would not insult the Japanese or Arabs he bent low to. Barry One Term will be gone in the next presidential election , hold your nose and vote out the Dumbcrats you can in November.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  40. Gary

    It is for reasons such as this example, I abandoned the Republican Party in 2004, as there are too many extremest dullards associated with Republican ideology who are prone to resolving issues with fear and threats rather than intelligence and reasonable behavior. What I'm seeing now is even less impressive than 2004 and one can only hope the people of this country will put a little more effort into their social conscience than into waving their guns in the air.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  41. Jozef

    The success of the Nazi movement was based on the Nazi's ability to use frustration and anger ti uts advantage. Something similar is happeninng in America and has taken the form of the Tea Party.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  42. Pat Kelley

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. When the terrorist blogger advocated breaking the windows of the people who supported health care I was reminded of "The night of broken glass" in Nazi Germany.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  43. bvilleyellowdog

    The most effective populist movement of the 20th century was the Civil Right movement. It was Gandhian pacifist. Demonstration were told to not return violence with violence not matter what. The GOP and teh teabaggers flailing thier hands and claiming they can do nothing about racists and advocates of violence in thier midst is disingenuous at best.

    Scroll up and you will see a number of examples of folks who should be sidelined if not arrested. I hope the FBI will be calling on them.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  44. John

    Need I remind you that this side is the one with most of the firearms?”

    What a bunch of sore losers these rightwingers are. They're an embarrassment to the nation.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:46 am |
  45. Headface

    @ Diane St. Louis: can you not read?

    "Republican House Leader Eric Cantor reported that bullets had been fired at his district offices in Virginia."

    "On the left, radio host Mike Malloy is at the ugly rhetoric again, this time targeting conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni. Mrs. Thomas formed a group with sympathies for the Tea Party protesters, remarking “I did not give up my First Amendment rights when my husband became a justice of the Supreme Court.

    Malloy exercised his first amendment rights by launching an ugly attack on Justice Thomas, calling him a “House Negro” and in transcripts raising the question of whether the Thomas’ interracial marriage ("She’s a very, very, very, very, very white Omaha, Nebraska woman married to a very, very, very, very black South Georgia man") would cause a problem for the Tea Party protesters he reflexively calls racist. This is an example of race-baiting from the left, wrapped in the arrogance of assumed ideological superiority."

    I don't know why I'm bothering quoting the article if it still requires the ability to–yes–read...

    March 27, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  46. Tom

    The difference between the left going against Bush and the Tea Partiers going against Obama is huge:

    Bush sent US to war without any proofs. Thousands of Americans died and were killed in the Iraq war because of his lack of knowledge.

    Obama has done absolutely nothing against Americans, on the contrary, he is fulfilling his promises to Americans who voted for him, who happen to be the majority of Americans. The Tea Partiers and the right media has made up stories since he became president–stories that are not true and who do not affect our lives.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  47. CMP 001

    All you see in this administration( Starting with the Presidenty) do is slam this person or that person on a daily basis. Now we face penalties for not having Obamacare? IRS will decide whether we have adequate coverage? Pathetic

    March 27, 2010 at 11:27 am |
  48. Al

    Republicans made up threats that we denounced by the police as none threats.

    All the threats were against Democrats. The Tea Partiers are aggressive and invasive arrogant individuals who think they have the right to impose their believes onto the majority of Americans.

    Republican Tea Parties lost the election and cannot accept it.

    These are sad days for true American Democracy.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  49. Mike

    All these attacks are and have been over the past year is racism disguised as partisan politics. All of the naysayers to the current administration never have any viable alternative to the 'problem of the week'. All they keep harping on is the idea that Obama is evil. Yet they have no idea that it is their own brand of 'hatriotism' that is going to destroy the country.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  50. Tom

    An interesting fact about Mike Vanderboegh. The dude is on WELFARE! Yep, Mr. anti-government receives welfare even though he is apparently capable of building websites and inciting mob behavior. Unbelievable...

    March 27, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  51. JepPoole

    How come no one mentions the "cross hairs" that have been placed on every citizen in this country by the Obama administration, particularly the elderly and the very young. The elderly are going to be crushed by the new cuts that Obamacare will inflict, and the youth are saddled with a projected 20 TRILLION dollar National Debt by 2020.

