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Posted at 11:33 AM ET, 01/14/2011

How Obama got conservatives to listen to him

By Greg Sargent

Did Obama's speech "rebuke" the left? So argued a number of people on the right, who hailed the President's speech because in their view, Obama called on the left to stop blaming the shooting on incendiary rhetoric. Conservatives are right to point to Obama's claim that incivility did not cause the shooting, because it's important. But it's not important for the reason conservatives think it is.

Among those who have claimed Obama's speech stiff-armed the left are Rich Lowry, Marc Thiessen, and Jennifer Rubin, who even insisted that Obama "knocked heads on his own side."

I'm not going to get into an argument over whether Obama rebuked the left -- if the right wants to believe that, it's fine with me -- because it's entirely irrelevant. That's because Obama's message that political rhetoric didn't cause the shooting wasn't just directed at the left. The more important point is that it was also directed at the right.

Simply put, Obama made that core point because it was the only way he could get conservatives to listen to his larger message at all.

The Tuscon speech may go down as one of the most important of Obama's presidency, so it's worth nailing down precisely what it accomplished. Conservatives cite two lines from Obama's speech: The one where he warned against "pointing fingers or assigning blame," and the one where he called for a more civil discourse "not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy -- it did not -- but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation."

It's true that Obama stated clearly there that rhetoric didn't cause the shooting. But these lines are best understood as a set up to the larger point that followed, which is that the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse. If Obama had delivered this latter message in isolation, without the set up, conservatives would have rejected it as political, as criticism directed at them.

Keep in mind the larger context here. In the runup to the speech, it was widely assumed that Obama would not engage the topic of civility in our political discourse, because it would be received as a political rebuke of conservatives. The right has been in a defensive crouch since the shooting -- in some ways, understandably so, because some voices did blame them for the shooting -- and as a result, conservatives have been inclined to interpret even general calls for the right to tone it down as thinly-disguised blame for the murders. Because of this, the thinking went, Obama would not risk broaching the subject at all.

But Obama did take on the topic in a big way. And he surely knew that if he called for a lowering of the temperature, he risked getting pilloried for blaming the right. That's why he preceded that call with an explicit statement that the tone of our discourse was not to blame for the shooting: It allowed conservatives to get out of their defensive crouch and made it possible for them to listen to him.

This is the crux of the speech's brilliance.

Even if Obama didn't say so, his larger mesesage that we all tone it down was mainly -- though not exclusively -- directed at the right. In a context where prominent conservatives have accused Obama of not loving America and have called him a socialist, a Marxist, a secret Muslim sympathizer, and a coddler of our enemies, Obama's insistence that we improve the discourse for the sake of our children and our country was unmistakably aimed mostly at them.

And this is the speech conservatives hailed. Obama surely knew the only way to get conservatives to listen to this message at all was to absolve the right of blame for the shooting first.

Whether the more strident voices on the right act on this message, of course, is another question entirely. But at least Obama got conservatives to listen to it, and even to implicitly endorse it as a guide and an ideal to aspire to as we move forward.

By Greg Sargent  | January 14, 2011; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems  
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Comments

President Obama stiff armed no one. The speech that he gave in Tucson is consistent with what he has being calling for all along.

President Obama is a very civil man. The speech he gave in Tucson was consistent with what he has called for, every since he entered the national public arena.

He has remained restrained, and has not engaged in vitriolic laden rants, at any time, since we all first got to hear him speak for the first time.

He has remained true to his own convictions, and that is why his speech was received as being authentic.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I thought he was speaking to everyone, not one side or the other.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 14, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't disagee with either of you. But the broader point that needs to be made is that Obama got conservatives to listen to him for once. That's a real accomplishment.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Liam, good speech, moving, in character, consistent and meaningful. It is not some kind of messaging watershed, it was a point of demarcation, yesterday I called it a cusp, a place and time when America realized how foolish and destructive the run up to November was.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"They bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun."

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 14, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

[Greg: "Did Obama's speech "rebuke" the left?"]

Of course he did.

Which is why progressives should retaliate by protesting against ObaMao’s summary execution of three (un-Mirandized!) Somali teens at sea.

Afterall, Obama's sniper tactics were clearly more "incendiary" than Palin's target map.

The two year anniversary of ObaMao’s high seas shooting spree is this April. Get busy, progressives.

Rage against the machine, Leftists!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 14, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the speech successfully got Conservatives to listen to Obama. That remains to be seen.
However, I think he said the lack of civility wasn't to blame because it wasn't to blame. So to the extent that Greg is arguing that Obama's goal was something other than to simply state what Obama believed to be true, I disagree.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"the broader point that needs to be made is that Obama got conservatives to listen to him for once"

Greg: I agree with the point as an absolute fact. But these abstract questions of power and control are meaningful only when applied to actual policies. Can Obama get Conservatives to "listen to him" when it comes to policy? Does this speech make that more likely? If so, what will Obama do with his new-found power? Those are the issues, not whether Obama is more popular now. He is. Will Obama use his power and popularity to make the Right bend to his will to some degree --assuming Obama is a liberal to some degree -- or will be capitulate like he did on Taxes for the Rich and use his enhanced authority to undermine the New Deal?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"...a place and time when America realized how foolish and destructive the run up to November was."

Which November ?

November 2008 ? This has been going on for a long time.

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 14, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Clawrence for quoting the Sean Connery line from The Untouchables movie.

Thank you Kaddafi for remaining true to your uncivil nature.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Kevin should add a feature to the TH so that people who keep making the same point over and over could use a sort of proxy symbol which means, "Perseverate my talking point(s) here." Would save key strokes (and original ideas) for posterity...

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@Greg,

Agreed he got them to listen. It will be remarkable if he gets them to actually tone down some of the over the top stuff, and to come to the table ready to civilly discuss, debate and formulate policy.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 14, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

sue, agreed. but this was the crucial first step. he got conservatives to agree on a guideline for going forward.

and yes wbgonne, agree thoroughly. I would say though that if he does actually accomplish a toning down -- doubtful but not impossible -- it could stand as a huge accomplishment on its own.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Agreed he got them to listen. It will be remarkable if he gets them to actually tone down some of the over the top stuff, and to come to the table ready to civilly discuss, debate and formulate policy.

Posted by: suekzoo1
---------------------------------------

And even if they do tone it down I think the decision to do so will be related to self-preservation as opposed to having their eyes opened by the words of Obama.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Why isn’t billionaire progressive George Soros financing any unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rallies against ObaMao's summary execution of (un-Mirandized!) civilians by Reaper drone airstrikes? Afterall, Obama’s tactics are clearly more "extremist" than Palin's target maps; or Bush’s post-9/11 moistening of KSM, et.al.

Obama’s policy to use Reaper drones to target (un-Mirandized!) civilians has increased markedly without a peep. Get busy, Leftists.

Rev. Wright should burn a Koran every day until Obama either releases his birth certificate or ends his Reaper drone madness.

Rage against the machine, Liam!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 14, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"It will be remarkable if he gets them to actually tone down some of the over the top stuff,

They have to, what happened just now was at least as much Palin's doing as Obama's. The Republican money knows America is sick of Palin and Beck, Limbaugh is overexposed (eeew sorry).

"...and to come to the table ready to civilly discuss, debate and formulate policy."

Is this some kind of joke? I don't get it. No of course not. Republicans are not going to treat Obama as their POTUS, they still only want to destroy him; they just can't do it the way they have been. That only works to win seats in the lower House.

and to come to the table ready to civilly discuss, debate and formulate policy."

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think I just channeled Seinfeld;

Why is it called A Civil War. There is nothing civil about someone trying to kill you, and you trying to kill them.

Shouldn't it be called An Uncivil War?

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The often incendiary rhetoric used by the right is useful to them. They don't want to give it up. If Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh got themselves into a snit over the effects of the Arizona shooting on the public discourse, it's more for that reason than for any accusations hurled at them by Kos or others on the left.

The President's (and others') call for civility is thus offensive to them in itself. Even if he grants them absolution for the shootings, the "tone it down" message remains. They won't tone it down because it works too well for them.

Posted by: fishellb | January 14, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"I would say though that if he does actually accomplish a toning down -- doubtful but not impossible -- it could stand as a huge accomplishment on its own."

Sure. It's generally better that way for a democracy. And without the rabid rancor the Right's scorched-earth approach has less oxygen and less chance of succeeding as a practical matter. That, however, illustrates my point. The Right uses outrage and vitriol tactically, not as an end to themselves. If Obama tries to get the Right to do something it doesn't want we'll see how civil they are. In his speech Obama did precisely what the Right wanted under the circumstances. He steered clear of policy and politics. That may well have been the correct course but it hardly seems likely to foment anger on the Right. My guess is that the House Repubs done down the rhetoric a bit on the dog-and-pony HCR repeal and after that, all bets are off unless Obama does exactly what the GOP wants. I have yet to see any indication that Obama can impose his will on the Right.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal:

Obama is a deep-dyed, blue liberal. He loves his base which is leftist to the core. Obama knows he is in a political death match now. It has come down to self survival.

