THE RIGHT’S VIOLENT PROCLIVITIES REAR THEIR UGLY HEAD…. Last summer, when organized right-wing activists were shouting down lawmakers and shutting down town-hall meetings, there was a little too much conservative talk that incorporated threats of violence. Regrettably, it hasn’t gone away.

In July and August, it became unnervingly common for far-right activists to use nooses and swastikas to protest … whatever it is that makes far-right activists so enraged. Lawmakers received death threats. Another was hanged from a noose in effigy in front of his district office.

We haven’t heard as much about this of late, but the problem has obviously not gone away.

A tea party gathering in Asotin County, Washington turned more than a bit ugly on Saturday when a featured speaker actually called for the hanging of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), the fourth ranking Democrat in the Senate and a vulnerable re-election candidate.

“How many of you have watched the movie Lonesome Dove?,” asked an unidentified female speaker from the podium. “What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd. He got hung. And that’s what I want to do with Patty Murray.”

Remember, this wasn’t just some clown standing up in the crowd to shout nonsense, or a random nutjob talking to reporters in the parking lot. This was an invited, authorized Tea Party speaker.

What’s more, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — generally the biggest far-right gathering of the year — begins today in Washington. Attendees will be invited to swing a stick at a Nancy Pelosi pinata and take their best shot at a Harry Reid punching bag.

How subtle.

There’s a sense, most notably among some reporters at major news outlets, that angry conservatives are just well-intentioned folks concerned about deficits and taxes. To ignore the extreme, ugly, and borderline-violent undercurrent is to overlook what makes some of these activists so worrisome.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.