This unidentified man decided he was doing the Tea Party-anti-reform effort a real solid by hanging freshman Maryland Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil in effigy [note the creepily expert knotted noose] with a placard "Congress Traitors The American [and a word that looks like "idol"].
The event — a rally in Salisbury, Md. on the Eastern Shore — was attended by members of the business-funded Americans for Prosperity, a group that includes James Miller, a Federal Trade Commission chairman and budget director during the Reagan administration.
Americans for Prosperity, a lobbyist-funded tea-bagging front group, is already backpedaling hard:
The rally wasn't officially sanctioned by AFP — but the group's members attended the protest, which coincided with an AFP health care meeting, says a spokeswoman for the group.
"We held an event the previous night, where this man passed out flyers asking people to join him the next day at the office for a protest. That is how some AFP members ended up coming, but they were disgusted by his behavior. I repeat, this gathering WAS NOT an AFP event or sponsored by us in any way," writes AFP's Amy Menefee.
Sure, whatever you say, AFP. The fact remains that the people at this event were people you recruited for your anti-health reform efforts, and they think a fake lynching is a good idea.
Oh, and Salisbury has a history of real lynchings dating back to the 1930s, making this episode even more disturbing:
As it turns out, the dangling of a noose has distant but painful historical resonance on the Eastern Shore.
The Salisbury area was the site of the last two racial lynchings that took place in the state of Maryland — both in the 1930s, according to Polly Stewart. a former Salisbury University professor interviewed by NPR earlier this year.
These are the people against health reform. They're the same people who think Barack Obama is not a citizen. They're the same people who think health reform is going to kill your grandma. They're being led by lobbyists in Maryland, and they're putting their conspiracy theories out there on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The "birther movement" is, as Politico says, becoming a headache for the GOP. This issue of "euthanizing seniors" could be an even worse one. Whatever representatives hop on that bandwagon have proved themselves just as crazy as the birthers.
Health care reform is a serious issue. Can Republicans cut the lies and the conspiracy theories and debate Democratic proposals like statesmen, or will they continue pandering to a rightwing fringe that is increasingly out of touch with reality?
I doubt that Republicans are going to "cut the lies and the conspiracy theories." They've already told us point blank that they don't plan to offer a health care plan. They just plan to keep saying no, and feeding their base, a base with violent tendencies. That's their version of bipartisanship.
It's not helping America overcome our problems and fix our broken health care system.