How to chastise his beloved base without it seeming to be so and, at the same time, throw a few bones to his adversaries??

One word......Clinton!!

Bill Clinton is the old coach and Obama the greenie player.

Obama is the talker, Clinton is the feeler.

Looks like Sarge Greg fell for the flim-flam. Or pretends to.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Q: How Obama got conservatives to listen to him?
A: Palin's "I am not a bigot" speech.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Greg -- good piece on the atmosphere in the South in the runup to the civil rights murders and the assasination of Dr. King by a George Wallace supporter:

"James Earl Ray, the man eventually convicted for shooting King, was greatly influenced by Wallace and his agenda, even moving to Los Angeles to volunteer in Wallace's campaign headquarters in North Hollywood."

http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/01/do-violent-words-cause-violence-lessons-from-the-south.html

...and a charming billboard in Tucson:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/message.html

Posted by: fiona5 | January 14, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't disagee with either of you. But the broader point that needs to be made is that Obama got conservatives to listen to him for once. That's a real accomplishment.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 11:46 AM |

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

Greg,

There are certain segements of both the right and the left, that will not be moved by any speech, regardless of what A President said.

What to watch for is will the needle move among the persuadable swing voters; because they are the ones who decide elections.

I would tend to assume that moderation will appeal to moderates. I know; a bit too glib, and flippant, but you get my point.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Greg,
You have convinced me that O was just attacking Republicans -- again. He was just more crafty about it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Any, true conservatives who fall for any of Barack Obama's, sweet, little nothings, in their ears, are looking to be sucker punched with reality, at some later date. I hope there are very few, if any. The RINOs are hopeless!

Obama is a politician whose personal survival is at stake. Everything he says and does will be for effect now. A set-up for 2012. He knows he is a long-shot for re-election. The odds are not in his favor.

Obama will have to out-Clinton Clinton. That's surely almost impossible.

But, fate plays bizarre tricks sometimes.

Who knows???

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1 "Frankly, I thought he was speaking to everyone, not one side or the other. "

This is how I read it as well.

"Even if Obama didn't say so, his larger message that we all tone it down was mainly -- though not exclusively -- directed at the right. In a context where prominent conservatives have called accused Obama of not loving America and have called him a socialist, a Marxist, a secret Muslim sympathizer, and a coddler of our enemies, Obama's insistence that we improve the discourse for the sake of our children and our country was unmistakably aimed mostly at them. "

This is pure self-serving spin. You can argue that's what he should have said because of the reason you cite, but it's not in fact the speech he actually gave.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 14, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

That is correct QB. Two speeches, one crafty, one not.

So now we have the set up for the 2012: no Republican exothermic uncontrolled disintegrtion device throwers. Otherwise, as you were.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Kevin should add a feature to the TH so that people who keep making the same point over and over could use a sort of proxy symbol which means"

That reminds me of an old joke. Its the one about the guy on his first night in prison; somebody calls out "73!" and the place is filled with uproarious laughter. Another guy yells "112!" with the same result. He's thinking "what the heck is goin' on here?"

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 14, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Battleground for revealing that President Obama "is a politician". It is good that you alerted the voters to that. You are A Great American.

Now that the voters are aware of that, they will be sure to oust him, since we can not have a politician being elected to office.

Thanks once again, Battleground, for being our Paul Revere.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Obama is a politician whose personal survival is at stake."

Well, I guess The Speech didn't work for everyone. I know you meant political survival, sometimes a typo is just a typo.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Call me slow, but I fail to see how "the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse", if everyone agrees that the "tone and integrity of our discourse" has nothing at all to do with the shooting. It simply doesn't follow.

That's not to say that civil discourse isn't important, merely that the logic doesn't work.

I must also note that it's a real laugh to here such concern about discourse from good ol' don't-bring-a-knife-to-a-gunfight, my-opponents-are-hostage-takers, it's-all-the-Republicans'-fault Obama.

There's a well-known book -- Obama might have come across it in his studies, but I hardly expect him to have read it -- that advise one to take the beam out of one's own eye before condemning the mote in one's brother's eye.

Posted by: vepxistqaosani | January 14, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

You never know with Battleground. He might just have wrote exactly what he meant.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

... and sometimes it's a freudian slip, doc.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 14, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So after a couple nights of this he asks his cellmate what on earth is going on. The deal is that the guys have been telling the same jokes for so long, they developed a numbering system. Instead of retelling the whole joke, just holler out the number instead. So now our new guy is ready to join the fun. After a couple other inmates warm up the crowd, he waits for a lull, then yells "sixteen!"

Dead silence. There's not a titter on the whole block.

So he asks his celly, "what did I do wrong?"

"Must be how you told it."

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 14, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Great catch, shrink.

Also please note that I didn't say the rhetoric wasn't directed at the left. I said it was *mostly* directed at the right.

Posted by: sargegreg | January 14, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Some interesting Quinnipiac numbers:

"Saturday's shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords... could not have been prevented, 40 percent of American voters say... Another 23 percent blame the mental health system, while 15 percent say it was due to heated political rhetoric and 9 percent attribute the tragedy to lax gun control.

"American voters say 52 - 41 percent that "heated political rhetoric drives unstable people to commit violence,"... Liberals rather than conservatives are more responsible for such rhetoric, voters say 36 - 32 percent."
============
That's worth repeating: "Liberals rather than conservatives are more responsible for such rhetoric, voters say 36 - 32 percent."
==============
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1548

(via hotair)

Posted by: sbj3 | January 14, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"He knows he is a long-shot for re-election. The odds are not in his favor."


Who's got the inside line?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 14, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Again, I must stress, Obama is embarking on a massive sales pitch. His job is to appease as many Americans as possible in the run-up to 2012. It's one of the toughest tricks in politics and the closest person to a master is Bill Clinton.

Obama has seen the results of a hard, leftward list just as Clinton did in 1994. Obama knows he must befriend a mass of conservative minded Americans in the next two years if he is to win a second term.

I believe Obama will be forced to take the leftist fringe for granted just as Clinton did.

After all, the looney leftists really have no where else to go. They will have to be happy with the repeal of DADT for the next six years.

A big, pink bone in their faces to shut them up. That is the plan.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I do believe I heard President Obama say that we all should strive to be more civil toward each other, regardless of political stances. I have a slight hunch that he was including himself in that admonition. I think: 'we all" does include him.

Never the less,
vepxistqaosani

Thank you for stopping by, and for standing up for continued rancor. You are A Great American.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Battleground,

Once again, you have revealed a well kept secret. President Obama is definitely trying to persuade a majority of voters to reelect him.

No other Presidential candidate in history has every tried to do something like that.

Thanks for being our Paul Revere. Battleground, you just might have saved our Republic.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Here is a perfect opportunity for Obama and it will fulfill one of his campaign promises:

in "Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) told TPM in an interview Thursday night that she's hoping that President Barack Obama will get off the sidelines of the gun debate and support legislation she'll introduce in the House next week to prohibit high-capacity gun magazines in the United States."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

That's worth repeating: "Liberals rather than conservatives are more responsible for such rhetoric, voters say 36 - 32 percent."

roflol -- that truly is the most laughable thing I have ever read. clue: polls are worthless. you can make people say anything you want just by a change of wording. and not knowing the construction/methodology makes it even more worthless. it's calling 'cherry-picking.'

Posted by: fiona5 | January 14, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Call me slow, but I fail to see how "the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse", if everyone agrees that the "tone and integrity of our discourse" has nothing at all to do with the shooting. It simply doesn't follow.

Ok, you are slow.

You are focused on the ullage of the argument, for those of you who are not surrounded by wineries, that means the amount that isn't there.

It makes perfect sense to think about a bunch of dead people who do not deserve to be dead, to think about their hopes, their aspirations, what they were doing as they died and feel that we owe them the honor of living up to their expectations.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

sbj3, lookit those crosstabs:

45. Who do you think is more responsible for using heated political rhetoric, liberals or conservatives?

................Tot...Lib...Mod...Con
Liberals.........36....8.....31....57
Conservatives....32...71.....36.....9
DK/NA............32...21.....33....34


Liberals blame conservatives, no surprise, for the heated rhetoric, 71 to 8. Moderates blame conservatives over liberals, 36 to 31. Conservatives, of course, feel the opposite, 57% blaming liberals vs 9% crediting other conservatives. Yet the totals are said to come out to 36% blaming Libs, overall, vs 32 each to don't know & conservatives. On the front page they don't tell us what the sample makeup was, but we can infer from these numbers that it heavily weighted towards self-identified conservatives. Now, you have to ask yourself: is that likely to be an accurate reflection of our society?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 14, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

For some poor, gullible saps it is very necessary to state and restate the obvious.

Obama IS a politician.

Every word that comes out of his mouth is part of a sales pitch. In other words, sweet little lies.

He has NO real morals or personal convictions. It's whatever it takes to fool as many people as possible.

It's sad that these are the people who always often rise to the top and lead.

It's why the world is always in crisis.

And so it goes!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Battleground,

Is there no end to your unique insights?

Once again, you have revealed a well kept secret. President Obama is definitely trying to persuade a majority of voters to reelect him.

