Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Calls for `civility' generally prove short-lived

By Greg Sargent

It's nice that so many public officials and commenators are seizing on the Arizona shooting to renew calls for more "civility" in politics, but it's worth noting that recent history shows that such appeals, while somberly agreed to by just about everyone, always prove very fleeting.

Two of the most wrenching spasms of domestic violence in recent American history -- the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy in 1968, and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 -- were followed by periods of widespread national introspection about the state of our politics. In both cases, tranquility reigned, in historical terms, for approximately a nano-second.

I checked in with Rick Perlstein, the author of "Nixonland" and an unparalled chronicler of the fraught cultural subtexts and conflicts of national politics, to talk about the aftermath of the 1968 assassinations. He pointed out that in his 1969 inaugural speech, Richard Nixon issued a clarion call for national unity that rapidly was overtaken by the events that followed.

"His inaugural was all about bringing us together," Perlstein noted. "Of course, the Nixon administration was almost exclusively the opposite. Very soon he was wiretapping journalists and going around saying that peace activists wanted us to lose in Vietnam and represented the worst of America."

It came from both sides, obviously. The pitched battles of that era flowed from unbridgeable disputes and wrenching transformations gripping our whole society: The pitched battles over Vietnam, the various civil rights movements, the searing racial tensions that resulted as urban America underwent profound demographic changes.

After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, it was widely believed that Bill Clinton had the right on the defensive with his demands for a cooler tone in politics and his criticism of Republicans for shutting down the government. In a speech soon after the bombings, he directly targeted the rampant anti-government fervor of the times, warning against "pretending that you can love your country but hate your government."

In one of my favorite Clinton moments, at his 1996 State of the Union speech, he pointed up to the gallery at a 49-year-old Vietnam vet and Federal worker who helped dig people out of the bombing rubble. "I challenge all of you in this Chamber: Never, ever shut the federal government down again," Clinton admonished the Republicans. Commentators sagely predicted that both sides would have to take down the rhetoric a few notches.

We all know what followed: Impeachment and a protracted struggle between right and left that was as fraught, angry, emotional and uncivil as anything in recent memory.

Expect the same thing to happen again. And there's a simple reason why: All the incivility of this and other eras isn't the result of just bad manners on the part of our public officials and commentators. It flows from stark ideological divides in our society that ran and continue to run very deep -- and no amount of resolve to make nice can paper them over.

"The divisions transcend any glib efforts at civility," Perlstein says.

All of which isn't to say that we shouldn't be calling on public officials and commentators to stop painting their political foes as illegitimate and stop flirting with violent rhetoric. And by all means, we should keep pointing out false equivalences between left and right as warranted. But it's worth keeping in mind that there's a reason for all the passion and anger, and it isn't going away anytime soon.

*************************************************************

UPDATE, 4:06 p.m.: Paul Begala makes some interesting and related points.

By Greg Sargent  | January 10, 2011; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media, Tea Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Official: DHS has not determined any possible ties between Arizona shooter and right wing group
Next: Paul Begala to right wing: Why so defensive about Arizona shooting?

Comments

"But it's worth keeping in mind that there's a reason for all the passion and anger, and it isn't going away anytime soon."

It's wired into the human condition. It will never go away.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It often seems that only in times of great heart ache does a Nation as great as ours come to realize its own faults.

mikefromArlington circa Jan. 2011

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

If the right wing news media and pundits are so innocent, then why are they so sensitive about what they've said? How can one defend Angle's use of 'second amendment remedies' if we don't like our govt. Or that woman that was pegged to be Allen West's COS until she suggested using 'bullets if ballots' didn't work....or shall we review Palin's map with all those now claimed 'surveyor's marks' over the districts she 'targeted' and even encouraged her followers to relock and reload? Or shall we go to Beck and his 'rivers of blood' reference or the Tparty types in Congress who encouraged imagery suggesting that the land will be covered in the blood of tyrants? Come on people. The left is not even close, and for msm types to suggest they are is incredulous!

Posted by: LAB2 | January 10, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg-

What do you suppose the reason/s is/are? Stark ideological divides? No doubt there are "stark divides" when one juxtaposes extremes. I think leaders ought to be *right now* dealing with commonalities.

For instance, all agree there needs to be immigration reform but the center (60-70%?) of America probably are closer to each other than they think.

Sure extremes get most of the press but, w/o sounding hopefully too pollyanna about it, we ought to be focusing on what brings us together.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It's only going to get worse, as the rightwing demagogues keep pushing the violence envelope further and further. Hate and fear are great for their ratings, their audiences feed on it like vampires, so they will not stop.

Even Bill Kristol of all people now feels we should do something about the easy availalibility of semi-automatics:

KRISTOL: We can have a reasonable debate about what could be done about security. We can have a reasonable debate about policy issues, like gun-control. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to address. I wouldn’t do it the day after. It’s better to reflect a little bit about sensible legislation, but it’s not ridiculous for someone to say ‘let’s look at why this guy could got so many shots off so quickly.’ Maybe we should go back to at the assault weapons ban — I’m ambivalent about that, I think there are policy arguments on both sides — but that’s a kind of reasonable response.'

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

As soon as Lindsey Lohan or Snooki do or say something stupid again(Which should be within the next day or so), the MSM, especially, the TV media, will drop all coverage of this atrocity.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@LAB2: "The left is not even close, and for msm types to suggest they are is incredulous!"

And many on the right feel the same way, in the obverse. Thus, why any significant change, or meeting of the minds, is simply not going to happen. I'm pretty sure there is not going to be a general seeing eye-to-eye on civility in political discourse.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

I think you miss something about the current political environment. Conservatives has been in power so long that they no longer view Democrats or Liberals as legitimate holders of political power. Conservatism was taken to the extreme in the U.S. and it led to tax repeal, deregulation and antigovernment propaganda generally. That has led to the economic and political calamity we now find ourselves in. Conservatism is spent as a meaningful philosophy of governance and the GOP has been hijacked by extreme Right WIng ideologues who brook no dissent or compromise. So when you say that the vitriol is the result of actual political differences that must be tempered by the reality that the Right Wing thinks that anyone who is not a Pure Conservative is an object of scorn and ridicule. In fact, the political battle is over and Conservatism won. Today's Democrats would be Moderate Republicans 40 years ago. Conservatism, though dominant, has failed and ruined the country. What we are witnessing with the Right WIng vitriol is a spent, corrupted political philosophy that is entrenched in power and is refusing to acknowledge opponents as legitimate political leaders.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Something I left out: part of the dealing with commonalities is having leaders *call out* dangerous rhetoric in public w/o anonymity and then focusing on shared beliefs.

I suspect Obama will address this in the SOTU. I aint no speech writer but I'd frame it along these lines, "I urge American citizens to reject extremist language wherever it originates, not because they don't have the right to speak their minds, but because extremism has consequences and by definition is a language of exclusion rather than inclusion and brotherhood".

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"And many on the right feel the same way, in the obverse. "

And they -- you -- are wrong. Sometimes one side is right and the other is wrong. We are at such a moment, just as we were -- in the obverse -- at the end of the 60s.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@Chuck: "Sure extremes get most of the press but, w/o sounding hopefully too pollyanna about it, we ought to be focusing on what brings us together."

I agree. But there are too many all-or-nothing types on both sides of almost any issue. And there's a reason for that--when you get a "meet in the middle" type, you get HCR, which pleased almost nobody, but represented a practical compromise that almost nobody on either sides sees as a good solution. Thus, we agree that we should do something about immigration reform. I think we should put up a Superfence, you think that's nuts. Fair enough--I'm still going to support candidates who support a Superfence. We both agree that existing illegal immigrants should have a reasonable path to naturalization, or an easy way to apply for a visa, let's say. But then maybe you have someone to your left who says "amnesty now" and I've got someone to my right saying "kick 'em all out" and . . .

We're back to square one. We can't even agree to talk about our disagreements (generally, not you and me, we're awesome) without name calling for vaguely violent-sounding appeals. Yet the irony is, I think we are probably substantively closer on a lot of things than we sometimes think.

And if we properly understood the other person's position on specific policy, rather than the caricature of their positions that we assign to them, we'd find areas to compromise and work something out.

But Rush Limbaugh expresses it this way: "Where do you compromise with evil? Where do you compromise with wrong?"

Not positive, but I get the feeling Keith Olberman feels the same way. These folks don't want to work out issues through constructive compromise, and neither do the most passionate constituents on both sides.

Alas, we can at least be confident that, if it were up to you and I, we'd be able to hammer something out.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Goota love it. wbgone calls for civility by demonstrating the lack thereof in his comment.

Just amazing.

Further, the left needs to use every opportunity to decry "anti government rhetoric". The left's entire dogma rests heavily on a huge, expensive and intrusive government that is funded by the brow sweat of hard working taxpayers.

A restive, well armed and un co operative citizenry threatens the left's attempt to install Nirvannah 2.0 here so, of course, they must find ways to limit the free speech of those who oppose them.

I expect that the rabid lefties here will rail against everything said by anyone slightly to the right of Karl Marx for the next few days. It will be fun. I'm sure we'll be treated to more than a few posts such as wbgone's nasty little screed decrying the lack of civility in America

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

From Van The Man's almost forgotten classic album; Veedon Fleece.


