Cantor and ‘fanning the flames’

CANTOR AND ‘FANNING THE FLAMES’…. In the face of right-wing activists engaging in acts of political vandalism, assault, and harassment, most reasonable people should agree that the Republicans who helped generate this rage have a responsibility to help lower the temperature.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has a slightly different take. As he sees it, it’s Democrats who need to stop “fanning the flames.”

Seriously.

“Legitimate threats should be treated as security issues, and they should be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement officials,” Cantor said. “It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain. That is why I have deep concerns that — some [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] chairman Chris Van Hollen and [Democratic National Committee] chairman Tim Kaine, in particular — are dangerously fanning the flames, by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon.”

Let me get this straight. As the dim-witted Minority Whip sees it, Democrats are facing vandalism, assault, and harassment, and Democratic leaders want it to stop. But by urging responsible officials to denounce (and hopefully, discourage) misconduct, Dems are, Cantor believes, “dangerously fanning the flames.”

Does Eric Cantor hear the words coming out of his mouth as he says them? Does he not realize how ridiculous he sounds? His message seemed to be: “If Dems just stayed quiet in the face of violence and intimidation, everything would be fine.”

A few hours after accusing Democrats of “fanning the flames,” Cantor was the featured guest on a conference call held by the “S.T.O.P. Obama Tyranny National Coalition.”

By all appearances, Cantor isn’t quite bright enough to appreciate the irony.

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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.