As historic health insurance reform legislation gets closer to passage, the Teabaggers are getting increasingly desperate and ugly, and are exposing their true colors. Today a Tea Party protester reportedly called Congressman Barney Frank a "f****t," while another Teabagger reportely called Congressman John Lewis the N-word. The Teabaggers don't have any facts or reason on their side, so they get out the ugly and the hate.
I've always contended that the Tea Party movement was more about hate than any true principles or beliefs. The people in this movement, who as far as I can tell are all white and seem to be all straight, can't stand the fact that we now have an African American president. They can't stand the fact that people of color are in positions of power, and that gay people have the nerve to stand up for equal rights. When the Teabaggers scream about "taking back their country," this is what they're talking about.
As our Brian Beutler reports, a few moments ago in the Longworth office building, a group swarmed a very calm looking Henry Waxman, as he got on the elevator, with shouts of "Kill the bill!" "You liar! You crook!"
Not long before, Rep. Barney Frank got an uglier version of the treatment. Just after Frank rounded a corner to leave the building, an older protestor yelled "Barney, you f****t." The surrounding crowd of protestors then erupted in laughter.
At one point, Capitol police officer threatened to throw a group of protestors out of the building but that only seemed to inflame them more; and apparently none were ejected.
Yes, calling a senior Congressman the f-word is a barrel of giggles for this hateful, moronic crowd.
Not to be outdone, a different group of Teabaggers displayed their racist contempt for Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights hero and respected senior leader in Congress, per The Hill:
Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) claimed Saturday that healthcare protesters at the Capitol directed racial epithets at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as he walked outside.
Carson, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus along with Lewis, told The Hill that protesters called Lewis the N-word.
Tea Party protesters held a rally outside the Capitol on Saturday, which included speeches by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and actor Jon Voight, and then proceeded into the halls to lobby members at the 11th hour.
Yes, the Tea Party wants to take their country back alright, back to the '50s.
I smell desperation among the wingnuts folks. Let's really drive them crazy and inch this country a bit closer to a sane health care system.
And Oh yes, for those cowardly Dems who are thinking of voting No on Sunday due to cowering fear of the Teabaggers, THIS is who you are listening to.
Here's a disturbing tweet from Luke Russert, quoting Congressman James Clyburn (H/T mark louis):
Clyburn: I heard people saying things today I've not heard since Mar 15th, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.
Sam Stein at Huffington Post has more disgusting details of the Teabaggers' hateful behavior today in DC:
A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-M.D.) had been spit on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-G.A.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "f****t," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president's speech, shrugged off the incident.
But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.
"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn told the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."
"It doesn't make me nervous as all," the congressman said, when asked how the mob-like atmosphere made him feel. "In fact, as I said to one heckler, I am the hardest person in the world to intimidate, so they better go somewhere else."
Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:
"A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care... it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."
Right on Congressman Clyburn.
NBC's Shawna Thomas gets Rep. Frank's reaction to the Teabaggers' ugly behavior today:
"The Republican leadership is making a mistake not doing more to disassociate from this. ... It's a mob mentality that doesn't work politically. ...
"The only problem I have with this... They all said 'You should quit. You should quit. We're going to defeat you. At some point... I'd like to retire. As long as I think it might make some of those people happy, I can never retire. I may have to work forever as long as they're out there."
Seeing how strongly and defiantly Democratic Congressmen like Frank, Clyburn and Lewis have stood up to this unacceptable behavior, called it out and vowed to continue fighting, it makes me even prouder to be a Dem and even more determined to keep fighting against the Teabaggers and their bullcrap.
More details from McClatchy, including the firsthand account of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver:
"Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon House office building across from the Capitol when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.
"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill,' " Lewis said.
A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."
"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "n****r."
"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them."
Protestors inside the Capitol also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress. According to Huffington Post, one of its writers heard the demonstrators shout "f****t" at Frank.