Van Morrison: Who Was That Masked Man Lyrics
Songwriters: Morrison, Van;

Oh, ain't it lonely
When you're living with a gun
When you can't slow down and you can't turn 'round
And you can't trust anyone

You just sit there like a butterfly
And you're all encased in glass
You're so fragile you just may break
And you don't know who to ask

Oh, ain't it lonely
When you're living with a gun
Well, you can't slow down and you can't turn 'round
And you can't trust anyone

You just sit there like a butterfly
You're well protected by the glass
You're such a rare collector's item
When they throw away what's trash

You can hang suspended from a star
Or wish on a toilet roll
You can just soak up the atmosphere
Like a fish inside a bowl

When the ghost comes round at midnight
Well, you both can have some fun
He can drive you mad, he can make you sad
He can keep you from the sun

When they take him down
He'll be both safe and sound
And the hand does fit the glove
And no matter what they tell you
There's good and evil in everyone

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "And they -- you -- are wrong. Sometimes one side is right and the other is wrong. We are at such a moment, just as we were -- in the obverse -- at the end of the 60s."

Which illustrates my point--there is no room for dialog in "I'm right, you're wrong, that's that." And neither side is going to concede an inch.

If on some other issue, someone starts a dialog with you in the following manner. "You're 100% wrong on this, in every possible way, in every direction, in all possible conceptions. We're 100% right. Also, we're good, and you're bad. Now, let's talk about how you are going to change to become good. Like us."

I don't expect that dialog would advance very far, and the mistaken party would have learned nothing from your admirable certitude regarding your immaculate goodness. Except that they're fine the way they are and that you sure think you're all fancy.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Something relevant Bill Clinton said-- it is only because of our government that we enjoy the rights and freedoms we do. If you hate the government here, you should really move someplace you like better.

"Oklahoma City proved that beyond the law, there is no freedom, and there is a difference between criticizing a policy or a politician, and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who implement them. And the more prominence you have in politics or media or some other pillar of public life, the more you have to keep that in mind. "

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

skip, so wbgonne highlighting the rights attacks on the left is a lack of civility?

How should one go about discussing the problem if the discussion its self is branded uncivilized? Should one just ignore the discussion?

Please, your wisdom is needed here.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"But it's worth keeping in mind that there's a reason for all the passion and anger, and it isn't going away anytime soon."

It's wired into the human condition. It will never go away.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 1:43 PM

Agreed, but it has never been so cynicly and effectively fueled as by the Republicans with Lee Atwater and Karl Rove...

...for personal gain and to the detriment of the nation.

Posted by: vigor | January 10, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This calls for a Congressional Investigation, and a change in the Tax Codes.

"Report: Majority Of Money Donated At Church Doesn't Make It To God

January 10, 2011"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-majority-of-money-donated-at-church-doesnt,18765/

"WASHINGTON—A shocking report released Monday by the Internal Revenue Service revealed that more than 65 percent of the money donated at churches across the world never reaches God. "Unfortunately, almost half of all collections go toward administrative expenses such as management, utilities, and clerical costs," said Virginia Raeburn, a spokesperson for the Lord Almighty, adding that another 25 percent of heavenly funding is needed just to cover payroll for the angelic hierarchy. "People always assume God is filthy rich, but they'd be surprised to learn His net worth is only around $8 million—and most of that is tied up in real estate." According to Raeburn, God currently has enough money saved to live comfortably throughout all eternity, but He may be forced to shutter a number of† under-performing religions."

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Kevin - please list for us examples of Democratic leaders or liberal media figures advocating violence or using violent rhetoric to achieve political outcomes, or drop the false-equivalency strawman. And now, to repost from the last thread:

I see one poster in particular seems to believe he has the inside scoop on the killer's politics.

From what I've seen, no one does. But it doesn't really matter. Whether he was influenced by violent political rhetoric or not doesn't excuse violent political rhetoric. As "unfair" as all of this is to Our Lady of Perpetual Butthurt Sarah Palin, the fact remains that people who don't make inflammatory comments do not find themselves in the position of having to claim they weren't responsible for this type of thing. There's a very good reason for not publicly wishing others harm, that being that it makes you look bad if, after you've publicly wished someone harm, something bad happens to them. This is why responsible people don't do things like that. Because of the potential for blowback that makes you look like an arsehole.

But Sarah Palin is not a responsible person, so instead of taking down the gunsight graphic when the first complaints were raised about it, way back in March 2010 (and ironically, one of those who spoke about it was Gabby Giffords), she left it up until January 8, 2011. Because it pissed off the liberals, which in conservative circles is good enough. It was only after the shooting, when leaving it up became clearly tasteless, that she took it down. Then tried to claim that the gunsights were "surveyor's marks", which certainly could have been clarified way back in March 2010 if it were true. Which it isn't, as is made clear by both her contemporaneous rhetoric ("don't retreat - reload!") and one of her twits after the election.

Now, do I think this guy shot these people because of Sarah Palin's tasteless graphic? I don't know, but I doubt it - though if he had seen it, it certainly would have done nothing other than re-inforce his predisposition.

We all know that violent rhetoric can have violent consequences (Rwanda, anyone?). None of the conservatives or their media apologists who are now claiming otherwise have any problem with drawing connections between violent videogames, explicit movies or song lyrics, or even two strangers of the same sex getting married to dire consequences for society at large. People aren't influenced by things they see and hear, except for when they are.

Look, you guys have to own your own words and actions. If, in the future, you'd like to not have these types of discussions again, probably the best thing to do would be to stop talking about second-amendment solutions and in general drop the over-the-top rhetoric that's based solely on the notion that only people who meet your criteria are legitimate leaders. If you stop saying crazy inflammatory sh*t, these questions won't come up.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

You miss the point. Sometimes one side is right and the other wrong. The fact is that there is a Right Wing Hate Machine in this nation that incessantly fans anti-government hatred. And there is nothing remotely comparable on the Left. If the side that is wrong won't admit it that is the party at fault. Not both parties. And since you are on that side it is incumbent upon you to challenge your political leadership. But you aren't doing that. You are defending the Conservative status quo.

Probably the most pernicious thing the Right Wing has done philosophically is to divorce actions and words from consequnces. There is no sense of personal responsibility for anything any longer in this country. The Right Wing thinks it can say and do anything and remain utterly blameless for the calamities that follow.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Aha, but the mere highlighting of inflammatory rhetoric is being labeled as being inflammatory in and of its self!

And thus the indefensible becomes defensible!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Jenn!

And, Kevin, when Rush speaks of "evil" and "wrong", I get the distinct impression that he's speaking about ALL of us on the Left. When Keith does it my impression is that he's only speaking about the individual that he's ranting about at the time, not the whole movement.

Posted by: Michigoose | January 10, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's another turning point: Fox News Channel launched on Oct. 7, 1996.

Posted by: mattintx | January 10, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Some fairly wise Jewish lad( and I forget if he was a Democrat or Republican) once remarked: "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone".

Of course, everyone took his advise, and he then went on to live a long happy life, and die peacefully in his sleep.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin-

You hit the nail on the head with 'caricature'.

I used to listen to Air America when it was on down here but I could never stand certain hosts-especially Mike Malloy with his ridiculous rants about the "Bush Crime Family".

Passion is one thing and is good generally, but sometimes I want back some of those boring old Senators from back in the day-who's names we can't remember.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

mike, I understand your question, but it misses my point. Here's a snip from wbgone's comment:
===============
Conservatism, though dominant, has failed and ruined the country. What we are witnessing with the Right WIng vitriol is a spent, corrupted political philosophy that is entrenched in power and is refusing to acknowledge opponents as legitimate political leaders
==========================

couple these words with wbgone's assertion to Kevin that the right is simply "wrong" and the issue becomes clear. wbgone is decrying the absence of behavior wbgone has yet to demonstrate.

To people like wbgone folks like me are just angry, insane, murderous and wrong. Good luck using that as a basis for anything other than a brawl.

And if it brawling the left really wants. I'm your huckleberry. The left seeks to place its own limits on the speech of others, especially those with the temerity to disagree with the left's agenda. Meanwhile we've had a ten year "hate Bush" temper tantrum that the left proclaims is simply a response to whatever it was the left found outrageous.

yeah, right. Time for folks like wbgone to look at themselves in the mirror and ask just exactly how well their own behavior stacks up against the standards they are now demanding be applied to others.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

You miss the point. Sometimes one side is right, and the other is wrong, and WoeBegonne will tell you who is right, and who is wrong.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

One thing I've noticed though Greg is that some of the people using the worst anti-government or Armageddon imagery aren't necessarily all that popular anymore. Beck's ratings have gone down and Palin's polling numbers are also in a downward spiral. Sharon Angle crossed the line several times and handed the election to the unpopular Reid. Whatever presidential hopes Palin had before are gone now I believe, so maybe the American people, while they may enjoy the heated debate and "they are the enemy" style rhetoric, eventually tire of it. Like we've been saying for days, you're free to say what you want, but sometimes you suffer the consequences whether you meant what you said or not.

Posted by: lmsinca | January 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

If we take our cues from politicians and pundits, maybe the civility lasts a nanosecond. I'm not convinced it has to be that way. Here's a suggestion I posted at our local paper's website:

"It seems more likely than not that the shooter has no coherent political philosophy -- he is a mentally unstable loner. And the 125+ comments so far should demonstrate that it is pointless to attempt to bludgeon one's political foes into admitting that "their side" is most responsible for the toxic political atmosphere in our country.

Any parents out there? How useful is it, when your children are arguing with each other, to try to get to the bottom of "who started it"? In my experience, it wasn't very useful. The question is, "where do we go from here?"

Congresswoman Giffords' husband Mark Kelly (Captain, US Navy) has asked those who are concerned, and want to do something, to consider donating to Tuscon's Community Food Bank, and to the local chapter of the American Red Cross. We have the Oregon Food Bank, and the Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Instead of competing over how many nasty quotes we can attribute to our political opponents, how about we set up a competition for how much good we all can do? How about Republicans vs. Democrats vs. Independents, in a competition to see who can donate the most blood and who can donate the most food, with the winner(s) determined by handicapping based on percentage of voter registration? The Red Cross does an annual "Civil War Blood Drive" in conjunction with the UofO and OSU football game. Why not put our political energy into a similar competition to do some good for our state?

