******************** THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO WWW.LEGALINSURRECTION.COM ********************

This blog is moving to www.legalinsurrection.com. If you have not been automatically redirected please click on the link.

NEW COMMENTS will NOT be put through and will NOT be transferred to the new website.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sheldon Whitehouse Becomes Alan Grayson

Sheldon Whitehouse, my Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, has joined the Alan Grayson wing of the Democratic party with a speech so over the top that it is an infuriating embarrassment.

I wasn't going to post on this. But then I listened to the speech, in which Whitehouse invoked Kristilnacht, the night of broken glass, and threw out dozens of pejoratives against anyone who opposes a government takeover of the health care system.

Those of us who stand for individual liberty and health care freedom have been called malignant vindictive people similar to those who hung blacks from trees and to the Nazis who ran through the streets breaking windows and beating Jews in the streets.

You really need to listen to this speech. It is almost beyond description. I cannot fully convey the full scope of this vile speech. It is scary to see a Senator on the floor of the Senate make such a speech.

The video is here. Whitehouse's speech starts at about 107 minutes into the video. [added] An excerpt of the video now is available on YouTube -- embedded below -- but the excerpt doesn't convey just how outrageous the speech was; you really need to listen to the whole thing to appreciate the wholesale smear of opponents of Democratic health care restructuring plans.

Partial transcripts are available here and here and here. [added] The full transcript is available here.

Sheldon Whitehouse is why Washington has gone so wrong. His arrogant, demeaning attitude as evidenced by this speech is an example of why people are so angry in this country.

We are not racists or Nazis, or a lunatic fringe, Senator Whitehouse, so stop the name calling.

Whitehouse was confronted by a reporter after the speech, and denied calling us racists, and insisted that we listen to the speech. I did listen to the speech, and you are being intellectually dishonest Senator Whitehouse.

What you did was you read from columns and speeches given by other people in which these ugly images were invoked, to leave yourself a way out if confronted with the words. Apparently you didn't say these things, you merely read the words.

Be man enough to stand by what you said. Don't call me a racist and Nazi on the floor of the Senate and then deny you said it.

If you are embarrassed by what you said, then apologize, if you have the emotional capacity to do so.

"There will come a day of judgment," you said. Indeed.

Update: h/t to a commenter for these words from Kevin Dowd (not Maureen) in the NY Times, with his year-end reflection:
To Sheldon Whitehouse: You, senator, are an idiot.
Related Posts:
This Is Why I Named This Blog "Legal Insurrection"
Dems Break It, They Own It

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook


  1. Not only does Grayson look like Shrek, but he seems to attract the company of asses too.

  2. "Give the man a microphone and clear all channels!"

    It will do our country a lot of good for American citizens to hear what their Senators think of 70+% of us.

  3. Professor,

    Language is a precise tool.

    When Senator Whitehouse said "History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead," he was citing examples from past history.

    He was cautioning, not characterizing.

    He was offering a warning which we would all be wise to heed.

    Misinterpreting his remarks serves no beneficial purpose, and does nothing to foster "a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety" may be achieved.

  4. So a Senator is saying that they are passing legislation to target a specific group of businesses that are carrying on their activity in a legal, ethical manner. It is amazing what has happened to our country.

  5. It appears that all the posturing and tough talk was nothing more than a shell game played out in pure Greek Tragety!

    For the Democratic party to continue to try and pull this off is either group insanity, or plain blatant arrogance, or possibly both?

    On another note, thanks for ALL the track backs this weekend, you really helped a new blog out!!!


  6. @Victor - that's a cop out. Whitehouse knew exactly what he was doing. Did he invoke images of racist lynchings and the prelude to the Holocaust merely as a "warning"? I think not. And why would such a warning be applicable here were a majority of the population -- including the far left -- is against this legislation? Why not then warn of the rise of communism since leftists are against the legislation? Whitehouse smeared hundreds of millions of people by using a rhetorical device which left him a linguistic way out, which is just what you give him. But I'm not going to give him that out.

  7. Thank You Professor.Just what was needed.

  8. Victor,

    Explain to us how putting a permanent lien on New York's economy to pay for Bob Nelson's Nebraska-Medicare bribe translates into a "..political climate in which the rational pursuit of or well-being and safety" may be achieved?