No other Presidential candidate in history has every tried to do something like that.

Thanks for being our Paul Revere. Battleground, you just might have saved our Republic.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 states
"He knows he is a long-shot for re-election. The odds are not in his favor."


battleground, if you know the odds for the incumbent, surely you also know the odds for the challengers. Who's got the proverbial 'short-shot' for winning the election? Who's got the 'gimme' putt?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 14, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Good to see the conservative line that Obama is a nihilist get some play time again. It goes so well with the conservative line that Obama is a communist, Marxis, socialist who has an all consuming desire to destroy America.

Good catch on the poll bsimon.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Battleground is deeply cynical, I guess.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 14, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Greg. I agree with you whole heartedly on this point.

But I have to ask you (and I don't want any inside dirt), why is it that the WaPo publishes so may people (especially righties) who seem to live in a bubble yet consider themselves to be an integral part of the 'Village Elite/Intelligensia'.

What is it about Fred Hiatt that drives him to publish people who appear to be so tone deaf and wrongly informed while at the same time apprar to feel they know better than the common hordes?

Posted by: kindness1 | January 14, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

battleground, why do you make the same demotic argument over and over?

Was it someone comparing him to Abraham Lincoln (again)? That was ridiculous, most of us agree, but even "honest" Abe was a politician, Gettysburg Address notwithstanding. You see, we are all smart here, we keep up, we get politicians, that they are all politicians. We get it. No gullible saps will read perseverative posts on the PL and then come to decide anything. Besides, you can admit it, you are safe here, aren't you really just covering the pain of having no Republican electables for 2012?

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Democrats are fakes. They eventually fool enough people to get elected and immediately get intoxicated with power and assume America has turned into a leftist bedlam.

They show their real selves for a few years by ramming as many leftist, wish list items through congress as they can before Americans get wise and boot them out.

Then, they suddenly see the light and become very moderate and bi-partisan. They become like real Americans in the hope that the voters will forget what flaming leftists they really are.

The rely on short memory and stupidity to get back in.

They are the wickedest politicians out there. Like little devils selling tainted apples. Very scary!

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

My early pick for the GOP 2012 nomination:

Christie to headline National Republican Congressional dinner

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2011/01/christie-to-headline-national.html

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I do love how people who can not abide President Obama will actually turn completely against their own most cherished political beliefs, just to try and score some absurd political point.

Accordingly; we have rabid handgun owners, who claim they need to have those guns for protection, suddenly
acting all outraged, because President Obama once used the Sean Connery line, from The Untouchables, advising his associate to always bring a gun to a knife fight.

Isn't that the main reason that the NRA gives for making sure that every American can own a handgun, and wants them giving out to infants, as lovely birthday gifts?

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to be polite here. So I won't say that this is easily the dumbest thing I've read from Mr Sargent(I will, however, write it!):
==================
It's true that Obama stated clearly there that rhetoric didn't cause the shooting. But these lines are best understood as a set up to the larger point that followed, which is that the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse.
======================================

If the rhetoric didn't cause the shooting, then whence this mythic "moral obligation"?

Come on Mr Sargent, either the two things are related or they are not.

Here's a modification of Mr Sargent's words, designed to illustrate the lack of sense they convey:

It's true that Obama stated clearly there that rhetoric didn't cause the shooting. But these lines are best understood as a set up to the larger point that followed, which is that the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to buy and use good quality mountain bikes."

This is just part of the liberal press's scramble for cover now that they've participated in the big lie machinery and got caught at it.

Further, the conservatives have a very handy, and factually accurate response to Mr Sargent, and Mr Obama: Too little, too late.

If Obama hadn't started his presidency running plays out of the Alinsky manual perhaps his calls for "civility" now might make sense. Instead he started his presidency with a tone of arrogance and insufferable nastiness that was so appalling that many of us will not soon forget it.

Mr Sargent, as a dutiful acolyte of Mr Obama must, of course, carry Obama's water. He must parrot the party line and insure that his blog contains the proper "apologies", and the proper attacks.

The term used for folks like Mr Sargent during the cold war was "aparatchik".

It seems to me that what Obama and liberals want now, desperately, is some sort of hudna. They want a pause in the hostilities they triggered so that the can lick their wounds, co ordinate their attacks and gather their strength. I see absolutely no reason to pause for a moment.

At this point the opposition to Mr Obama and his cronies should be relentless. Chuckie Shumer wouldn't stop kicking a republican that was down, of that I have no doubt.

So what Mr Sargent's essay amounts to is this: a whiny plea for a time out, wrapped in obvious sophistry.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

vepxist:

"Call me slow, but I fail to see how "the shooting confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse", if everyone agrees that the "tone and integrity of our discourse" has nothing at all to do with the shooting. It simply doesn't follow."

Indeed. I made essentially the same point the other day on Greg's disingenuous "truce" post. One cannot coherently agree that political rhetoric had nothing to do with the shooting, but then assert that the shooting should compel us to reflect on our political rhetoric. Logic is not, you may have noticed, Greg's strong suit.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"On the front page they don't tell us what the sample makeup was, but we can infer from these numbers that it heavily weighted towards self-identified conservatives. Now, you have to ask yourself: is that likely to be an accurate reflection of our society?"

Yes, it is.

The real question I'm surprised you aren't asking is why liberals are more monolithic and prone to groupthink.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

All, new thread on a new study on the impact of outside spending in 2010:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/yes_the_secret_money_still_mat.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 14, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"...we owe them the honor of living up to their expectations."

Ah, I see. Greg is simply channeling the "expectations" of dead people. That makes a lot more sense.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Skippy,

You are in rare form today. Did some one say "spittle flecked rant".

You are another Great American,

But of course Battleground still remains our Paul Revere, or maybe he is really our Canary down in the mine; or maybe he is our dead parrot. I think we should sell him to John Cleese.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

No it's not a head slap to the left. It's a point of view. So what?

And few on the left say there is a direct line. It's more like complicated than that. But the fact is that having regular broadcasting of violent threats or fantasies is dangerous. Especially when we have so many people consuming this so constantly and being bombarded with the images and rhetoric.


http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/message.html

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 14, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hah! I know I will never change the minds of hard-wired, leftist Obamacrats with my mildly conservative comments.

Thinking left is a genetic, predisposition thing, kinda like homosexuality seems to be.

True Americans are a rebellious lot. They suspect concentrated power and centralized government. During the American revolution, liberals were called "Royalists" and most of them fled to Canada. It took liberals over 150 years to make a comeback in the USA.

Now we wish they would flee to Canada again.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

AMERICA IS BEING LED, AND INTIMIDATED BY THE NEW PROPAGANDISTS’ ON RADIO, AND CABLE AIR WAVES NO LESS THREATENING TODAY THAN EIGHTY-YEARS AGO.

THIS VILENESS WHICH EMANATE FROM RADIO/CABLE PURVEYORS OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT, ANTI-OBAMA MESSAGES RISES LIKE HEAT INTO THE EITHER, FOMENTS AND INFECTS THE BODY POLITIC UNTIL IT DRIVES THE DISCOURSE FURTHER DOWNWARD. WE NOW FIND THEIR SLANGS, EUPHEMISMS, I.E. “DRIVE BY MEDIA / OBAMA CARE", PICKED UP READILY AND EXCHANGED ON RESPECTABLE FORUMS.

WITH THESE ACTS OF ACCEPTANCE, INTEGRATION OF THIS MINDSET IN OUR SOCIETY, HAS TAKEN THE INITIAL STEPS SLITHERING THROUGH THE FIRST ENTRANCE TOWARD FASCISM.
WE NOW BLINDLY TRAVERSE ANCIENT MINE FIELDS OF NATIONAL DISINTEGRATION, WHERE PREVIOUSLY REPORTERS AND POLITICAL PUNDITS USED TO SOUND ALARM BELLS, NOW BECAUSE OF A TOUGH ECONOMY DARE NOT RISK ALIENATING POTENTIAL MEDIA EMPLOYERS BEING TOO CRITICAL.

AS A PEOPLE WE ARE BEING LED BY THESE PROPAGANDISTS, WHO IF THEY FIND DISAGREEMENT EVEN WITH THE PROVEN FACTS OF THE MATTER, HAVE NOW ENOUGH AUDIENCE TO SWAY AN ENTIRE REGION OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. THIS ASSURES ELECTIONS OF LIKED MINDED IDEOLOGUES WHO WILL CONSTANTLY SEEK SECURITY IN A BEATEN PATH TO THE PAST.

THE IRONY OF THE NOUVEAU RICHE RADIO JOCKS, UNDERMINING GOVERNMENT AND AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT, IS THEY FAIL TO SEE THE JEOPARDY IT PLACES THEIR PERSON AND WEALTH. IF THEIR LISTENERS DO NOT RESPECT THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT, WHILE THESE JOCKS CONTINUALLY DELEGITIMIZE THIS PRESIDENT, AMONGST EVEN THOSE ORDINARILY EXPECTED TO RESPECT HIS OFFICE, THAN WHO WILL PROTECT THEIR WEALTH IF THE SOCIETAL BOUGH BREAKS?