Just an idea -- but maybe if we are all doing some good together, we will be able to see some good in each other."

Posted by: bearclaw1 | January 10, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"And they -- you -- are wrong. Sometimes one side is right and the other is wrong. We are at such a moment, just as we were -- in the obverse -- at the end of the 60s." 

So, what are the edges of the debate?  Can someone have a principled opposition to State sanctioned gay marriage?  Or is opposition only bigotry?  What about Health Care?  Is not believing it to be a right hate speach?  Or, can I have a legitimate belief that the Federal Government should not be as large, or is it racist to believe such things?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
========================
God currently has enough money saved to live comfortably throughout all eternity, but He may be forced to shutter a number of† under-performing religions."
=====================

Ocassionally I attend a Byzantine Catholic church here in the industrial heartland. The parishoners have a very unique method for collecting donations. As the hymn starts the faithful remove from their pockets the amount they intend to donate. At a signal from the priest they hurl this currency directly into the air above them.

What God wants, he takes.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin: "[all the passion and anger] is wired into the human condition. It will never go away."

Bullsh*t.

Teach your children to hate liberals, hate the government, and love guns and this is the toxic environment that you get.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca:

I hope you're right. While the Right Wing reaction has been furious defensiveness the Right Wing will never fix itself. That will have to come from outside forces, either the GOP (doubtful since they're winning again) or the American people (who just voted even more extreme Right Wingers into office). OTOH: since the Right Wing is entirely a money operation if Fox starts to lose viewers that will get somebody's attention. Here's hoping ...

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I hate to introduce facts, but all scholarly research shows that current political discourse and publication is far, far more civil than it has been during the bulk of American history. The idea that politics is so ugly now is a canard--usually used to stop opposing arguments.

Posted by: nvlheum | January 10, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

These cynical Democrat plans to link the Arizona shooting to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Republicans in general will backfire. Mark my words.

This shooter is one of your own. Own him.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

How is this for eliminationsist rhetoric portraying the other party as an existential threat to the country.

http://www.moveon.org/pac/cands/dean.html


Over a year ago I posted many, many links to material like this, proving that for 8 years Democrats demonized GWB and Republicans as anti-American usurpers, criminals, mass murderers, and pretty much everything else that could be hurled against them.

Democrats held an annual Take Back America conference.

Until the DNC scrubbed its site last year, you could find Howard Dean's rambling diatribe from 2004 about how its was necessary to "take back America" from the GOP for the "people who built it."

You could find his 2004 statement that the campaign was "a struggle between good and evil, and we are the good." You could find his statement that he "hate[d]" Republicans.

Democrat officials and commentators outright accused GWB not only of racism but mass murder in NO.

Do I recall endless accusations of "shredding the Constitution" and our rights, and war crimes? And deliberately "lying us into war"? Why, yes I do.

How about Pete Stark accusing GWB of sending troops to die just for his own amusement?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

You know, I was 18 when I was first called a Nazi in person for expressing more conservative views. After awhile, you just sort of tune it out. Because every time there is a call for civility, it's basically a call for your political opponents to shut up. Both sides do it, because we have this insatiable need to make everything political.

So now we have Rep. Clyburn calling for restrictions on speech. Apparently it is lost on him that it was Giffords herself who read the 1st amendment at last week's reading.

"it is only because of our government that we enjoy the rights and freedoms we do"

I'll keep that in mind next time I'm searched without probable cause because I had the audacity to attempt to ride the metro. Or the next time Fairfax County police decide to shoot an unarmed man. Or a SWAT team kills a 7 year old in Detroit after setting her on fire with a flash bang. Because they're protecting our rights and freedoms.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 10, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Troll: "Can someone have a principled opposition to State sanctioned gay marriage? Or is opposition only bigotry? What about Health Care? Is not believing it to be a right hate speach? Or, can I have a legitimate belief that the Federal Government should not be as large, or is it racist to believe such things?"

On gay marriage, the rhetoric usually involves demonization of gays/lesbians as child molesters and pedophiles. That is not principled as there is no evidence to support it.

On healthcare not being a right, what is the principle involved? That we should let people without insurance to die?

State the principles on these issues.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

FLASHBACK August 2010: Michael Enright (Leftist interfaith film company volunteer) stabbed an anti-mosque Muslim NYC cabbie and faces trial this year.
http://michellemalkin.com/2010/08/25/left-the-muslim-cabbie-stabbing-was-right-wing-islamophobia-oh-wait-a-minute/

Leftists rushed to lynch the entire Right for that "progressive" hate crime, too.

This shooter is all yours. Own him.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "Kevin - please list for us examples of Democratic leaders or liberal media figures advocating violence"

Well, first, you show me where I'm comparing or talking about people who actually advocate violence. Examples have been provided, in the previous posts, of quasi-violent rhetoric from Obama and Rahm Emanuel. But those don't count, because it's totally different. Or movies like "Death of a President" or books like "Checkpoint". Which also don't count. Etc.

But, fine. Recommend a solution. I'm all ears.

or using violent rhetoric to achieve political outcomes, or drop the false-equivalency strawman.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"I hate to introduce facts, but all scholarly research shows that current political discourse and publication is far, far more civil than it has been during the bulk of American history"

Perhaps. But things are different today. Nearly anyone who wants one can get a semi-automatic weapon for one thing. Because we live in a more crowded and dangerous world we should be MORE responsible than ever but we are instead divesting ourselves of responsibility for everything. American political leaders do not take responsibility for anything today. It is just about winning the next news cycle. Just like on Wall Street where all that matters in the next bonus. A country cannot survive like that, never mind thrive.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton,

"extremes get most of the press"

Exactly.

And moderates are attacked in the media by their own party's base. The Republican party just purged themselves of all moderates in the last election.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 10, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Troll - if someone can come up with a principled argument against gay marriage that isn't rooted in bigotry, I'll be all ears. As for health care, you can believe that a privatized, non-universal system that costs you 30% more than it should is superior without it being hate speech - so long as you don't characterize those who think otherwise as socialists hell-bent on exerting gubmint control over every aspect of our lives. I can also imagine that there might be a legitimate case to be made that the federal government is "too large", whatever that may mean, that would in no way have racial implications. I've heard some try to make this case, sans any racial implications, but have yet to hear a compelling one, since none of them can really define how big is too big and what an optimal size for the government of a self-governing country of 310,000,000 would be. And those things are kind of important to the discussion, so without them "too big" doesn't really mean anything.

If you want to know what the edges of acceptable civil discourse are, you can start with "is it fair" and "is it accurate" - if it doesn't pass those smell tests, you probably don't want to own having said it. And if you aren't responsible enough to own your own words, you have no business putting yourself forward as a leader.

Really, not that hard to figure out what's over the line. It's basically anything that you would consider dirty pool if roles were reversed.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"We all know that violent rhetoric can have violent consequences (Rwanda, anyone?)."

I'm no expert on Rwanda, but I'm pretty sure the bloodshed there didn't result from a campaign map or some candidate's imprudent phrasing.

The inanity of that statement pretty much captures the inanity of the entirety of Jenn's sermonette.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

From the book "AN AUTISTIC WORLD (1)"

The revolution came and went. Men fought bitterly to the end defending their points of view and their interests. Athens never had such an unpalatable meal on its mouth before. Its government was in danger of being erased from history, years earlier the Spartans got rid of it on a swift invasion. Athens had lost its splendor as the center of a universe of alliances between city-states, usually sprinkled along the golden shores of the Mediterranean sea. On the winning side, corrupt and inefficient politicians, generals, and an array of well-established citizens were holding on to a tradition of superstition and mistrust that produced a society governed by an army of shifters, dealers, and merchants ready to exchange any hint of morality for a good profit. On the loosing side, a troop of idealists, mostly young fellows that found enough reasons and arguments to confront the crude reality of a decaying nation, submerged in chaos and absurdity.

Posted by: kanino | January 10, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

NoVa-

Calls for civility *to my mind* (others no doubt feel differently) are not meant to stifle extremist rhetoric as much as to ignore it.

I guess I'm asking for moderation all around in rhetoric and in individual's *responses* to it.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "You miss the point. Sometimes one side is right, and the other is wrong, and WoeBegonne will tell you who is right, and who is wrong."

Heh. Well, I'm sure, one side is right and another wrong, or one more right than the other. However, I'm pretty sure "You're wrong" isn't a convincing argument to the person who is wrong, and the clarification that "You're clearly in the wrong" is, actually, no more compelling.

Yet, to the individual in the right (from their point of view), their position is usually clearly, obviously, lucidly correct. Making an argument for it that isn't mostly in the form of a satisfying tear-down of anyone opposed seems worse than pointless.

Also, as I have noted, most arguments that I've found convincing, over time, had to cook for a while. There is a presumption of, "Well, I spent an hour making this argument about why x is right and y is wrong, and the guy just insulted me and made a snide comment, so it was all pointless!" when, in fact, a point or two might have started to cook, and future engagements might actually soften the hard-line righty or lefty up, over time. Maybe not . . . but I'm darn tootin' sure "Look, I'm smart, and you're an idiot, so just agree with me and maybe I'll think you've gotten smart. Not as smart as me, of course, buyt closer" is just not something that's going to resonate.

There are good arguments for toning down the rhetoric. Very good arguments. Yet, most of what I see is finger-pointing and an attempt to associate overblow rhetoric with one side or the other.

There is a solution, however. The cake sharing solution. When two brothers share a cake, to make sure both feel represented, the first brother cuts the cake. Then the second brother chooses the first slice.

