The Corner

Mike Lee Defends Tea Party

Freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) helped spur the Tea Party’s rise to national prominence by unseating three-term Sen. Bob Bennett to win the GOP nomination last May. He told National Review Online in an interview that he was absolutely repulsed to hear liberal commentators attempting to pin blame for the Tucson tragedy on the movement that propelled him to office.

“Anyone who would blame this horrible, atrocious act on a movement that is all about peaceful change that occurs through the electoral process is being utterly disingenuous [and] morally irresponsible,” Lee said. “This is an obvious effort by the left to try to take the momentum out of a movement that is clearly hostile to the progressive agenda.”

He said he “deeply resents” the suggestion that heated political rhetoric and martial imagery were somehow to blame for driving Jared Loughner to commit mass murder.

“This is a man who is either evil or insane, or both, who’s just done a really bad thing, and Barack Obama, Rush Limbaugh or the Tea Party didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said, noting that Obama himself was no stranger to violent imagery (“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”).

Asked if House Republicans should remove the phrase “job-killing” from the title of their bill to repeal health care reform, Lee called the idea “silly.”

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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