I hope everyone on PWI can condemn this... (taken from another thread)
The backlash: Reform turns personal
By: Jake Sherman and Marin Cogan
March 24, 2010 04:51 AM EDT
Reps. Louise Slaughter and Bart Stupak have received death threats.
A tea party participant published what he thought was Rep. Thomas Perrielloâ??s home address and urged disgruntled voters to â??drop byâ?? for a â??good face-to-face chat.â??
Vandals broke windows at Slaughterâ??s office in New York and Rep. Gabrielle Giffordsâ??s office in Arizona.
And angry voters are planning to protest this weekend at the home of Steve Driehaus â?? whoâ??s already seen a photograph of his children used in a newspaper ad published by reform opponents.
The vitriolic health care debate has become personal â?? too personal, say House Democrats who voted for the bill and now find not just themselves but their families in the cross hairs of opponents.
Slaughter, a Democrat who chairs the House Rules Committee, said a caller to her office last week vowed to send snipers to â??kill the children of the members who voted yes.â?? Her office reported the call to police, who were dispatched to provide protection for Slaughterâ??s grandchildren. She has also been in touch with the FBI and U.S. Postal Service inspectors, who intercepted a letter en route to her home in upstate New York.
Stupak, the Michigan Democrat whose last-minute compromise on abortion guaranteed passage of the bill Sunday, said callers have left messages for him saying, â??Youâ??re dead; we know where you live; weâ??ll get you.â??
â??My wife still canâ??t answer the phone,â?? Stupak told POLITICO on Tuesday. The messages are â??full of obscenities if she leaves it plugged in. In my office, we canâ??t get a phone out. Itâ??s just bombarded.â??
Stupak, a former police officer, said heâ??s not fazed by the threats or by the prospect of protests at his district office this weekend. â??Iâ??ve looked down barrels of guns,â?? he said. â??Iâ??ve talked my way out of it.â??
But Democrats said their political opponents go too far when they bring membersâ?? families into the fray.
Driehaus, a Democrat from Ohio, was outraged last week when a group called the Committee to Rethink Reform used a photo of him and his two young daughters in a newspaper ad urging him to vote against any health care reform bill that included federal funding for abortion. Both the group and the newspaper â?? the Cincinnati Enquirer â?? apologized for including Driehausâ??s daughters in the ad.
â??Iâ??m very protective of my family, like most of us,â?? Driehaus said Tuesday. â??There is no reason for my wife and kids to be brought into any of this. If people want to talk to me, if people want to approach me about an issue, Iâ??m more than happy to talk about the issue, regardless of what side theyâ??re on. But I do believe when you bring in a memberâ??s family, that youâ??ve gone way too far.â??
Driehaus faults Republicans for providing encouragement to the most extreme opponents of reform. Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned that anti-abortion Democrats would suffer politically if they voted for the health care bill; he singled out Driehaus, saying he â??may be a dead manâ?? and â??canâ??t go home to the west side of Cincinnatiâ?? because â??the Catholics will run him out of town.â??
â??Mr. Boehner made comments about me and my predicament when I go home which I felt were wildly out of bounds for his position and very irresponsible, quite frankly. Heâ??s from next door. Thatâ??s not helpful. Thatâ??s irresponsible,â?? Driehaus said.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, â??The leader does not condone violence, and his remark was obviously not meant to be taken literally. He is urging Americans to take the anger theyâ??re feeling and focus it on building a new majority that will listen to the people.â??
No one condones death threats against members or their families, but not everyone is apologetic about taking complaints about health care reform straight to the homes of members.
Mike Troxel, an organizer for the Lynchburg Tea Party, posted what he believed to be Perrielloâ??s home address on his blog this week, sarcastically urging other tea partiers to stop by and â??say hi and express their thanks regarding his vote for health care.â??
The address turned out to be the home of Perrielloâ??s brother â?? who has four children â?? but Troxel told POLITICO he didnâ??t intend to remove it from his blog. â??If they would like to provide me with the address of Tom, then Iâ??d be more than happy to take it down,â?? he said. â??I have no reason to believe itâ??s not his house.â??
A fellow tea party blogger said he thought it was fine for Troxel to post Perrielloâ??s home address. â??They have our home addresses,â?? said Kurt Feigel, who complained that protesters had little choice but to go to Perrielloâ??s home because Perrielloâ??s office doesnâ??t â??respond
to e-mail; they donâ??t respond to letters; they donâ??t respond to us showing up at his office. So what am I going to do?â??
Perriello said his family doesnâ??t want him to be afraid. But when asked if he was scared anyway, the Virginia Democrat replied: â??Whatever.â??
â??Iâ??ve lived in Sierra Leone for two years, where the life expectancy is 34 years old. If the worst thing that happens is that special-interest groups spend millions of dollars against me and my most ardent opponents organize against me, itâ??s hardly a â??cry me a riverâ?? moment â?? as long as people act civil and within the law.â??
Others are less sanguine.
C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for Giffords, said staffers in the Democratâ??s district office were â??a little bit shakenâ?? Monday when they arrived at work to find the glass front door shattered and covered in plywood.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) said he had to change his personal cell phone number after a Republican gave it out to health care opponents.
And Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Blue Dog Democrat from California, said heâ??s gotten physical threats over health care reform.
â??There are some folks that identified themselves as being members of the tea party [who] called, [and] my staff has gotten to know their names over time, and they have been very loud and very ugly,â?? Cardoza said.
With the House vote behind them, Democrats hope to show voters that health care reform wonâ??t wreak the devastation opponents predict â?? and that tempers will cool as a result.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said heâ??s already getting 95 percent fewer calls since Sundayâ??s vote.
â??The real problem is the people who are calling and talking about a revolution and overthrowing government,â?? he said. â??They can be angry. Weâ??re all for that. But when they talk about taking over the government, the leadership has to do its part to stop that.â??
Andy Barr contributed to this report.