    And where was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand? I hold her personally responsible for every New Yorker who will HAVE to pay higher taxes forever to allow people in Nebraska, vermont and who knows where else to get government subsidies FOR FREE. We live in the highest tax states in the country, and she willingly allowed her colleagues in Louisiana, vermont and Nebraska to steal money out of OUR pockets (THAT INCLUDES YOU VICTOR) in order to pass a flawed bill that will not reach it's goals.

    Senators "..would all be wise to heed" us! That's their job. Not the other way around!

    You have some gall playing advocate for these Hucksters and Vandals of the Constitution.

  9. @Victor

    Are you serious? Did you read the speech?

    The whole thing is a screed against conservatives opposed to healthcare. Take this gem, for example:

    "More than 50 years ago, [a liberal author] wrote of the dangers of an aggrieved right-wing minority with the power to create what he called 'a political climate in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.'"

  10. After listening to the speech, I believe he was talking about HIS party. Blatant projection!

    Read Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg. It is enlightening; what Senator Whitehouse states perfectly describes what the Democrat Party are doing! Amazing. "So this is how democracy dies...."

  11. The darkest day of the year this "enlightened" man sould should bring us more darkness? Some elf should string some lights in his front yard to cheer him. TP is out of season!

    The words to the medieval advent hym seem to resonate even deeper this year:

    O come, o come emmanuel
    And randsome captive Israel
    That mourns in lonely exile here
    Until the son of God appear.

    We are all Israel, held captive and waiting for the light of 2010.

  12. Professor,

    Quoting from the Senator's remarks (emphasis mine):

    "The malignant and vindictive passions that have descended on the Senate are busily creating just such a political climate. Far from appealing to the better angels of our nature, too many colleagues are embarked on a desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear.

    History cautions us of the excesses to which these malignant, vindictive passions can ultimately lead."

    A plain reading makes it clear that Senator Whitehouse is offering words of caution against "malignant, vindictive passions". What evidence in the language would lead you to believe otherwise?

    When you ask why the warning is applicable, have you forgotten the images of protestors bearing signs with images of Holocaust victims? Or the signs reminding us about the Tree of Liberty and how it must be watered with the blood of tyrants? The warnings about death panels? Did those protestors come from the right side of the political spectrum, or from the left?

    You say that a majority of the population, including the left, is against this reform effort. What you leave unsaid is that many on the left feel that this effort does not go far enough, and that many of the reforms that could have been achieved have been negotiated away. That is in direct opposition with those on the right who feel that the reform effort goes too far. Creating a false equivalence between these reasons does not serve your argument.

    "Why not then warn of the rise of communism?" Hofstadter's essay, which the Senator quotes from, raises exactly that same point: the far right has tried to raise the specter of Communism/socialism for more than 50 years now: think of Ronald Reagan and Operation Coffee Cup. I would ask: why keep trying to raise that issue? Liberal policies are not Communist, and the more often the right tries to use that argument, the less effective it becomes.

    "Whitehouse smeared hundreds of millions of people..." No, he didn't. Earlier this year, The Department of Homeland Security released a report identifying "right wing extremists" as a growing threat. Was DHS referring to everyone right of political center? No. But some on the right overreacted with high dudgeon by calling themselves "proud right wing extremists" in response, and they were wrong to do so. You are equally wrong to make that claim now.

    It's your absolute right to express your disagreement with what Senator Whitehouse said... but not with what you thought he said.

  13. @Victor, the good news is that the readers see through your spin. Whitehouse chose his words carefully, and great care was taken to smear opponents by suggesting that they were Nazis and racists, while leaving himself and you an exit strategy.

  14. It's not difficult to imagine which side Victor would have belonged to in 1774.
    A fawning Loyalist who would have rushed to England's defense and warned fellow Loyalist to be wary of the 'right wing' sentiments of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson to whom we owe the saying "The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants".

    A Loyal subject like Victor would also had scoffed at such 'right wing' novelties like the Declaration of Independence and the idea of a Republic.

    The time it took for you to write your quasi-analytical, grade school essay, presuming to lecture the Professor for responding as Thomas Paine would probably have... you could have written to Sen. Gillibrand, calling her out for putting New York on a path to insolvency because of these bribes.

