CNN contributor Erick Erickson has come under widespread criticism for his remark last week that he would "[p]ull out my wife's shotgun" if the government tries to arrest him for not filling out the American Community Survey. It wasn't the first time that Erickson has suggested he would respond to potential problems with the government by pulling out a firearm.
In March 2009, Erickson wrote an angry post about legislation banning "dishwasher detergent made with phosphates" in Washington state. Erickson asked: "At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?"
Erickson concluded that post by writing, "Were I in Washington State, I'd be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation."
On his radio show today, Erickson attempted to defend his post to a critical caller by claiming that it "was not a statement advocating violence but a statement predicating that at some point the tyranny of small things will overwhelm the American public and they're going to get mad." During the approximately three minute segment, Erickson did not address his statement about "cleaning my gun."
Here's Erickson's response to a caller on his radio program today:
ERICKSON: Let's go to David before we get to break -- David, line one in North Carolina, good morning.
CALLER: Yeah, I was wondering if Erick could answer what, what he thinks his contribution is, what contribution it makes to the dialogue to suggest that people drag politicians from their homes and beat them to a pulp, or that he'll welcome a Census worker to his home with a shotgun.
ERICKSON: Oh, you're calling to talk about me, not Obama, I'm sorry.
Natalie, my headphones are still a little, a little down. I think I got the gist of what he's saying, but can we crank up my headphones a little bit if we can.
OK. Yeah, sorry, yeah, so David, what you're asking is, is what am I saying about dragging people out, politicians out of their house. First of all, I am a local politician. I am elected. And I didn't write that encouraging people to do it. What David is talking about -- I guess one of the Media Matters trolls calling in -- is a post I wrote some time ago in Washington state where the politicians there decided to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergent. Phosphates are what breaks down the food compounds on plates, so nobody's plates were getting cleaned in the dishwasher. So people were having to drive several hours across state lines to buy dishwasher detergent that had phosphates in them.
And I asked a very simple question. At what point do people get so hacked off they drag politicians out of their houses and start flogging them? And it's a legitimate question except for those who don't accept the premise that government has reasonable bounds that it cannot deviate from. People have tried to tar and feather me with the comment to make it into something it's not. It was not a statement advocating violence but a statement predicating that at some point the tyranny of small things will overwhelm the American public and they're going to get mad.
It is as much as my post in the, my column in the Telegraph from two weeks ago, if King George won't listen, that I also put on RedState. None of us should be surprised by people getting mad. Now, again, all of the violent acts in this country have come from people on the left. All the rock throwing and racial epithets and spitting that we've read about in the media didn't happen. What has happened is people on the left throwing rocks through Republican offices and plotting death against [Rep.] Eric Cantor [R-VA] and his family.
But at some point, the American people are going to get overwhelmed by the tyranny of the small things foisted upon us by government bureaucrats. I mean, David, I appreciate you calling in with left-wing bullet points, none of which are true. Perhaps you should think for yourself instead of reading left-wing bullet points that aren't true. I never advocated shooting Census workers. The left would have you believe that. Maybe you should start reading RedState as opposed to, I don't know, Media Matters.
We've got to take a quick break; we'll be back in a few minutes.
And here is Erickson's complete response to an AP article about dishwashing detergent from March 2009:
Washington State has turned its residents into a group of drug runners - crossing state lines to buy dish washer detergent with phosphate.
At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?
At some point soon, it will happen. It'll be over an innocuous issue. But the rage is building. It's not a partisan issue. There is bipartisan angst at out of control government made worse by dumb bans like this and unintended consequences like AIG's bonus problems.
If the GOP plays its cards right, it will have a winning issue in 2010. But it is going to have to get back to "leave me the hell alone" style federalism where the national government recedes and the people themselves will have to fight to take their states back from special interests out of touch with body politic as a whole.
Were I in Washington State, I'd be cleaning my gun right about now waiting to protect my property from the coming riots or the government apparatchiks coming to enforce nonsensical legislation. [emphasis added]
Erick Erickson: part of the "Best Political Team" on television: