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Republicans Denounce Pelosi for Warning Against 'Incitement'By Paul Kane
The House Republicans' top campaign chief strongly denounced Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments that appeared to question whether today's angry conservative protests were similar to anti-gay rallies in the late 1970s that preceded the assassination of two San Francisco political leaders.Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi crossed the line when she related the rhetoric of anti-gay protesters in San Francisco in 1978 -- the year Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the city's board of supervisors, and his political ally, Mayor George Moscone, were killed by former supervisor Dan White -- to that of contemporary conservatives while answering a question about the protests against President Obama's health-care proposals."The Speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination. Such insulting rhetoric not only undermines the credibility of her office, but it underscores the desperate attempt by her party to divert attention away from a failing agenda," Sessions said in a statement. "During one of the most important policy debates of our time, the American people have been completely abandoned by those elected representatives under her control. Voters are justifiably frustrated with Washington, and the Speaker's verbal assault on voters accomplishes nothing other than furthering her reputation for being wildly out of touch with the American people."Unsure of who's right in this debate? Decide for yourself. Here is the full question and answer at Pelosi's weekly press briefing, held every Thursday morning:Q: Madam Speaker, in terms of the political tone, the tone of the debate, Hoyer said earlier this week he thought it was the most vitriolic since '93-'94. And around that time we also saw acts of domestic violence, domestic terrorism. How concerned are you about the tone of the political debate, in terms of people talking about anti-government rhetoric and so on and the possibility of violence?
Speaker Pelosi: Well, I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. We are a free country, and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance.
I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this, myself, in the late '70s in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place.
So I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, so that understanding that some of the people -- the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume.
But, again, our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe. But I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause.
It was Pelosi's DUTY to speak up about these people who are as serious as a lynch mob, and have already taken the first steps toward becoming one.
Scott Roeder, the militant anti-abortion activist who is charged with the killing of Dr. George Tiller, counts himself among the members of the patriot movement.
But in Pittsburgh earlier this month, I sat among a group of disgruntled senior citizens at a conference sponsored by the astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity, who probably don't spend their weekends training for a war with the government, but nonetheless consider themselves to be part of the Tea Party coalition -- and perhaps even the patriot movement. Nonetheless, when conference speakers made reference to gun rights, they received heartfelt applause.
Yet much of their ideology stems from the states' rights philosophy of the Confederacy in the Civil War, and sometimes the ideas and symbols of the two wars are drawn together in a tangle of rage.
Some self-described "patriots" take part in the resurgent militia movement, but many do not. However, gun enthusiasts are rife in their ranks, and many view their role as one of "resistance" to what they see as government encroachment in their lives.
They oppose virtually all forms of taxation and almost anything run by the government. (Hence, the title of the site run by Grassfire.org known as www.alternet.org/rights/141860/inside_story_on_town_hall_riots%3A_right-wing_shock_troops_do_corporate_america%27s_dirty_work?obref=obinsite">ResistNet.)