Republicans do not hold a monopoly on violent political rhetoric.
A former Democratic congressman, who recently called for Florida’s new Republican Governor Rick Scott to be “shot,” now wants to restore “civility” in public discourse.
“We all lose an element of freedom when security considerations distance public officials from the people,” former Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times. “Therefore, it is incumbent on all Americans to create an atmosphere of civility and respect in which political discourse can flow freely, without fear of violent confrontation.”
Violent political rhetoric has come under immense criticism in recent days after a mass shooting in Arizona killed six and put a Democratic congresswoman in the hospital.
Republicans have largely born the brunt of the media’s outcry, largely due to their pervasive use of firearm terms and imagery in public discourse; but in the run-up to last year’s midterm elections, Kanjorski came out as one of the season’s worst offenders.
Speaking to the Scranton Times-Tribune, he remarked that Rick Scott, then the Republican candidate for governor of Florida, should be put “against the wall” and executed.
“That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida,” he reportedly said. “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him.”
“He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida. He’s a millionaire and a billionaire. He’s no hero. He’s a damn crook. It’s just we don’t prosecute big crooks,” he concluded.
“Mr. Kanjorski is either confident or comfortable – confident voters will understand the power of his seniority or what he really means when he says something cringe-worthy and re-elect him anyway, or comfortable with possibly losing Nov. 2 and wanting to go out on his terms,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.
Republican Lou Barletta went on to defeat Kanjorski with 55 percent of the vote.
In his post-election speech, Kanjorski called Barletta’s win “a victory of incredible proportions.”