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Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 01/13/2011

A truce between right and left

By Greg Sargent

Andrew Sullivan thinks the positive conservative reaction to Obama's speech suggests that the tragedy may ultimately lay the groundwork for some actual dialog between right and left. I'm not optimistic, but there does seem to be an awful lot of good feeling floating around today, after days of bitter fighting over the meaning of the shooting.

And since we're told that seeking common ground should be a paramount goal, let me take a stab at proposing an agreement that both sides might be willing to sign on to when it comes to the war over the shooting's significance. So here goes:

1) No conservative commentators, officials or personalities are in any way to blame for the shooting.

2) However, the relationship between political culture and political violence is poorly understood, and we need to know more about such a relationship, if it exists.

3) Neither side should make any pronouncements about this relationship, if it exists, with any certainty.

4) Because we want to do all we can to prevent such violence from happening again, the question of whether this relationship exists, and the nature of this relationship, are worth exploring, in the context of this shooting, as well as in other contexts, no matter where that exploration takes us.

5) Since many on both sides hailed Obama's speech, which called for "a more civil and honest public discourse," we should actually try to make this happen.

6) In order to make this happen, it is fair game to ask people on either side to condemn it when people on their side indulge in paranoia, dishonesty or violent rhetoric and imagery, question the legitimacy of the opposition, or suggest, tacitly or overtly, that those on the other side of the debate must be neutralized or countered by non-democratic means.

7) Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the left, that the right indulges in this sort of excess far more than the left does, some people on the right appear to believe in good faith that this is hogwash. So while each side will hold to their views in this regard, we may as well agree to disagree on this point, at least temporarily, as long as people pursue No. 6 in good faith, which is the paramount goal.

8) It's legitimate to point to such excess in the context of a discussion of the relationship between political culture and political violence, and to ask whether such excess plays a role in tipping the unhinged towards violence, in order to better understand that relationship, if it exists.

9) None of the above constitutes an effort to blame any conservative commentators, officials or personalities for the shooting in any way.

Any takers?

By Greg Sargent  | January 13, 2011; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
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Comments

Last night was not a Memorial Service, it was a political rally.


A duck is a duck - and this one actually quacked.


The people in the audience were cheering because they wanted Obama to get a bump in the polls from the killings.

Plain and simple.


The people were showing support for the smear campaign against the Tea Party, and support for Obama who was weathering the backlash. Plain and simple.


EVERYONE IN AMERICA could see that plainly.


Few people watching at home could believe that the White House, which scripts Obama's appearances so carefully, would allow this to go on.


I would say that Obama SEALED his defeat last night.


A Memorial Service is a Memorial Service.


The people watching at home were horrified.


Obama, or any one of his cronies, from Napolitano to Eric Holder - COULD HAVE ASKED THE CROWD TO TONE IT DOWN, AND BE RESPECTFUL OF THE DEAD.


Anyone from Obama's advance staff COULD HAVE MADE THE REQUEST for such an announcement.


Last night WAS A COMPLETE FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP FROM OBAMA AND HIS PEOPLE.


Any other interpretation is simply not acceptable.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg has the audacity to climb up on his hind legs after Tuscon-apolooza and howl for civil discourse, after he spent the past week inflaming Leftists against Mrs. Palin.

Obama's toadies spent the last decade goose-stepping at kristallnaght-style gutter riots (masquerading as “peace” protests). Patriotic Americans are encourage to Enter the "Leftist-fascist Hall of Shame" and remember what "violent rhetoric" looks like.
http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

So, when is billionaire progressive George Soros financing the unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rally against ObaMao’s summary execution of three (un-Mirandized) Somali teens at sea? Afterall, that tactic was clearly more “fascist” than our patriotic moistening of KSM, et.al. The two year anniversary of ObaMao’s high seas shooting spree has already passed. Get busy, Adam.

Rage against the machine, Leftists!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I read your post as trying to have it both ways Greg. Sorry, not taking.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 13, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg has the audacity to climb up on his hind legs after Tuscon-apolooza and howl for civil discourse, after he spent the past week inflaming Leftists against Mrs. Palin.

