The GOP’s Violence Problem
As The Plum Line‘s Greg Sargent rightly points out, the Republican Party has much bigger problems than inviting a washed-up whackjob like Ted Nugent to the State of the Union. Sargent says the “problem is the perpetual winking and nodding to The Crazy.”
I would take that further and say not only does the Republican leadership condone The Crazy, but also the violent tendencies associated with this type of dangerous ideology. Whether it is refusing to back the Violence Against Women Act, fighting against every single sensible gun law, promoting military force over diplomacy or failing to condemn violent rhetoric toward President Obama — the GOP is gaining a reputation of a political party that cynically accepts violent language and behavior.
Here are a few examples of why the GOP has a violence problem.
Photo credit: The Toad via Flickr
Inviting Ted Nugent To The State Of The Union
In an appallingly insensitive move, gun-crazy congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) invited right-wing rocker Ted Nugent to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, where he will be joined by more than 20 gun violence survivors to watch the president talk about his gun safety proposals.
Nugent was recently investigated by the Secret Service for threatening remarks he made towards President Obama. Nugent has referred to the president as “an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom,” going on to warn that “we need to fix this as soon as possible.” But it was his ominous warning that he “will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if Obama won re-election that got the attention of the men in black.
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence put out a press release Tuesday condemning the Nugent invitation. “I can’t think of any public figure less appropriate for such an occasion,” said executive director Josh Horwitz. But where are the condemnations from the Republican leadership?
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com
Blocking The Violence Against Women Act
House Republicans are holding up reauthorization of the traditionally bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because there are provisions to protect immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans. Even some House GOPers sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), urging them to immediately reauthorize VAWA. Maybe someone checked the last election results that showed a majority of women voted for Barack Obama and Democrats. In fact, the 20-point gender gap was the largest in history and marked the sixth straight presidential election in which the majority of women voted Democratic.
In the above video, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) slams Senate Republicans for attempting to remove tribal provisions from the Violence Against Women Act.
Attacking Hagel For Not Being Hawkish Enough
Many Republicans prefer military action over diplomacy and are suspicious of people like Vietnam veteran and Obama defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel for saying military force should always be a last resort after exhausting every other method.
The New York Times quoted former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as saying that “this is the neocons’ worst nightmare because you’ve got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force.”
Photo by Secretary of Defense/Flickr
Failing to Condemn Violent Rhetoric From The Right
The Republican leadership has failed to condemn the militant tendencies of the Tea Party movement and other right-wing sources. Examples include Sarah Palin’s electoral map that targeted Democratic districts (including that of Gabrielle Giffords) with crosshairs, and Florida congresswoman and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Republican opponent shooting at a human-shaped target with Wasserman Schultz’s initials on it.
But perhaps the most outrageous act was directed against Ms. Giffords in June 2010, only six months before her life was changed forever by gun violence during the Tucson mass shooting and three months after her campaign office was vandalized following the Palin crosshairs incident. Giffords’ Republican opponent Jesse Kelly held a gun-themed fundraiser at which supporters could shoot an M-16 rifle with Kelly. This is how the event was promoted: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”
Well, maybe that isn’t even the most despicable example. In 2009, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) told Politico that “we hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.”
Photo via NPR.org