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Gaetz’ ‘Shoot and hang the nullifiers’ history lesson riles tea partiers

by Dara Kam | December 5th, 2012

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has raised the hackles of Florida tea party activists on the warpath about Gaetz and other GOP leaders’ apparent willingness to go along with the once-reviled “Obamacare.”

With more than a dozen supporters backing her up, tea party lawyer KrisAnne Hall heatedly told a Senate committee exploring implementation of the federal health care act they should nullify the law because it is unconstitutional. The raucous crowd repeatedly burst into applaud and even booed one senator who refuted their position.

Hall had a short confrontation with Gaetz after the meeting and apparently sent him an e-mail explaining “the Founders’ position on State Sovereignty and nullification,” according to her blog.

Gaetz, a sharp-tongued history buff who often punctuates his arguments with sarcasm, replied to Hall and others with a history lesson about Andrew Jackson. First, Gaetz reminds Hall that he opposes the law and also believes it’s unconstitutional.

“As to nullification, I tend to favor the approach used by Florida’s first Governor, Andrew Jackson:

It is said that one evening, while he was president, General Jackson was interrupted in his reading in his bedroom by an alarmed military aide who breathlessly reported, “Mr. President, the “nullifiers” are in front of the Executive Mansion with torches and guns. They are screaming that each state has the right to decide for itself which federal laws to follow. They threaten to burn us down if you will not agree with them.”

Without lifting his head from his reading, Andrew Jackson said, “Shoot the first nullifier who touches the Flag. And hang the rest.”

I have sworn an oath on my father’s Bible before Almighty God to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and government of the United States. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. Count me with Andrew Jackson.

Senator Don Gaetz

The e-mail sparked a firestorm in the tea party community, including on Hall’s Facebook page.

“After sending Senator Don Gaetz my letter explaining the positions of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton on State Sovereignty, Mr. Gaetz says that citizens who agree with the writer of the Declaration of Independence should be summarily shot and hanged. Does that means Don Gaetz is in favor of shooting the many Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders who have said that they will not comply with this mandate? Notice the double-speak in his email below. He affirms his support for the Constitution and then demonstrates his utter ignorance of its meaning and purpose,” Hall wrote on her blog.

Caught outside the Senate Democratic suite where Gaetz lunched with Democratic Leader Chris Smith and others, Gaetz downplayed the brewing battle between the “nullifiers” and the president and clarified that he was not advocating shooting tea partiers.

“No. I’d have to shoot my son,” Gaetz said. Rep. Matt Gaetz is an even more conservative Panhandle lawmaker than his father.

Gaetz explained the use of the Jackson anecdote.

“That’s just an old tale of what was said about what Andrew Jackson said. I simply sent it to her as a way to try to let her know that you can still be civil about these issues and you don’t have to be outraged about every single thing. You can disagree without being uncivil,” he said.

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14 Responses to “Gaetz’ ‘Shoot and hang the nullifiers’ history lesson riles tea partiers”

  1. DDW Says:

    What makes me happy? Whatever makes the Tea Party mad.
    1 Year 10 Months and 30 Days and then it is Bye,Bye to Rick Scott and any other G.O.P. member we can vote out of office.

  2. Team Truth Says:

    @DDW, nice try but it won’t work. The Honorable Governor Scott is already hard at work on absentee ballots to ensure his re-election. This will nullify the hundreds of thousands of illegals voting Democrat. HA!

  3. timtopper Says:

    The Republican majority have sold us to the highest bidder; namely the insurance companies. Vote out Scott!!

  4. David Says:

    The Affordable Care Act IS constitutional,as was indicated by the US Supreme Court. Some may not like it, but personal feelings don’t count when the highest court in the land has made a decision. As for “nullification”, we fought a war over that called “The Civil War”. The nullifiers lost. The Confederacy lost. The Tea Party can foam at the mouth all they want, but that won’t change the facts.

  5. BustedUpGrunt Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the Tea Party has alot in common with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in that they all share an “our way is the only way” extremist view. Fortunately, the Tea Party represents the views of just a very small, yet vocal minority. Don’t know what’s worse though,…the Tea Partiers or the equally small left wing crew with opposing extreme views. Both have one-dimensional, political myopia.