Obama's toadies spent the last decade goose-stepping at kristallnaght-style gutter riots (masquerading as “peace” protests). Patriotic Americans are encourage to Enter the "Leftist-fascist Hall of Shame" and remember what "violent rhetoric" looks like.
http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

So, when is billionaire progressive George Soros financing the unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rally against ObaMao’s summary execution of three (un-Mirandized) Somali teens at sea? Afterall, that tactic was clearly more “fascist” than our patriotic moistening of KSM, et.al. The two year anniversary of ObaMao’s high seas shooting spree has already passed. Get busy, Adam.

Rage against the machine, Leftists!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg

You can't call for a "truce" and then have Obama walk around, while all the liberals claim a great victory for Obama.

That is silly.

Same with bipartisanship - credit has to be given to BOTH sides.

The liberals can't run around like wild animals claiming that a bipartisan agreement is a victory for one side.


__________________________


What is government when words have no meaning ???

__________________________

Obama had one chance for the high road: Saturday afternoon.

The result was a COMPLETE FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP.


For 5 days, this nation HAD NO LEADER - while Obama sat there silently, hoping his people would WIN the smear campaign against the Tea Party.


It was shameful.


Obama lost this round - and instead of acknowledging that, and admitting what Obama did was HORRIBLY WRONG AND DIVISIVE, the liberals are trying to find common ground.


Again, "common ground" from which they will ONLY claim that Obama has a victory.

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIND THIS BEHAVIOR FOOLISH AND SILLY - and the nation is sick of it.


When will the LIBERAL BE MATURE ????

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Classic good faith from the first two commenters.

Good luck Greg ... I think your proposal is reasonable and propounded with sincerity. Can't wait to see the response from the rest of the commentariat of the right.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 13, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Again I also think it is exploring the question of whether vicious political rhetoric peppered with references to lethal force can incite the hinged to violence. The guy who shot up the holocaust memorial, killed a security guard I think, was not crazy, he was just an angry bigot.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL. My greasmonkey is working in overtime.

I guess the two internet trolls are having fits on their end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMEe7JqBgvg

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

What is government when words have no meaning ???


__________________________


Obama had one chance for the high road: Saturday afternoon.

The result was a COMPLETE FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP.


For 5 days, this nation HAD NO LEADER - while Obama sat there silently, hoping his people would WIN the smear campaign against the Tea Party.


It was shameful.


Obama lost this round - and instead of acknowledging that, and admitting what Obama did was HORRIBLY WRONG AND DIVISIVE, the liberals are trying to find common ground.


Again, "common ground" from which they will ONLY claim that Obama has a victory.


THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FIND THIS BEHAVIOR FOOLISH AND SILLY - and the nation is sick of it.


When will the LIBERALS BE MATURE ????


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

If I am Grandma and Grandpa and members of a Tea Party group, I am having a hard time accepting this truce after being called an accessory to the murder of 6 people for four days by everyone from the Post, the Times and the 3 major networks.

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 13, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"No conservative commentators, officials or personalities are in any way to blame for the shooting."

Before jumping to any conclusion like this, shouldn't we best wait until this kid either has his day in court, or at least until some info comes out about his interrogation? It's a real stretch for me to believe that a lefty would want to kill a Dem member of Congress.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 13, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Comity with the President? Yes.

Good faith and bipartisanship with Democratic Members and rank and file? Yes.

Enduring contempt and wishes for early obsolescence of the slithering, noxious, lying, vicious (and blessedly doomed)media? Yes!

Permanent retirement and Silence for Mr. Sullivan to fish shop in P-Town? Hell YES!

Posted by: tao9 | January 13, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg


Obama lost this week. Lost BADLY.


You have the nerve to write the mumbo-jumbo of your pieces today.


Your logic is this: Obama failed the test, so you want to go to the teacher and re-write all the questions so Obama passes.


Obama FAILED the test.


FOR 5 days, this nation had NO LEADER while Obama sidelined himself, hoping his side would win the smear campaign against the Tea Party.

Obama was DIVISIVE - the exact opposite of what you are saying.

