SICKLEChipSomodevilla:Getty

A reader writes:

You wrote:

"This kind of rhetoric - on the same day that the Fort Hood massacre took place - is gasoline on a fire of atavistic hate. Someone in the GOP leadership needs to call it out - before its logic propels us toward more violence and social division."

But they won't call it out. They'll embrace it, use it, and then lapse into a carefully-scripted victimology - as feigned as it will be ferocious - should the fringe activists they are now currently whipping into a frenzy erupt into violence and people start to point fingers at the enablers in the GOP establishment.
 
We have seen this before. Gingrich spent the better part of a decade, and the entire two-year election cycle leading up to the 1994 GOP route, inveighing against "sick", "pathetic", "traitorous", "cheating", "radical", "permissive", "anti-American" elements in the government, the Clinton White House, and the Democratic party. Bill and Hillary Clinton were "the enemy of normal Americans". Dick Armey compared the New Deal and the Great Society to Stalin's Five-Year Plan and Mao's Great Leap Forward - two of the most murderously destructive state experiments in human history.

GOP congressmen openly sympathized and courted anti-government "militias". The hated, amorphous, ill-defined, all-purpose "bureaucrat" that Clinton (or Obama, or Carter, or the Communists, or the blacks, or the gays - take your pick) controlled with diabolical precision existed for no other purpose than to keep the selfless and God-fearing Southern Man, and his fellow "Real Americans", from enjoying his beer, his NASCAR, and his guns. One man finally decided to do something about it and killed 168 people. When gently questioned by Tim Russert as to whether the white-hot vitriol he rode to power might have contributed to a political climate which made Oklahoma City possible, Gingrich of course reacted with the wounded pride of the professional mountebank - "How dare you?", such comparisons are "grotesque", and on and on.

Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Steve King, John Boehner - they're calling the same plays from 15 years ago. Same nuts. Same squirrels.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.