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Waiting for Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech on OWS “malignant, vindictive passions”

Waiting for Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech on OWS “malignant, vindictive passions”

In December 2009, on the eve of the Senate vote on Obamacare, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) issued a blistering speech on the floor of the Senate lashing out at opposition to Obamacare, which was led by the Tea Party movement, in the most inflammatory terms.

Among other things, Whitehouse invoked the images of the use of the guillotine in the French revolution, Nazis who ran through the streets on Kristallnacht, and racists who lynched blacks from trees, while arguing that opposition to Obamacare was the new “paranoid” style of politics:

History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead. Tumbrels have rolled through taunting crowds. Broken glass has sparkled in darkened streets. Strange fruit has hung from Southern trees. Even this great institution of government that we share has cowered before a tail-gunner having secret lists. Those malignant movements rightly earned what Lord Acton called “the undying penalty which history has the power to inflict upon wrong.” …

And why? Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist.

[Side note:  See this post about Whitehouse’s rhetoric about cutting off troop funding.]

This speech, and Whitehouse’s refusal to walk it back, is what turned me against Whitehouse, someone I had not posted about prior to that speech even though he is my home state Senator.  I wrote at the time of the speech that Sheldon Whitehouse Becomes Alan Grayson.

So I wondered what Whitehouse’s position would be on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has seen numerous publicized incidents of anti-Semitism, which has the support of the American Communist and Nazi parties, and in support of which one celebrity demanded the return of the guillotine.  The malignant, impassioned rhetoric surrounding Occupy Wall Street seemed to fit Whitehouse’s description of those opposed to Obamacare, except that as to OWS it was an accurate description.

All I could find was a statement by Whitehouse expressing support for Occupy Wall Street:

Rhode Island’s two Democratic senators say they welcome the protests embodied in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, so long as they remain peaceful.

“I think this is a message that is going to be heard in Washington,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who added, “it will help expand the range of what is possible in Washington.”

So I contacted Whitehouse’s communications director, Seth Larson, to find out if Whitehouse had issued a statement about the anti-Semitic rhetoric at Occupy Wall Street rallies.  Larson did not seem to know what I was talking about, and said he was not sure if Whitehouse was aware of the anti-Semitic statements.  Larson suggested I provide details so he could find out, which I did in an e-mail:

Dear Mr. Larson,

I run Legal Insurrection Blog, a conservative politics and law blog. I am aware of Senator Whitehouse’s speech on the floor of the Senate criticitizing the Tea Party movement because some supporters allegedly were involved in right-wing militias and “Aryan support groups,” and were “birthers.”

When I called you this morning I asked whether Senator Whitehouse had issued a similar statement decrying anti-Semitic rhetoric at Occupy Wall Street rallies and you indicated that you were not sure if Senator Whitehouse was aware of it.

Please see this blog post at my blog, which sets forth details of the anti-Semitic rhetoric, UPDATED: Both Major Anti-Semitism Watchdogs Issue Statements on #OWS. Additionally, the American Communist Party and the American Nazi Party have come out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In light of these supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, will Senator Whitehouse be issuing a denunciation not only of the specific individuals, but also of the Occupy Wall Street movement based on the same criteria used in Senator Whitehouse’s speech on the floor of the Senate regarding the Tea Party movement?

I would appreciate a response as soon as possible, as I plan on writing about this issue this afternoon.

I followed up with another e-mail and phone message seeking comment, but have not heard back from Larson.  If Senator Whitehouse does issue a statement, I’ll let you know.  And if he makes a speech on the floor of the Senate, I’ll post the video.

Whitehouse’s silence in the face of the widespread publicity about anti-Semitism at Occupy Wall Street rallies stands in stark contrast to Whitehouse’s willingness to falsely compare opponents of Obamacare to Nazis and lynch mobs.

Whitehouse owes the Tea Party movement and opponents of Obamacare an apology.


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Charles Curran | October 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Your Senator is correct when he says that their message will be heard in Washington. Most of those in Washington who embrace these folks will not be there in 2013. Maybe the folks in RI will remember Sheldon in 2016. Too much to ask for?

In a time of mass-technology enabled flash mobs, viral videos, etc., these “leaders” are playing with fire.

Have they forgotten those scenes from England just a few months ago?

Don’t hold your breath.

Whitehouse is a career politician. He will say and do anything that forwards his agenda or the dim party agenda. Pretty much all politicians are like this albeit not so highflown and outlandish. Dims seem to specialize in this farcical language. What needs to be done is to clip the wings of these career politicians and send to Washington what the Founding Fathers intened in the first place: new citizen legislaturers with limited terms. If congress can’t bring themslves to invoke term limits, it is up the the electorate to do so. However, I hold out no hope of this since a great many people vote only on name recognition; mainly because they have no idea what the issues are and what the candidate stands for. I was guilty of this in the past myself.

“Waiting for Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech on OWS ‘malignant, vindictive passions'”

Oh, dear, Prof – I hope you’re not holding your breath….

As a former Rhode Islander, (I smartened up and moved to Texas twenty years ago), I can assure you that none of the key players there are or ever were ready for prime time.

Whitehouse, “Patches” Kennedy, and a host of others were and continue to be major embarrassments. Often they are completely incoherent bumbling fools.

When will they ever learn???

Hypocrisy? In a Democrat? I’m shocked, shocked!

Will someone please notify me when a Democrat has a single standard and sticks to it even when it isn’t popular with his side. The ones currently getting press all seem to have a double standard.

Sheldon Whitehouse – we are watching, and waiting. All over this nation.

The Democrats are now resorting to drama because their positions have little merit, they are mired in corruption and their policies have failed miserably. They have tried nearly every contrivance of bookkeeping to fool people into believing their economic policies are worth a darn, they have used every type of junk science to rationalize their nutty policies on energy and the environment and they seem to be involved in so much pay-to-play schemes and crony corruption that they have little credibility left.

Lets hope there is enough of our population that hasn’t had their brains filled with the all that liberal junk from academe over the years so that they are still able to think for themselves in the next election.

We’ll see, won’t we.

Occupy seems the right movement to represent liberal Democrats. They are butting into things they don’t understand, are historically ignorant, logically impaired, numerically inept, remain past their welcome, believe wealth redistribution makes recipients successful, imagine themselves with it and cool, never admit mistakes or take responsibility for poor judgment, and importantly, both will resort to force and threats of force to get what they want. For Whitehouse and the White House, this is their true believers, the reflection of their leadership among citizens.

Unlike the Tea Partiers, they don’t want to be left alone, to live and let live. They require a host. It must be why electric cars are so fascinating to them; it is not a primary source of energy either.