Speaker Boehner And Republican Rhetoric
Let me start by saying that the new Speaker’s comments after the Arizona shooting were absolutely perfect. However in the wake of Matt Taibbi’s portrait of Speaker Boehner in Rolling Stone, Boehner should be scrutinizing his own recent actions. Most revealing are comments Boehner made about former Rep. Steve Dreihaus.
After Boehner suggested that by voting for Obamacare, Driehaus “may be a dead man” and “can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati” because “the Catholics will run him out of town,” Driehaus began receiving death threats, and a right-wing website published directions to his house. Driehaus says he approached Boehner on the floor and confronted him.
“I didn’t think it was funny at all,” Driehaus says. “I’ve got three little kids and a wife. I said to him, ‘John, this is bullshit, and way out of bounds. For you to say something like that is wildly irresponsible.'”
Driehaus is quick to point out that he doesn’t think Boehner meant to urge anyone to violence. “But it’s not about what he intended — it’s about how the least rational person in my district takes it. We run into some crazy people in this line of work.”
I don’t think that Boehner (or Sarah Palin for that matter) intended for violence. But their rhetoric is irresponsible and Driehaus has it exactly right; what is important is how that language affects the least rational member of the audience. Words matter. Let’s hope the horror of this past weekend leads to a change in the language we hear from political figures.Click here for reuse options!
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