This past weekend, Rick Perry and Glenn Beck headlined an event in Tyler, Texas, where they riled up the Republican base with intolerance, violent rhetoric, and even a little mild sedition.
Before the rally, Perry spoke with press about his opposition to President Obama. From ThinkProgress:
“Americans can take their country back and send a message to this administration, to this Congress and I consider myself proud to be in that army,” Perry said.
Perry's choice of words–joining an army opposed to the President–cannot help but recall last summer's shotgun-toting health-reform protesters. It's yet another piece of violent rhetoric that–while not as extreme as the words that come out of Glenn Beck's mouth–is part and parcel of the anti-American attitude emanating from the right-wing “Tea Party” crowd these days.
After all, it's not patriotic to want to withdraw from the United States. It's not patriotic to make thinly-veiled threats of violence against Democrats or elected officials.
Rick Perry wants to “take [our]country back.” From who? The Americans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, who comprise a majority of voters and majority of states? That's a bit of fuzzy math from a governor who got himself re-elected with only 39% of the vote. By trying to impose Tea Party rule on America, isn't he the one forcing extremist views on an unwilling public?
Not to be left out, right-wing extremist State Representative Leo Berman took to the microphone with his own message for Republican Party faithful. From ThinkProgress:
Berman told the crowd, “I believe that Barack Obama is God's punishment on us today, but in 2012, we are going to make Obama a one-term president.”
That's a terrible thing to say, and it's equally terrible that so few followers of modern-day politics should be surprised to hear these words come from the mouth of an elected Republican official. Who in the Republican Party of Texas will renounce Berman's statements? Who will speak out against Perry's quasi-seditious rhetoric? None of them.
The Republican Party of Texas is more focused on making hateful speeches and all-but inciting violence to solve the real problems of everyday Texans. How does suggesting that the President is a punishment from God do anything to help uninsured children access medical care? How does it help families cover their skyrocketing insurance costs? How does it help our K-12 students become better-prepared for a changing economy? How does it control tuition and keep college affordable for the middle class?
The fact is, the Republican Party of Texas doesn't care about any of these agenda items, they don't want Texas to work harder for working people. They've proven it time and time again. These angry words are just an effort to distract the public and distort the truth — and the truth is, Texans can and must do better than Rick Perry.