In addition, Obama probably destroyed any last remaining chance he has of coming back.


Obama has FROZEN HIMSELF in a partisan, smear campaign of FALSE CHARGES. Nothing can help him - and certainly not a series of deceptive writings from the liberal press.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"but there does seem to be an awful lot of good feeling floating around today"

Yeah, especially on this blog. I mean, the outpouring of love from the two internet psychopaths on the verge of slashing their own wrists is just overwhelming.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"If I am Grandma and Grandpa and members of a Tea Party group, I am having a hard time accepting this truce after being called an accessory to the murder of 6 people for four days by everyone from the Post, the Times and the 3 major networks."

Well, Obama seems to have gotten over being called a grandma-killer.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 13, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, Greg, as you can see, it is unfortunately hopeless. There are too many unhinged out there.

Did you see Dana Milbank's piece? It was moving, even if the atmosphere doesn't last. I think Republicans have finally come to grips with the concept that it could just have easily been one of them -- after all, they ARE part of the 'government' so despised by the current crop of deranged and disgruntled. Whether they will change their ways -- who knows? We know hate radio/TV won't, but it might help the atmosphere some if just politicians refrained from violent rhetoric and imagery.

"On Saturday, one member of Congress took a bullet to the head - and 434 of her colleagues stared into the abyss.

On Wednesday, chastened lawmakers returned to the Capitol vowing to change their hostile ways.

There was virtually no finger-pointing at anybody other than the crazed man who killed six and wounded 20, including the assassin's target, Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords. Yet there was also agreement that even if this tragedy wasn't directly caused by political speech, the leaders' overheated words are endangering the health of the republic -- and the lives of its legislators. Their grief was compounded by Giffords's role as a centrist lawmaker who worked to overcome the partisan bitterness."

Posted by: fiona5 | January 13, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Greg

You want a truce

How about a do-over???

If Obama gets a do-over on his smear campaign, can the country get a do-over on the 2008 election?


LETS AGREE TO RE-VOTE. HOW ABOUT THAT AS THE TERMS OF THE TRUCE????


You only want a truce and bipartisanship when you think the liberals are losing.

Right before the health care vote, and the lame duck provocations, you were NOT calling for any truce.


Everything from you was "in your face."


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Agreed.
I especially agree with and fully support #6. I'm not sure what makes me more angry - when progressives resort to such rhetoric or when the right does. I kind of expect it from the right, but when (and I too believe it is quite rare to find instances anywhere near what you hear from the right) people I would otherwise admire use hateful rhetoric it really turns me off, especially because I know it damages our side more than theirs.

Posted by: tegrat | January 13, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I'm sure you're well aware the goal of these trolls is to shut down debate and disrupt and hopefully drive people away.

I still don't get why your company doesn't grow a pair and enforce some rules around here.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

bcjbs1 -- that's why I said in the truce -- twice -- that conservatives are not to blame for the shooting. I don't understand why that's not good enough.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 13, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"If I am Grandma and Grandpa and members of a Tea Party group, I am having a hard time accepting this truce after being called an accessory to the murder of 6 people for four days by everyone from the Post, the Times and the 3 major networks"

I guess if Obama can get over being called a marxist-socialist-nazi-Kenyan-grandma-killer, they should just suck it up.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | January 13, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Greg

The only reason you want a truce and you don't want to fight is because you went to the dentist and your tooth hurts.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Greg, haven't you noticed? Republicans don't do truce.
They reload.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to think the only way these two, Rain and Kaddafi can endlessly spew such disgusting rhetoric day in and day out is they are some sort of wrinkly, hairy growth hanging off of Limbaughs backside with access to a PC.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p: "I read your post as trying to have it both ways Greg. Sorry, not taking."

I'm with you. Basically, Greg got slapped down last night by the president but he still wants to defend his actions of the last two days.

When Greg writes, "the nature of this relationship, is worth exploring, in the context of this shooting," I believe that is in direct conflict with Obama when he says, "if... their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation."

