Here's the quote: "I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."
Her office explained that Pelosi was thinking of the 1978 murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, as well as the riots that followed.
But as every San Franciscan knows, Dan White shot Moscone and Milk because Moscone would not give him his supervisor's post back and Milk supported Moscone.
Don't take my word for it. Sen. Dianne Feinstein told The Chronicle's Rachel Gordon last year: "This had nothing to do with anybody's sexual orientation. It had to do with getting back his position. Dan White was a troubled man under a lot of pressure."
So it is hysterical and disingenuous for Pelosi to equate tea-party protests with the murders of Moscone and Milk and the riots that followed. She knows better. She herself said Thursday that people should take "responsibility" for what they say and any "incitement" their words cause. She owes lawful protesters an apology.
Pelosi's performance was particularly irksome in light of the violent protests during the last administration. The worst protesters compared Bush to Hitler, hanged American soldiers in effigy, and carried signs that advocated killing Bush. Anarchists opposed to the World Trade Organization participated in a violent 2005 protest in San Francisco, where they fractured the skull of police Officer Peter Shields.
In those days, you heard the left talking about free speech more often than they cited the need for civil political discourse. In the Obama era, Pelosi is concerned, as only she can put it, that "this balance between freedom and safety is one we have to carefully balance."
As the Associated Press reported, Pelosi also said, "I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made." Some of the people hearing the message "are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume."
Hillary Rodham Clinton got all choked up when she thought she might lose the New Hampshire primary. Now Pelosi is verklempt. What goes around comes around.