At the top of today's first hour, Democratic Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina compared some of the current over-the-top rhetoric in the wake of health care reform's passage to the fight over civil rights in the 1960s:
I’ve been through this. I lived during the sixties, was very active when editorial writers would write these very inflammatory editorials, literally inviting vigilante actions against students who were sitting in. I think these guys have really taken a page out of that book. And they’re doing it in a world that’s totally different from the sixties. Now you’ve got the internet. You’ve got almost instant news flashes around the world, and they can be much more potent with it, and that’s what’s happening here.
Clyburn also had strong words for Republican lawmakers and leaders, many of whom he said were contributing to threatening actions and rhetoric.
… you have Congresspeople giving aid and comfort. You got two people up in the gallery over the House proceedings yelling out trying to disrupt the gathering, and then ten or twelve Congresspeople, Republicans, standing up on the floor of the House of Representatives cheering them. What do you call that? And I have yet to see anybody denounce it. And, you know, Eric Cantor ought to be ashamed of himself. He has been – for his religion – has been subjected to this sort of thing. And they ought to come out and denounce it, and stop talking about, it’s happening on the other side. No Democrat has ever done anything like that. No Democrat has ever disrupted the President’s State of the Union address, calling him a liar in the middle of his speech. These Republicans who are doing this, they’re inflaming people, and I think we need to call it what it is.
You can listen to the full hour here — which also included Republican strategist David Winston, Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, and Princeton historian Julian Zelizer — and join the conversation.
This program aired on March 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.