Could today’s angry political climate lead to violence, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested? Authorities tell Politico.com that it is a distinct possibility that irrational advocates could cross the line. Five former Secret Service, FBI and CIA officers say that they, too, are concerned that today's climate of supercharged political vitriol could lead to violence.
Some of the experts see the political moment as a part of a larger trend that's been developing since the mid-'90s – dating back to GOP attacks on President Bill Clinton and continuing through the left's sharp criticism of President George W. Bush, who was called a “liar” and “loser” by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). There's a big difference, of course, between a person who shouts at a congressman at a town hall and a person who would do something much more violent. But security experts say that the shouting incidents and other angry moments in recent weeks serve as indicators of an increase in political rage in the culture.