    Never mind that you don't know what it means to be a citizen, I'm embarrassed that you're a New Yorker...and a fellow Westchester resident at that! "Liberal Policies are Not Communist"? You want to tell that to the retirees in Croton who are struggling to keep their homes because your liberal polices mandate the raising of their property taxes to meet local union demands?


  15. Professor,

    I agree with you that the Senator did choose his words with care.

    Not for the reason you suggest, however.

    In putting your words into the Senator's mouth, you're not seeing through spin.

    You're adding it.

  16. TN - we don't need to lower our sights with ad hominum tactics to deal with Victor.

    The Senator has said that the truth will out when the legislation finally is past and the American People see that there was nothing to fear - that Republicans have lied.

    Victor the "atmosphere" in DC these days is colored by closed door sessions and weekend bill passages. It is made muddy by Democrats themselves making immoral "deals" to enable this legislation to see the light. Things come and go in the bill as if it is a shell game. And now the House is chomping at the bit to put the public option back in.

    Victor, tell me at age 67 that it will be OK to take away from Medicare and put that money elsewhere. First, the Democrats have not been very forthcoming about where ALL of the cost-savings would come from. This is a large subject. I will be brief. The Democrats have focused their budgetary knives on the weakest links in our society and have made us a throwaway generation.

    You don't have to have death panels. You can make cuts that make our lives not worth living. But ask yourself this. WHY was Medicare singled out? Because it is filled with retired people who are not young, healthy workers who can add to the economy - that is why. It is important to the Unions and corporate America to have more working people covered - to keep them well and working and paying. And Victor - taking from one group and giving their benefits to another group - that is socialisism/communism. I don't need a political party to make me afraid. I just have to use my brain that has been fueled by 2 graduate degrees. I was duped by Barack Obama and so were many other liberal Republicans. Go talk with the average man in the street today - do it. They are not bothered by the color of the President's skin; they are bothered by the direction that the country is taking and at warp speed.

  17. What is this Whitehouse clown going to do when thousands of doctors retire and more refuse to take Medicare patients when they cost more to treat than the government pays? Is he going to call them Nazis and Klansmen, too?

    What ever happened to the practice of tar and feathers and tying the huckster to a fence rail and riding him out of town?

  18. It is scary to see a Senator on the floor of the Senate make such a speech.

    It's even scarier to see that not a single Democrat objected to it on the Senate floor or afterward. Are we moving toward a Communist-like regime where people are viscously denounced in official settings by mealy-mouthed apparatchiks with the approval of those in power? Sure as Hell feels that way. These are extraordinary times we live in.

    Another point: 'The Burr Trial' that he refers to was the trial of Aaron Burr for treason. So Whitehouse is accusing us of treasonous behavior it would seem. Hmmm...let's see: on one side you have those of us who have made the case that The Constitution forbids laws like Obamacare to be passed; on the Left side, you have people who have openly declared that what The Constitution says does not matter. Hmmm...who's treasonous? Just asking questions...

    Quoted from and Linked to at:

    It's Time To ROC 'N' ROLL:
    Restore Our Constitution & Restore Our Lost Liberties

  19. FYI:

    The "intellectual" Whitehouse quoted is a fellow named Richard Hofstadter. Hofstadter was a member of the Communist Party USA, which was funded by the USSR. Hofstadter is quoted as saying "I don’t like capitalism and want to get rid of it" and "I hate capitalism and everything that goes with it."


    So. We have a US Senator quoting a pro-Soviet Communist in an effort to try to smear the 60% of the country who opposes 0bamaCare as a bunch of Klansmen and Nazis.

    This is 0bama's America. 2009 = 1984.

  20. Professor Jacobs - I finally sat down with the Whitehouse transcript. You are so right. He knew exactly what he was doing and to whom he was doing it! I have never seen a tighter more carefully crafted piece outside of poetry class. His meticulously selected words echoed one another throughout - you could not escape the message one of which was "history will judge them; history has seen them (GOP) before. The amount of research, the literary devices - all demonstrated that this was not a speech casually dashed off. This has been in the works for a long time. You caught it right away; I am bringing up the rear. And in so doing, I am DEEPLY concerned by the phrase the the GOP cannot "stand that Barack Obama exists." This is a bridge too far. This is a psychological setup of a master demagogue.