In other words, such a discussion about civility or violent rhetoric should NOT be explored in the context of the shooting.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Interesting after reading Achenblog to see the vitriol in responses to this comment- maybe my post in response to Joel was too optimistic about Americans' better nature (hopefully not about the relatively small numbers of people like most of the posters).
May I also suggest a new York Times column on Jan 9 from Gail Collins - A Right to Bear Glocks?
She notes, quite pertinently in my view, that the gun was a "a 9-millimeter Glock, is extremely easy to fire over and over, and it can carry a 30-bullet clip" and suggests that had clips been more limited a number of those killed might still be alive. This is not a gun for hunting or normal protection and I suspect many American police chiefs, whilst not wanting to stop people owning guns, would quite reasonably approve a limitation on weaponry like this and the size of magazines. For those who want more, perhaps such weaponry should be restricted to controlled shooting ranges.

Posted by: JohnSutton1 | January 13, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@MikeinArlington-

"I still don't get why your company doesn't grow a pair and enforce some rules around here."

Co-sign.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 13, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I think #6 is problematic. It seems like good old college campus speech codes disguised as some sort of high minded attempt to calm the atmosphere.
===================
6) In order to make this happen, it is fair game to ask people on either side to condemn it when people on their side indulge in violent rhetoric and imagery, question the legitimacy of the opposition, or suggest, tacitly or overtly, that those on the other side of the debate must be neutralized or countered by non-democratic means.

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

We run aground here with definitions. who decides what constitutes violent imagery? This is especially insulting given the way the left, aided and abetted by folks like Mr Sargent, tried to turn words and images commonly used in politics into death threats. The Palin map is a perfect example.

In addition to the issue of definitions we have the underlying net result of speech codes. Power is granted to anyone who claims to be offended. Under Mr Sargent's proposal all a liberal must do is claim that conservative person X's usage of the word "campaign" has military overtones and is therefore off limits. Since Mr Sargent's intent is to avoid giving offense (a laudable goal to be sure)all the other side must do is complain and voila, their position is given status.

For a perfect example of how this works, let's examine the career of Don Imus. He was summarily dismissed by a group of ladies from New Jersey because they suddenly discovered that words they've heard countless times in various "songs" are mighty offensive when uttered by a white guy with a microphone. How about Dr Laura? In that case the celebrity ignored speech code law number one: only blacks can use the N word. Its use by anyone not black is "offensive". Hence being offended results in power. And that power has no rational restraint or accountability.

when the mavens of the leftie media, like Mr Sargent, express concern about, for example, what the FCC is up to I will begin to believe that they mean what Mr Sargent says about neutralizing the opposition via non democratic means.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. While Obama was "up" there was only vicious attacks from Greg. Now, after the historic repudiation of Dems in Nov both He and Obama are calling for a truce of sorts.

Sorry, life don't work like that. To appear not disingenuous, you call ACT for peace when you win not, once you are routed.

I think it will take a true neutral to pull this off Greg NOT someone like yourself, who just spent days trying to convince people that Palin caused a Lib 9/11 Truther to attack a Dem...

Posted by: illogicbuster | January 13, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Will Obama stop calling his opponents "hostage-takers"?

Posted by: tomtildrum | January 13, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising:

I'll be honest, i didn't read your rant. But the fact that you'd write something that long on a message board means your insane.

Posted by: raincntry | January 13, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Greg

This is just another PARTISAN PLOY


Like all the centrists who voted for Obama because he promised bipartisanship and COMPROMISE


NEVER heard any COMPROMISE from Obama last year, especially during that day of the Health Care Summit.


___________________________

What's government when words have no meaning?

________________________

Greg your words have no meaning


Liberals your words have no meaning


Obama your words have no meaning.

You wanted bipartisanship? White House should have made SURE McCain spoke at the Memorial Service.


What is a Memorial Service when words have no meaning?


What is a truce, when words have no meaning?

Liberals will only use a truce to say Obama is a hero.


What is government when words have no meaning??


What is post-racial when False Charges of Racism fly?

What is bipartisanship when Obama jams RECONCILIATION down everyone's throats???


What is an ELECTION when the democrats jam a lame duck liberal agenda down the throats of AMERICA ????