  6. David Says:

    KrisAnn Hall must need to sign a few more books. I noticed that she has not published her letter. Her actions at the Senate hearing was embarrassing to say the least.

    Please understand she only represents a fraction of the most extreme members of the movement and those are the ones who give the others a bad name.

  7. Michael Says:

    Nullification was meant to be a reasonable alternative to secession. This is not a southern sepratist idea as the concept of nullification was first excerisied by the Nothern states Nullifiing the Fugitive Slave Acts.

    Colorado and Washington just used Nullification on Federal drug laws.

    Montanta has nullified the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 by excluding all firearms that are made in state.

    Virginia Nullified the indefinete detention provision of the NDAA 2012 law.

    More than HALF of the states have alreayd nullified the REAL ID Act of 2005 (unfortunatly FL is not one of them)

  8. Debbie Says:

    For those who think the Supreme Court is the ultimate say on anything in the US, then you probably also believe that the president is king! The Supreme Court is fallible and suceptible to political influence. The Founders realized that when they gave us the 9th and 10th Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Further, they only ruled on the penalty, saying it was a tax which Congress could levy. They also gave the states an out, saying they could either establish state exchanges or leave it to the feds. Why should we make it any easier for the federal government to impose this over reach of power upon all in Florida?

    As far as Senator Gaetz’ response, it is far from civil…and I don’t need his pompous “history lesson.” As one of those who would like to see the state nullify this theft of my individual rights, as outlined in the 9th Amendment, I take his response as a threat to my life. He stands with Andrew Jackson’s approach to dealing with “nullifiers,” and thus promotes “shooting the first, and hanging the rest.” I demand a retraction, apology and removal from the Florida senate. His response is unacceptable bullying and inappropriate for someone of his position.

    And I’m NOT a tea partier, I’m a conservative veteran who lived up to the oath I took for 28 years. I believe in the Constitution, and read it on a regular basis. This isn’t just an attack on KrisAnne Hall, this is an attack on every Floridian who disagrees with Senator Gaetz.

  9. Kevin Says:

    As a lawyer Ms Hall’s insistence that the Senator set aside the will of the majority of voters in this state and defy federal law is embarrassing. His Andrew Jackson quote was appropriate and portrays most peoples feeling about sore losers who insist on having their way even after loosing battle in a fair fight. The Tea Party has become a joke. It’s unreasonable and annoying to be completely outraged over every single thing you disagree about. Your side lost the election, which means your extreme right wing opinion has been overridden and marginalized in favor of a more compassionate viable and just America. Unchecked liberty is a dangerous thing in the hands of a tyrant. Unfortunately human nature is so predictable. Where the opportunity exists for one person to marginalize another for personal of financial gain you can be certain that human nature will ensure that someone will take advantage of it. If Ms Hall needs to make some extra cash she should consider positing some sexy photos of that BBW figure of hers on her web site. Now that’s something we all can be outraged about.

  10. @Debbie Says:


    Get over yourself neither you nor Ms. Hall are Constitutional lawyers qualified to try and tell anyone how to interpret the Constitution!

  11. BustedUpGrunt Says:

    First, thanks for your 28 years of service.
    Second, you read his quotation of Jackson in context and you see that as a literal “threat to your life”? Get real.
    Whatever you did for 28 years, it mustn’t have been near any combat, because repeating a historical quote sure isn’t a deadly threat, like say, having an armed RPG pointing at you.
    All this pole-vaulting over mouse tirds by making a big thing over nothing is really screwing our nation up.
    I believe a retraction and apology to the super-sensitive is sufficient, but removal from the senate is extremist since the punishment doesn’t fit the crime of speaking one’s mind freely.
    Toughen up there fellow vet, and deal with it.
    Things were alot more hairy back in the old days when Americans all attended the school of hard knocks, and we were a better nation then, …… until the PC days now.
    I suggest you stiffen up your backbone and deal with those deadly verbs, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns like the hardcore military member you purport to be.
    Again, thank you for your service.

  12. Hav Mir Says:

    Even when Republicans disagree with each other; they degenerate into violent hateful rhetoric. Republicans are not equipped nor fit to govern.

  13. Dave Says:

    Jackson said basically the same thing to South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis.

  14. Thomas Says:

    So sending someone an example of Jackson’s desire to execute someone, and agreeing with Jackson’s urges, is an example of teaching civility???

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