U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum's marked the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing next week with a stinging rebuke of Tea Party movement rhetoric that she said could inspire another attack like the one that killed 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
"When Members of Congress compare health care legislation to 'government tyranny,' 'socialism,' or 'totalitarianism' in hopes of scoring political points it’s like pouring gas on the fire of extremism," she said in a speech Tuesday on the House floor.
She also invoked the specter of racism in the growing number of hate groups recently described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration… the economic meltdown, and the climb to power of an African American president.”
In what could easily be taken as a dig at fellow Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Republican heroine within Tea Party ranks, McCollum said “I implore my colleagues to temper their rhetoric and not allow the words of a member of Congress to ever be used by any violent militia or hate-filled phony patriots to cause violence.”
Invoking the name of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, McCollum said “I don’t ever want another ‘Oklahoma City’ to ever take place again.”
Hayley Tsukayama is an intern in the Star Tribune's Washington bureau.