Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says fellow Democrats he talked to at his recent fundraiser are not down by the president’s falling poll numbers and recent election loses by Democrats. Harkin says Democrats feel the “Tea Party has had the bully pulpit too long” and the conservative nature of the Republican presidential candidates will be a rallying point for them.
Harkin cited Thursday’s Republican debate where audience members reacted to a question from a gay soldier. Harkin says the man said he was glad we no longer have the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and asked the candidates about it. Harkin says the audience then booed “a young man risking his life for our country simply because he is gay.”
Harkin was also critical of audience reaction at the another Republican debate when a young man said he didn’t have insurance. “They said this young guy should just die…because he doesn’t have healthcare insurance, and people cheered and said ‘let him die,'” Harkin said, “and then on the first debate it’s when they all clapped and cheered for all of the people (who) were executed in Governor Perry’s Texas. What is the Republican Party coming to? It’s just bizarre.”
But Harkin didn’t have the same indignation for Democrats who call Tea Party members terrorists. Harkin says he’s never used that term.
“But I do say that many of these Tea Party people are kind of wacko, what else can you say about some who says a young person who doesn’t have healthcare, just let ’em die,” Harkin asked.
Harkin says his use of the term “wacko” isn’t the same thing. Harkin says it’s “a heck of a lot different” than cheering someone on who might die. He says, “A lot of people call me wacko, but that doesn’t bother me.”
Harkin made his comments in a weekly conference call with reporters.