In this case, we tell you what we consider inflammatory and unacceptable rhetoric. Then you tell us what you consider inflammatory and unacceptable rhetoric. Then we each abide by each other's proscriptions, or we each ignore the other's proscriptions.

The one problem with this is that there will be arguments about who violated the agreement first. "That wasn't inflammatory!" one will say. "Yes it was!" the other will say. "So now I can say this!"

And the vicious cycle will start all over again.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

NoVaHockey-

Well, I have to contradict myself here: ignoring a problem won't make it go away. I don't know what combination of addressing a problem and/or ignoring it will solve it.

One can remove the audience for extremism by ignoring it, but there are certainly times when it has to be called out. Tough stuff.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Can Leftists imagine a Giffords effigy hung from a noose?
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/27/can-you-imagine-if-an-obama-effigy-were-hung-from-a-noose/

Own the Leftist violent rhetoric and vitriol.

Civility-whiners: learn civility.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

It is too late for "civility" when the media of all sorts features it, and the lack of discipline and appreciation of others in schools promote it. Civility went out with the 60's and it will not come back until we start with the parents and at the elementary school levels. That's a fact!

Posted by: myonecent | January 10, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Remember when spitting, rock throwing and chemical spraying were "the highest form of patriotism"?
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/09/02/rnc-protest-update-spitting-rock-throwing-poison-spraying-and-cub-scout-harassing

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Your argument is cr@p.

There are no death panels.

Therefore, DO NOT TALK ABOUT DEATH PANELS.

It's that easy.

It's called being RESPONSIBLE.

It's time for Republicans to cut the cr@p and start being responsible for the comments of those in their party. There is simply nothing more that needs to be said.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Heh. Well, I'm sure, one side is right and another wrong, or one more right than the other. However, I'm pretty sure "You're wrong" isn't a convincing argument to the person who is wrong, and the clarification that "You're clearly in the wrong" is, actually, no more compelling. Yet, to the individual in the right (from their point of view), their position is usually clearly, obviously, lucidly correct. Making an argument for it that isn't mostly in the form of a satisfying tear-down of anyone opposed seems worse than pointless."

Who are these mythical creatures you speak of? What abut you? Tell us: Do you think the Right Wing traffics in anti-government hate rhetoric? Does the Left Wing (wherever it may be)? If not, then one party is guilty and one isn't. Step up to the plate. You're a Conservative now: call out Conservatives as I'm sure you did when you were a despairing Liberal.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It is too late for "civility" when the media of all sorts DOES NOT features it, and the lack of discipline and appreciation of others in schools promote it. Civility went out with the 60's and it will not come back until we start with the parents and at the elementary school levels. That's a fact!

Posted by: myonecent | January 10, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

No, quarterback, the violence in Rwanda resulted from radio announcers, after a sustained buildup of political tensions, announced that it was time to pick up the machetes and start hacking up the neighbors.

Which is a far cry from a radio announcer or TV personality in the US talking darkly of violent political struggle and revolution. Particularly when coupled with candidates for office talking about second-amendment solutions and the like.

The only difference is one of degree. So instead of the entire society erupting in violence, you just get a few maladjusted types to take the bait.

I guess fewer murders as a result means it's ok.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love jenn. At least she's unashamed of her blatant attempt to control the speech of other.

Nothing like speech codes to make a man feel free on a wintry Monday afternoon.

Oh and Jenn, if you want fair, go to your mother. Life ain't fair and the liberal attempt to make it so will have as much success as an attempt to exceed the speed of light.

Good luck with your speech codes honey. They are exactly what we do not need or want.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING: AZ Shooter is Leftist-terrorist Bill Ayers disciple
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=249429#ixzz1AfFPHymn

"Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama..."

Own him, Leftists. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk: "Troll - if someone can come up with a principled argument against gay marriage that isn't rooted in bigotry, I'll be all ears."

Marriage is a specific social contract between a man and a woman. An equivalent legal recognized social contract between gay couples should be called something different. Call me a stickler.

I'm also opposed to men or women getting to decide that they want to be called the opposite gender (and be treated as a man or woman) irrespective of their actual physical anatomy. If you are a man and you want to be a woman, you need to at least make a physical commitment. You can't just say, "Hey, I'm a woman now!" and walk into the women's shower at the local health club. If this makes me a monster, then . . . I am that monster.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"On healthcare not being a right, what is the principle involved? That we should let people without insurance to die?"

Two completely separate issues. I believe in a government of negative rights, not positive ones. Basically a freedom from -- government shall not do X, Y or Z.

If health care is a right, that means the government has a duty to act. This is a and idea that largely comes from the FDR era. Look at FDR's 2nd bill of rights as an example -- its a list of what the government would be required to provide ... employment, housing, health care, etc.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 10, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

For cripes sake folks. The guy is mentally deranged.

Why the hell should we allow the behavior of crazy people to determine how we engage in political discourse?

As much as I love to lampoon Sarah Palin, and I really do believe that she is not qualified to be on a national ticket, I doubt if her website crosshairs icons, caused this crazy person to do what he did.

Furthermore, I doubt if Sarah Palin made the decision to post that crosshairs icon, and it was probably done by some tech savvy staff member, who handled her web page postings.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

At least skip is honest and forthright about the fact that he feels no need to be fair or accurate in what he says, nor to take responsibility for his failure to do so.

For the record, skip, I'm not advocating a law. Just common sense. If you don't want to look like an a**, don't say things that may prove you to be one. If you don't want to circumscribe your speech within those limits, be prepared to be called an a** on a fairly regular basis, and stop the whiny bi***ing when you are called out on your irresponsibility.

In short, be a grown-up.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Who are these mythical creatures you speak of?"

In the woods, beneath the rainbows. Run, wbgonne! Run!

"What abut you? Tell us: Do you think the Right Wing traffics in anti-government hate rhetoric?"

Generally? No.

"Does the Left Wing (wherever it may be)?"

Generally? No.

"If not, then one party is guilty and one isn't."

Well, I'm convinced. Bust my buttons, your form of argument •*is*• compelling after all!

"Step up to the plate. You're a Conservative now: call out Conservatives as I'm sure you did when you were a despairing Liberal."

I've already called out as much as I'm going to (see previous threads today). Didn't do much calling out when I was a liberal. There was no internet, for one, and most of my political life was internal.
"

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

wnd.com

hahhahahahaha

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 10, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech at Take Back America 2007:

http://www.barackobama.com/2007/06/19/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_16.php

From Howard Dean's speech at Take Back America 2004:

"So over the next few months we're going to partner with 21st Century Democrats, with the Progressive Majority, with SEIU, with AFSCME, with other groups, where we can come together not just to make sure John Kerry is the next president of the United States, but to make sure that if he is, that this is not just simply a weigh station in between right-wing presidents. That we are going to take this country back this time, and never again are we going to permit the extreme right wing of the Republican Party to tell us what to do. I am tired of listening to the fundamentalist preachers, and we're not going to do it anymore.

(Applause.)

"I'm tired of listening to Ralph Reed, and Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh, and we're not going to do it anymore, because we built this country, and we're going to take it back for ordinary working Americans. We're going to take this country back, and it's going to take election, after election, after election, work after work, after work, and win, after win, after win. Take back America, we want our country back, and it's our country, we built it, and now in November we're going to take it back."

http://www.winningbackamerica.com/


What do you think, Greg and Adam and moonbats? Eliminationist enough for you?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Clinton

I don't know how much of a guide Bill Clinton can be in these situations, because, to put it bluntly, he could "pull off that garbage."


Slamming the right for Oklahoma City - the democratic party lost alot of people that day - and they have never come back.


Obama doesn't have the skills or the political position in this country to "pull off that garbage."


It's not going to work this time.


Its like football, the play might work once. But after that, you are going to lose yards if you try it again.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"On healthcare not being a right, what is the principle involved? That we should let people without insurance to die?"  

So, is assuming that there is no other option to a possible Right to Healthcare then to let the uninsured die not inflammatory?  Is that assuming your opponent's argument is made in good faith?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

here we go. Jenn is trying to snatch the hypocrite of the day trophy from the clutches of wbgone:
===========
For the record, skip, I'm not advocating a law. Just common sense. If you don't want to look like an a**, don't say things that may prove you to be one. If you don't want to circumscribe your speech within those limits, be prepared to be called an a** on a fairly regular basis, and stop the whiny bi***ing when you are called out on your irresponsibility
============================

What I don't want Jenn is self rigteous busy bodies like you telling anyone what the norms of behavior should be. It is really that simple.

And no, honey, I don't believe in "fair", simply because I know that it doesn't exist. If life were truly fair Jenn honey, we'd all be rich and thin, even YOU.

You'r technique is ham fisted and obvious. It is also deeply offensive. So if you applied your own "logic" to your own statements, are you content that calling me names comports with what you demand of others?

I didn't think so.

Let me define irresponsibility as Jenn understands it: "Making statements with which Jenn disagrees".

It is really that simple. As others here, with far more patience and skill, have noted you've simply turned up the rhetoric yourself.

Tell ya what honey, come up with some, you know PROOF, that this guy got some sort of instruction from Sarah Palin and I'll attend to your further offerings here. Absent that, I have no further interest in your lunatic ravings.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Kevin - you can call it "french vanilla ice cream" for all I care; I'm talking about making a case against the concept of having equivalency in domestic civil contracts. That's a semantics argument, not an argument against legally equal and recognized same-sex domestic contracts.

As for calling people what they ask to be called, whatever your tics may be, common courtesy says you address them as they indicate they want to be addressed. To do otherwise is to needlessly be a d***.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"but there are certainly times when it has to be called out."

