“Teapot doom!” Chris Matthews shouted on “Hardball.” “Here they come! We’ve got a death threat in Seattle, a noisy town meeting down in Ft. Lauderdale … and a nasty racial attack down in Georgia. We’ve got some mad haters down there.”
We do indeed, and every last one of them is a tea party member, and all of them use the pretense of caring about debt and the deficit to mask their evil and violent hearts. He’s having none of it.
On his April 6 program, he used the tape of a phone call made to Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., to dispute the claim of Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., that no one has proved that tea party members hurled racial slurs at black Democrats during rallies protesting the passage of health care in Washington, D.C., on the third weekend in March. The tape, as reported, is obscene and revolting, and filled with rants about communists, “white trash” and “honkies,” as well as bleeped-out parts assumed to be anti-black epithets.
The problem is that the caller does not seem to have been at the rally, and has no known link to tea parties at all.
Well, this is Chris Matthews, but even he should be expected to realize that Bachmann never said racism doesn’t exist. What she said is that no proof exists, or has been confirmed by impartial observers, that tea party members made racist remarks to members of Congress at the rally held on the grounds of the capital March 21.
Confirmation was made of one anti-gay slur flung at Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Yet, Andrew Breitbart’s offer of a $100,000 donation to the United Negro College fund for proof or corroboration of anti-black epithets flung about at the rallies has gone unclaimed at this writing.
Political figures on all sides of the aisle are routinely bombarded by menacing letters and phone calls. A sick call to a congressman by a nut case proves sick people make phone calls. It doesn’t prove tea party members said something untoward at a rally hundreds of miles away.
Using a few calls by nuts to tar hundreds of thousands of people who have been protesting peacefully all over the country for over a year now seems a little off-balance, but Matthews’ sense of proportion is strange. Under the heading of unacceptable levels of violence, he groups death threats, sick phone calls to congressmen, questions to congressmen at open town meetings and a snub of a congressman by an elderly woman who didn’t like one of his votes.
“Wait till you hear how Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was greeted at her town meeting,” he said. And how was she greeted? Well, it seems with a question. “Who gave you the right or the authority to determine whether or not I have to purchase health care?” a constituent asked her.
A constituent, speaking up to a member of Congress! “Wow,” Matthews said.
This was nothing to the ordeal suffered by Rep. Paul Hodes in Manchester, N.H., “rebuffed by a constituent” when he tried shaking her hand. “I don’t want to shake your hand, you voted for health care, so just go,” said the nursing home resident.
“We’re looking at an array of incidents here,” Matthews fretted. “Is this anger endemic, or are these isolated areas, or is this just the right wing finding another opportunity to complain?”
Well, Chris, it’s an outbreak of racist, secessionist, neo-Confederate malice, from “mad haters” in nursing homes. Next thing you know, they’ll get out and go vote. And then, you may really see “hate.”
Examiner columnist Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and author of “Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.”