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Friday, March 26, 2010

Eric Cantor's Magic Bullet

I feel terrible. After the healthcare bill was passed, Democrats experienced a wave of vandalism and threats, including one case that could be described as attempted murder -- poorly attempted, sure, but there's no legal requirement that you have to be any good at this murder stuff to qualify for the charge. Not that it matters; it's not the perpetrators' fault, it's mine -- and those like me. Ask House minority whip Eric Cantor:


(If movie doesn't load, click here)


Salon's Mike Madden sums up Cantor's speech this way:

First, condemn violence against members of Congress. Next, announce that you've been threatened frequently yourself -- including having a bullet shot through your campaign office this week -- because you're Jewish. Third, blame Democrats for the whole mess, saying their decision to talk about threats would lead to more violence. After speaking for no more than four minutes, wrap up and leave the podium, taking no questions and marching silently through the Capitol halls as a mob of reporters chases after you trying to follow up.


I've talked about this stuff, so it's all my fault. As I say, I feel terrible. Or, at least, I did until read the police report of Cantor's bullet story.





Turns out, things are not quite the way Eric portrayed them. "A preliminary investigation shows that a bullet was fired into the air and struck the window in a downward direction, landing on the floor about a foot from the window," Richmond police say. "The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman."

If the shooter was targeting Cantor's office, he had a very strange way of doing it -- fire a bullet up into the air and let gravity pull it down into the window after it had spent all its energy. As a former hunter and someone who's pretty familiar with firearms, I've got to say that'd be one helluva trick shot -- one on the scale of one in a million. More likely is that some fool fired a bullet into the air, which came down and broke a random window. I think it's pretty clear that Cantor wasn't the target and that, in fact, there probably wasn't any target at all. It was just the result of some idiot who thinks a gun is a fancy firecracker.

So there's that. And Cantor claims to have received threats himself, but he won't release them, because somehow that would be wrong. So we're just going to have to take his word for that. You know what? This is all starting to smell a little like a bull pasture.

If it all turns out to be BS, how hypocritical would it be that Cantor used a stray bullet to claim criminal attack of his own? He accuses Democrats of politicizing threats and violence, while politicizing something that was neither. I can shorten Cantor's speech even more than Madden managed to; "Quick, look over there!"

How about we take an honest look at what's happening here, OK? Cantor and his Republicans have been over the top in their rhetoric. The President and Democrats are socialists, Maoists, Stalinists, or fascists, depending on who you ask and what they had for breakfast. The nation is under attack, freedoms will be lost, people will be put into camps, death panels will be instituted, grandma will be killed, abortions will be mandatory, and Barack Obama is a lying Marxist building a Gestapo-like force and siding with terrorists.

How odd that people would react violently... It's almost like they believe that the nation is under attack, freedoms will be lost, people will be put into camps, death panels will be instituted, grandma will be killed, abortions will be mandatory, and Barack Obama is a lying Marxist building a Gestapo-like force and siding with terrorists. Weird. You wonder where people get these crazy ideas.

Republicans find themselves behind the PR eight-ball. America has come to a very ugly place and the cause is obvious to anyone with a brain they're willing to use. So Republicans do what Republicans do; they lie, they play the victim card, and they blame someone else. McCarthyism and crazy conspiracy theories aren't driving people to violence, Democrats talking about violence are driving people to violence. Forget asking which came first, the chicken or the egg; by Republican logic, the chicken is the egg. Cause and effect -- who needs it? An event can happen before its cause, people can turn violent because Democrats talked about that violence after it happened. And now those same Democrats are politicizing the violence they provoked. It's all a circular, time-bending plot to make Republicans look bad. Oh, poor, poor Eric Cantor.

And we're supposed to buy this illogical -- scratch that -- anti-logical pile of crap. Why? Because Republicans believe we're stupid.

Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, they're right.

-Wisco


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