Call it out -- the answer to speech you don't like it better speech. but not by decrying it as extremist and hate speech, but by refuting the ideas behind it.

If the Klan wants to march in your town, I say let them. Not because their ideas are worth one iota of our time, but because 1) they have the right and 2) by airing their ideas we can see them for the fools they are.

silencing speech is hardly ever the answer.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 10, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Can someone get this sick nut Kadda to stop talking about nooses? He's really obssessed and disturbed.
"
To people like wbgone folks like me are just angry, insane, murderous and wrong. '

Skippy -- I don't think you have ever posted anything that isn't angry, so perhaps that's why you give that impression. that is one thing that seems common to just about all cons -- a constant seething rage and sense of victimhood. Except Kevin.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

washington_compost: hahahahahaha

Try harder to address the EVIDENCE.

BREAKING: AZ Shooter is Leftist-terrorist Bill Ayers disciple
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=249429#ixzz1AfFPHymn

"Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama..."

Own him, Leftists. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

kevin: "Marriage is a specific social contract between a man and a woman. An equivalent legal recognized social contract between gay couples should be called something different. Call me a stickler."

Okay, Mr. Stickler... :o)

But why? What is the principle here? And what difference would it make?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

We're so fortunate to have skip with us to school us all on how to be civil and temperate in our discussions.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Brace yourself: The satanic Westboro cult will protest at little Christina’s funeral.
http://hillbuzz.org/2011/01/09/brace-yourselves-democrat-fred-phelps-and-westboro-hate-group-announce-plans-to-picket-9-year-old-shooting-victim-christina-greenes-funeral-a-new-low-for-democrat-hate-groups/

“Leftists do some truly despicable things in this world, but this is a new low for DEMOCRATS. Former three-time DEMOCRAT gubernatorial candidate Fred Phelps Jr. and his Westboro Hate Cult have announced plans to disrupt the funeral of 9 year-old shooting victim Christina Greene.”

/spit

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Can someone get this sick nut Kadda to stop talking about nooses? He's really obsessed and disturbed.
"
To people like wbgone folks like me are just angry, insane, murderous and wrong. '

Skippy -- I don't think you have ever posted anything that isn't angry, so perhaps that's why you give that impression. that is one thing that seems common to just about all cons -- a constant seething rage and sense of victimhood. Except Kevin.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"No, quarterback, the violence in Rwanda resulted from radio announcers, after a sustained buildup of political tensions, announced that it was time to pick up the machetes and start hacking up the neighbors."

Ancient ethnic and tribal enmities of course weren't involved. And cries to take up machetes and kill are just like Republican campaigns.

No, Jenn, it isn't a matter of degree. It is a matter not even of apples and oranges but of null space versus cotton candy, or prime numbers versus book.

The very idea that you would bring Rwanda into the discussion shows you are completely out of touch not acting in good faith.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Now that five Right Wing Supreme Court Activists have ruled that Corporations are actually persons,

The next time two of them merge, will that be two corporate personages getting married, and who will be assigned to check that they both do not have the same genitalia?

These are the serious issues we need to focus on.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Poor Kadda -- he's certifiable -- man, talk about seething, can't hold it in. Wonder how many guns he's got?

A little primer for politicians:

'In the aftermath of the Giffords shooting there's been a lot of talk about political speech, politicians and whether there's a climate of violent political rhetoric. And it's been clear that a lot of politicians weren't clear that certain phrases and statements -- like calling for armed revolution or target practice at fundraisers -- might lead to misunderstandings. So in the spirit of ettiquette manuals, I thought I'd start putting together a list of things it's probably best not to say simply to avoid misunderstandings or criticisms the next time there's an attempt on the life of a politician.

1. Refrain from telling supporters that winning the election may require active exercise of their "second amendment" rights.

2. Refrain from suggesting it's time for "armed revolution", even if Thomas Jefferson once kinda sorta suggested that.

3. Refrain from holding political fundraisers focused around use of automatic weapons, especially target practices with initials, name or images of your political opponent.

4. Refrain from telling supporters you want them to be "armed and dangerous."

5. Refrain from making campaign posters with opponent's head in gun sights.

6. Refrain from saying that bullets will work if ballots don't.

7. Suggest that supporters not bring weapons to opponents' political rallies.

What else should be added to the list?'

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"never again are we going to permit the extreme right wing of the Republican Party to tell us what to do"

Yes. Barack Obama was right. QB and his right wing extremist ilk are not just bullies. They are also cowards.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

""Troll - if someone can come up with a principled argument against gay marriage that isn't rooted in bigotry, I'll be all ears.""

So, literally ever opposing argument you heard on the issue was rooted in bigotry?  Really?

Was Kevin's argument rooted in bigotry?  

Nice "civility" ya got going!  I'm feeling the love!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

qb: "Ancient ethnic and tribal enmities of course weren't involved. And cries to take up machetes and kill are just like Republican campaigns."

Well, that would be similar to the "Liberal Hunting Licenses" being sold through right-wing websites.

http://www.google.com/images?q=liberal+hunting+license&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=B2orTaGlN4P-8Aal2bXzAQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCMQsAQwAA

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Can fiona5 please explain the sick nut Leftists who hung Palin in effigy?
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/27/can-you-imagine-if-an-obama-effigy-were-hung-from-a-noose/

Can fiona5 please explain why Leftists fantasize about severing the heads of conservative politicians?
http://www.lookingattheleft.com/2008/10/festival-of-obama/

Own the Leftist violent rhetoric and vitriol.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” [Obama at a Philadelphia fundraiser, June 2008]
http://weaselzippers.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/obama-knife-crime-tough.png

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"For cripes sake folks. The guy is mentally deranged."

Liam, the most interesting thing about you to me is that, for all of the 90% of the time I think you are a complete crackpot, during the worst of times you pretty consistently rise to the occasion and take a responsible position.

I salute you for it, truly. Even if you are a nut.

I think people ought to use responsible language, but I don't think either side is responible for the psychotic and deranged. On that, it appears we agree.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Evidence
noun
1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
____________________________________
All you are posting from wnd.com, michellemalkin.com and zombieworld.com disproves all your theories.
Its that simple. Tide comes in, tide comes out.

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"Heated talk doesn’t cause instability. But if the freedom to indulge in such rhetoric and to protest is curtailed, it can be a different story... So it’s disturbing that some in Congress are already working on new laws to limit political speech, in addition to ongoing attacks on talk radio. Those efforts, if they move toward limiting legitimate expression, should worry global investors far more than a one-off lunatic act, however shocking its results."

http://blogs.reuters.com/james-pethokoukis/2011/01/10/is-america-growing-politically-unstable/

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst is under the impression repeated talking points prove substance.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The one problem with this is that there will be arguments about who violated the agreement first. "That wasn't inflammatory!" one will say. "Yes it was!" the other will say. "So now I can say this!"

And the vicious cycle will start all over again.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 2:51 PM

.........................

Ah! You should have finished with: no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

fiona - you've highlighted something else unintentionally here, which I've been thinking about: extremist speech on the left often takes the form of calls to tar and feather, pick up the torches and pitchforks, etc. In short, metaphors that express a person's anger level is at the point where physical violence can erupt - but couched in terms to make it clear that they aren't ADVOCATING violence. We can joke about guillotines, heads on pikes, all kinds of things that are yes, inflammatory but no, clearly do not advocate violence - because we don't have a history of guillotining people or putting their heads on pikes. What we DO have a history of is political assassinations with guns, so any reasonable, responsible person would not want to be making any comments that might seem to suggest gun violence is not outside the bounds of consideration for achieving political goals.

In kind of the same way that you don't want to joke to TSA or any of the passengers in line at the airport about the bomb in your luggage. These things stop being jokes when they have a real potential of happening.

Posted by: JennOfArk | January 10, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"We are finding ourselves: considering, however marginally, a plan to constrain speech so that we’re legally responsible should we somehow incite nutjobs into taking our own texts, making them their own, then acting upon them in their own way (with us as complicit rhetorical accomplices).

"Neither Sarah Palin nor... Kos... targeted Congresswoman Giffords. What they targeted was her Congressional seat. Nobody literally put a bullseye or a target on her. And anyone pretending that they did — in order either to win political points or because they actually believe such nonsense — is either craven and opportunistic, or else too moronic to be taken seriously, save for the dangers they pose to our liberties by advocating for a legally-binding crackdown of [effing] symbolism.

"... This way lies madness and totalitarianism, friends. Which is why I always try to remind people: how you get there matters. And it matters who we empower to determine what something means with respect to how it is being made to mean. One person’s dog barking is another person’s words from the Devil instructing them to kill. The answer to which is to get the person hearing voices some help, not to outlaw dogs."

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=23967

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@benen:

I traded emails today with a Capitol Hill staffer with whom I speak regularly, and I think the aide's perspective is worth passing along. (I'm republishing the staffer's note in its entirety with permission.)

"""To say hill staff is shook up after the weekend's events would be an understatement. We are family up here and I know I'm not the only who has already gotten requests from family to find another line of work. We have had this in the back of our minds for quite some time now. We had people storm our office during health care, they were filled with end-of-times rhetoric and even made mention of violence as an answer.

One thing that isn't getting reported yet is how this isn't an "isolated" incident. We don't know yet if right wing hate talk played a roll, but can we please not forget that a deranged anti-government man flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas killing a veteran. Can we please not forget an unhinged racist killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum. Can we please not forget about the man arrested in northern California armed to the teeth and on his way to the Tides foundation. I'm certain there are others that I'm forgetting. This stuff comes from the right, we know that."""

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027468.php

Yes, we know that. Right wing violence is VERY REAL, and any defense of said violence is abhorrent.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

mikefromArlington is under the silly delusion that smugness is a substitute for cited EVIDENCE.

