During the Obamacare debate of 2009, which featured high-decibel protests and angry town hall meetings filled with people who opposed Democrats' dishonestly-sold healthcare overhaul, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a lot to say. She accused opponents of being inauthentic "astroturf" activists, smeared them as Swastika-toting Nazi sympathizers, and put on an emotional show while handwringing about rhetoric creating a "climate" of violence -- especially among unstable people. Here she is getting choked up, or trying to, while invoking the dark specter of violent mobs:
"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 king of rhetoric. ... It created a climate in which violence took place. ... I wish we would all curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements and understand that some of the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statements may assume."
One wonders how her 'falling on the ears of the unbalanced' standard might apply in her mind to, say, her own rhetoric about Republican legislation she opposes. She and her colleagues were vehement and demagogic in attacking the GOP's Obamacare replacement legislation, which reportedly helped fuel the rage that led to a deranged far-left individual to attempt a mass assassination against members of Congress. And amidst acute national tensions over police brutality and race, Pelosi just recently accused Republican Senators, including Tim Scott, of being complicit in George Floyd's murder, then doubled down on her outrageous slander. How might such comments 'fall on the ears' of the unbalanced? No misty eyes from Nancy over that kind of language, it seems. Fast forward to yesterday, when Pelosi was asked about marauding left-wingers destroying public property -- remember, such mob actions and riots have also led to physical violence, with some "protests" leading to deaths. Her reply was tantamount to meh:
Reporter asking about Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore: "Shouldn't that be done by a commission or the city council, not a mob in the middle of the night throwing it into a harbor?"— The Hill (@thehill) July 9, 2020
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "People will do what they do." pic.twitter.com/mlSUDIBZRv
Mobs will be mobs. Does her nonchalance extend to the people who tore down a Frederick Douglass statue? Or vandalized a monument to a former slave? Or defaced a 9/11 firefighter memorial? Or assaulted a state senator while tearing down pro-abolition and pro-women's rights iconography? The list goes on and on. The highest-ranking Democrat in government was asked about destructive mob action, and her response was essentially a shrug -- on the heels of Senate Democrats blocking both a police reform bill and a resolution condemning mob violence. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president is basically silent and MIA on all of this -- and on most things, for that matter. President Trump may be in trouble on enough fronts that this issue set won't be enough to salvage his campaign, but under different circumstances, I suspect messaging like this could be pretty damn potent -- which is why so much of the coverage and reaction was so unhinged and divorced from reality: