‘Mildly dangerous’

‘MILDLY DANGEROUS’…. Monday was not a good day for Republican rhetoric and rallies. As the accusations from McCain and Palin became more inflammatory, the responses from their supporters became more lurid, including shouting words like “terrorist” and “treason” at campaign events. In one instance, after Palin said Obama “pals around” with terrorists, a supporter exclaimed, “Kill him!”

This morning, Joe Biden was asked about the overheated talk at Republican events, and responded by calling the rhetoric “ugly” and “mildly dangerous.”

This clip shows Biden on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” explaining why the GOP talk is going “way too far.” Biden explained, “[S]ome of the stuff she’s saying about Barack Obama and the stuff that people are yelling from the crowd, if she hears it, she should be at least be saying, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s overboard.’ “I mean, this is volatile stuff.”

On NBC’s “Today” show, Biden added, “I watched the news and I heard a couple people hollering from the audience semi-vile things about ‘terrorists,’ things like that. The idea that a leading American politician who might be vice president of the United States would not just stop mid-sentence and turn and condemn that — it’s just a slippery slope, it’s a place that we shouldn’t be going.”

For what it’s worth, Radar reports that the “kill him” response has drawn interest from the Secret Service.

As for the politics, I’m glad to hear Biden taking a firm line, but I’m even more encouraged that he was asked about the inflammatory Republican rhetoric in the first place. I wonder if even some cynical reporters were surprised to hear so much rage and hate at these recent campaign rallies, and are starting to perceive this as a genuine story.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.