The cited EVIDENCE wouldn't need to be repeated if WaPo writers didn't start new (and unoriginal) smear campaigns every hour for their echo chamber toadies.

Try harder to cite something, loser.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"qb: "Ancient ethnic and tribal enmities of course weren't involved. And cries to take up machetes and kill are just like Republican campaigns."

Well, that would be similar to the "Liberal Hunting Licenses" being sold through right-wing websites."

Yeah, that's just like Rwanda. e/r

I won't even bother showing you more leftwing hate. I notice not one of you ever has the guts to acknoweldge any of it. That tells us everything.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

CIVILITY


Greg


All I can say is you have control over only one thing: your own conduct.


You can write your blog with more civility and you can still to that personal commitment you make TO YOURSELF.


Or you can go back to the same old same old.


That PART of it is up to you.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"Heated talk doesn’t cause instability."

Orly?

"The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/sarah-palin/3405336/Sarah-Palin-blamed-by-the-US-Secret-Service-for-death-threats-against-Barack-Obama.html

Maybe the secret service is party of the left wing conspiracy against Palin.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@troll: "Nice 'civility' ya got going! I'm feeling the love!"

You're as bad or worse than most.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"For as long as I've been alive, crosshairs and bull's-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such "inflammatory" words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I've listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I've even gotten angry, for goodness' sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

"From what I can tell, I'm not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.

"... There are effective laws to prosecute those who move language outside of the metaphorical.

"... The great miracle of American politics is that although it can tend toward the cutthroat and thuggish, it is almost devoid of genuine violence outside of a few scuffles and busted lips now and again.

"... Any call to cool "inflammatory" speech is a call to police all speech, and I can't think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power. As Jonathan Rauch wrote brilliantly in Harper's in 1995, "The vocabulary of hate is potentially as rich as your dictionary, and all you do by banning language used by cretins is to let them decide what the rest of us may say." Rauch added, "Trap the racists and anti-Semites, and you lay a trap for me too. Hunt for them with eradication in your mind, and you have brought dissent itself within your sights."

"Our spirited political discourse, complete with name-calling, vilification—and, yes, violent imagery—is a good thing. Better that angry people unload their fury in public than let it fester and turn septic in private. The wicked direction the American debate often takes is not a sign of danger but of freedom. And I'll punch out the lights of anybody who tries to take it away from me."

http://www.slate.com/id/2280616/pagenum/all/#p2

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

YESSSSSSS!

@TPM:

Tom Delay has just been sentenced in the money laundering case against him in Texas: three years in jail.

Book em Danno!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

OT: Delay gets 3 years for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 10, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Pardon me for going back to the original topic--civility. In particular, the reference to the Clinton impeachment. In my view, that was about a genuine point of law. Did (a) Clinton lie and (b) did it rise to high crimes justifying removal from office? (a) Probably. (b) Probably not. My guess is a good lawyer could have gotten him off a perjury charge (come to think of it and did).

What Clinton should have told the special prosecutor was to go flock himself when asked about any affairs. Sorry, put civilly, that question is not pertinent to the Whitewater investigation and I refuse to answer it. If you don't like it, get Congress to cite me for contempt. Instead, he tried to sidle by it.

There's plenty of anger out there. That's not a bad thing. Anger channeled can be a useful force. Anger drove the Democrats to commanding majorities in the House and Senate. Anger drove the Republicans to take back the House last November. There's an old saying. Don't get mad. Get even.

As far as this disturbed young man, it's quite possible that he breathed in and drew inspiration from some of the toxic discourse. That may have led him to target Giffords rather than, say, that professor who got him kicked out of class.

Everyone knows exactly what they're talking about when referring to 2nd Amendment solutions. It's a code about as easy as A=1 B=2 C=3…

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

[somethingelse boasted: "All you are posting... disproves all your theories."]

If so, then you should have no trouble rebutting the assertions with your own evidence and proofs.

Meanwhile, the cited evidence stands.

Own the Leftist violent rhetoric and vitriol.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” [Obama at a Philadelphia fundraiser, June 2008]
http://weaselzippers.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/obama-knife-crime-tough.png

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Civility


We can see that you read this blog too - perhaps you could more actively request your readers to tone it down.

It is easy to see that Ethan is just re-typing talking points which have little purpose other than inflame the situation.

Cao has been causing a great deal of trouble.


This Fiona has come on with a set of constant nasty comments - it would be nice if her wings were clipped a bit.


You can try right here - try to be even handed - and work with people and see if you can get things better here.


You know, the name-calling starts, the demands for banning, the people telling everyone that they are ignoring people - (they can't just ignore someone, they have to broadcast it and tell others to do the same) - all this nastiness can be curtailed and discouraged.


None of that behavior has resolved anything - the liberals on this blog do not "win" anything or make any point by ignoring people.


I am long past much of this kind of childish behavior.


However, the issue is civility - let's see this blog.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"fiona - you've highlighted something else unintentionally here, which I've been thinking about: extremist speech on the left often takes the form of calls to tar and feather, pick up the torches and pitchforks, etc. In short, metaphors that express a person's anger level is at the point where physical violence can erupt - but couched in terms to make it clear that they aren't ADVOCATING violence. We can joke about guillotines, heads on pikes, all kinds of things that are yes, inflammatory but no, clearly do not advocate violence - because we don't have a history of guillotining people or putting their heads on pikes. What we DO have a history of is political assassinations with guns, so any reasonable, responsible person would not want to be making any comments that might seem to suggest gun violence is not outside the bounds of consideration for achieving political goals."

Translation: IOKIYAD

"couched in terms to make it clear that they aren't ADVOCATING violence"

Well, that makes it all perfectly clear.

"If they bring a knife, we bring a gun."

-- Barack Obama

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

here are some facts. wnd.com has made up facts in the past. That is fact.
so why o why should anyone even try to respond to anything that comes out of that websites?
And if you are gonna talk about echo chambers, dont cite michellemalkin.com

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 10, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@Jenn I've been gone for two months. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed your posts.

As a former journalist I hate to even post this since I can't identify the author of the following thesis. If anyone recognizes these thoughts please identify the writer..I do not wish to plagiarize...

Paraphrasing the viewpoint I heard last week before the shooting but still brought on by the already heated level of our political discussion. I'm interested in reaction. I haven't decided whether I agree or accept this man's theory but it does sound at least plausible. It was his ???(I feel terrible for not identifying him but it's the discussion I want to start) point as has been posted earlier that these are hardly unusual times in the tenor of American politics...and as the first poster implied that judged over our 200+ years our current climate is actually very close to the norm.

He added an important point however. And this is what I'm interested in hearing from my fellow posters.

The U.S. has always featured a society like this with the exception of Post WWII until the late 70's. This also happens to be a time when the middle class was actually expanding not contracting as it has done since 1977. What has happened?

The U.S. was hit by a devastating Depression that grabbed the entire nation...workers jobless..wealthy jumping off bridges instead of being bailed out by the Feds...it was a time of horror we can only imagine...this set the stage for FDR's New Deal and along with WWII another cataclysmic disaster facing our country brought our nation closer together. It lasted for less that half a century. His question is just HOW bad does it need to get before we finally come together once again?
We have spent the past 40 years fat and sassy and ALL of us can take SOME responsibility.

While I agree wholeheartedly with Jenn and Wbgonne I'm just concerned there really is nothing we can do short of another huge trauma that FORCES us to come together ala the Depression and WWII. Something that will give us another balanced Republican like IKE, the last great R Pres IMHO.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 10, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Kadda doesn't seem to have anything else in his life except pounding the keyboard, frothing, and not understanding why no one is interested in what he posts, except to idly wonder if he is incarcerated.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ethan!  

Happy New Year!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

OK folks, it's time to start counter spamming the spammers that copy paste the same stuff because that is obviously the only way to win at the Internetz.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"What abut you? Tell us: Do you think the Right Wing traffics in anti-government hate rhetoric?"

Generally? No.

"Does the Left Wing (wherever it may be)?"

Generally? No.

I'll try again, Kevin.

Do you think that the Left and the Right in this country today equally promote anti-government sentiment?

Does one side do more anti-government sentiment?

Which one?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

March 21-22, 2009 — Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Sean Connery line in the Untouchables.

Obama was just using it as A Metaphor.

QB, you can not have it both ways. First you laud me, for not engaging in Demogogury on the issue, and then you turn right around and do the exact opposite.

You are all:

Do as I say, not as I do.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

July 15, 2009 — Katherine Crabill (Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates 99th District) makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that’s the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny.”

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It's just like QB to blame President Obama for the daily stream of violent and incendiary rhetoric -- not to mention assassination attempts -- against Democrats.

QB is the epitome of intellectual bankruptcy.

And why?

Just to protect HIS political party. "Me me me. My team my team my team." It's all a sport to QB. It may be a bloodsport, but it is a sport nonetheless.

Meanwhile, America goes down the tubes.

Country First!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Kadda doesn't seem to have anything else in his life except pounding the keyboard, frothing, and not understanding why no one is interested in what he posts, except to idly wonder if he is incarcerated."

Nor do you.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

August 26, 2009 — Debra Medina (Texas gubernatorial candidate) “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

fiona5 doesn't seem to have anything else in life except drooling on mom's keyboard and not understanding cited evidence.

Don't be so obsessed with beating the messenger and hiding from the facts. The facts speak for themselves.

Own the Leftist violent rhetoric and vitriol.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” [Obama at a Philadelphia fundraiser, June 2008]
http://weaselzippers.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/obama-knife-crime-tough.png

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"If you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?"