    The hate is with the Obama Administration and anyone who supports it.

    March 27, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  52. Howard

    I truly fear that the only way most of these people will come to their senses is when some real violence occurs that results in the deaths and injuries of numbers of other Americans. Sad to say, that's what it will take for some of the haters to wake up to what they're really doing.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  53. FarLeft

    Hate and anger ARE cheap, political tools, most-often, and unfortunately, very effectively, used by the Republicans. Hate and anger are the last refuge of the imcompetant.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  54. Larry S

    Why can't we talk about more important things like . . . is the current administration capable or intelligent enough to balance the budget?

    March 27, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  55. Republicans are Repugnant Taliban

    FAUX NEWS and ALL of their OPINIONATORS with NO Facts should be posted as incitors of hate crimes across the country as well. They do more to incite the Right Wing Nut Jobs even than Rush No Brains Limbaugh!

    March 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  56. Eyckie

    If Republicans got threats too, it was because they are once again blocking benefits for millions of Americans that have already been bankrupted, by them! It's because they haven't worked in 16 months. It's because they have exposed themselves for the street punk gang that they are.

    Democrats are getting threats because of right wing gang baggers, that spit on Congressmen and call them the N word. The GOP in the background championing the actions with their silence and throwing as much fuel on on the fire as they can.

    Republicans have waged war againt the American people all because they hate the colour of a man's skin. People are tired of it. The daily attacks and accusations. The lack of work Republicans have done since Obama signed the Oath of Office. The name calling and the bullying, all of it.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  57. Republicans are Repugnant Taliban

    @Diane of St Louis The reason is there have been practically NO threats to Repugliban, even the supposed shooting at Cantor's office is now realized as a stray bullet that was shot straight up into the air and happened to hit the window when it came down as the bullet was found on the floor of the office, in other words NO ONE shot at the window intentionally. It would seem only the Right Wing Nut Jobs take to making threats and trying to intimidate Congressmen by violence but then that is the definition of Right Wing Nut Jobs, uneducated, illiterate racist bigoted crack pots who result to violence like spoiled brats if they do not get their way.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  58. Andrew

    This article is a good example of the media's tendency to make false equivalences in the name of 'objectivity'. It tries to be objective by claiming that the right and the left are equally guilty of bad behavior. But the fact is that the right has been guilty of far more violent rhetoric and action than the left. It tries to balance Vanderboegh, who is explicitly calling for armed violence, with Malloy's rude statement about Clarence Thomas' wife. These are not equivalent at all. The former is incitement to violence and crime while the latter is simply tasteless. It tries to balance the proven claims of death threats and vandalism against Democrats with Cantor's thus far unsubstantiated claim of death threats and what the police are now reporting to be a random bullet that happened to hit a building that Cantor has an office in (the building is in a town with a good deal of gun violence). Again, these are not equivalent at all. Republican leaders have been using violent language whereas Democrats have not. The fact is that virtually all of the violence, threats, and hateful speech have been coming from the right, not the left.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  59. Concerned Human

    It's too late. Escalation is the only likely outcome. What a shame.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  60. Rob

    Hate is rampant in politics right now. It makes me sad, I see it mostly with right wing extremists at a 8 to 1 ratio. I don't think it is every acceptable to use hate and fear mongering. Unfortunately fear mongering is the rights biggest political tool they have been using it since McCarthy. It is a strategy and a good one unfortunately. I noticed that NONE of the leaders on the right have denounced and requested prosecution of these window breakers and those that spit on our congressmen last Sunday or have sent death threats all over the place. The left extremists are of the tree hugging variety and fear is NOT a political strategy for he left. Again I will say it is wrong when hate rears its ugly head on either side but if you want to find the most ugly heads look to the right wing nuts.

    March 27, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  61. sara from allentown

    wingnuts=home grow terrorists. Throw them in jail.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  62. Kay

    If someone acts on Sarah Palin's map will she be held accountable?

    How is she any different than Bin Laden?

