Days after House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) accused Democrats of playing up the violent threats against them for political gain, Cantor has been threatened himself. The FBI arrested Philadelphia resident Norman Laboon for threatening Cantor's life in a bizarre YouTube video. (Laboon, who's produced over 2000 video rants, has claimed to be the "son of the god of Enoch.") After Democrats mocked Cantor's "both sides get death threats" claim, do they now owe the GOP leader an apology?
Clearly — this attack was not incidental: Laboon's video was discovered right after TalkingPointMemo's Josh Marshall dismissed Cantor's assertion as "shameful beyond imagining," says Erick Erickson at RedState. So now we know: The left wing can incite crazies, too.
"Does Josh Marshall Owe Eric Cantor An Apology...?"
This is something to gloat over? Conservatives "seem positively giddy" that Cantor was legitimately threatened this time, says Joan Walsh in Salon, after his report of a shooting incident at his office fell apart. And they're equally "thrilled" that Laboon donated to President Obama in 2008 — before threatening Obama on YouTube, too. But given that Laboon appears mentally ill, doesn't "the GOP glee" seem "kind of inappropriate"?
"GOP thrilled: Cantor really was threatened"
It's bad when either side plays politics with wackos: Well, this does prove that Cantor wasn't "blowing smoke" about threats to GOP politicians, says Don Surber at the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. But that wasn't Cantor's real point. Both sides could fairly be accused of using violent rhetoric — remember Obama's "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" line from 2008? — but it's "ridiculous" to blame rhetoric for inciting hateful "nutcases," whatever their political leanings.
"Man charged with trying to kill Eric Cantor"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2014
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- Why colleges' insistence on 'diversity' actually fails disadvantaged kids
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
Subscribe to the Week