There's an overriding question to ask in the wake of the inflammatory statements U.S. Rep. Andre Carson made recently about congressional members of the tea party. Why?
Why did the Indianapolis Democrat dive head first into the partisan wars that have polluted the nation's capital? Why did Carson, who has built a solid reputation during his first three years in office, make a statement that could drive him to the fringe inside the Capitol, alongside colleagues who yell "you lie" during presidential speeches and "baby killer" during debates.
It makes no sense.
It's hard to imagine what good can come from Carson's sweeping statement that accused political opponents of wanting to see black Americans "hanging on a tree." Outside of rallying die-hards within the Democratic base and raising the fury of the tea party, such highly charged words do little but further tear apart an already bitterly divided Congress and nation. They won't help one person get a job or help one piece of legislation pass.
But this seems to be where we've landed in politics in this increasingly dysfunctional era. And for at least a day or so, Carson has emerged as the face of a disastrously acrimonious Congress. He landed there, his spokesman told national reporters, because of an attempt to voice the economic frustrations of people he has met during the Congressional Black Caucus' jobs tour.
Unfortunately, Matt Tully slept through Carson's last foray into stirring up false accusations against the Tea Party. More than a year ago, Carson and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus strolled through a large group of Tea Party protesters demonstrating outside the Capitol Building in hopes of baiting them into saying something racially insensitive. When that failed, Carson simply fabricated a tale of the protesters spewing hate-filled epithets at him and his colleagues, including the use of the n-word. Countless numbers of videos taken of the encounter proved that Carson's allegations were baseless, but he stuck by his statement just like he is today.