The white nativist movement euphemistically referred to as “The Tea Party” is up to their old tricks again, with members calling three black lawmakers “nigger” and gay congressperson Barney Frank “faggot” at a protest this weekend. WOW, what a surprise. The establishment Right spreads vicious lies about what’s contained in the health care bill, about Obama’s personal history (“pallin’ around with Terrorists”) and the Democrats’ legislative goals generally (Totalitarian Socialism!), and then pretends that these “isolated incidents” — as House Minority Leader John Boehner is now referring to them — came from nowhere, and of course the GOP finds such actions reprehensible. Except for two elected Republicans (at least) who don’t! Their positions amount to something like, “Eh, sometimes a fag gets called a fag, right?”
To bring everybody up to speed, here’s a quick summary of what happened at the protests:
Three Democratic African-American lawmakers – including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Georgia – said demonstrators against the health care bill yelled racist epithets at them as they walked past. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said a protester spit at him. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, an openly gay Democrat, said protesters yelled anti-gay comments at him.
And here’s how Representative Steve King (from my beloved home state of Iowa, goddammit) responded:
“I just don’t think it’s anything. … There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn’t walk through. I wouldn’t live to get to the other end of it.”
Hahahahah, wait, what? Um, you lost me there, at the “don’t think it’s anything” part, and also at the “all white people get killed in black neighborhoods” part. Hmmmmm. That seems, uh, inaccurate, I guess. As Yglesias helpfully points out:
If I understand King correctly, he seems to be saying that he believes a white person such as himself couldn’t walk through a black neighborhood without being killed. On the off chance that this is simple confusion on his part, I’d like to assure him that this is false.
This Steve King, man. What a piece of shit. And then there’s also this other real piece of shit named Devin Nunes who’s a Representative from California who actually finds the protesters’ behavior justified:
NUNES: Yeah, well I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy. I think, you know, there’s people that have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it. [emphasis in original, from ThinkProgress]
I don’t think anything has to be said about that quote. The hate and ignorance it contains speaks for itself.
Both Boehner and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor have criticized the protesters’ actions, but if they are serious about stopping this kind of behavior, they — as well as all leading figures on the Right — would call out both King and Nunes by name. Anyone who finds the protesters’ behavior shameful but lets two elected officials off the hook is giving a tacit endorsement of King and Nunes. My guess is that we’ll see single payer enacted before we see those two monsters face disciplinary action.
There’s more name calling to report. A spokesperson for Texas Representative Ciro Rodriguez is confirming that the lawmaker, who is Hispanic, was called a “wetback” by anti-reform crusaders at a town hall meeting this week. But you know, these are all isolated incidents.