Georgia Republican congressman and Senate candidate Paul Broun has been trying to out-extreme his opponents on the issue of immigration reform, announcing in a debate this weekend that the only immigration law he wants is one "that makes English the official language of America." In an interview with Tea Party Express earlier this month, Broun made the same policy recommendation, claiming that comprehensive immigration reform would be "disastrous for Republicans" and "disastrous for anybody who is freedom-loving." Later in the interview, Broun claimed that "both political parties today are domestic enemies to the Constitution" and that he is a "freedom-fighter" who is "fighting those people."
There's something about elected members of Congress referring to themselves as "freedom fighters" that rankles. When these same members are U.S. Senate candidates, it's that much more alarming.
I think it's fair to say this falls outside the normal parameters of mainstream American rhetoric. For a federal lawmaker and U.S. Senate candidate -- who might actually win -- to see both major parties as "enemies" is pretty out there. For that matter, references to "freedom fighters" are usually limited to insurgencies in undemocratic countries.
And yet, Paul Broun isn't the only one who talks this way.
Back in 2009, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) referred to opponents of health care reform as "freedom fighters" while appearing on Glenn Beck's show.
The same year, Jim DeMint, when he was still a Republican senator, said, "We have to have a remnant of the Republican Party who are recognizable as freedom fighters."
I've heard of a loyal opposition, but I guess there's a Contra contingent in 21st century American politics?