Posted by: october30 | January 14, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I see. Greg is simply channeling the "expectations" of dead people. That makes a lot more sense.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 1:11 PM |
............................

Now you are getting some where. Clearly you must mock all those Conservatives who keep telling us that we must be governed by the expressed wishes and original intent, of the long dead founding Big Daddies!

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

AMERICA IS BEING LED, AND INTIMIDATED BY THE NEW PROPAGANDISTS’ ON RADIO, AND CABLE AIR WAVES NO LESS THREATENING TODAY THAN EIGHTY-YEARS AGO.

THIS VILENESS WHICH EMANATE FROM RADIO/CABLE PURVEYORS OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT, ANTI-OBAMA MESSAGES RISES LIKE HEAT INTO THE EITHER, FOMENTS AND INFECTS THE BODY POLITIC UNTIL IT DRIVES THE DISCOURSE FURTHER DOWNWARD. WE NOW FIND THEIR SLANGS, EUPHEMISMS, I.E. “DRIVE BY MEDIA / OBAMA CARE", PICKED UP READILY AND EXCHANGED ON RESPECTABLE FORUMS.

WITH THESE ACTS OF ACCEPTANCE, INTEGRATION OF THIS MINDSET IN OUR SOCIETY, HAS TAKEN THE INITIAL STEPS SLITHERING THROUGH THE FIRST ENTRANCE TOWARD FASCISM.
WE NOW BLINDLY TRAVERSE ANCIENT MINE FIELDS OF NATIONAL DISINTEGRATION, WHERE PREVIOUSLY REPORTERS AND POLITICAL PUNDITS USED TO SOUND ALARM BELLS, NOW BECAUSE OF A TOUGH ECONOMY DARE NOT RISK ALIENATING POTENTIAL MEDIA EMPLOYERS BEING TOO CRITICAL.

AS A PEOPLE WE ARE BEING LED BY THESE PROPAGANDISTS, WHO IF THEY FIND DISAGREEMENT EVEN WITH THE PROVEN FACTS OF THE MATTER, HAVE NOW ENOUGH AUDIENCE TO SWAY AN ENTIRE REGION OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. THIS ASSURES ELECTIONS OF LIKED MINDED IDEOLOGUES WHO WILL CONSTANTLY SEEK SECURITY IN A BEATEN PATH TO THE PAST.

THE IRONY OF THE NOUVEAU RICHE RADIO JOCKS, UNDERMINING GOVERNMENT AND AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT, IS THEY FAIL TO SEE THE JEOPARDY IT PLACES THEIR PERSON AND WEALTH. IF THEIR LISTENERS DO NOT RESPECT THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OF OUR GOVERNMENT, WHILE THESE JOCKS CONTINUALLY DELEGITIMIZE THIS PRESIDENT, AMONGST EVEN THOSE ORDINARILY EXPECTED TO RESPECT HIS OFFICE, THAN WHO WILL PROTECT THEIR WEALTH IF THE SOCIETAL BOUGH BREAKS?

Posted by: october30 | January 14, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse


I can't describe the amount and nature of fatigue I experience at the hands of "conservative" pundits.

They are already reality-challenged and slaves to their own rhetoric and ideology.

If Obama came out on a sunny day and said the sky was "blue" these same pundicrats will huff and puff and insist otherwise.

Give it a rest.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | January 14, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Greg is simply channeling the "expectations" of dead people. That makes a lot more sense."

Well, that is exactly what Obama said. It is what we owe the dead, not that the issue caused or contributed to their death. "not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy -- it did not -- but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation."

It is what he said. You may disagree, but that was the point of The Speech. You people are arguing with a point he simply did not make. I like my ullage metaphor, btw. When people bought beer and wine etc. in the old days they bought it by volume in casks (not weight), the amount that wasn't there was always a hot topic.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hah! I know I will never change the minds of hard-wired, leftist Obamacrats with my mildly conservative comments.

Thinking left is a genetic, predisposition thing, kinda like homosexuality seems to be.

True Americans are a rebellious lot. They suspect concentrated power and centralized government. During the American revolution, liberals were called "Royalists" and most of them fled to Canada. It took liberals over 150 years to make a comeback in the USA.

Now we wish they would flee to Canada again.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 14, 2011 1:15 PM |
......................

Battleground.

You are too modest. You sir, are a Great American, and my hero. You have opened my eyes, and made me see the error of my ways. I promised yesterday, that I was going to work in the Republican primaries to deliver the nomination to Sarah Palin, and urged other Democrats to do likewise.

Your words are powerful sir. Thank you for saying them over and over again.

You are our Paul Revere. I must sign off now, because I feel a Boehner Gusher Of Tears,starting to well up in my eyes.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, all caps guy wandered into the PL.
All caps screed, that is so Internet 1.0

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Liam still I strive to be a great American. That's why I'm so diameterically opposed to liberals and their failed dogma. Liberals want what is bad for all of us and they don't give a darn how much it costs.

I'm disgusted with folks like you pal. It seems to me that nothing short of a resurgence of the code duello will ever get you folks to see just exactly how nasty you are.

I seriously doubt that Nasty Mr Krugman would spout the calumny he did if he thought he'd have to face Todd at dawn with the good old pistols for two and coffee for one. I firmly believe that nothing short of that will ever, ever stop the endless lying assaults of the left.

So spare me the name calling. If you've got something to say, like oh say a blanket apology for being just another gear in the big lie machine, I'm all ears. The American left, once again, proved that there is simply nothing they are not capable of now that they've abandonned all sense of shame.

since shrink feels the need to hurl insults with wine analogies, I'll carry on: What is it like liam-still, to be the dregs?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis, Greg -- I agree with your points.

President Obama is very good at looking for the common ground that can connect people of good faith on both sides of the aisle, and then presenting it in a way that he feels will be in the best interests of all. He really does strive for consensus-building in every aspect of his leadership. He then explains how the common ground becomes the common good.

He did that by focusing on the little child, Christina. He understands that a love of children unites all of us, no matter which way we vote. As a parent, he understood that we all grieved deeply over the loss of this little girl. By encouraging us to live up her innocent, childlike expectations of American democracy, he connected reasonable people everywhere to think more deeply about the tone of discourse in our country.

He reminded us that we have a very important reason to try harder to be good to one another, and it transcends political divides.

To me, that was also part of the brilliance of his speech. And I agree with you when you say that the only way he could get to that point was by taking conservatives out of a defensive position.

Posted by: elscott | January 14, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

C'mon I pitched you one to hit out of the park. Surrounded by wineries? West coast elitist libs with their wine and cheese for brunch, my bio fuel Vespa out front, of the estate's carriage house of course.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What is it like liam-still, to be the dregs?

Posted by: skipsailing28

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

Sorry Skippy,

I can not answer that, because I do not even know your family.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I still consider you to be my Hero, and A Great American.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I see. Greg is simply channeling the "expectations" of dead people. That makes a lot more sense.

Posted by: ScottC3
-------------------------------------------

Gifford was one of the people that spoke out against Palin's crosshairs graphics, so I think it's not going on on a limb to say that she would have applauded Obama's speech, although maybe not at a memorial service.

The rhetoric didn't cause the murders, but that doesn't mean it won't lead to violence in the future and doesn't meant we don't have a moral obligation to prevent that from happening. I'm not sure why that is so hard to 1) understand or 2) agree to.

Yet rather than agree to tone down rhetoric, most conservative posters here (thankfully not most conservatives) accuse dems of trying to stop criticism (see censorship arguments previously or skip's "breather comments"). In reality neither has been proposed. Obama asked for civility not consensus. Disagree with him all you want, just leave the gun sight graphics at home.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Having perused this thread, I come to these conclusions.

Obama's speech was "two speeches," the first saying "it's not the bitter clingers' fault," and the second saying, "it is the bitter clingers' fault."

According to no less an expert than elscott, this is a fine analysis by Greg, even though, having probably never addressed tens of thousands of people himself, he ought to be incapable of such analysis. (So we'll call Greg a prodigy/savant, I suppose.)

And this janus-like speech was not only brilliant oratory but a great act of statesmanship, showing again how Obama is a uniter and an inspiring leader.

I'll put out of my mind that, reduced to these now-obvious two basic elements -- exoneration followed by condemnation -- O's speech was just a more polished version of one of Greg's own posts from a few days ago. Maybe O was reading Greg all along.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

more words from bush lite.
why on earth is anyone surprized he gave a moving speech.
it's what he's good at.. however he is no leader, and certainly not "for the people"
just another corporatist

Posted by: newagent99 | January 14, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was so "politically-correct"
(ineffective) that it won't register with those who use hateful, vile, ugly language.
But anyone who looks at the mainstream blogs can see very quickly where this language is coming from.

Posted by: ohioan | January 14, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"The American left, once again, proved that there is simply nothing they are not capable of now that they've abandonned all sense of shame."

Seriously, Skip, I think it's time you take a breather. Do you know any moderates? Any liberals? We don't all have horns on our heads and we're not all out to steal your money and turn your children gay.