    March 27, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  63. Jerry

    Bottom line! FOX NEWS IS A POLITICAL ARM OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. Anyone who believes that their news is fair and balanced, is a low information, arrogant moron, living in the land of Clem and Zeke. They either can't or won't take the time to research and verify everything they are fed by this bullcrap media outlet.

    Or maybe they only believe what they want to hear!

    March 27, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  64. Joe West


    The MSM still doesn't get it.

    Shocked, I tells ya.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  65. virginiarox

    Avlon the right wing so called centrist. Most of the hate and racism has come from the right including spitting on and name calling our Congressman, and this douche pulls the most random buried irrelevant anti left stuff he can find out from under a tree. You aren't fooling anyone except for Cnn who pays you I guess to try to stay balanced.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  66. virginiarox

    Avlon the right wing so called centrist. Most of the hate and racism has come from the left including spitting on and name calling our Congressman, and this douche pulls the most random buried irrelevant anti left stuff he can find out from under a tree. You aren't fooling anyone except for Cnn who pays you I guess to try to stay balanced.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  67. Tom

    I dislike the healthcare bill powerfully. And I intend to fight it. However, I hope that no person who shares my belief does anything STUPID, especially with a gun. There is a lot of frustration and fear in the country today with the way the healthcare bill was passed, the economy, etc. But lets remember when we go
    to the ballot box, we get our revenge.

    March 27, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  68. KAnn

    I agree anyone who advocates violence is out of line. However, I am always disturbed when people define "hate" to include anyone who has an opposite viewpoint or opinion. I looked up some info on the Three Percenters – a guns rights group (not sure who they're supposed to hate). There are a lot of people who fear the direction our government is heading; our freedom is in jeopardy, How ironic, that in a country founded on principles of liberty those that want to retain their freedom are now the enemy.

    March 27, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  69. Lee


    Where was CNN's critique of "hatriots" when President Bush was compared to Hitler and left wing groups ran around with signs "Kill Bush?"

    Maybe if the media was intellectually honest with itself and admitted that they all have their subjective narrative to transmit, you all would actually perform as the fourth estate.

    March 27, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  70. Ula

    “You should understand that we are rapidly coming to a point in this country when half of the people are going to become convinced of the illegitimacy of this administration and its designs upon our liberty. Need I remind you that this side is the one with most of the firearms?”

    Huh? And here I thought the government had the most guns, the biggest guns, bombs, mortars, planes, tanks and entire armies waiting to take on anyone who attacks the government. I think that trumps your itty-bitty M-16.

    March 27, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  71. Blueboy

    Funny....I don't recall any of the conservative defenders of the Constitution protesting when George W. Bush was "selected" against the will of the people.

    March 27, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  72. Andy

    I'm wondering something about all this. Some of these people are aspiring to high government positions themselves.

    One of the requirements to obtain a security clearance is that individuals have never advocated the violent overthrow of the government.

    Some of these, including Palin are apparently doing this. At this time, it is unlikely that if she applied for a position requiring a security clearance that she would be granted it, just due to her cross-hairs web page.

    If she can't get a security clearance, how could she be commander in chief?

    March 27, 2010 at 7:31 am |
  73. cad

    Hate is portrayed by those on the fringes in both parties. It's sad that the news media does not report this. This has been going on for a long time but it is now only news.

    March 27, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  74. donald thomas

    The level of civility shown by the citizens of this country, or lack there of, is reflective of the level of civility shown by those who who have been elected to LEAD. Not just those in the highest offices, but all those who have been elected(selected) to serve. The examples shown by political leaders and their advisors continually demonstrate the highest levels of disrespect, noncooperation, hateful rhetoric, and deceitfulness. All of these "attributes" are examples of the leadership from the best our country has to offer?? These fine examples are broadcast daily, on the hour/ by the minute, for the youth of America to emulate, for our citizens to pattern after in their workplace relationships, for others at all levels of leadership to act in accordance with. All of this seems to be accepted and rationalized as "just politics"? However, it is escalating and those who choose to ignore, condone, or perpetuate the behavior should acknowledge responsibility for the outcomes which may become more than rhetoric.
    We are already seeing the actions which come from those who lead/follow in anger and hatred, ie threats, spitting, throwing objects, shooting, retaliation, etc, etc, etc.