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans don't do truce. They reload."

Those conditions are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 13, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Looking pretty unanimous ... the left is willing to forgive and forget death panels, kill granny, kenyan socialist usurper, etc etc.

The right is willing to ... well ...not so much.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 13, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Mike and Chuck, the problem is that we can't ban IP addresses. When we ban people they simply come back in 10 minutes from another email address and other another name. We would have to employ a full timer to do this, and it wouldn't even do anything.

Separately, I believe there is a change in the works -- across the whole WaPo site -- that will allow you to flag the commenters you like, and then there will be a feature which allows you to only see those comments. So this should help a great deal.


Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 13, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Again I also think it is exploring the question of whether vicious political rhetoric peppered with references to lethal force can incite the hinged to violence."

shrink -- did you read the manifesto by the guy who said after he read Bernie Goldberg's book about the '100 liberals' who are destroying america, he wanted to kill all the Democrats in Congress and all of the MSM, but he knew he couldn't get to them, but he just wanted to 'get the ball rolling' so he calmly went into what he perceived as a 'liberal' church and murdered two people?

As far as anyone says, he was perfectly 'hinged.'

Posted by: fiona5 | January 13, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@skip: "The Palin map is a perfect example."

I finally saw the infamous Palin map last night and the idea that there is anything wrong with it - in any way whatsoever - is supremely ridiculous.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 13, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"it is fair game to ask people on either side to condemn it when people on their side indulge in paranoia, dishonesty or violent rhetoric and imagery, question the legitimacy of the opposition, or suggest, tacitly or overtly, that those on the other side of the debate must be neutralized or countered by non-democratic means"

I'd add one to that list: questioning the legitimacy of the government.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 13, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

not that he or she will care a whit, but illogicbuster is flat out lying to you all. I never once said Palin was to blame for the shooting. In fact, I repeatedly said the opposite. Truly pathetic.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 13, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Damn....you and Kevin Drum. You both seem to accept the framing the right has been flailing about with lately.

Democrats, the left and progressives, at least the ones I read and respect...they aren't the ones saying that any individuals (or corporate entites) are personally responsible for the despicable political environment we have lived with these last several years. That's what the right keeps saying (and your trolls agree with that....when are you gonna cut that umbilical cord anyhow?) No, those on 'the left' have said that Sarah Palin, Rush, Fox News, Glenn Beck et al are directly involved in the tone of discourse we live in and they back it up with reruns, posts and commercials that the right has generated showing the right is following a classic delegitimitization of their opposition by portraying their opposition as less than human, less than worthy of the dignity of being seen as the same level as themselves. The left has said that that tone & those statements all have helped form an environment where some unstable people can (and have) become unhinged from reality and lashed out in a terrible manner.

I don't accept the framing of the right. You seem to. I don't know if you are being polite or you like the cocktail parties....what ever.

Andrew Sullivan is worthy of reading but he isn't any different from David Brooks or the other reasonable republican talking heads who for all their complaining about the political culture never point out it's their side which is poisoning the well. Poisoning it by lying to their readers about what proposed programs, laws & regulations say and do. Him suggesting that a 'reasonable' liberal go over to blog at The Corner once in a while is worth nothing. Why would I want to read The Corner? I could do the same thing by watching Fox News.

Posted by: kindness1 | January 13, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Flags would work out well. That way, others that might not be familiar with what is going on won't just turn around in disgust and never come back.

Just a shame to see this place fall apart because two kids that didn't get enough attention from their mommy's decide to go internet postal on the place every day.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Again with the "taking a stab" metaphor?! Nonetheless, in good faith, allow me to add:

4) (a). Can the word "Journ-O-List" trigger violence in the unhinged?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I think folks need to ignore the unhinged posters in here. They reflect the thinking of dead-enders. I think Americans need to start working together and fast.

I'll take it, but I have to admit I'm rather wary of dealing with those who deal in bad faith.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 13, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

...and thanks for the response.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 13, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah bsimon, I thought of that, that is often why armies call for truce, like Hitler's peace proposals (clank!) after remilitarizing the Rhineland...I just wanted to make a simple joke. Reminds me of the bumper sticker, Keep honking, I'm reloading.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 13, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Agree sbj3. This attempt by Mr Sargent is dripping with hypocrasy. I guess that the liberals are starting to recognize that "do as we say not as we do" isn't working anymore.

