Healthcare reform's politics of anger: GOP fights back
Some Democrats have been attacked or threatened over passage of healthcare reform. Now, GOP leaders are fighting back against suggestions that their party is somehow responsible.
Republican leaders are fighting back against suggestions that the GOP is somehow responsible for attacks and threats against Democrats over passage of healthcare reform.Skip to next paragraph
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At a press conference Thursday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, said that he too had been attacked – and then accused Democrats of trying to exploit the actions against their members for political purposes.
“It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain,” Representative Cantor said. “That is why I have deep concerns that some – [Democratic campaign] chairman Chris Van Hollen and [national Democratic] chairman Tim Kaine in particular – are dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon.”
Cantor also said that someone had shot a bullet through the window of his Richmond campaign office on Monday and that he had received threatening e-mails.
At the heart of the frenzy is an intense partisan battle for public opinion over healthcare reform, which will be a key issue in the fall midterms. Some Republicans have voiced concern that media coverage of the attacks against Democrats could discredit legitimate opposition to healthcare reform.
Democratic leaders say that at least 10 of their members have expressed concerns over their safety, and some offices have suffered vandalism, including those of Reps. Louise Slaughter (D) of New York and Gabrielle Giffords (D) of Arizona. On Thursday, the office of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) of New York reported receiving a threatening letter containing an unidentified white powder, according to wire reports.
Earlier this week, at the home of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D) of Virginia, a propane line to an outdoor grill was cut after his address was posted on a “tea party” website.
A Virginia tea party activist said he had mistakenly posted the brother’s address instead of the congressman’s, suggesting healthcare reform opponents “drop by.” In an interview Thursday on MSNBC-TV, the activist, Nigel Coleman, said he did not intend for anyone to commit vandalism.