EDITORIAL: Monsters under the bed

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Democrats and liberal activists are going to extreme lengths to portray opponents of government health care as irrational hatemongers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched this theme by denouncing fictitious crowds “carrying swastikas and symbols like that.” When reality does not match their script, Democrats misconstrue facts or have acts of hate staged for propaganda purposes.

Such was the case at a Democratic Party office in Denver where vandals broke 11 office windows, defaced posters and did other damage. Democrats claimed the attack was part of a systematic campaign against them. Pat Waak, Colorado State Democratic Party chairman, told the Denver Post: “Clearly there’s been an effort on the other side to stir up hate. I think this is the consequence of it.”

The vandals plastered a sign opposing the Democratic health care plans on one of the broken office windows. Ms. Waak claimed to Fox News that this — along with damage to posters of President Obama — “indicates this is about health care reform.” The Denver Post reported that after the attack, “the blogs were alive with Nazi references and Kristallnacht references.” One commentator on a CBS TV affiliate Web site posted a comment warning, “The fascists are showing their true colors.”

But this isn’t an open-and-shut case. The police caught one of the two suspected vandals, 24-year-old Maurice Schwenkler, who just happens to be a Democratic activist. In 2008, Mr. Schwenkler was paid $500 by the labor-backed Colorado Citizen’s Coalition to campaign for Democrats. He previously was arrested while demonstrating at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, and he participated in protests against the Iraq war during the George W. Bush administration.

In a widely covered event this month, a questioner at a town-hall meeting asked Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, “Why do you still support this Nazi policy?” The event was used to show how rancorous the debate has become. What didn’t get much coverage was that the questioner is a Democrat.

“We ought to be having a serious, conscientious debate about what’s best for the country,” Ms. Waak pleaded to the cameras. We couldn’t agree more, but civility is unlikely when Democrats are inventing acts of hate to demonize their opponents on policy issues.

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