Republican lawmakers have been receiving threats for the past few weeks over the debt ceiling vote, John Stanton at Buzzfeed revealed Tuesday night.
This wouldn’t be remarkable, given the nature of the Republicans’ tea party base that spent 2010 sending death threats to Democrats over the healthcare law, but what is odd is that whoever is sending these threats has the lawmakers internal email addresses. These addresses are guarded even more closely than their personal email addresses, and it suggests that someone on the inside – another member or a staffer – is behind the emails or working with whoever is behind them.
“It’s got to be another member. Probably one of the crazy ones,” a Republican who had seen the email told Buzzfeed. Indeed. “One of the crazy ones” implies that there are at least two crazy people in the House of Representatives. Crazy enough to send anonymous threats to his/her fellow members.
The threats are coming from an anonymous email address, and threaten political retaliation for a yes vote on a clean debt ceiling. The emails have been sent over the last few weeks, including as Republicans were on retreat.
Stanton noted, “Because of the near-secret nature of lawmakers’ internal email addresses, the emails have raised more than a few eyebrows — and the possibility that one of their own was behind, or at least assisting in the attacks.”
However, a Republican who did not vote for the clean debt ceiling claims that the writing is just “too weird” to be a fellow member, and that since no one calls Speaker Boehner “John”, as he is addressed in one of the forwarded threats, it can’t be member.
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) told Buzzfeed that the threats had nothing to do with his no vote, and then explained, ”So it looks like something someone has created on the outside that wants to pretend they look like us. Because I keep looking at and reading it and thinking nobody even reads or writes like this. And it’s just too weird.”
On January 21 of this year, News OK revealed that Lankford, who is running for Senate, has been targeted by Tea Party groups for his vote on the debt ceiling, “In a news release, the groups cited some of the same votes as the Senate Conservatives Fund _ raising the debt ceiling and a vote to protect the National Security Administration’s program of collecting mass phone records.”
The threats sent to elected officials in 2010 read a bit like these emails (you can read them at Buzzfeed), although I note the lack of a noose or a gun, which suggests that whoever is behind this, it isn’t the tea party base. Maybe someone a bit higher up in the organization, or maybe they save the guns and the nooses for Democrats.
Back in the fall, when Ted Cruz managed to get Republicans to shut down the government, another Republican called his fellow members “crazy” and said they are always “conspiring”. So no, the threat is not that weird.
In October of 2013, Rep. Devin Nunes (R_CA) called his Republican colleagues “lemmings with suicide vests”. He said, “It’s crazy. I don’t understand the whole point, the whole strategy. Most Americans don’t understand it… It’s guys who meet privately. They’re always conspiring. It’s mostly just about power. And it’s just gotten us nowhere.”
This is the party to which Michelle Bachmann and Darrell Issa not only belong, but are elevated members. No one should be surprised that it’s come to this. A few years ago, Republican extremists aimed their crazy at the Democrats, but now it has become what Nunes called it — a suicide caucus full of crazy lemmings.
But there is no problem with the current Republican Party. Nothing to see here, folks — just someone on the inside either directly threatening or assisting someone/a group threatening their fellow Republican members into not doing their jobs.
Raising the debt ceiling is about paying off money already spent, and refusing to do so is like charging a bunch of things on your credit card and then refusing the fact that the items are on your credit card bill and you are now expected to either borrow to pay for them or pay for them. But pay for them you must, or else your credit goes bust.
“Probably one of the crazy ones.”
Just vote in 2014. For the love of your country, vote.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.