U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano expressed regret Wednesday for his choice of words at a Tuesday rally to support Wisconsin workers, after national and local Republicans pounced on him for “over-the-top and inflammatory rhetoric.”Just imagine how civil they'd be if they actually took the president's empty words to heart.
“Congressman Mike Capuano must have lost the memo from President Obama and Democratic leaders who were demanding more civility in our political discourse and a toning down of incendiary rhetoric after the massacre in Tucson on January 8,” the Massachusetts Republican Party wrote in a Wednesday statement. “Yesterday, at a rally on Beacon Hill, Capuano couldn’t resist the urge to stir up a crowd of union members with a call for blood in the pursuit and protection of their political agenda.”
During the Tuesday rally – a gathering of more than 1,000 union supporters protesting a proposal by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to diminish the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers in that state – Capuano, speaking in front of the State House, fired up the crowd by saying, “I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”
After Republicans took aim at his rhetoric, Capuano issued a statement expressing regret for his language, although at the time it drew wild applause and cheers from the throngs of union supporters.
“I strongly believe in standing up for worker rights and my passion for preserving those rights may have gotten the best of me yesterday in an unscripted speech,” he said in a statement. “I wish I had used different language to express my passion and I regret my choice of words.”
Capuano also referred to a vastly outnumbered throng of Tea Party counter-protesters as “a couple of nuts in the background who want to take it all away from you,” waving his hand dismissively in their direction. Throughout the three-hour rally, rank-and-file union members traded heated barbs with the Tea Party backers. Some clashes nearly escalated into violence and resulted in police intervention. In one case, a pro-union rallier spit in the face of one of the counter-protesters, who set up camp near the rally.
Capuano’s comments quickly drew contrasts with the call for a more civil tone in national political rhetoric by President Barack Obama and politicians across the country after a mass shooting in Tucson that injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Capuano was reportedly among those who agreed with Obama’s call, telling the Boston Globe in January, “Everybody knows the last couple of years there’s been an intentional increase in the degree of heat in political discourse ... If nothing else good comes out of this, I’m hoping it causes people to reconsider how they deal with things.’’As they continue to lose support with the public, the violent, angry rhetoric from the Democrats will only increase. Desperation will do that.
This is who they are.