Mob Rule?

With the announcement that U.S. Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC) has had his life threatened over health care reform, the tide has turned.  The fomenting venom has manifested into verbal threats — how much longer until violence follows?  This, unfortunately, is the expected outcome of a movement stoking rather than dousing the extremism on the right.

Sarah Palin and to a lessor extent, John McCain, embraced this sort of hostility while it served their interests during the 2008 campaign.  Republicans and their allies against health care reform seem content to continue to embrace and even cultivate the right wing extemists catered to during the Tea Bag movement, thereby aligning themselves with a group who questions Barack Obama’s U.S. birth (and therefore legitimacy as President), asserts all guns will soon be confiscated (thereby driving up the sales of guns and ammunition), proclaims socialism has arrived, casts Obama as Hitler, and suggests the Democrats’ health care plan includes euthanizing the elderly.

The problem Republicans may soon face is whether the lunatic fringe can be managed or if it, like a contained fire that spreads and becomes uncontrollable, leads to unforseen devastation.  They may soon question whether they rule the mob or the mob rules them.

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