Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 25, 2010

CANTOR'S CREATIVE DEFINITION OF 'THREAT'.... This week, we've seen an unacceptable number of incidents involving right-wing activists. To protest their rage about what they think the new health care law is, they're engaging in acts of political vandalism, assault, and harassment.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seemed rather desperate today to characterize this as a bipartisan problem. During a bizarre press conference this morning, Cantor told reporters:

"I've received threats since I assumed elected office -- not only because of my position, but also because I'm Jewish. I've never blamed anyone in this body for that.

"Just recently I have been directly threatened: A bullet was shot through the window of my campaign office in Richmond this week."

Well, that sounds pretty serious. We've heard about plenty of vandalism at district congressional offices this week -- all of the cases involve Democrats as targets -- but this would be the first reported shooting.

The problem is, what Cantor told reporters wasn't true. When he said he was "directly threatened," Cantor was either shamelessly, blatantly lying, or he was popping off to the press about politically-motivated violence without getting his facts straight.

Here's what happened: early Tuesday morning, someone in the Richmond area fired a bullet into the air. It eventually came down and hit a building -- named, of course, the Reagan Building -- on the first floor. According to a report from the Richmond Police Department statement, "The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds. There was no other damage to the room, which is used occasionally for meetings by the congressman."

Was Eric Cantor "directly threatened" this week? Not if those words still have any meaning at all.

Steve Benen 4:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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You really would expect more from the GOP by now. I mean I know they could not control their rage at losing and seeing the polling on the BFD go up, but goodness gracious to keep doubling down with nonsense like Cantor is spewing is rather rank amatuerism.

Posted by: Terry on March 25, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

These clowns won't be happy until someone is killed. Cantor is a liar and so are his cronies which include, to a large extent, the MSM. The discourse in this Republic is taking on a menacing tone that will not end soon. Nauseating...

Posted by: Stevio on March 25, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

What the police didn't report was that the bullet had a backwards "B" inscribed on it.

Posted by: anonymoose on March 25, 2010 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor lying? Color me shocked.

Posted by: Dan on March 25, 2010 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I dont recall Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn appearing at a political rally with signs reading: Accidentally shoot the jew boy.

Posted by: RolloTomasi on March 25, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Geesh. If Hillary said that, we'd hear both mocking and "serious" discussions about whether this was emblematic of her general relationship to the truth. Why do I think that Cantor won't get the same grilling?

Posted by: Buffalonian on March 25, 2010 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

OK, somebody shot a bullet into the air. It came down as bullets do and broke the window of Cantor's office, but because the bullet's energy was nearly gone the bullet didn't pentrate the blinds. Nobody claimed responsiblity.

Eric Cantor is a not exactly honest is he? Once the facts are known it becomes obvious just why we haven't heard about this before.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 25, 2010 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Right, it's exactly the same, because one of the two major political parties has totally spent the last 13 months whipping up anti-Semitic frenzy.

Also, does he really want to be comparing anti-hcr protesters to anti-Semites? That's sort of what he's doing here.

Posted by: Mike from Detroit on March 25, 2010 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

A similar case would be Bart Stupak, wouldn't it? After all before the ACA passed, lefties were threatening to primary him and since it passed, righties are threatening to kill him. The left is clearly as bad as the right....

Posted by: J Bean on March 25, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

If you have the stomach, check out the large headline on the Fox News website front page..."Bullet Hits Rep. Cantor's Office Window." Several lines later in smaller print, it is noted that the "FBI Probes Threats Directed at House Democrats..." I'm sure I can guess which one was read by regulars over there.

Posted by: maggie on March 25, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it is actually true, Cantor has only himself to blaim. I'm old enough to remember the anti-war movement and the Black Power movement, among other things. If/when those groups, which were fairly extreme, demonstrated outside the capitol, there never any senators or congressmen who came out on the capitol balcony and held up signs egging them on. If they protested inside the capitol, no senators or congressmen ever stood up and applauded them. Instead, they were put on lists by Hoover, arrested, tried (remember Bobby Seale, Weather Underground, Chicago 7?), and served jail time, and probably should have. In any case, they never had mainstream support. Tea Baggers are not only encouraged by politicians, they are treated either as heroes by MSM (Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh), or as "disappointed voters" by TV news idiots. These people are dangerous and are threatening our democracy. Let's get real about what's going on here.

Posted by: Dianaw on March 25, 2010 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Eric Cantor,

Please name one — ONE — Democrat leader, pundit or personality who has said anything remotely resembling a call for liberals to act out against conservatives with violence and then I'll believe this is a bipartisan issue.

Also, I look forward to the legislation you will no doubt propose to make it tougher for guns to get into the hands of crazy people.



Posted by: chrenson on March 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

The structure in question is an office building whose only exterior sign is a small "Reagan Building" plaque -- nothing to indicate a connection with Cantor.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on March 25, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Shameless, irresponsible, and absurd, but exactly what I expect from a GOP leader. These inept clowns are so afraid of ticking off their wingnut base and the hacks at Fox News that they could not acknowledge their recklessness even if they wanted to. They are doubling down, and no doubt there'll be more violence to come.

Posted by: ameshall on March 25, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

According to the Richmond police report, the bullet was fired into the air and hit the window on the way down. In order for someone to deliberately target Cantor's window with that trajectory, they would need to do some fairly accurate calculations and measure the firing angles carefully- from a tripod. The bastard is lying when he said he was targeted.

Posted by: Tim H on March 25, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

What is Cantor thinking, doesn't he know his base hates Jews ?

I assume he actually knows reality, and is really trying to say democrats, aka the Nazi party, are now anti-Semitic as well a socialists ?

