Most states in America have a tourism board that uses appealing slogans to attract visitors that represent their pleasing climate, a physical characteristic, or the mindset of its population that vacationers find too tempting to pass up. Virginia’s tourism board appeals to romantic inclinations in all human beings and claim the state is for lovers. However, over the past couple of years it is becoming abundantly clear that the state is rampant with haters; especially in the Republican Party. Whether it is the outgoing governor’s hatred of disclosure laws, or the soon-to-be former attorney general’s hatred of gays and women, Virginia’s Republican leaders belie the state’s slogan and it starts with the leadership of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV). It is no secret that Virginia Republicans hate Americans for twice electing an African American man as President, but their hatred for the democratic process pales in comparison to their hatred for the President.
Last year, a Virginia county Republican Committee issued a warning that if President Obama won re-election in November there would be an armed rebellion that revealed their hatred of voters and the electoral process. The letter from the Republican county party chairman calling for armed rebellion is replete with a Christian bible verse on its logo that reads, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36), and it said Republicans need candidates who were “intelligent and courageous and cut from the same cloth as (revolutionary hero) Patrick Henry and our attorney general and soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli.” Fortunately for Virginians, the “soon to be governor Ken Cuccinelli” lost his bid to be governor, and when about 450 members of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) met to lick their collective wounds at a former Confederate War hospital, the party chairman took the warning of “armed rebellion” a step farther.
The annual Virginia Republican retreat, “Advance,” was supposed to be a time for introspection to assess why Democrats swept three statewide elections and won the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general’s offices, but instead the state party chairman accused the media for the losses. He also took aim at governor-elect Terry McCauliffe and President Obama and said, “Obama’s so close to death that Terry McAuliffe is about to buy a life insurance on him, I’m looking forward to taking the gloves off!” The head Republican in Virginia, RPV Chairman Pat Mullins, is yet another in a long string of extremist conservatives to incite an assassination attempt against the President of the United States. However, Mullins is not just another rabid teabagger inciting or threatening violence against the President; he is, like the letter calling for armed rebellion against the government, a high-ranking representative of the Republican Party.
Prior to “predicting” President Obama’s imminent death, Mullins made excuses for the first big Republican electoral defeat in 24 years blaming the media for focusing on Cuccinelli’s anti-women, anti-gay, anti-sexual freedom positions than the Affordable Care Act. He claimed there was too much attention on Cuccinelli’s “war on women” and said “our message couldn’t break through and we paid a price. This is false narrative by false prophets… Republicans do not win when we are mini-Democrats or Democrat Lite.” Clearly, Mullins assessment of Cuccinelli’s war on women as “mini-Democrats or Democrat lite” is a signal that he is not in the same political universe as the rest of the nation, and portends a lurch farther to the extreme right many conservatives assert is the key to a sweeping victory in the next election. Two Virginia state democratic senators, Mamie Locke and Donald McEachin, called for RPV chairman Mullins to step down; not because he said Republicans had become mini-Democrats, but over his comments predicting President Obama is close to death by assassination.
In a conference call, state Senator McEachin said “Sadly, this isn’t the first time Virginia Republicans have used offensive, violent rhetoric against President Obama. Saying that President Obama is close to death is unacceptable in our political discourse, and the chairman really should be ashamed of himself. He’s decried this type of rhetoric before… and yet somehow it keeps appearing in his speeches, in his public comments.” McEachin continued that, “To my mind, this is yet another example of just how unwilling to change and how unbridled in their opposition to President Obama the Republicans are. Instead of making insulting, incendiary comments about the President, intended to fire up the same Tea Party base that drove Virginia Republicans to statewide losses in 2013, Chairman Mullins would be better suited to look in the mirror and examine how out of touch Virginia Republicans have become with people across the Commonwealth.” Senator Locke agreed with McEachin and said instead of learning from their mistakes and taking a more moderate approach to governance and politicking, Republicans are bound and determined that “going forward will be to continue kowtowing to the tea party.”
Locke’s assessment certainly has a grain of truth to it, but she makes the same errant conclusion as Democrats and pundits across the nation. Republicans are not kowtowing to the teabaggers; they are the teabaggers. As McEachin noted, it “isn’t the first time Virginia Republicans have used violent rhetoric against President Obama” and it will not be the last. The calls for revolution, rebellion, and violent rhetoric against the government with an African American man as President began during teabagger protests against healthcare insurance reform when they carried signs warning that “we came unarmed this time,” and continued with Republicans threatening “2nd amendment remedies” and calling for supporters to be “armed and dangerous” as a strategy against legally elected members of Congress who fail to support teabagger anti-American agendas.
What is telling is that no Virginia Republicans, including governor McDonnell, attorney general Cuccinelli, or congressional Republicans such as Eric Cantor (who attended and spoke at Advance) have condemned the violent rhetoric from Virginia’s state Republican Party or any other anti-American teabagger extremist for that matter. However, they are very vocal in decrying the President as un-American, a socialist, and dangerous for America, and coupled with their silence makes them as guilty as extremists calling for armed rebellion, revolution, and assassination. That the chairman of the Virginia Republican party said the President is “close to death” should lead the FBI, Secret Service, and Justice Department to pay Mullins a visit and ask exactly why, what, and how he knows about an assassination plot.
The threats against this President have become so frequent that statements such as Mullins must be taken seriously and investigated with extreme prejudice. His remarks are more than Republican losers bemoaning an electoral defeat and inform a desperate political party sending a literal call to arms against the President of the United States. Coupled with his claim Republicans have to lurch farther to the extreme fringes of the right wing because they are unhappy with healthcare insurance reform, it is a just a matter of time before violent rhetoric is embraced by national Republicans. Frankly, national or state Republicans’ unwillingness to condemn the preponderance of hate speech and violent rhetoric against this President is tantamount to their unconditional endorsement.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.