Take a look at the posts on here from your friends on the right.....just above you we've been informed that we on the left are not "true Americans". Are you willing to denounce that? Or do you believe it too? Limbaugh announced to his audience that we Dems had Loughner's back. Do you really think that we support someone who killed shot 19 people and killed six...including one of our own party members? Do you not think that's "shameless"?

I understand you're frustrated and anygry, but I'd be a little careful of blanketing yourself in self-righteousness right after you state that the only way to shut the left up is murder.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 14, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Liam:

"Clearly you must mock all those Conservatives who keep telling us that we must be governed by the expressed wishes and original intent, of the long dead founding Big Daddies!"

You are extremely confused. It is not a matter of what who's wishes we "must" be governed by (laws are changed all the time, demonstrating that there is no "must"). We ARE governed by the constitution, among other laws. The relevant issue is the matter of what guides a judge in his effort to interpret that by which we are governed at any given time. Does he attempt to grasp the intentions of those who actually passed the law when they passed it? Or does he interpret it based on , well, something else?

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Battleground51: I found your last post interesting. It says everything I've been thinking, except it needs just a bit of editing:

"Conservative Republicans are fakes. They eventually fool enough people to get elected and immediately get intoxicated with power and assume America has turned into a right-wing bedlam.
They show their real selves for a few years by ramming as many right-wing, wish list items through congress as they can before Americans get wise and boot them out (like in 2006 & 2008).
Then, they suddenly claim to see the light and to be very moderate and bi-partisan. They claim to be real Americans (as opposed to Democrats) in the hope that the voters will forget what flaming right-wingers they really are.
The rely on short memory and stupidity to get back in (2010).
They are the wickedest politicians out there. Like little devils selling tainted apples. Very scary!"

Yes Battleground51. Very scary indeed!

Posted by: bienefes | January 14, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Ah, don't be so hard on Skippy. He runs on Bio-Bile.(AKA Spittle)

He can not help it, but he is still my hero, and A Great American.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Actually, quarterback1, I have addressed thousands of people. Thanks for the shout-out! ;)

I'm glad you've come to the conclusion that Obama is a uniter and a statesman. You're making progress!

Obama and his advisors would do well to read the Plum Line from time to time. I have always assumed they do.

Posted by: elscott | January 14, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Looks like someone didn't listen to Obama's speech:

"A wounded survivor of the Tucson shooting that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is blaming Sarah Palin, House Speaker John Boehner, Fox TV host Glenn Beck, and former Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle for the tragedy."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47620.html#ixzz1B2LXttWE

Posted by: sbj3 | January 14, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Only a more passive and non-questioning public discourse can help Homeland Security face up to the challenges of our nation.

When TSA radiates and gropes airline passengers, remember, keep quiet and passive. Ignore the fact that WE have ignored your constitutional rights.

Posted by: alance | January 14, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 1:46 PM

And of course you are not confused, because you know exactly what the founding Big Daddies would want us to do, in 2011, because they knew what sort of lethal weapons, plus scientific and engineering developments we would have achieved in today's society.

That is why you sir, are our infallible guiding light, and A Great American.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

shrink2, So the logic is that a murdered person, by virtue of his having been murdered, is entitled to have his purported hopes, dreams, and beliefs reified. Right?

Sorry -- that's not an argument, that's a sentiment. And I'm all for sentiment, of course: but, when it comes to public policy, it's makes a very poor substitute for reason.

In fact, the use of sentiment instead of reason is almost always a sign that the position being argued has no logical support.

Posted by: vepxistqaosani | January 14, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

yo s-cat. Try reading what Krugman wrote and get back to me with bleats for "civility" OK?

Obama is asking for a hudna, plain and simple. the nasty rhetoric, that he triggered with his arrogance early on, is now overwhelming him.

A restive and discontent populace is the last thing Obama wants. The question the liberals never seem to ask is "how did Obama not live up to his campaign rhetoric?" Were'nt we going to be post racial? NOT. Weren't we going to come together? NOT.

the first thing he did upon rousing himself in his throne was to take after Rush Limbaugh. Why don't you liberals remember that? Hmmmm?

Now you want civility? It is to laugh. I am reminded, yet again, of Tybault:What, drawn, and talk of peace!

Simply amazing. The left hurls calumnies, fires up its big lie machine, seeks to ruin the reputation of people who had nothing to do with the tragedy and now they whine for "civility"?

I see no reason to grant the left a hudna. None. The left is noted for being relentless. Too bad that they now don't like being on the recieving end of that.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It is not right to blame Sarah Palin for the rampage of a violent psychotic.

No one should lay the blame at her feet.

To bad that she still has not apologised to President Obama for having spend two months telling the nation that the schoolboy Barack Obama must now be held accountable for what a domestic terrorist did back in the 1960s!

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks skip, we've are very familiar with your "you started it" position.

That's fine if you want to take that position, just like it's fine for liberals to have our eyes opened by the tragedy or eyes opened to how destructive the lack of civility is now that we are the target of it rather than Bush. You can even choose to think we are full of it when we say we are going to act more civil and you would have plenty of evidence to support that opinion. But as you acknowledged, liberals are relentless, so we'll probably keep on calling for civility in the face of your continued "you started it" campaign.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, quarterback1, I have addressed thousands of people. Thanks for the shout-out! ;)"

Read again. Reference was to Greg.

And per you one must have addressed tens of thousands to understand, so it would appear you are sadly unqualified to analyze the speech anyway.

We've really come full circle when Greg and his flying monkeys are out to convince us that Obama gave a speech that was a cynically political attack on his opponents rather than the statesmanlike "healing" call to unity it was disguised as -- dog whistles and all.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

vepx, well yes it certainly was a sentimental speech. So was the Gettysburg Address. It was a eulogy, there was no three point legislative proposal for renewal, it was just kind words to honor the dead. He said being mean to each other didn't kill these people but we should be good to each other anyway, to make the soul of the nine year old happy if for no other reason.

Is there a logic problem with that? No. If you can't stand him and he is a politician I get that, but he wasn't being illogical.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who have read skipsailing28's posts and are confused about what a "hudna" is, it's an Arabic term for "truce" or "armistice". Come to think of it, he could have just used either one of those instead, and avoided any confusion.

Posted by: bienefes | January 14, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

quarterback1:
"We've really come full circle when Greg and his flying monkeys are out to convince us that Obama gave a speech that was a cynically political attack on his opponents rather than the statesmanlike "healing" call to unity it was disguised as -- dog whistles and all."
-------------------------------------------Wow! Greg has flying monkeys? Very cool! Are they descendants of the flying monkeys used in the Wizard of Oz? How did quaterback1 get this inside dope on you Greg? Did you give him a peek at them?

Posted by: bienefes | January 14, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

shrink:

"Well, that is exactly what Obama said."

So Obama was channeling the dead as well? How comforting. Does he know if the dead "expect" us all to become vegetarians, and, if so, are we morally obligated to do so?

Look, I am not saying there is anything wrong with calls for more civility in politics. I am simply saying that, outside of the known-to-be-false allegation that conservative rhetoric was a factor in the shooting, there is quite literally no reason to connect the shooting or its dead with such calls for more civility. One might as well claim that, to honor the dead we all have a moral obligation to root for the Diamondbacks this coming season.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't get excited. I said FLYING monkeys. You wouldn't qualify, although I suppose no harm in asking Greg for a dispensation.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Its only "ramming thru" legislation when you disagree with it.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 14, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Just to set the record straight, this is what Paul Krugman opined, publically, mere hours after the tragedy:
"We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list. [...]"

Within hours of the tragedy a prominent liberal was blaming Sarah Palin. Why don't the liberals here provide links to concurrent comments disagreeing with Mr Krugman's "analysis".

As one conservative writer pointed out, Mr Krugman cannot apologize. to do so would be professional suicide. Therefore he must double down on the lie. And as I've noted repeatedly this week, the liberals have move to page one of thier play book: blame the right.

Now you want civility? You liberals must think that everyone in America that disagrees with you is suffering from some sort of battered wife syndrome. Apparently ms Palin and the rest of us are supposed to respond in a specified manner to beatings you hand out. Really?

My biggest problem with the liberals posting here is the fact you are clearly oblivious to the wrong you've done. I guess it is wrong of me to expect something like contrition from the godless who haunt these threads. It is sickening to realize that a significant portion of the citizenry of my country simply has no shame.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

n fact, the use of sentiment instead of reason is almost always a sign that the position being argued has no logical support.

Posted by: vepxistqaosani | January 14, 2011 1:57 PM

......

Well there you go again(said the Gipper) He really would be mad at you for attacking his Shining City On A Hill, line to evoke mere sentimentality.

Now you have come out against the National Anthem, Old Glory, God Bless America, Lapel Flag Pins, , and Uncle Sam, because they are all manifestations of sentimentality only.

I am sorry sir, I am forced to demote you from A Great American to just a not so great one.