MrJohnSutton1 cannot possibly be more wrong. There are two huge problems with his comment. First, Glocks are perfect for home protection. The are so good for the task that many, many police officers carry them.

next, nothing in this incident should lead the state to believe that it has a compelling reason to take our rights. the typical response of liberals is always the same: respond to an issue by abridging the rights of Americans.

No thanks.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Question for the conservatives or republicans. Who, from the right, is talking about our country and our government like this?

"Here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. I want to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it."

Anyone?

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 13, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

'I mean, the outpouring of love from the two internet psychopaths on the verge of slashing their own wrists is just overwhelming."

I do expect RFR will end up that way, he really has no life at all. But Gadafi, I think will try to take a few down with him. Lots of red flags for a potential shooter.

"bcjbs1 -- that's why I said in the truce -- twice -- that conservatives are not to blame for the shooting. I don't understand why that's not good enough."

Understand this, Greg -- unless you agree with them 100% it will never be good enough. The whole mindset is my way or the highway.

This is the difference between the sides and the chasm is deep.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 13, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Not yet. Not as long as the right wing defends their practice of broadcasting death threats, murder fantasies and the like. My efforts to discuss this tell me they agree liberals should not do this but it's fine for them to do it.

The principles could state:

* All sides should refrain from broadcasting, advertising or otherwise disseminating death threat (even if cloaked as jocular), murder fantasies or other related speech. When this happens the speaker should be criticized and those who refuse to stop should be shunned.

* We should be able to agree that armed force (weapons) have no place at political events or in resolving political disputes.

If we cannot get agreement on this, fuggedaboutit. People who broadcast death threats are taking us on the road to Kosovo/Rwanda and deserve the harshest exposure and denunciation.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@kindness: “Andrew Sullivan is worthy of reading but he isn't any different from David Brooks or the other reasonable republican talking heads who for all their complaining about the political culture never point out it's their side which is poisoning the well.“

He's actually a lot different from David Brooks. Andrew Sullivan constantly blames conservatives, the right, and Christian-types for poisoning the well. In the Sullivan universe, there is only one acceptable conservative, and that's him.

All the rest are liars, nutjobs, charlatans, militia-types, birthers, etc.

Brooks position is that, despite most conservatives not thinking he's a conservative, he must be, because most of the readers of the New York Times hate him. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 13, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

6) In order to make this happen, it is fair game to ask people on either side to condemn it when people on their side indulge in paranoia, dishonesty or violent rhetoric and imagery, question the legitimacy of the opposition, or suggest, tacitly or overtly, that those on the other side of the debate must be neutralized or countered by non-democratic means.

That's FOX's operating plan. How do we fix that?

Posted by: eRobin1 | January 13, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama criticizes those on the left who would blame the rhetoric of the right, Bush's speech writer (Thiessen) complements him for that, Krauthammer agrees that a lunatic is a lunatic and that neither Obama's nor Palin's rhetoric is anything new in politics, and yet, still, we see the hate from Rainforest and others.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 13, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

bcjbs1 -- that's why I said in the truce --twice -- that conservatives are not to blame for the shooting. I don't understand why that's not good enough.
---------------

Hi Greg, thanks for taking the time and caring enough to read the comments of your readers.

I agree it is best to forgive, forget and use what occured to improve things for the future.

I just found it a little disingenous (not you) after all of the baseless charges against the Tea Party folks (i'm not one)being an accessory to murder (did you see Jeff Danzinger's cartoon among other things) over the last 4 days to now condescendingly (not you) pat them on the hand and wonder why they can't just forgive and forget and gosh...why are they so defensive?

Do you think all those that heard the initial "guilt by association" commentary about the Tea Party folks are also absorbing all of the follow up stories absolving them of being responsible? Not likely. They end up taking another undeserved hit. Overall though, I agree it is always better to forgive and create improvement from something horrible and nobody is completely innocent in this whole thing.

