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More of This, Please: Republican Rep. Cautiously Rejects Some Radical Right-Wing Rhetoric

As you can tell from the headline, there’s much more to be done here, but I was glad to see that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) rejected some of the lunacy on display at town hall meetings and being spread by right-wing hatemongers on the airwaves

Rep. McMorris Rodgers’s statement leaves room for improvement. She said, "I don’t condone calling President Obama Hitler and painting swastikas on signs at town halls".  Ok, good–it’d be better to see stronger language–like "I condemn radicals who are mindlessly comparing Obama to Hitler and knowingly spreading lies about health care reform", but I do see this as a step in the right direction.  (It would also be nice if Rep. McMorris Rodgers dropped the silly "balance" approach made infamous by our failed media elites: she called for "both sides" to be respectful at town halls.  It’s simply incorrect to suggest that the right-wing mobs descending on town halls, threatening to kill Democratic politicians, and egged on by Republicans leaders, are matched by anything on the left).

As I noted the other day, the time is now for reasonable Republicans to demonstrate that they know crazy when they see it.  I think some of them do — Sens. Isaakson and Murkowski have referred to the death panel nonsense as "nuts" and "ginning up fear".  The next step is connecting the dots–the town hall mob phenomenon isn’t happening on its own: as I’ve noted, Republican leaders are irresponsibly fanning the flames (see Palin, Gingrich, Boehner).  Will McMorris Rodgers, Isaakson, or Murkowski call out leaders in their own party who are spreading lies and encouraging misplaced fury?  Elected Republicans have the power to stop this.

We’ll have to see, but I was encouraged by McMorris Rodgers’s statement, and called her office to say so.

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Chris Edelson

Chris Edelson

Chris is a lawyer and professor at American University who writes frequently about current political and media issues. His writing has also been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Metroland (Albany, NY), and at