When you have completed your remedial treatments, and can once again cry like John Boehner, at the mere though of a little puppy, I will restore you to the ranks of Great Americans.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

My first wife would cry when we passed road kill, but only on a couple days a month.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"I am simply saying that, outside of the known-to-be-false allegation that conservative rhetoric was a factor in the shooting, there is quite literally no reason to connect the shooting or its dead with such calls for more civility."
---------------------------------------
Don't you mean "political rhetoric" rather than "conservative rhetoric"?

Th reason, as I stated before, is that simply because political rhetoric wasn't a factor here doesn't mean it won't be in the future. Believing that violent rhetoric can lead to violence, while far from a proven phenomenon, is't exactly a radical belief to hold. Should we wait until someone is actually motivated by a movie about assasinating Bush or actually motivated by comments about "second amendment remedies"? Or can we call for civility before that occurs?

Don't stop disagreeing. You have ably demonstrated time and time again on this board that people can disagree civily.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It as premature to say what role, if any, incendiary anti-government rhetoric played in Loughner's action. It is likewise premature to say that such rhetoric played no part. At this point, we simply don't know.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't the liberals here provide links to concurrent comments disagreeing with Mr Krugman's "analysis"."

There was this speech, by a Democrat, you may have heard of him....his name is President Obama. In case you missed it, here's a link:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/01/obamas-arizona-speech-transcript-video/69467/

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@skip-

"...from the godless...".

Dude, you are unhinged.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 14, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Quarterback1 and Battleground demonstrate that they just don't get it. Angry rhetoric has been around since the founding of the republic, but to suddenly claim that the "right" is not to blame for any of our uncivil discourse is just downright factually incorrect (and this from two people who seem to push their intellectual prowess.) Has the left added to the discourse. Yes. There were those who accused President Bush of being a fascist and the extreme left who argued he planned 9/11 to attack Iraq. There were some who said that Repbulicans just want people to die. Yet, you do not see the constant drum-beat of hate directed at President Obama:

1. He "pals" around with terrorists.
2. He is secretly a muslim.
3. He is an illegitamte President because he was not born in the United States
4. He is Marx, Mao, Stalin and Hitler all rolled up in to one (i.e. by implication he wants to commit genocide)
5. His healthcare plan includes "death panels" that will determine who will live or die
6. "He hates America" - said by a Tea Party Leader in Texas
7. He is a socialist who wants to destroy the free-market system
8. He is a traitor who is selling out the country to terrorists

I'm sure I have missed a couple here and there. The right has constantly demonized President Obama and liberals. It comes from the Media: Fox News, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity. It comes from politicians: Demint, Palin, Bachman. It goes beyond "they have a different point of view about the direction the country should take and the role of government in our lives." It is now: "They are dangerous extremeists who want to destroy America."

Posted by: smith6 | January 14, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"One might as well claim that, to honor the dead we all have a moral obligation to root for the Diamondbacks this coming season."

Exactly right, that is what you say at eulogies. If the little girl were at a Dbacks pep rally, someone might say that. Heck I've been to a funeral where people got into the schwag of the life long fan who died (Red Sox).

That said I there are these transcendent lines, so sentimental and yet perhaps some of the important lines having to do with politics ever written...It is sentiment, it is what we have to live up to in order to honor the dead.

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

If I had my way, everyone in America would be able to recite this little speech by heart (the whole speech) and formulate their own way of explaining what that politician was talking about.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

And yes skip, I realize it was not at the same time, but I think there is sufficient evidence that Democrats disagree with Krugman.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@shrink-

Word. My favorite place in D.C. is the Lincoln Memorial and reading the Second Inaugural and Gettysburg. I particularly like to just *look at the people* reading them on the walls. Heavy stuff.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 14, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Liberals can't even admit that the president denounced the false narrative, and the then the author did what the false narrative did, blamed conservatives for the incivility.

Posted by: thelaw1 | January 14, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

ashot:

"Don't you mean "political rhetoric" rather than "conservative rhetoric"?"

No, because at no point was generic "political rhetoric" blamed. It was always conservative or Tea Party or Republican rhetoric.

"Th reason, as I stated before, is that simply because political rhetoric wasn't a factor here doesn't mean it won't be in the future. "

True enough. But then why not make, say, child abuse the centerpiece of the speech? Afterall, even though there is no indication at all that child abuse was a factor in this instance, it doesn't mean it won't be in the future, right? There are any number of things that were not a factor in this case but might be in the future. Why talk exclusively about the tone of political rhetoric?

"Or can we call for civility before that occurs?"

Sure we can. As I said, I have no beef against such calls. I simply think that the only reason we are talking about it now is as a continuation of the false allegations raised by voices on the left. If those allegations had never been made, then no one would view this as an opportunity or an obligation to talk about it.

"You have ably demonstrated time and time again on this board that people can disagree civily. "

Thanks. I try.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list. [...]"

What Krugman said was completely accurate at the time. In fact, it still is as far I know.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"civility isnt to blame but we be more civil anyway" is not Obama's formulation. It's what most sensible people have been saying dating back to the Bush administration and some of the opposition we saw then. It's certainly what conservatives have been saying ever since the media first tried to turn this into a political question within mere hours of the shooting. If being brillant for Obama is rejecting liberal media memes parroted by democrats in congress and the punditsphere, and instead parroting the conservative take on things, then he probably will get re-elected.

Posted by: dummypants | January 14, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3-

Seeing as how she is a politician, that has to be a part of the dialog. Lots of folks Left and Right went off the deep end here and elsewhere.

Assasination attempt of a politician *has* to include discussion of politics-especially when she had been targeted previously. Had this been an attempt on a Republican during the Bush administration, I feel sure there would've been premature calls for Democratic heads. It's probably nature of the beast to some extent.

When there's a crime, don't you have to take all evidence into consideration before you judge? Krugman did not, nor did any number of folks from the Right posting here on Saturday.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 14, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"No, because at no point was generic "political rhetoric" blamed. It was always conservative or Tea Party or Republican rhetoric."

Your comment was that it is a fact conservative rhetoric wasn't a factor, are you saying liberal rhetoric may have been a factor? That's what I was getting at.

"There are any number of things that were not a factor in this case but might be in the future. Why talk exclusively about the tone of political rhetoric?"

I could offer any number of reasons for that, it was a politician that was the target comes to mind. Or a more cynical one that it provides Obama a chance to be at the front of a movement that everyone (well not skip) agrees with. I think shrink has appropriately addressed these objections that object to a lack of a logical connections between the tragedy and the calls for civility.

"I simply think that the only reason we are talking about it now is as a continuation of the false allegations raised by voices on the left.

Even when call for civility are immediately preceeded by decrying the false allegations?

"If those allegations had never been made, then no one would view this as an opportunity or an obligation to talk about it."

I disagree. These sorts of calls for reform often follow such tragedies even if the reform being called for never would have stopped the event from occurring had they already been in place.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

smith6,

If you have some example of my denying that there is strong g or even angry rhetoric against Obama and dems by all means point it out, because that isn't my position. But we define what is appropriate differently, Anne disagree about equivalencies.

I personally think Obama is fundamentally a socialist and neo-marxist (not a hard question actually) and danger to the country. His self-stated goal is after all to transform it into something different. If you think that is hate speech, then I'd suggest some reflection is in order.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Why are Democrats/Liberals apologizing to Republicans/Conservatives because a Dem Congresswoman in a GOP district was nearly assassinated after being targeted by Right Wing hate speech?

This is America's political dysfunction on florid display.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, would anybody have been surprised if the killer had said he was motivated because of statements like "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants" or the "second amendment solutions" rhetoric?

It certainly wasn't beyond the bounds of believability.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 14, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, would anybody have been surprised if the killer had said he was motivated because of statements like "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants" or the "second amendment solutions" rhetoric?

It certainly wasn't beyond the bounds of believability.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 14, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

And it still isn't "beyond the bounds of believability" b/c we still don't know why the assassin did what he did.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's a demonstration of superficiality at its finest:
========================
For those of you who have read skipsailing28's posts and are confused about what a "hudna" is, it's an Arabic term for "truce" or "armistice". Come to think of it, he could have just used either one of those instead, and avoided any confusion.

============================
I used the word hudna for specific reasons.
(1) The shameless left, and some on the right to be honest, complained about Ms Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel". they claim it to be a reserved word, just as blacks in America claim the N word as reserved.

Hudna in this sense is often used to described those rare periods where the rate at which the arabs attempt to kill jews slows a bit. Typically this is just after the arabs have taken a shellacking at the hands of the IDF. Just as the liberals took a shellacking at the hands of the voters. Now they want civility and bipartisanship. yeah, right. Too little, too late.

(2) The arabs understand the concept of hudna not as a cease fire or a truce, but as an opportunity to regroup and restart the battle after they have gained some strength.

That's exactly what Mr Obama and the liberals here want. The emotionally charged response to Obama and the liberals that is currently underway in America is making life difficult for him and his cronies. A respite from the anger he triggered would only give him an opportunity to regroup and return once again to the effort to drive the country leftward.