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703667904576071913818696964.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

CIVILITY

Im serious folks


If you want civility, you can start with this blog


Let's curb some of the obvious transgressions of Cao, fiona, Ethan and others who are nasty with other people


Lets cut out the obnoxious calls to ignore people

If you want to ignore someone, do it, but don't constantly tell people and encourage others to do the same.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

September 28, 2009— Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution”

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 10, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

This is getting absurd. So many people dredging up past isolated comments, from either side, to prove that they are right and the others are all evil.

Then we have the influx of troll spammers, and almost as bad, people feeding them, over and over, by repeatedly complaining about them.

Having to leap over the complaints, is just as much of a nuisance, as having to jump over the damn spammers.

Stop compounding the problem, with all your complaints.

Get a grip everybody. The nation will survive.

I am out of here for the rest of the day, to show some respect for the victims.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 10, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@quarterback: If you want to make this: "We're going to take this country back, and it's going to take election, after election, after election, work after work, after work, and win, after win, after win."

the equivalent of "Second Amendment remedies", or "if ballots don't work, bullets will" (Allen West's first choice for his offices' COS) then that would be a fine example of false equivalency.

Posted by: Michigoose | January 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

If Leftists want to focus on (alleged) “menacing language" after the atrocity this weekend, then they must start with President Obama. He's clearly the worst offender.
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/did-barack-obama-cause-the-shootings-yesterday-in-tucson

** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
** Obama to His Followers: “Get in Their Faces!”
** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“
** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”
** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
** Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”

If Leftists really want to consider the atmosphere of "menacing language", they should start at the White House.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Kadda doesn't seem to have anything else in his life except pounding the keyboard, frothing, and not understanding why no one is interested in what he posts, except to idly wonder if he is incarcerated."

Nor do you."

You and nutboy post far more often that I do.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

FLORIDA


Today is the 150th Anniversary of Florida leaving the Union.

It would be a good time to remember there was a time when the political disputes were a whole lot bloodier than today.


Hundreds of thousands of people died that time.

So, don't think for one thing that the over-the-top rhetoric can not lead to horrible bloodshed.


Time to STOP PROVOKING PEOPLE,

Time to respect the Will of the American people


Time to stop TWISTING MANDATES


Time to stick to what you say during the Campaign.


Time to Stop trying to Impose your Agenda on other people - who are clearly not in favor of those proposals.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So far, David Frum has said it best re: Palin

" Palin failed to appreciate the question being posed to her. That question was not: “Are you culpable for the shooting?” The question was: “Having put this unfortunate image on the record, can you respond to the shooting in a way that demonstrates your larger humanity? And possibly also your potential to serve as leader of the entire nation?”

...

Of course, Palin has yet to give the answer called for by events. Instead, her rapid response operation has focused on pounding home the message that Palin is innocent, that she has been unfairly maligned by hostile critics. Which in this case happened to be a perfectly credible message. And also perfectly inadequate. Palin’s post-shooting message was about Palin, not about Giffords. It was defensive, not inspiring. And it was petty at a moment when Palin had been handed perhaps her last clear chance to show herself presidentially magnanimous."

http://www.frumforum.com/what-palin-needed-to-say-after-giffords-shooting

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"QB, you can not have it both ways. First you laud me, for not engaging in Demogogury on the issue, and then you turn right around and do the exact opposite."

Nope, I'm not demoguoging any issue. I'm simply responding to the left's calumnies and attempts to blame the right for this paranoid schizophrenic. It's very easy to assemble proof that Democratic "extremist," "eliminationist," and "violent" rhetoric is just as prevalent (and imo much more prevalent) that Republican excess. The idea that it is a Republican problem is ridiculous, as it the idea that it had anything to do with a paranoid schizophrenic's shooting 20 people.

That's the extent of what I'm showing. It's your friends on the left who've gone into partisan frenzy and claimed they can mindread a crazy man.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

More from Frum:

Here it seems to me are the elements of such an answer.

(1) Take the accusation seriously. That does not mean you accept the accusation, nor even that you explicitly acknowledge it. But understand why people – not all of them necessarily out to get you – might feel negatively about this past action in light of current events.

(2) Express real grief and sincere compassion. “My condolences are offered” is not the language of someone whose heart is much troubled.

(3) Be visible. They’re laying flowers at the congressional office of Gabrielle Giffords. Any reason you can’t join them?

(4) Join the conversation. You have often complained about out-of-bounds personal comments directed toward you (eg, David Letterman’s). Now try to show toward others the same empathy that you demand from others. Innocent as you feel yourself to be, try to imagine how it must have felt to be Giffords during this past campaign season: guns showing up at her rallies, her offices vandalized, death threats – and your map as the finishing touch. Imagine how her family must feel. Speak to them.

(5) Challenge your opponents. In the past hours, many people have cited President Obama’s (borrowed) line about bringing a knife to a gun fight. They have a point! At the same time as you publicly commit to raise your game, invite your political opponents to raise theirs. Instead of deflecting the blame, share it.

(6) Raise the issue of mental health. Remember how you were going to be an advocate for children with special needs? Can’t more be done to intervene to help potentially dangerous schizophrenics – and to protect society from the risk of violence? (Read this by Dr. Sally Satel to start your thinking on the subject. ) The best way to underscore that Loughner was not motivated by Tea Party ideology is to remind them of what did impel him.

(7) Think what you would like – not your supporters – but your opponents to say about you. “She was tough, but never a hater.” “No matter how strongly she disagreed, she was always gracious.” “I might not agree with her answer, but I could see she had thought hard about it.” Then, having thought about it, go be that person.

(8) Last: suppose you were president right now. The country would want you to say something about this terrible crime. What is that something? Say it now.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Kadda doesn't seem to have anything else in his life except pounding the keyboard, frothing, and not understanding why no one is interested in what he posts, except to idly wonder if he is incarcerated."

Nor do you."

lol. you and nutboy post far more often than I do.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Be honest. Leftists have the monopoly on assasination chic.
http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/10/the-progressive-climate-of-hate-an-illustrated-primer-2000-2010/

Own the climate of hate, Leftists. The shooter is all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 10, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@Troll "So, is assuming that there is no other option to a possible Right to Healthcare then to let the uninsured die not inflammatory?"

The key word here is "assume". We are not assuming we are stating FACTS as they currently exist. Nobody can deny that 100's of thousands of citizens of our nation die each year because they do not possess healthcare. By the time they get to the emergency room with pain the cancer or whatever is already terminal. These are REAL live human beings. Not ALL OF THEM are deadbeats. Again...not assuming here just pointing out that 100's of thousands of working men and women, some well over 40 hours of backbreaking labor do not have health insurance.

Troll I believe you to be a smart considerate person with a wry sense of humor who doesn't suffer fools very well.
Hence I have irritated you greatly at times in the past. lol

But all we are saying....is not that Conservatives are evil, or that Palin did this, but that words matter...they have consequences and factually it's really hard to deny which side most of the vitriol has come from. Which side had armed individuals parading around at many of their rallies. The people who did that should be ashamed. 2nd Amendment rights notwithstanding they are still one notch away from brownshirts. NOBODY carries weapons with theatening signs unless they wish to intimidate.

For all of the links about Obama speeches yadda yadda yadda...can just ONE of you tpers point out which Dem rally features people with locked and loaded firearms LITERALLY threatening armed insurrection.
I was taught in school that people who threatened armed insurrection against the U.S. Government were actually called treasonous traitors and not patriots!

That is not an insult to all righties. It is a pointed comment directed at anybody on the right or left who feels they have the right to threaten OUR great nation in order to get their way.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 10, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If this author went back and studied the election of 1800, he would learn that in the past the language was worse than the stuff one hears today. The political hardball of that era was far worse than the stuff one deals with today. For example, one could cite the duel of Burr and Hamilton. If one goes a few years into the future, one could take a look at how Andrew Jackson's wife Rachel was depicted in the press. What this author is talking about is as old as the Republic, everybody plays by the same rules, and the current nonsense about civility in politics is simply nonsense.

Posted by: jeffreed | January 10, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, sbj, that Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds sure is a disinterested view on whether Right Wing Hate speech is a problem.

Here's Instapundit's opinion piece title:

"The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel"

"Blood libel." What a phrase. I'm seeing it all over all of a sudden. Let's see what Wiki tells us:

"Blood libel (also blood accusation refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays.Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews. Who made it up
"There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source."

If the cloak of victimhood gets any tighter around the Right Wing they will all suffocate.

But what else does Professor Instapundit tell us?

"There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source."

And suffocation ensues.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

All, a pretty great interview with Paul Begala about the right's reaction to the Arizona shooting:

http://wapo.st/emsEr8

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 10, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@Idiotpundit: "Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source."

Delusional.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Ding ding ding we have a winner.

Q.B. "I think people ought to use responsible language, but I don't think either side is responible for the psychotic and deranged. On that, it appears we agree."

Yea we are off to the races. If you honestly believe that Q.B. it puts you in league with the majority (I concede in advance not all) of progressives on this blog. If you can accept Fiona's points about not carrying locked and loaded weapons to political rallies with signs threatening treason...then we are there.

Welcome Q.B. We can drop all the pejoratives, and nasty names and try discussing the issues. We shall disagree I'm certain...but perhaps we can find a way to disagree..agreeably.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 10, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Do you think that the Left and the Right in this country today equally promote anti-government sentiment?"

Pretty much. I refer you to the left during the Bush presidency. Maybe not the same way, maybe the left has more panache (this is debatable) but roughly equivalent. Close enough. From my perspective, which may be incorrect, from your perspective.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Your argument is cr@p."

Well, it's settled then, isn't it?

