With several different Democrats receiving threats of violence and receiving protective detail after voting for the new health insurance reform law (I haven't yet tired of saying that), it's worth highlighting something that Minority Leader John Boehner said last week about one of the Congressmen who has been subjected to this sort of vitriolic abuse: his neighbor from an adjacent Ohio district, Rep. Steve Driehaus.
"Take [Rep.] Steve Driehaus, for example," he says. "He may be a dead man. He can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati."
As mcjoan noted earlier, Congressman Driehaus has been subjected to a litany of intimidating tactics, including death threats, having pictures of his children used in an attack ad, and having the address of and directions to his private residence posted on conservative blogs--and we've all seen how well that worked out in the case of case of Rep. Periello's brother.
Predictably, Driehaus has called Boehner out about his words, which are ill-chosen at best:
"I think it's really important for folks around here, especially leader Boehner, to understand that his words have consequences," Driehaus said. "Leader Boehner suggested that if I vote yes on this bill and go home to the west side of Cincinnati, that I could be a dead man.... It really calls into question his ability to lead. He should be a statesman."
Driehaus confronted Boehner about the interview on the floor of the House. "I told him it was inexcusable," Driehaus said. "It doesn't really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It's how the least sane person in my district accepts it."
That's a pretty important point, because the least sane person in Western Cincinnati could be a Sarah Palin fan who wants to put SarahPAC's rifle scope imagery into practice.
I'd normally say that it's up to the minority GOP leadership to take a principled stand in opposition to the violence and the eliminationist rhetoric. But they can't, and they know it. They've spent the entire past year in cahoots with Fox News to convince America that health care reform would turn the United States into the Soviet Union--and they know they can't back down now without losing their base.
The GOP leadership and their allies on Fox and on the AM dial had better pray that nobody gets hurt or killed on account of this--because if that happens, the blood will be on their hands.