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 13, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I believe this to be true:
==========
I never once said Palin was to blame for the shooting. In fact, I repeatedly said the opposite. Truly pathetic.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Just a shame to see this place fall apart because two kids that didn't get enough attention from their mommy's decide to go internet postal on the place every day."

I think you give them too much credit. Some folks are just not suited for calm poltical discourse. Best to ignore them and move on. The internet is like talking to adults in the middle of a playground. There's always folks that really want attention and try to break up the discussion.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 13, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, the flood of the usual vitriol from the right tells you everything you need to know, Greg. But I'm sure you knew it already.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 13, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

These kinds of comments are unhelpful to the dialogue & are particularly egregious on a thread where our host is proposing a truce:

"I mean, the outpouring of love from the two internet psychopaths on the verge of slashing their own wrists is just overwhelming."

"I do expect RFR will end up that way, he really has no life at all. But Gadafi, I think will try to take a few down with him. Lots of red flags for a potential shooter."


Is it that difficult to just ignore them?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 13, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"I finally saw the infamous Palin map last night and the idea that there is anything wrong with it - in any way whatsoever - is supremely ridiculous."

I think it's apparent that the Tucson shooter wasn't influenced by anyone other than the voices in his head and Palin certainly isn't to blame.

Having said that, though, I think Palin bears a certain responsiblity for the amount of criticism that's been coming her way: she was heavily criticized at the time that the map came out and was even specifically called out by Giffords. Instead of taking the criticism to heart, she decided to double down and chose instead to give everyone the middle finger. Great. Fine. That's her perogative.

Problem is, did she think through what the consequences might be if all the chicken-littles were right and someone did resort to violence? She was given an out at the time and she chose not to take it. Rightly or wrongly, she will forever be haunted by the video of Gabby Giffords saying "words have consequences" and I don't think she has anyone to blame but herself.

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

@Andy: “My efforts to discuss this tell me they agree liberals should not do this but it's fine for them to do it.“

Who is saying that? I certainly don't think anybody should be broadcasting death threats, murder fantasies, or anything else. And I've never heard the argument that liberals should not, but they can. I've heard the argument that "as long as" liberals do it, they should be able to do it, although I disagree with that position, too.

But who makes that kind of argument? "Well, it's fine for me to do it, but not for you." Even if that's what they mean, sort of, they cloak it in terms they can intellectually justify.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 13, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I just wonder how long it will take for the extreme radical christian right to start pumping up Revelations 13:3 over this one.

"One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast."

Since the evil democrats are all part of the anti-christ thing, you know...

Posted by: bonncaruso | January 13, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent "bcjbs1 -- that's why I said in the truce -- twice -- that conservatives are not to blame for the shooting. I don't understand why that's not good enough."

Because your subsequent actions belie your intention in asking for a truce. I.e you want a truce, so that we can then return to the topic du jour which is how Right Wing rhetoric is out of bounds, undermining civility, part and parcel of the "paranoid style in American Politics", seeks to delegitimize their opponents, inciting the unstable to violence, etc.

It's your blog and you are welcome to discuss any topic you see fit for as long as you see fit, but you would be better served to dispense with the pretense of asking for a "truce" at the same time you want to target the right wing/conservatives again, no matter how much you feel that you are correct on the merits.

I would contrast this to President Obama's speech last night, which I believe was sincere when he said "But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another."

The overall impression I take from the media coverage of the last few days is that the media (especially the opinion media) has a prepackaged narrative or story ready to go for just about anything and all it needs is a triggering event to "catapult the propaganda" as George W. Bush put it so memorably. Rather than investigate facts and then form opinions, it's much easier to issue opinions and then go find (selective) facts to back up the conclusion you've already reached.