From The Nation, which is one of several news outlets to report that the Teabaggers' ugly, angry, racist and homophobic behavior today has caused grave concern among the powerbrokers in DC:
There has been much discussion since the inception of the "Tea Party" movement of the fact that it is overwhelmingly white in make-up and, to the view of its critics, racist is its messaging.
But this is the most blatant and high-profile such incident yet, and it left many of Capitol Hill shaken.
Also GreyHawk's diary, TeaBaggers Go Overboard, Threaten Gun Violence Over HCR. Sadly, I fear that these two diaries are not unrelated. But we must not be deterred.
Congressman Emanual Cleaver's office has issued a statement about the incident today, per TPM:
For many of the members of the CBC, like John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver who worked in the civil rights movement, and for Mr. Frank who has struggled in the cause of equality, this is not the first time they have been spit on during turbulent times.
This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the others Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol Police.
This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the "n" word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans. That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting. He looks forward to taking a historic vote on health care reform legislation tomorrow, for the residents of the Fifth District of Missouri and for all Americans. He believes deeply that tomorrow's vote is, in fact, a vote for equality and to secure health care as a right for all. Our nation has a history of struggling each time we expand rights. Today's protests are no different, but the Congressman believes this is worth fighting for.
The Teabaggers' ugly, hate-filled behavior has been covered by several MSM outlets, including CNN, ABC News and NPR, according to reports from kossacks. One of the top stories on the Washington Post's website right now is a story about the Teabaggers' slurs and spitting directed at members of Congress who are black and gay. And just to put the final nail in the coffin of any debate about the Republican Party's complicity in all of this, after a day of ugly by the Teabaggers, WaPo reports that a number of Republican lawmakers came out to egg them on further with their hate:
Saturday evening, more than a handful of House Republicans held an impromptu rally on the Capitol steps. Using a megaphone, the lawmakers urged on the crowd. Shortly after 6 p.m., Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) dared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to come out onto the House steps and address the more than 1,000 people who were gathered at the foot of the Capitol, prompting a loud and angry chant of "Nancy, Nancy, Nancy."
The protesters believe that the Obama administration and Congress are ignoring the public's opposition to the $940 billion legislation, which they consider it to be a government takeover of the health-care system. They carried signs saying "Remember in November"; one carried a broomstick with cardboard pasted onto it with the label "Here's Your Ride," for Pelosi.
After a day of racist and homophobic behavior, the Republicans had to make sure to throw in a good dose of sexism to boot. Stay classy Republicans!
You didn't think the Teabaggers would exclude the Jews from yesterday's hatefest, did you? From NY Daily News (H/T: StepLeftStepForward):
A staffer in Rep. Anthony Weiner’s office reported a stream of hostile encounters with tea partiers roaming the halls of Congress. The less harmful stuff was mockery. But they left a couple of notes behind. One asked what Rahm Emanuel did with Weiner in the shower, in a reference to mess around ex-Rep Eric Massa. It was signed with a swastika, the staffer said. The other note called the congressman "Schlomo Weiner," among other hate-filled words.
In that same article, Rep. Jose Serrano observed that what was so disturbing about the Teabaggers' protests yesterday was not just the hate-filled words but the hate you could feel in the air:
Rep. Jose Serrano was so disturbed, he called to relay his own unpleasant encounter with a Tea Party activist who accosted him outside, when Serrano went for a stroll near the rally...
"There was a person who saw me go by, and called me a bunch of things, and ended calling me an elitist pig with a cutesy haircut," Serrano, of the Bronx, said.
It wasn’t the words so much that bothered the congressman, but the tone and attitude.
And the words heard by Lewis were especially distasteful to Serrano. Lewis is a widely respected member of Congress who had his skull fractured by police in a 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Ala.
"He’s the conscience of the Congress," Serrano said.
It all reminded him of the worst reactions to the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war protests. It was the kind of reaction, he said, that you get "whenever you’re trying to do something really important."