Cantor, there isn't a neo-Nazi alive who voted for Obama, much less crusading on his behalf. Idiot.

Posted by: ScottW on March 25, 2010 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

What were seeing right now is the end game of the southern strategy and the implosion of the conservative movement and the Republican party.

It might take a few years but mark my words this is the beginning of the end of the current form of the GOP.

Posted by: Archon on March 25, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I shot an answer in the air
The truth itself I could not share
So swiftly vets those lefty sites
I could not embellish , as is my right

I breathed a lie into the air
The truth I'd say is shared not , alas
Who has a mind so dim and wrong
That it can bear a right wing gas

Posted by: FRP on March 25, 2010 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

But what about the threatening messages? Did he report these to the Capitol Police, or not. He said he hasn't released them.

Seems he should be required to report any threats, as it could affect the safety of anyone who works with or visits his offices.

Posted by: tomj on March 25, 2010 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

The round struck with enough force to break the windowpane but did not penetrate the window blinds

Damn. Any chance you could get us the manufacturer of those blinds, Steve?

Posted by: beep52 on March 25, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

what's all this talk from the right wing about no proof that they have violent or racist tendencies from last weekend..


U.S. right-wing groups, militias surge: study - Reuters 3/4/10

Feds Warn of Right-Wing Threat - CNN 4/15/09

Posted by: mr. irony on March 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's easy to make fun of Cantor. But make no mistake. This isn't just a "well, Democrats are doing it too!" kind of statement. To the unhinged militia guy who's armed to the teeth and ain't crowded with brains, this is "the shot heard round the world." To some of these reptiles this means the battle has begun.

Think about it. You're a crazed anti-Liberal gun nut. And FOX News just said that it's possible that some filthy liberal just took a shot at Republican Eric Cantor. There's only one way to take it. "The shit is on."

It's going to get so much worse now. I can just feel it. And all because the Democrats wanted more people to be able to see their doctors and live healthier lives as free Americans.


Posted by: chrenson on March 25, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: chrenson on March 25, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor is Jewish? You would think he above all would understand the conditions which led up to "never again!"

Posted by: Kurt on March 25, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe should also point out that the crazy liberals don't own guns!

Maybe someone threw a bullet through the window?

Posted by: tomj on March 25, 2010 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds a lot like Lou Dobbs claim that he and his family were the targets of a bullet that hit his house. He blamed a campaign of hate from Geraldo Rivera, pro-immigration groups and other liberals.

Of course, it turned out that it had been fired from so far away that it didn't have enough energy left to penetrate or even lodge in the outer siding of the house. The state police determined that it was most likely a stray bullet from a hunter and commented that such incidents are “not at all uncommon.”

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, you Democrats who get shot at, burned in effigy, spit on and shouted down with racial epithets should just shut up and don't get all political about it.

Posted by: beejeez on March 25, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The irony, of course, is that the idiot who randomly fired his gun in the air is probably a teabagger. I used to live in a rural area with a lot of deer and a lot of hunters. My house had plenty of bullet holes in it from stray shots. My house got hit about three times every deer season. It comes with the territory. But I never claimed a hunter targeted me. And this is despite the fact that the house was built in 1820 and was clearly labeled on any topo map purchased after 1950. Hunters should have known to avoid it. Cantor is really fishing here.

Posted by: fostert on March 25, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing the shooter was Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on March 25, 2010 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

What is Cantor thinking, doesn't he know his base hates Jews ?

Some of his base hates Jews. Others in his base are superficially pro-Jew as a means of hastening the Rapture and sticking it to Muslims.

Cantor is probably trying to work the latter group here, but I'd really like to know what was in those threats he says he received -- because content really matters in this case, and I'd bet my last dollar that it's the anti-Semitic group, not the ones who think they're standing up for Israel, who are attacking him.

Posted by: shortstop on March 25, 2010 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I fear for the country if these madmen ever get the White House & the congress again.
On Ed this evening he had the schoolteacher of the year from New Jersey telling how the republican gov. was taking hundreds of millions from the school budget and giving tax cuts to people making over $400,000.00 per year. This is what happens with republicans.

Posted by: JS on March 25, 2010 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Here's what happened: early Tuesday morning, someone in the Richmond area fired a bullet into the air. -- Steve Benen

An all-nighter Muslim wedding?

Posted by: exlibra on March 25, 2010 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

And how exactly was he supposed to know it was an errant shot? I don't know about you, but if a bullet went through my front window I'd be pretty damn upset.

Posted by: JJJ on March 26, 2010 at 7:30 AM | PERMALINK
And how exactly was he supposed to know it was an errant shot?

Because the shot came in at an extreme angle and didn't even penetrate the blinds.

Posted by: PaulB on March 26, 2010 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

I hear someone egged the dental office where Cantor's kids sometimes get checkups.

Two words: False equivalence.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 26, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Seems a little too staged and timed to say "see, Democrat supporters are vandalizing and attacking Republicans, too!"

Plus, the various timelines - first last weekend, then Monday, the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning reeks of manufacture.

I wonder how many attempts they made before the bullet ricochet and actually hit the window?

Posted by: terraformer on March 26, 2010 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

This would hardly be the first random bullet to be fired in Richmond, Va.

Posted by: chrenson on March 26, 2010 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

It gets worse. It didn't even hit his campaign office -- it hit a political consultant's meeting room that he occasionally uses.

What really outrages me is this morning, the Post included a mention of Cantor's claims in its folo story on the health care debate. It said Richmond police confirm they're investigating the shooting. NO mention of the press release that said it was a random event.

And the same holds true for every morning news show. They had Cantor's claims without any mention of the actual facts of the incident.

Posted by: lou on March 26, 2010 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK



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