This morning’s Minnesota Independent reports that Rep. Betty McCollum, who voted for the strongest patient protections in American history, is among the Democratic legislators who voted for health care reform that have been subjected to threats, vandalism, and in some cases, violence.
“Betty McCollum you’ve been dry f***** by the liberal party.” So read a letter, which also contained a condom removed from its packaging, received by Rep. Betty McCollum’s office on Monday. Another letter contained a shredded American flag drenched in gasoline along with a note that reads, “It represents Obama and your liberal filth. Open the bag, it’s covered in the stench you’ve brought to our government … Because of you, we are now a country of dirt, shame, corruption and slime.”
McCollum’s is one of many congressional offices that are reporting threatening tactics by anti-health care reform activists, particularly members of the Tea Party movement. McCollum released a statement on Thursday saying she will not be intimidated: “I will not back down in the face of attacks, threats, and violence. I do not regret my vote, and I will proudly stand in the face of opposition and defend my support of health care reform.”
The kind of threatening tactics right-wingers are employing against pro-reform Democrats are the direct result of the "death panel" and "freedom fighter" rhetoric that Republicans have been using to incite fear, anger, and hate in the minds of their conservative base.
Take Minnesota’s own Michele Bachmann, who just yesterday said she was "like Nostradamus" when she predicted last year that President Obama had "anti-American views."
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people – we the people, are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): “And are they going to listen? Oh yeah, oh yeah, they’re going to listen. It was Thomas Jefferson who said a revolution every now and then is a good thing. What do you think?”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): “The number one thing people can do is come, see their member of Congress, look at them in the eyes, especially with other freedom fighters in tow, and let them know that the lessons of August, they should not forget, at their peril.”
It’s the Bachmann brand of rhetoric, aimed at whipping the conservative fringe into an anti-health care reform frenzy, that’s created an angry monster capable of cutting the gas line at a house identified as Rep. Tom Perriello’s on a Tea Party blog and faxing pictures of nooses to a civil rights leader.
Just look at the anger in this woman, who showed up at a "Kill the Bill" rally at Rep. Betty McCollum’s office on the Friday before the health care vote:
It’s time for Michele Bachmann, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, and the Minnesota Republican Party to take responsibility for the monster they’ve created — and put a stop to it.
But I wouldn’t count on it. Taking a page from John Boehner and Eric Cantor, Bachmann’s office justified the irrational rage among fringe conservatives her rhetoric helped create.
In a written statement, Bachmann’s office said it did not condone threats or violence but suggested Democrats are to blame because of health care reform.
"Americans are upset for being ignored by the Democrats "This frustration should be channeled into repealing this monstrosity of a bill."
Once again, Michele Bachmann misses the point. I’ll let Rep. Tom Perriello — the freshman member of Congress whose brother’s house had his gas line cut — explain why:
“No, the answer is, we want those people to go to jail who are committing a crime,” he said. “We want all those other good, law-abiding people who are adamantly opposed to health care to join our campaigns.”