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Ingraham Minimizes Right-Wing Violence Against Dems, Points to Dems "Ratcheting Up" Hate Rhetoric

Reported by Julie - March 28, 2010 -

Jeez, is that woman vile. It's not just that she's mean-spirited -- which she is. It's not just that she's narrow-minded -- which she is. It's that she's dangerously rabid and blinded by bitterness and rage, and epitomizes the hate rhetoric -- which has, this past week, led to violence -- that the Democrats are decrying and the Republicans are ginning up. On Friday night's (3/26/10) O'Reilly Factor, guest host Laura Ingraham mocked the Democrats for taking a firm stand against the violent outbursts following the passage of the healthcare reform bill, attempted to paint the Democrats as the ones ratcheting up the hate rhetoric, and made it clear she believes the "isolated incidences" of violence against Democrats are largely their own fault. But who refused to sign the DNC Civility Statement? The Republicans. With video.

Kicking off the Talking Points Memo by likening the recent spate of violence against Democrats to the left calling Bush a war criminal and a murderer, Ingraham quoted a "cable host" who said, about Dick Cheney's heart, "We ought to rip it out, kick it around, and stuff it back in him." Although Ingraham didn't mention him by name, the cable host in question is Ed Schultz, and what he actually said, in its entirety, was, "You’re damn right, Dick Cheney's heart's a political football . . . We ought to rip it out and kick it around and stuff it back in him." Using Cheney's heart as a football . . . not the nicest image, certainly. But I didn't hear Ingraham squawk when Fox News' own Liz Trotta joked about murdering then-candidate Obama.

Ingraham continued her tirade, ranting, "Given all the truly hateful rhetoric that has been spewed by the left and continues to be spewed by the left, forgive me if I'm unmoved by the Democrats' current pleas for their calls for civility . . . and their outrage over isolated incidents of vandalism." Well, I wouldn't necessarily call the incidents "isolated" -- unless you consider severed gas lines, bricks through windows, death threats, and threats to assassinate children of Democrats who voted for healthcare reform, as well as other assorted calls to violence, isolated. The response by rabid right-wingers to the passing of the healthcare reform bill was swift and aggressive, and there's no reason to believe -- with the tea party movement still in full swing around the country -- that it's going to get any better.

Paying lip service to the civilized notion that violence is "reprehensible," Ingraham claimed that the GOP leadership has condemned such violence, and went on to deride the Democrats for raising money off the "actions of a few nutbags." Woah, there, honey -- I think I need a little more info on this whole GOP condemning the violence thing. Last I heard, dozens of Republican congressmen, on the day of the healthcare reform vote, were out on the members-only House balcony whipping the tea party-goers into a frenzy. These supposed leaders held up anti-healthcare reform signs ("Kill the Bill") and displayed signs mocking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- even knowing that these same tea party members were attempting to intimidate Democrats voting for healthcare reform, as they formed rings around the Dems, forced to be escorted by police, screaming, "You communists! You socialists! You hate America!" (And let's not forget, House Minority Leader John Boehner had previously likened healthcare reform to Armageddon.)

It wasn't much different inside, with the House Republicans using terms designed to incite, such as "freedom dies," "government tyranny," and "fiscal Frankenstein."

Yeah, boy, GOP -- that's some condemnation, there. Sounds to me like the lunatics took over the asylum.

And following the healthcare reform vote, wasn't it Eric Cantor who concocted some cockamamie story about his office being the target of violence -- which we now know was fabricated -- in order to blame the Democrats for the violence? Despite his claim that such violence is unacceptable, Cantor nevertheless attacked Democrats for "fanning the flames" of violence and using the attacks for political fodder. It's a little hard to condemn the attackers and blame the victims, simultaneously. It's tantamount to a judge saying, "I'm not saying what the rapist did was right, but it was the victim's fault."

Ingraham must not have been Googling much lately, either, because she ignored polls which indicate public support for healthcare reform has increased since the bill was signed, and made the claim, "Most people don't like it, they don't want it, and they want it repealed." In fact, a recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed just the opposite -- since the signing of the healthcare reform bill, 48% approve and 40% disapprove. Just because something's on Ingraham's wish list doesn't make it true.

Next up on Ingraham's to-do list: Mocking DNC Chair Tim Kaine and Democratic fundraiser Chris van Hollen for demanding that the GOP "ratchet down the rhetoric." Rather than agree that this should happen, Ingraham instead indignantly pointed to Majority Whip Jim Clyburn's statements that the Republicans are "aiding and abetting" terrorism. Ingraham chose to minimize the very real attacks on Democrats, and instead attempted to justify the behavior of the right by trying to make it appear that the left was responsible for its own victimization.

Ingraham's bottom line conclusion was that the Democrats are making a big deal out of nothing, trying to change the subject from healthcare reform (which is now the law of the land) because everybody hates the bill. Considering that her starting premise -- that Americans hate the bill -- is erroneous, the rest of her argument just doesn't hold water.

Returning to Jim Clyburn, Ingraham mocked his concern that, if the rhetoric isn't tamped down, the issue of immigration reform could lead to "catastrophic events."

"Passionate dissent is potentially catastrophic? . . . Now the unspoken message to voters seems to be this: Sit down, shut up, and marvel at history's being made."

I hope ingraham isn't on the GOP payroll as a PR front person (well, on second thought, maybe I do), because she's about as effective as RNC Chairman Michael Steele. By piling it on the Democrats -- the victims of the majority of the violence -- and flipping the script to blame Democrats for "ratcheting up" the rhetoric and leaving the conservatives blameless, she effectively displayed the remarkable insensitivity, lack of civility, and lack of accountability that defines the Republican Party of today.