WHAT’S ‘OVER THE LINE’ AFTER THE LINES HAVE BEEN ERASED?…. A few months ago, we learned about extremist Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s (R-Nev.) talk about an armed insurrection against the United States. At the time, Jon Chait noted that it “seems like a dangerous milestone is the darkening mood of the American right.”
“There’s been a lot of wild, loose rhetoric on the right since Obama took office — wilder and more mainstream than the equivalent on the left under George W. Bush — but Angle is really taking things dangerously far,” Jon noted. “The protection of the law is not enough to ensure the survival of a democracy. Democracies rely upon certain social and cultural norms in order to survive. An important one is a basic respect for the democratic process and a refusal to hint about the idea of actual armed rebellion.”
But what counts as “dangerously far”? When it comes to conservative Republicans in the 21st century, is there such a thing as going too far? Is there literally anything a GOP candidate for statewide office can say or do that would somehow be disqualifying?
Greg Sargent reminds me that Rachel Maddow had a compelling segment on this last night, and she asked straightforward questions that deserve answers: “What qualifies as over the line? What qualifies as an unacceptable position for a major party nominee to hold in this year’s elections?”
The subject came up this week, because Angle talked to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, who offered the Republican candidate a chance to walk back her rhetoric about “Second Amendment remedies.” She did not.
The clip is well worth watching, but for those who can’t watch clips from your work computers, here’s the transcribed conclusion:
“The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republican National Committee are funding this campaign where the candidate says, expect conservatives to try to use the Second Amendment, try to use guns to get what they want if they lose the election. Given the opportunity to recant that now that she is the Republican Party’s official nominee for Senate, the candidate has essentially just reiterated it — and laughed. Is this considered a mainstream position now? Everybody down with this idea? NRSC, RNC, you guys OK with this? If this is now a mainstream position, that we should expect armed political violence in this country if conservatives don’t get what they want in the next election, this is a mainstream position, what counts as over the line now?”
That need not be a rhetorical question. The more I listen to GOP campaign rhetoric, the more I’d like to hear an answer.