I used the word hudna because I meant the word hudna. Given the shameless nature of the left, and the clearly out of control government they adore, perhaps deeply felt and appropriately demonstrated anger is the only way to bring the country back toward the center.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama has long held a visceral hatred for the America of our "Founders"; and, is methodically dismantling the "SuperPower status" achieved by the blood and sacrifice of millions of American patriots. The concept of "Peace Thru Strength" is anathema to Obama's Marxist psyche; and, one that he has openly derided in his teleprompter tutorials on foreign soil.
Many Americans are simply unable to assimilate the understanding that we have unwittingly elevated to the presidency of the United States a man whose agenda is profoundly anti-American; and, that his pledge to "fundamentally transform America" was most definitely NOT an idle threat.
The threat to our Nation's security represented by this anomalous American catastrophe labeled "Obama", can be rendered with some clarity by reviewing: his inexplicable determination to destroy America's Energy Sector; his utter contempt for the pleadings of the Govenors of both Texas and Arizona to take decisive action to combat the invasion occurring across our Southern border; his contemptuous disregard for the beseechings of Gov. Jindal to terminate his assault on Energy Sector jobs in Louisiana; in the defiance of the Congress, his release of his EPA to further denigrate the competetiveness of American industry on the Global market; his continuous implementation of job-killing policies that further constrict the American economic structure; his undeniable bias towards the preferences of Muslim communities; etc.
Any objective reviewer can produce an accurate construct of Obama simply by vetting the collection of extreme fanatics that he has innudated the White House with in the personnage of his Tsar Corps that serve as his Shadow Cabinet. Unconfirmed Quasi-Government officials that should have been de-funded many months ago by the Congress.
In brief, Obama is the most dangerous demagogue EVER to surface on the American political scene. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ELECT TO PARTAKE OF THE OBAMA KOOL-AID, THAT'S MOST CERTAINLY YOUR PREROGATIVE; BUT, DON'T DISPARAGE THOSE OF US WHO ARE ALARMED AT THE INCIPIENT DAMAGE BEING WROUGHT ON OUR CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC BY AN EXTREME LEFT-WING MARXIST RADICAL; and, belay the "racism" nonsense. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | January 14, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Just as the liberals took a shellacking at the hands of the voters. Now they want civility and bipartisanship. yeah, right. Too little, too late.
-----------------------------------

Why can't the shellacking continue while you act civily?

Repeal PPACA, bring back DADT, repeal the recently ratified START, give the wealthy and corporations more tax cuts...whatever you want, Skip, just demonstrate your anger civiliy.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

in case anyone was doubting my contention that the left is shameless here's proof:
=================
Why are Democrats/Liberals apologizing to Republicans/Conservatives because a Dem Congresswoman in a GOP district was nearly assassinated after being targeted by Right Wing hate speech?

This is America's political dysfunction on florid display.

===================

First, let me ask the few conservatives commenting here if they believe that any apologies from the left have been extended. I certainly don't believe that.

next, wbgone has done exactly what paul krugman did: based on absolutely no evidence at all blame the right for the act of an unhinged madman.

Nothing could possibly demonstrate the bigotry and nastiness inherent in the left than the words wbgone shared above.

We, the folks with the temerity to disagree with his political philosophy, stand indicted for the shooting spree of an apolitical lunatic.

It is easy to understand how such a weak argument could be made by inveterate lefties. After all to them conservatives are simply evil people and all that is wrong with the world can be laid at our feet.

but, by all means lefties, continue to demand civility.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Seriously, would anybody have been surprised if the killer had said he was motivated because of statements like "watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants" or the "second amendment solutions" rhetoric?

It certainly wasn't beyond the bounds of believability."

It was and is far-fetched. You need some quality time outside the sweatlodge.*

*Bringing back a little Bilgeman lingo for the oldtimers. ; )

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

i try to avoid name calling as much as possible, but sargent's just a bumbling fool.

Posted by: batigol85 | January 14, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I said it before and I'll say it again, I predict, if you ever learn anything at all of the "thinking" that led up to this, you will find out there was nothing partisan about the massacre, she just happened to be a prominent local politician.

Nidal Hasan, his was a political killing. Nidal Hasan was/is not insane. Timothy McVeigh killed for political/religious "reasons", he was not insane.

You don't know much about crazy if you think you'll ever know why this happened.

"Law enforcement officials said Friday they have multiple photos of Jared L. Loughner posing with a Glock 9mm gun next to his naked buttocks and dressed in a bright red g-string."

So whose fault is that, Joel Gray, Rue Paul? We have people who take out their eyes with paring knives, who cut off, cook and eat their junk. C'mon now, give the politics a rest and lets move on.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

ashot:

"Even when call for civility are immediately preceeded by decrying the false allegations? "

Yes. As I said the other day on the back of the Greg's "truce" post, there is definitely an implied tension between declarations that "X is not to blame" and what follows when it is prefaced by "however..." I understand that you disagree, but I still think that if the whole Palin/Tea Party is to blame meme did not get introduced, we would not be discussing political civility in the context of these killings.

Chuck:

"Seeing as how she is a politician, that has to be a part of the dialog."

I don't buy that. Sure, it makes sense to wonder whether it was done for some political cause. But unless it turns out to be the case, I don't at all see why it has to be part of the "dialogue".

(sorry for abbreviated posts..little time at the moment)

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 14, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

here's my suggest ashot, if you want us to change our behavior why doesn't your side start first?

next, why should we allow the losers in the last election to set the tone now? When the liberals were riding high two short years ago there was no thought of civility or bipartisanship from them. None.

Now you're losing and you want what you refused to provide when you had the chance. It is weak beyond words. Again, the word hudna comes to mind. You sound like the palestinians begging the IDF to stop the response to their provocation so they can get back to making rockets and digging tunnels.

Here's another issue with your false call for civility: why should the American right abandon a weapon (oh my a martial word crept into my writing! where are the thought police when you need them?) that so clearly worked for the left in its turn? The ten year temper tantrum thrown by the left made life very difficult for Bush and the congressional republicans. That was its purpose, and it worked. Now that this sauce is being poured all over you, you want none of it. Gosh, ain't that just too bad?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

skip,

No, obviously there has been no apology and never will be. It's completely beyond the comprehension of these folks that they just participated in one of the most dishonest, despicable, defamatory mau mauings in political history.

Only people with infinitely twisted minds and no capacity for honest reason could do what they've done -- viciously smear their opponents and then blame them for their own "incivility." And blame them for "defensiveness" and "making it all about themselves" and "playing the victim"!

Folks like wbgonne are so far gone that they can't bear under any circumstances to face the horrifying truth (!) that Jared Loughner isn't a Palinite Tea Partier. It just had to be so! Not fair, not fair! After all the setup work they've done demonizing all opposition as racist and "hatist," they feel so wronged. "We wuz robbed!"

They'd still be in denial if Loughner's browser cash was full of Media Matters, Dkos, DU, TPM, and Benen, and he'd left love letters to Olbermann and Obama. They'll never change. Been here long enough to know that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

C'mon now, give the politics a rest and lets move on.
------------------------------------------

I think you'll have to apologize for the democrats who have disagreed with you first.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

d'oh, "cache"

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the whole apology for something you didn't do thing. I realize that is all the rage, I just don't get it.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Only people with infinitely twisted minds and no capacity for honest reason could do what they've done


===

lol, another Great American. Lincoln would be proud.

As somebody pointed out earlier, not all people calling for civility have horns on their head. Moderates, like me, are just friggin sick of it. Bush wasn't the anti-Christ and neither is Obama.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 14, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree qb1, the liberals appear viscerally incapable of understanding the magnatude of the slander.

We should remember that these are the same people who, for years, attempted to shut us up by claiming we were racists. This, of course was brought to a head when many of these so called racists pitched in and got a black man elected to the white house.

Once Obama ascended to the throne it became clear that the left would use the term racist as a cudgel to stifle any dissent from Obama's positions.

It is a small distance to travel from that to this.

In their little world all that matters is winning so the demand for civility must be seen as a time out for them to regroup. I just don't think that is tactically wise for those of us in America who are alarmed by the direction our country is taking.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Skip- That's sort of what I suggested, that being us starting first.

I said you have plenty of reason to laugh at calls for civility and I'm cynical enough that I can't completely banish the thought that Obama's actions over the last few days are completely about politics. I mean politics obviously played a role in his actions, but I'm hoping that wasn't the sole factor.

However, I do think in the non-Plum Line parts of the world most Americans largely agree with what Obama has said and end their discussion there rather than firing (oops...did you notice Greg's latest headline about War of talking points?) back like you and QB have done.

I know we have argued about criticizing Palin's response to this situation, but indulge me for a second. Imagine if Palin had given Obama's speech rather than the one she gave.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

One thing I still don't get -- how is it a brilliant speech to denounce your opponents if they don't get it?

Is it just the "dog whistle" to your buds ("keep up the hate, guys, good job"), or is the code for the indies, to tell the the Republicans are the bad ones?

Those outside the Hive-Mind* want to know.

* Copyright Bilgeman 2009.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"rather than firing (oops...did you notice Greg's latest headline about War of talking points?) back like you and QB have done"

I didn't fire back. I said O gave a mostly good speech. But your side now said he was really trashing the Republicans again.

