Just when you think the tactics of far-right health care reform opponents can’t get any worse, they do.
Today’s issue of The Whistleblower – a gossipy Web-based newsletter – published the home address of U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill), who voted in favor of the recent health care reform bill. The newsletter suggests opponents stage a protest at his house on Sunday.—-
“Hey, everybody — how about a little Whistleblower protest at the Drinkhaus mansion at (deleted) Avenue in Price Hill this Sunday?” it reads. After providing a link for directions, it adds, “Make sure you click on the address and then the street view.”
Since the House of Representatives voted on the bill Sunday night, the local Democratic Party headquarters had a rock thrown through its window and Driehaus’ congressional office has received death threats via telephone. Similar incidents have been reported across the nation.
“There’s not much that surprises me anymore,” Driehaus said today. “It’s wildly inappropriate.”
Referring to The Whistleblower’s publisher, he added, “Jim Schifrin doesn’t have kids, I think.”
Last week The Cincinnati Enquirer published a full-page retraction and apology for running an ad by a special interst group that included a photograph of Driehaus and his daughters. The newspaper said including the girls was inappropriate.
Driehaus said he'll be ready if a weekend protest is held and appears to endanger his wife or two young daughters.
“I certainly hope not,” he said about the likelihood of a protest. “I will call the police to protect my family.”
The incendiary atmosphere swirling around the issue shows a failure of Republican leadership, Driehaus said.
“When you take things like that and the House minority leader saying I’m a dead man if I come back in town, it’s just over-the-top,” Driehaus said. “I think a lot of this rhetoric has gotten out-of-bounds. Especially if you look at all the things in the bill. There’s a lot of great things for families.
“We’ve gotten death threats. I’ve gotten a couple, and other offices have received a lot more.”
Driehaus believes GOP politicians should publicly condemn the tactics and ask their followers not to participate. He cited an incident Sunday in which some Republican lawmakers – like U.S. Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) — went onto the balcony of the Capitol and encouraged protesters.
“I don’t see the Republican leaders standing up and acting like leaders,” he said. “If they’re concerned about the bill, let’s deal with the bill and keep the discourse civil. Instead, they’re fanning the flames and are out on the balcony egging them on."
“It’s as if these people have no filters,” Driehaus said about the protesters. “I look forward to being back in Cincinnati soon, where my friends and family are.”
This isn’t the first time GOP politicians have become embroiled in The Whistleblower’s antics.
The newsletter is frequently criticized for writing racist and misogynistic comments as regular parts of its content, including a joke about President Obama’s assassination.
Regardless, Schifrin has been photographed with Rob Portman, the Terrace Park Republican who’s running for the U.S. Senate, and has lunch dates with Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
In January 2009, Schifrin – who uses the alias Charles Foster Kane — wrote about one of his lunches with Deters: “…Hamilton County Prosecutor ‘JayWalking Joe’ Deters, although McCain’s Southwest Ohio Chairman, did find time to sample the hot and sour soup at the King Wok in Clifton on Friday with Beloved Whistleblower Publisher Charles Foster Kane, where the pair compared the latest tasteless Obama jokes, such as: Q: What do Abe Lincoln, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. and Obama have in common? A: Nothing, yet!
“Q: What's the difference between Sarah Palin naked and Michelle Obama naked? A: Playboy and National Geographic!”
I wonder how Schifrin would like it if his home address was published?
UPDATE: Here's an article about a similar incident in Virginia.