    March 27, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  75. Greg in Atlanta

    C' mon guys. Don't you guys see what is going on here? America is being squeezed by Big Business in a polarizing campaign made popular most recently by Karl Rove. Politically it's the 50.1% rule. First you use the Sun Tzu "The Art of War" strategy "Divide and Conquer"- Red State against Blue State, Regular Joe vs The Elites, whatever. Then you pick a time when the people are at their most vulnerable (like when you set up a tax system that squeezes all the money out of the middle class and gives it to the top 1% of wealth owners). Then you scare the hell out of everybody by yelling FIRE (They are gonna take away your Medicare, The Deficit is out of Control, They're Gonna Take Away Your Guns, etc., anything to panic the people. Then you set yourself up as the Hero (i.e. the only person who knows where the exits are). WE ARE ALL BEING PLAYED!
    Think about it. Would we be even listening to Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber if we weren't really SCARED of the future? We all need to calm down, and really think about what is being said to (feed to) us. It's a lot harder to make a fool out of someone who is CALM.
    WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 27, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  76. Mark

    When I read Avlon's words saying "while Republican House Leader Eric Cantor reported that bullets had been fired at his district offices in Virginia", I just have to shake my head in wonder at CNN.

    This absurd claim was disproven days ago when the Richmond Police Department issued a report saying that the bullet in question (a) was fired randomly into the air from a mile away and was not aimed at anyone or anything, (b) hit a window in a buiding where Cantor has offices, but the window was not one of Cantor's, and (c) broke the glass but was stopped by the Venetian blinds and fell to the floor under the window.

    Cantor twists this non-event into "I was attacked too!" and articles like this, appearing well after the claim was debunked, repeat the claim as if it were true. Are you trying to falsely balance republican rage with Democratic wrongdoing? Why? All the rage and violence is on the republican side, and everyone knows it.

    Our media is highly biased toward republican slime.

    March 27, 2010 at 6:18 am |
  77. Truman

    Clearence Thomas is a "House Negro". I am black and it is not race baiting.

    It is a fact when it comes to discribing a man who has shown no limit to doing what ever it takes to be accepted by the majority political right/white. It is sad but true.

    Clearence Thomas is clinically insane! That is a fact.

    March 27, 2010 at 5:59 am |
  78. Chicago Mark

    Kristallnacht – sound familiar?

    March 27, 2010 at 5:14 am |
  79. Shirley

    This blatant display of hate, outrage and lies has been going on since shortly after President Obama took office. I think the GOP have an issue with him personally. They are resentful of how smart he is and how respected he is internationally because he is an elegant person who is behaving like a statesman.
    What kind of message are they giving the young people of the U.S? These are the role models for our kids? No wonder Americans have a reputation for being rude and uncivilized in other countries. God knows what they must think of the U.S. when they see this stuff!
    If the GOP were concerned about the tone of hate, why didn't they say something when all the nonsense started with the tea party which had such nasty overtones?

    March 27, 2010 at 4:20 am |
  80. Abhi Buch

    Sarah Palin, (what McCain dragged up from under a rock), is out to get notoriety anyway she can. The damage she will bring on this nation can hardly be visualized today: she is using her populist image to stir up the worst side of hatefulness in this country, using all her skills to promote herself as the self-appointed Messiah of a New America: Created in her Immaculate, Gun-Toting image.. The right-wing talk radio hosts are equally out there to be the news, with every hateful statement they can make. All it took to unleash this ugliness was the election of an intelligent black man to the highest office in the land. Some people never got over it. We are not too far from losing the respect of every nation in the world when we descend to political violence of the kind that plagues so many countries around the globe. The difference is that we have the mostv heavily armed populace of any place, and now perhaps the angriest. We are about to discard our most precious posession as a society: that we are ( were) a nation of Laws,

    March 27, 2010 at 4:03 am |
  81. TJEFF1776

    The people that started threats, etc. etc. etc. were on the conservative side. THEN the peacemakers begin acting like it was BOTH sides in
    order to appear neutral and therefore in a position to calm tha waters.
    Thats the way it was and is. Even Sarah childishly weighed in with some her "double meaning" BS in order to be one of the boys. The
    100% truth IS, the conser have lost out on this Health Care Reform
    Bill and a conser childish minority started running their threatening mouths with an attempt to scare the demo politicians. Some of
    Repub Congressmen are guilty of encouraging some of this stuff.
    Right now, the waters are being calmed from what I can see but for
    two days there both sides were ribbing up.

