E.J. Dionne on the intimidation tactics of the right:
This is not about the politics of populism. It's about the politics of the jackboot. It's not about an opposition that has every right to free expression. It's about an angry minority engaging in intimidation backed by the threat of violence.
There is a philosophical issue here that gets buried under the fear that so many politicians and media-types have of seeming to be out of touch with the so-called American heartland.
The simple fact is that an armed citizenry is not the basis for our freedoms. Our freedoms rest on a moral consensus, enshrined in law, that in a democratic republic we work out our differences through reasoned, and sometimes raucous, argument. Free elections and open debate are not rooted in violence or the threat of violence. They are precisely the alternative to violence, and guns have no place in them.
Harold Meyerson, pointing out the daily dose of garbage from Chuck Grassley, wonders:
Why, then, does Max Baucus, the committee's Democratic chairman, persist in the charade of bipartisan negotiations with Grassley? Does he -- does anybody -- really believe that a Republican Party so deeply invested in defeating President Obama's campaign for health-care reform is open to a scaled-down version that Obama can still claim as a victory? On Tuesday, the Republican Senate whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, called Democrat Kent Conrad's proposal for cooperatives in lieu of a public option "a Trojan horse" for a government takeover of health care. Hard to find the green shoots of compromise in that response.