Some rare good news came out of Washington this week when House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was released from MedStar Washington Hospital after multiple surgeries from a gunshot wound, and was in “good spirits” and “looking forward to his return to work,” according to a statement by the hospital.
But the political violence that sent him to the hospital shouldn’t be forgotten.
Obviously, most Democrats don’t become physically violent over politics. But when political differences prompt violence, it historically comes from one side, and Bernie Sanders-loving would-be assassin James Hodgkinson is just the latest example.
We learned soon after the shooting that Rep. Scalise wasn’t Hodgkinson’s lone target at the baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. Investigators found Hodgkinson had a list of Republicans, specifically, members of the House Freedom Caucus, he wanted to target. These were Reps. Scot DesJarlais of Tennessee, Trent Franks of Arizona , Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Morgan Griffith of Virginia.
In an interview with Fox News, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said campus riots across the country—notably at UC Berkeley, “comedian” Kathy Griffin’s symbolic beheading of President Donald Trump, a New York City play depicting the murder of a Shakespearean Julius Caesar who looked a lot like Trump, are part of “hatemongering” by Democrats. He also questioned whether Hodgkinson was crazy or just a Republican hater.
We don’t know if DeLay’s suggestion about Hodgkinson’s mental state is correct. Irrational and crazy aren’t always synonymous. Like Timothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald, Hodgkinson seemed to have the presence of mind to plot a terrible act. He had a hit list and targeted Republicans in a low-security setting.
What DeLay certainly was correct about is “hatemongering” by Democrats and this isn’t something new. It goes back at least to the Ku Klux Klan, which University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease called the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party,” and Columbia University historian Eric Foner called, “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party” during the 1800s.
While the far-left Weather Underground didn’t have the same affiliation with the Democrats as the Klan, it’s safe to say most of the surviving “Weathermen” are Democrats. Then there is of course the repulsive vitriol emanating from Hollywood and even some in the media today. It’s not just Trump — they were nearly as vile towards President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, various Republicans in Congress, and Tea Party groups.
I wrote about this violence by the Klan in Tainted by Suspicion, regarding the hard-fought 1876 presidential election between Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes and his Democratic opponent Samuel Tilden. The Klan is so ridiculously irrational that it may be unfair to place it anywhere on the right-left spectrum. But the organization was built around identity politics and professed victimhood, which are two hallmarks of the Left.
As I wrote in the book:
To reinforce the intimidation tactics, the Klan would hold public burnings of Republican ballots in southern states. The result in several elections was that turnout in the Union strongholds of many southern states dropped dramatically.
The party’s violent nature wasn’t limited to the Klan. After the Hayes-Tilden election deadlocked, high-ranking Democrats—media moguls and officeholders—threatened violence to get their man in office.
Henry Watterson, publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal and a Democratic Congressman from Kentucky, on Jan. 8—which he called “St. Jackson’s Day” because it marked the Battle of New Orleans—called for “the presence of at least 10,000 unarmed Kentuckians in the city” to march on Washington to ensure Tilden was elected. His friend Joseph Pulitzer, still building a vast newspaper empire, went further, calling for 100,000 people “fully armed and ready for business,” to ensure that Tilden becomes president.
Angry Democratic mobs across the country would chant, “Tilden or blood,” and reportedly in a dozen states, club-wielding “Tilden Minute Men” had formed threatening to march into Washington to take the White House for their candidate.
The last Democratic president, Barack Obama, began his first political campaign for the Illinois state legislature with the support of unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, a former Weather Underground leader. Ayers gets applauded at left-wing universities, while the same campuses riot if a conservative speaker is invited to speak. The universities, by not standing up to rioting students, are basically condoning their violent behavior.
It hasn’t just been campus activists and entertainers, nor is it exclusive to the Trump era.
Of Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) said in 2010:
That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook. It’s just we don’t prosecute big crooks.
Maine state Rep. Chuck Kruger, a Democrat, once tweeted, “Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams.”
Yet, the Left and Democrats get away with calling the Right violent. Clearly not every act of violence is politicized and so-called right-wing violence isn’t exactly widespread in the United States.
The aforementioned McVeigh, behind the heinous Oklahoma City federal building bombing in 1995, is frequently called a right-wing extremist. He of course was against the federal government, and supported violently overthrowing it. But his demented justifications didn’t invoke Edmund Burke or conservative political theory, or even a party preference. And in some ways he was a left-winger. He was an agnostic who described science as his religion and was an animal rights supporter.
Then there are those who carry out violence against abortion clinics, which the pro-life movement always condemns.
When someone who can remotely be identified as right-wing carries out violence, the Right typically offers unconditional condemnation of such actions. If the Left condemns violence at all, it’s never unconditional.
Even the name of the principal left-wing political movement implies rebellion. Ann Coulter recently wrote of Hillary Clinton announcing her proud affiliation with “the Resistance.”
“Imagine if Trump lost and then announced that he’d joined the ‘RESISTANCE.’ He’d be accused of trying to activate right-wing militias. Every dyspeptic glance at an immigrant would be reported as fascistic violence. But the media seem blithely unaware that the anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ has been accompanied by nonstop militaristic violence from liberals,” Coulter wrote.
“It began with Trump’s inauguration, when a leftist group plotted to pump a debilitating gas into one Trump inaugural ball, military families were assaulted upon leaving the Veterans’ Inaugural Ball, and attendees of other balls had water thrown on them,” she added. “Since then, masked, armed liberals around the country have formed military-style organizations to beat up conservatives. In liberal towns, the police are regularly ordered to stand down to allow the assaults to proceed unimpeded.”
Which is just the way the Left likes it.