Once again, I am defeated by the sagacity and wit of nuance made corporeal.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, Palin has yet to give the answer called for by events. Instead, her rapid response operation has focused on pounding home the message that Palin is innocent, that she has been unfairly maligned by hostile critics. Which in this case happened to be a perfectly credible message. And also perfectly inadequate. Palin’s post-shooting message was about Palin, not about Giffords. It was defensive, not inspiring. And it was petty at a moment when Palin had been handed perhaps her last clear chance to show herself presidentially magnanimous."

Good old Frummy, who now makes his living trashing conservatives.

Palin was attacked in an unprecedented way for the actions of a psychopath, over a campaign map no different than countless ones used by all sides for years. There was nothing for her to apologize for.

It simply isn't true that her "post-shooting message" was about herself. Her post-shooting message was the simple message of condolence and prayer she posted. Then the mob attack on her began.

If Frum wants to say she should have given more politically response, that's one thing. But then he would condemn that as well, right? Because that would be a politically calculated response to the attacks. Petty? That's Frum.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

No one on the right has made a "fictional" movie about assassinating Obama.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't help matters when Democrats RAM ObamaCare down our throats, especially when its apparent the vast majority is against it and recognizes it doesn't solve the #1 healthcare/insurance problem: COSTS
And, when your leadership "protects" certain groups, such as Unions, even goes as far as allowing over 200 Unions to Opt-Out of ObamaCare.
And, when your leadership totally ignores a state that was begging for federal assistance in dealing with illegals and border security.
Then, your government Sues the state that was asking for help!
Etc., etc., etc ....

Posted by: ohioan | January 10, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, screwed that up. Let me try again because it was a pretty good one:

Yeah, sbj, that Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds sure is a disinterested view on whether Right Wing Hate speech is a problem.

Here's Instapundit's opinion piece title:

"The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel"

"Blood libel." What a phrase. I'm seeing it all over all of a sudden. Let's see what Wiki tells us:

"Blood libel (also blood accusation refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have–alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration–been a major theme in European persecution of Jews."

If the cloak of victimhood gets any tighter around the Right Wing they will all suffocate.

But what else does Professor Instapundit tell us?

"There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source."

And suffocation ensues.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

ruk,

"Welcome Q.B. We can drop all the pejoratives, and nasty names and try discussing the issues. We shall disagree I'm certain...but perhaps we can find a way to disagree..agreeably."

Unfortunately, I don't think you could be much more incorrect. Most of your ideological allies here -- fiona being one of the worst -- have been viciously blaming conservatives for the shootings since Saturday. She was one of the first to jump in with both feet.

And I've seen neither her nor anyone else on your side admit that the "vitriolic" rhetoric has been just as profuse (much more so imo) from your side.

That's not much room for agreement. Liam and a couple of others were rational enough to recognize that Loughner is simply a psychotic and not acting on messages from Sarah Palin.


Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne: Do you think that the Left and the Right in this country today equally promote anti-government sentiment?

Kevin: Pretty much.

wbgonne: Kevin, My Man, you are deep down in the well.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@QB: "a campaign map no different than countless ones used by all sides for years"

Intellectually bankrupt

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Ruk: "but that words matter...they have consequences and factually it's really hard to deny which side most of the vitriol has come from."

To me, this is the heart of it.  I'm not convinced that these arguments aren't used by the cynical to shut down the arguments of their opponents.  You are not doing that, so please exempt yourself. However, I'm much more forgiving and understanding of nuance from people I agree with and a lot more literalist when it comes to my opponents.  When it comes to this so-called vitriol, it depends on whose ox is being gored.  As a result, I'm less interested in the "tone it down" argument.  Also, crazy people do things because they're crazy.  You may think that this weirdo did it because of "rightwing hate speach", but if there was no such thing as "rightwing hate speach" it could just as easily be because iris's that are purple were telling him to shoot blond Congresswomen because blonde hate purple iris's.  I don't think that controlling how we frame debates, and what adjectives we choose to use will stop one crazy person from doing a bad thing.  It will happen regardless, and trying to regulate speach will do nothing to stop it.

My opinion anyway.  As a side note, I think you are a 101st Vet.  If so, Dick Winters, of Band of Brothers fame passed away last week.

I will save my disagreements with you on healthcare for another time. :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

Morning Plum. 3:32 pm. Have a look.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 10, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

jeffreed, the thing is that Begala DOES know how the campaign was waged against Jackson and (worse than that example) against Jefferson. He knowingly creates these false equivalences.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ha! So I do a post about the Right Wing's shroud of victimhood and a Right Wing Troll posts immediately after I do saying ... the Right Wing is owed an APOLOGY.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Tragedy reason why I started Lord Westover blog.
Hi Greg -- My blog, Lord Westover and the Nobility Oath, was recently a finalist in your newspapers "favorite tweeps" contest, but in the end didn't win. The concept of the blog was born out of my personal frustration with the growing incivility so prevalent in our society today. Lord Westover, my performance art character, lives by the conviction that all men and women have a noble essence deep inside them even though they are more than often unaware of this hidden attribute.

Lord Westover feels the only possible solution to the deplorable lack of respect among differing ideologies in the national psyche is to treat one another with the graciousness of the nobility while actually respecting those of opposing interests and opinions even if you adamantly disagree.

The prime component of his solution is the administering of the Nobility Oath. To this end, Lord Westover hopes to create a unique nouveau nobility that will enlighten the understanding of the troglodyte and usher in a new era of civility for the American republic.

Perhaps Lord Westover's blog should have won the contest afterall. Visit His Graces’ blog at: www.lordwestover.blogspot.com

Posted by: archawaii | January 10, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"@quarterback: If you want to make this: "We're going to take this country back, and it's going to take election, after election, after election, work after work, after work, and win, after win, after win."

the equivalent of "Second Amendment remedies", or "if ballots don't work, bullets will" (Allen West's first choice for his offices' COS) then that would be a fine example of false equivalency."

You should probably work on your semantic evasions, because that isn't a very good one. We're told that claims that the other side is illegitimate, "not merely wrong, but an existential threat to the United States, is extremist and eliminationist. Claims to a monopoly on legitimate leadership and control of government offices are, by your side, said to be extremist and eliminationist.

Your side has specialized in those claims for years. They are just part of your party's great body of work, along with spittle-flecked screams of a President's having "betrayed his country" and endless claims that he was a murderer, racist, and equivalent of Nazis. Such a threat to the existence of the country that Robert Byrd published a book about him called "Losing America."

Live with it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

So far, rukidding, QB, Troll, and myself (and many others) all agree that it's lunacy to claim the actions of a mentally deranged man were caused by comments of a politician in Alaska, or Arizona for that matter.

I think that's pretty unprecedented around here. When you combine that with this story about Muslims in Egypt acting as human shields so Christians could celebrate Christimas, it may actually be banner day for cooperation and agreement:

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/3365.aspx

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 10, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Ah, QB being as uncivil as possible in a post about civility. Priceless, spittle-flecked irony.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 10, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

You miss the point. Sometimes one side is right and the other wrong. The fact is that there is a Right Wing Hate Machine in this nation that incessantly fans anti-government hatred. And there is nothing remotely comparable on the Left. If the side that is wrong won't admit it that is the party at fault. Not both parties. And since you are on that side it is incumbent upon you to challenge your political leadership. But you aren't doing that. You are defending the Conservative status quo.
Probably the most pernicious thing the Right Wing has done philosophically is to divorce actions and words from consequnces. There is no sense of personal responsibility for anything any longer in this country. The Right Wing thinks it can say and do anything and remain utterly blameless for the calamities that follow.
Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 2:21 PM
------------------------------------------

This is the best comment I’ve read in YEARS

Posted by: question-guy | January 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone, take all those fingers you're pointing and power down.

Posted by: BadNews | January 10, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

This is not all just the human condition.

A lot of it is people are no longer taught how to behave when they are children.

They are not taught that disagreement can be healthy, and that you can have a healthy and RATIONAL discussion.

The internet doesn't help. You can hide behind your anonymity and act out on all of your desires. There is no limit, and no reason to 'dial it down'. No consequence when you mouth off to the wrong person.

Then we have the politicians, and you know, they are just trying to hold on to their jobs. By lying, cheating, passing out favors to whomever pays them the most, which isn't the government that they were voted into office for.

And because there have been no consequences, it continues, and it escalates.

We have entire generations claiming that "It's not my fault!"

Well, it is your fault if you refuse to be part of the solution. And part of that solution includes the American way of public debate, debate that isn't filled with hatred.

We have need for conservatism, and we have need for liberalism as well.

It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round, and there are all kinds in it.

Get used to it.

Posted by: taroya | January 10, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Well said taroya!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 10, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The reason with much of the right is simple greed for money and power. Your mistake is to think they've got ethics that they don't have.

Part of the reason the GOP talks smack about "values" is to cover up for their own lack of them. They've elevated lying about ethics and values to a high art.

Posted by: Nymous | January 10, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

To put this issue in more basic terms, Tom DeLay is going to jail, Nancy Pelosi is not. That speaks a great deal about the core differences in the parties.

Posted by: Nymous | January 10, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

By all means, explain the difference(s) between what Tom DeLay did and what Charlie Rangel did.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

After that, compare and contrast to William Jennings "Bill" Jefferson, already serving 13 years.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Sharon Angle and Sarah Palin are both defending their mean spirited threatening words of violence, their ignorant call for aggression, painting targets on people and then when those people are murdered all these shrill, crotchety evil hearted women can do is defend their antagonist hate filled words? no remorse? where is the apology? where are the regrets? wow, these women are domestic terrorists, they should both be in a jail cell and be made to repent.
A person engages in domestic terrorism if they do an act ""dangerous to human life"" that is a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, if the act appears to be intended to: (i) intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.

Posted by: Hillary08 | January 13, 2011 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company