    March 27, 2010 at 3:05 am |
  82. opus512

    The 'attack' on Cantor's offices have been proven by the local police to not have targeted Cantor specifically. So as far as I've read or heard, all the attacks, all of them, have been on Democrats.

    As to the right wing nutbag, it cracks me up when these punk no nut idiots think they're the only ones with guns. You simple, small minded, small everything man child, you come after me you better have a better scope on your rifle than I do/

    March 27, 2010 at 2:43 am |
  83. ben

    hmm, does anyone find it interesting the right feels the need to arm up? Is that compensation of some kind?

    March 27, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  84. Jason

    Although I'm against Obama care I think this hate speech, threats ect is too extreme I think the Republicans need to join the Dems in denoucing this.Although the liberals made their bed and now they're going to live with their votes this way too extreme . If you don't like Obamarama then vote to get him and his chromies out

    March 27, 2010 at 2:25 am |
  85. don

    A memeber of al qaeda called America an evil nation last week, i quess he's right.

    March 27, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  86. cgriff

    Waving your guns around because you don't like the consequences of a fair election isn't patriotism. But Vanderboegh isn't so anti-government that he'll stop cashing his Social Security checks. And I don't know why guys like him seem to think that every conservative with a gun in the country is willing to follow them off a cliff.

    March 27, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  87. cgriff

    That's a fine bunch of patriots, threatening to bring down the duly elected U.S. government in a hail of gunfire if we don't do what they say. Wait a second, who are the real subverters of democracy in this picture?

    March 27, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  88. Ted

    I would like to know when CNN and the major networks will begin to report the real truth, which is our present financial crisis started in the Ronald Reagan, send our jobs overseas days, deregulate and privatize everything days, and continued with George Bush who led us to our current economic fiasco, not to mention a needless 7 year war that is still eating away at our economy every single day, and this is after our own intelligence agencies informed him and all involved that there were no WMD's !!!
    Current polls do not indicate that the American people don't want health care, they indicate that it is more or less an even split. And on a daily basis more and more people seem to agree with it. It is realy strange[or fairly obvious] that the same group of people who eagerly will support a needless war with a great fervor have a problem supporting legislation that will in many cases end up actually helping themselves. What a bunch of right wing Imbeciles

    March 27, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  89. Djinn

    These are the worst kind of self-delusional cowards. And they are not patriots. They take democracy down an ally and brutalize it. Surely they do not believe that their far out, far right insaniacs are the only ones armed in this country.

    March 27, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  90. Michael

    Isn't Mike Vanderboegh on disability?

    Funny how the government is so bad, except when it signs his disability checks. Funny how taxation is so bad, except for the fact that it pays those very checks.

    Hypocrisy, thine has a name

    March 26, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  91. Cat

    Unfortunately, Republican "wing-nuts" will not stop until someone gets killed by one of their fanatics.

    A recent study showed that the average educational level of a Republican is a high school graduate. Whereas, the average educational level of a Democrat is a four-year college graduate as well as post-graduate level. Need I say more??

    March 26, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  92. the real difference

    Take a hard look at what's coming out of the leadership of the democrats vs the repubs. You have Boehner calling another congressman "a dead man" for voting a certain way and people standing on the balcony slapping the face of Pelosy's poster and other despicable acts to stoke the political fire. You may not be able to stop the wingnuts but you at least should clearly see where they get their hate cues from.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  93. lara

