(From the Yakima Herald) "More than a week after the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna is trying to clarify statements he made at a news conference immediately following the ruling.
Democrats and conservative Republicans made political hay out of McKenna's statement June 28 that Congress shouldn't repeal the entire act and the individual mandate should be kept "for now" because it is so closely tied to other parts of the reform package.
Speaking to the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce in Yakima on Monday, McKenna said the reports were a misinterpretation by "Seattle media" and that his position on the Affordable Care Act hasn't changed.
"I wish I had been better prepared with a better articulated response than the one I gave at the press conference," McKenna told the luncheon audience after an attendee accused him of changing his stance. "Frankly I didn't think we were going to lose so I wasn't ready for that question."
McKenna insisted he was only asked whether Congress would go forward with repealing the act, not whether he thinks it should be repealed. But a recording of the June 28 news conference shows Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner clearly asking McKenna, "Do you support it being repealed?"
"No," McKenna said.
At the news conference McKenna did say Congress should review parts of the act and that without more reforms it will ultimately drive up prices.
"We continue to have concerns on how much this is going to cost the state and how the heck we're going to implement it successfully," McKenna told the Chamber.
McKenna said his campaign intends to publish an op-ed on his policy regarding the Affordable Care Act now that it has been upheld, but did not say when that would be released.
Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, said McKenna's statements Monday are the latest in a pattern of contradictory remarks regarding the health care law.
"He's had a couple weeks now to clarify what he wanted to say," Smith said. "Clearly he's struggling with the politics of this."
David Catanese, a national politics reporter for POLITICO, the online political news organization, who has been following governors' races nationally, said McKenna would do better in a blue state such as Washington to steer away from the health care issue. While McKenna rates higher among voters on issues such as jobs and education, Catanese said allowing the health care issue to linger could help Democrats label him as conservative. (ya think? RR)
"It'll be interesting to see if the Democrats can pick up the ball and run with it, because a lot of the attacks on McKenna have fallen flat so far," Catanese said. "Health care could cost him among people who haven't made up their minds."
The gubernatorial race has tightened up in recent months after McKenna enjoyed as much as a 10 percent advantage over Inslee among voters earlier this year. Surveys from Elway, Public Policy Polling and SurveyUSA conducted in June have McKenna garnering 40 percent to 43 percent of the vote, with Inslee's support ranging from 38 percent to 40 percent, well within the margin of error. The polls estimate between 17 percent and 22 percent of voters statewide are undecided."
Talkers.com poses the question, " When is a Death Threat Free Speech?"
The recent decision of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to charge Timothy Demeuse merely with disorderly conduct with regard to Demeuse’s Facebook posting about talk radio host Vicki McKenna has many people, including Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, upset.
The Facebook posting read “I’m going to kill Vicki McKenna; come and get me coppers, because there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Here’s the real f***ing death threat bitch. Come get me. I don’t even own a gun. I can make as many death threats as I want, and I hope someone kills you. I’m going to shoot you in the face and rape your dead corpse. I love this country and hate its citizens…”
This was accompanied by even more profanity and ranting that got much worse.
When McKenna saw the posting, she obviously became alarmed. Immediately, she made the comparison to Gerald Laughner in Arizona, whose internet ranting was followed by the shooting of 13 people – including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She contacted Sheriff Clarke to ask what to do, since Demeuse was from the Milwaukee area. Sheriff Clarke had detectives pursue the matter and referred the case to the DA’s office for prosecution.
According to the District Attorney the posting did not qualify for more serious criminal charges. According to Chisholm, “The people we talked to, his circle of friends, said they did not take it as a true threat.” This leaves us to beg the question, "Just what do you consider a true threat?"
There often is a very fine line between protected free speech even if it is inflammatory and criminal threats of imminent violence. In its landmark case of Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969 the Supreme Court ruled that inflammatory speech cannot be punished unless it is likely to incite imminent violence. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that an Ohio law that prohibited merely advocating violence was unconstitutional. But can such restraint result in tragic circumstances? Is that the price of the First Amendment? It often would appear so.
However, in 2010 blogger Hal Turner was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his posting in response to the ruling of 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges, Frank Easterbook, Richard Posner and William Bauer’s upholding a law banning handguns in Chicago in which he wrote, “Let me be the first to say this plainly. These judges deserve to be killed.” He went on to quote Thomas Jefferson that, “The tree of liberty must be replenished from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” Turner then added his own words, “It is time to replenish the tree.” It is perhaps noteworthy that the Jefferson quote was on a t-shirt that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was wearing when he was arrested. Turner also went on to write, “These judges deserve to be made such an example of as to send a message to the entire judiciary: Obey the Constitution or die.”
Today came the news of a District of Columbia police officer who has been taken off a motorcycle escort for White House officials after he allegedly said he'd shoot first lady Michelle Obama and "then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use," according to The Washington Post.
The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating and the Secret Service has been told of the alleged threat, the Post reports:
The motorman allegedly made the comments Wednesday morning as several officers from the Special Operations Division discussed threats against President Obama. It was not immediately clear where the alleged conversation took place or exactly how many officers took part in the conversation.
During that conversation, the officials said, the officer allegedly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use. It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was allegedly shown.
An officer overheard the alleged threat and reported it to a police lieutenant at the Division, who immediately notified superiors, the officials said. Police officials declined to identify the officer. Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office declined comment."
What was disturbing to officialls was that this particular officer has previously been a part of official motorcades involving the First Lady, giving him close access to her on several occassions.