Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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Mike Doyle and the Terrorist Tea Party.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 2, 2011

No. 669


Congressman Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle is a Democratic Congressman who represents parts of the City of Pittsburgh and much of the eastern end of Allegheny County.  Most of the time he is so quiet you don’t even know he’s there.  However he made the big time today.The place was a Democratic caucus called to consider changes in the Debt Ceiling legislation that had been negotiated by Congressional leaders and the President.

Doyle was quoted as stating that the Tea Party members in Congress, who had refused to yield on most points,  were acting like terrorists.  The Vice President was alleged to have expressed agreement. What did Doyle mean by that?  Simply that other members, including Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey, had convinced Doyle that they didn’t care if the debt ceiling deadline expired, it wouldn’t matter anyway.  So, in the mind of Doyle, Toomey was like a a suicide bomber.

Of course, Toomey may have been right that the consequences were grossly exaggerated. Or he may have been bluffing and fooled Doyle. We’ll probably never know.  But Doyle was sure enough of Armegeddon on August 2 that he felt compelled to vote for a compromise he hated.  But is it terrorism?

Terrorism relies illegal acts that involve violence.  Did Toomey do anything illegal?  Did he threaten violence?  Not if he believed what he said. And not if he believed that others who feared default but were not supporting the bill would not permit default to happen.

What he and other Republican hold-outs have done was to force Democratic holdouts like Doyle to relinquish their opposition on the other side and vote for the measure without negotiating additional concessions. That’s not terrorism. That’s called hard ball politics.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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