    Sarah Palin's behaviour is irresponsible and may get someone seriuosly hurt, and her refusal to remove that map or speak up against this fresh wave of silence indicates to me a sort of passive desire to actually see some blood shed on her part, but the media in general have to take some resposibility for letting this get out of hand.
    By allowing republicans to call this socialism(a complete falsehood), a government takeover, (another falsehood), rammed down people's throats (support in the public was evenly split, with a third of those who didn't like it actually wanting MORE government involvement, so the conservatives were actually the minority, so yet another lie) passed by senate manouevres(the bill itself passed with a 60 vote supermajority, so another lie), a deficit explosion(It's actually deficit reducing, so another lie), and need I go on?
    FOX may have graduated from the sort of rudeness shown to the president by bret baier to outright slander when Glenn Beck calls the president, whose OWN MOTHER was white, a racist, but the rest of the media allowed republican guests to sit there and lie unchallenged, and never actually told people properly what was in the bill, which is why people are only now swinging behind it properly as what it is, a pretty centrist compromise reform which is still going to need more work.
    A lot of people dropped the ball on this one. It is unfortunate however that elected officials like Palin are telling people to reload, and congressmen are making slapping gestures at Nancy pelosi's picture.
    I know these people may not be the smartest in the world, but surely their mother taught them that careless talk costs lives. I sincerely hope that doesn't turn out to be the case, but if some democrat congressman got hurt, I suspect that there are some people on this blog who, like Palin, would be secretly glad.

    March 26, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  94. Puddley Pie

    And if history repeats itself, there will be a mysterious conflagration in the Reichstag, er Congress, and a popular movement, who actually lit the fire themselves, will blame it on innocent parties so that these homegrown terrorists may take control of the government by force and do away with future elections. They will make their leader a dictator, and rid the world of those who disagree with them, hoisting their guns, chanting their hateful slogans, and demonizing the innocents. It will be necessary for the courageous, true patriots of America's constitution and better times to slay the ugly dragon once more. Can we come to our senses before a replay of WWII is necessary?

    March 26, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  95. sherry I

    We should be ashamed of our behavior in this country. I dated a guy from England for a brief time. There is free government health care there, without a federal income tax! His family never suffered from poor quality care, or lengthy could also choose to purchase private insurance if you wanted. If you disagree with the new health care reform, go vote. I would never threaten anyone solely on the basis that I didn't agree with their opinions or votes. I tolerated eight years of George Bush. We have no tolerance or respect for each other anymore. We are embarrassing ourselves in front of the whole world.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:53 pm |

    96% of tea party members and so called far right would never ever do anything violent to anybody.. Lets stop the fear mongering. Anderson Cooper iknow you are good man so please report on fact stop making people believe that if your against health care you could be a potential terrorist. Thanks

    March 26, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  97. Pat

    Can anyone explain the racial slurs hurled @ the congressmen? Once you can, then talk just expressing their freedom of speech and gov't takeover! This was building up since November, 2008. None of this has anything to do with policies – that's just an excuse.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  98. Pirate

    Its really sad to see that the Republicans, who dont hold the House, the Senate, the White House, nor the majority of govenorships, just cant get over the fact they don't appeal to the majority of people in this country. So their approach is, whip up fear and hatdred and shoot themselves back into power. That's not who I want running this country. Seems like we're getting close to a second civil war.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  99. Scott H

    Diane St Louis

    Read the piece. Eric Cantor was the only politican mentioned by name and he a Republican. The shot at his office was reported on CNN just as fast as it was reported on Fox.

    How many republicans were spit at, called racial slurs and had homophobic insults hurled at them during the health care vote? What specific threats towards republicans beyond Cantors gun shot wasn't covered while democrats were?

    March 26, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  100. Tim

    Anastasya & Perplexed – While I respect Perplexed's analysis of the role of our government in the modern times – I am baffled by Anastasya's gut reaction of impeachment for a president who is working the guidance of the same system of government that is broken, bent or failing? Was your anger expressed equally during the Bush administration? Probably not, which makes your opinion useless. Perplexed – the constitution has many great qualities, but it also possessed the expression of our forefathers that times will change, and that they could not anticipate it's application in the changing modern world. And it gave the power to future leaders to change rules (albeit in a negative way). I agree that our government has become of group of those who have money, power and influence and the common American has little control over policy. However, this shift has been ongoing for a long time, and crosses over party lines. I hope you support a change in the American political system, whether that be the formation of a third party based on compromise and conciliation.

    March 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
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