Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA) doesn’t just think things like putting bullseyes on your political opponents is in poor taste. He thinks it should be illegal. In the wake of the Arizona shooting spree, he’s introducing legislation to extend protections given to the President of the United States to members of Congress and others.
Predictably, he’s taking a lot of heat for it. Though practically everybody has come down hard on Sarah Palin for her now infamous target list — Palin herself took it off her PAC’s website after the shooting — it appears the Giffords attack had nothing to do with Palin or any particular piece of rhetoric.
But Brady’s not backing down. Monday afternoon, he entered the lion’s den — Fox News — to defend himself.
“The bottom line to me, you tell me if I’m wrong, there’s been no evidence whatsoever so far to suggest that those incidents or any incident like them had anything to do with what we saw on Saturday,” the host challenged.
“It wouldn’t be harm putting that in the bill. It is on both sides. It’s not a partisan bill. Again, we’ve got to stop our bickering amongst each other. We’re setting a bad example for the American people. We need to cut down rhetoric amongst each other. We can disagree without being so disagreeable,” Brady said.
Recall, the suspected shooter, Jared Loughner, reportedly became obsessed with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) in 2007, way before Palin became a national political figure.
Brady isn’t the only member proposing new legislation, or specific changes to the discourse, after Saturday’s events. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is backing a return to the fairness doctrine — a minority view among Democrats — and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is calling on Republicans to change the name of the “Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.