And I do reject the faux calls for civility and find Greg's whole "truciness" initiative disingenuous.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's the problem Ashot, and I thank you for the kind response.

Yesterday I heard a clip of Chris Matthews. He was asked to respond to Mr Obama's call about civility. Let me quote Mr Matthews, "He has his job, I have mine."

so there you have it. You and I might agree to be civil to each other, but Chris Matthews sees no reason to change. And has Mr Krugman said that he regrets his words or even that he'd take a different tone in the future? How about the rest of the machine that sprang into action to smear Palin and the right?

so Mr Matthews can chose not to heed the call of the leader of his movement. A man he swore to protect. Will he receive the disapprobation of the American left? I doubt it, that will be reserved for conservative writers who don't heed Obama's words.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't fire back. I said O gave a mostly good speech.

I would call this statement firing back: "It's completely beyond the comprehension of these folks that they just participated in one of the most dishonest, despicable, defamatory mau mauings in political history."

"But your side now said he was really trashing the Republicans again."

And I quickly disagreed with what Greg said in this column. I can't believe Greg didn't see how easily you would be able to turn his argument against him.

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

"You and I might agree to be civil to each other, but Chris Matthews sees no reason to change."

Good points all, skip. I really don't pay as close attention to politics as many here, including yourself, who all seem to be more aware of the various offensive actions by those in politics. So I've been surprised by many of the examples of violent rhetoric cited by both sides. I don't think it is surprising that we tend to be more aware of the bad acts of those we disagree with though. I think that's pretty consistent on both sides.

I'll be a bit cheesey here, but we have no chance for a more civil future if you and I refuse to be civil because Chris Matthews and Sara Palin refuse to be civil. It seems many here are willing to give up before ever trying. For every chris matthews or cao, there are many more people like my mom and many of my friends who are rethinking some of the words they have used and anger they feel in light of the tragedy in Arizona.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The continuing level of uncivil comments here aside, I expect the insults and attacks on character and integrity to continue.

Why?

Because it is embedded in a business model, a source of profits to the partisan media and the celebrity hosts, bloggers, and jesters.

But I will hope that politicians become more wary of playing to the audience with the same rhetoric.

Posted by: j3hess | January 14, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"But it's not important for the reason conservatives think it is."

Right, it is for the reasons that Sargent thinks it is. I can tell because he says so.

God, this guy is a moron.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 14, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"And I quickly disagreed with what Greg said in this column. I can't believe Greg didn't see how easily you would be able to turn his argument against him."

Hey, if you say stuff like that, pretty soon every Tom Dick and Harry will think he can do this stuff easily! ; )

My straight-up take on the speech is this:

I think it was pretty good. Imo if he were really going to "rise above" (silly to think so) partisanship and politics, he should have leaned more into correcting his own side for the vitriol and attacks of the previous four days. That's what would have constituted taking responsibility, taking the high road, etc.

But I thought he handled the sensitive issues pretty well. On the other hand, I also think that he had the perfect setting by Wednesday night to do that, because the attacks on the TP etc. had so flamed out and become so absurd that all he had to do was swoop in, talk about healing and unity, and look like he is indeed above it all. And I don't think this was at all accidental. I fault him very much for not proactively addressing the false and unfair accusations well before Wed night. He could have and should have no later than Sunday.

Sadly, I think that was intentional. He let his own side run with the attacks, waited to see how it would play out, and then was able to look like the voice of reason after Krugman, Kos, and the rest (Greg up to a point) had thrown themselves under the bus.

So appearing to look even handed, after all the damage had been done while he stood by, was the perfect political play.

And I thought the audience behavior was totally appalling. U of A should be ashamed, and Obama should have done a little more to restore decorum, although I recognize that was a delicate task.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"Whether the more strident voices on the right act on this message, of course, is another question entirely. "

But the more strident voices on the left can do what they want.

Good lord, this man's peanut sized brain is addled by partisanship. I am glad Krauthammer ignored his pathetic challenge.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 14, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama spoke as a Christian.
He referenced the Christian bible and characters like Job, well known to Christians, in his speech. These were sincere on his part and lend clear evidence to his faith, which many have wanted to attack and distort.
But his theme might well have been for us to 'love one another' and it wouldn't have had to sound much different.
And that one's a universal teaching among Christians...

Posted by: thanksforfish | January 14, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

this is well said:
===========
I'll be a bit cheesey here, but we have no chance for a more civil future if you and I refuse to be civil because Chris Matthews and Sara Palin refuse to be civil. It seems many here are willing to give up before ever trying. For every chris matthews or cao, there are many more people like my mom and many of my friends who are rethinking some of the words they have used and anger they feel in light of the tragedy in Arizona
====================

I have to agree here. I am, as you can well imagine, very angry just now. But that will pass.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 14, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

QB-

I think the delay could be due to a couple of different reasons, but I can't dismiss your explanation out of hand. You don't have the political success Obama has had without being good at politics and without politics strongly influencing your every action. Sometime politcal motives are secondary, sometimes they are primary. It's hard to know what role they played in any particular decision.

I think he probably could have blunted your criticism a bit if he had said something about "codemning those attempting to tie political rhetoric to this senseless attack" That way he wouldn't have singled out one side.

Even something as measured as that though opens him up to turning this into more about the politics than the victims.

All in all I think he did about as well as he could have. He also got lucky that a Republican leader didn't beat him to the punch. Imagine the moral high ground a republican leader would have held if, while being tied to the murders, he/she had given Obama's speech. They also would have completely stolen Obama's thunder and established themselves as a "leader" which would have contrasted nicely with Obama's silence.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 14, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"I am, as you can well imagine, very angry just now."

Anyone want to buy a bridge? How about some gold thingies?

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"He also got lucky that a Republican leader didn't beat him to the punch. Imagine the moral high ground a republican leader would have held if, while being tied to the murders, he/she had given Obama's speech. They also would have completely stolen Obama's thunder and established themselves as a "leader" which would have contrasted nicely with Obama's silence."

The Republicans have no leader. There have their entertainers, people who get paid to say political stuff but who are neither elected nor party associated officials. You know, Rove, Palin, the list is relentless. But they have no leaders.

I have gone on and on about this...Republicans don't just have no leadership, they don't have a leadership track. They are too fractured for that.


Posted by: shrink2 | January 14, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"I have gone on and on about this...Republicans don't just have no leadership, they don't have a leadership track. They are too fractured for that."

The Republicans will get a nominee. And the Republicans will fall in line. They always do. I see Christie as the favorite.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 14, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It really is a shame that a few people linked Sarah Palin to the violent act of a deranged person;

Especially since Sarah Palin would never link President Obama to some violent act perpertrated by some guy, back in the 1960s, when Obama was a young schoolboy.

Sarah would never stoop that low. We all know that she is not that sort of person, because she just told us, that only individuals are to be held responsible for the bad things they do.

We hear you Sarah. Thank God, you never linked Barack Obama to some one who did a bad thing, back in the 1960s. That is what makes you such A Great American.

Posted by: Liam-still | January 14, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

One line was all it took to get conservatives to listen and become as one with the President. See it was easy wasn't it. After some very hateful news reporting which blamed conservatives for murder, the accused were civil to the leader of the liberal base. Can we find a sentence that would get the liberal base to be civil? Do they have the same quality character to be able to be civil? Lets see!!!

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 14, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Liam-still---I will link him to Bill Ayers, a man whose home he started his political career. A man who bombed police stations, and recently said he wish he had bombed more. I will condemn him for sitting in church listening to racial hate speech and then denying he was there during the twenty years it occurred. To even bring up his relationship with Ayers as a vindicating moment for Obama is the zenith of ignorance.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 14, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Strange, I thought his most attentive audience was illegals eager to gobble up the American dream, amnesty or no amnesty. The plan seems to be: one new citizenship, one vote.

Posted by: jbksss | January 14, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

If this isn't yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre, I don't know what is.

200,000,000 million Americans suffering the worst economic events in the history of the nation (wars, recession, labor depression) are (snark) very cool and calm. Aren't they?

Posted by: rjmmcelroy | January 14, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Feeling guilty and operating from conscience are two completely different things.

Posted by: NMReader | January 14, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

T-shirts and campaign slogans while a child is buried and a Congresswoman fights for her life.

Just another day in the liberal mental institution.

Posted by: NoWayNotNow | January 14, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

"They bring a knife to the fight, you bring a gun."

Posted by: clawrence12

---------

You simply do not get it clawrence12, read John McCain's article. The days are numbered for advocates of hate for BOTH extremes. You are fast becoming a relic. Sarah Palin has had her Joe McCarty vs. US Army moment. The only thing that is un-American is hate & intolerance.

Your posts only hurt the GOP. America is sick of your type of rhetoric.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | January 15, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Barrack Obama's civility:
“They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
A GOP victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
“Get in Their Faces!”
“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
“Hit Back Twice As Hard”
“We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“
“It’s time to Fight for it.”
“Punish your enemies”
“I’m itching for a fight.”

Though it is preferable to these:

http://climateofhate.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Rewrite | January 17, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

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