Ironically, the best factual reporting that I saw come out of this was from Mother Jones, which is typically viewed as a more progressive/liberal source than mainstream papers such as the Washington Post and The New York Times.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/jared-lee-loughner-friend-voicemail-phone-message

Posted by: jnc4p | January 13, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

ZOMG GREG YOU USED THE WORD STAB AGAIN PAGE BREAK YOU CONDONE VIOLENCE AND BLOODSHED OBAMA PAGE BREAK HATES WHITE PEOPLE BUT LOVES APPLAUSE BECAUSE HE'S RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW PEOPLE REACT TO HIM I'M A MORON PAGE BREAK DO-OVER PAGE BREAK

Posted by: cao091402 | January 13, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

OK a truce is fine if we can re-do the 2008 election.

I'm sure McCain is up for it.


Seriously, everytime the liberals get away with something, they aren't calling for a truce.


With health care? Obama is still writing regulations putting into force what was taken OUT of the bill.

With gays in the military? Are we re-voting that with the new Congress???


How about with everything else??? Does the truce involve re-voting everything, or MAKING COMPROMISES ???


Seriously folks, when the liberals win, they don't talk about bipartisanship, truce or compromise.


It is all jam, jam, jam.


Obama makes mistakes, and all of a sudden everyone else is wrong because the liberals want to be on the high road all of a sudden.


If Obama wanted the high road, SATURDAY afternoon was the time - BEFORE THE 5 DAY SMEAR CAMPAIGN.


Fools.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 13, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

All, House GOP moving forward with repeal of health bill next week:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 13, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "Yeah bsimon, I thought of that, that is often why armies call for truce, like Hitler's peace proposals (clank!) after remilitarizing the Rhineland...I just wanted to make a simple joke. Reminds me of the bumper sticker, Keep honking, I'm reloading."

"All nations want peace, but they want a peace that suits them."

- Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone, GCB, OM, GCVO (25 January 1841 – 10 July 1920)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Fisher,_1st_Baron_Fisher

Posted by: jnc4p | January 13, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg

It doesn't matter how many times you correct the meme that you and apparently all other lefties directly blamed the "armed and dangerous" rhetoric for the shooting, too many people on the right have internalized it. I saw, heard and read any number of people calling for restraint so I'm not sure how this thing got started unless instead of reading actual pieces from bloggers and journalists they were simply reading the comments from the unhinged, of which both sides have too many.

So no I don't think your truce will transpire. I do think individually we can take a step back from our own offensive and highly partisan language and maybe make a small change in that regard but realistically even that remains to be seen. I'm sure all sorts of people will be trying to define inflammatory terms based upon their own personal definitions and we'll all just end up arguing about that. I think that was skip's point and I sort of agree with it.

In a free society with the right to free speech one side doesn't get to decide the terms or definitions. The only thing we can hope for is that the American people will decide who has the best message and uses language responsibly. The court of public opinion will decide for better or worse.

Posted by: lmsinca | January 13, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

[MikeinArlington whined: "I still don't get why your company doesn't grow a pair and enforce some rules around here."]

LMAO! "Shut up", mikey explained.

So rational.

So progressive.

Shouldn't mikey be planning the unhinged Leftist rent-a-mob rally against ObaMao’s summary execution of three (un-Mirandized!) Somali teens at sea?

Afterall, that tactic was clearly more "violent" than Palin's target map; or Bush's patriotic moistening of KSM, et.al.

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

Rage against the machine, Leftists!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The rundown on why it's SUPPOSEDLY unfair to tie the shooting to Sarah Palin's now-infamous Dem/crosshairs map.
----------------------------------------
If I wanted to copy paste more it wouldn't be hard.

Since you used supposedly, show your evidence of the opposite.

Oh yes, "Greg, SUPPOSEDLY, didn't pay the shooter to kill the congress woman."

Get it Greg?

I doubt it...

Posted by: illogicbuster | January 13, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Lots of red flags for a potential shooter."

I didn't say this gratuitously -- I think this guy sounds dangerous. People ignored Loughner and other killers when they ranted online like this--they almost all leave a paper trial now. There is just a different quality to it than other ranters.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 13, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Greg, thanks for proposing concrete action for regaining civil discourse. I understand that you were using items 1 thru 5, 7 and 8 to set up and give context to an agreement. However, the most salient and possibly only needed item is # 6.

Leaders on both sides, forcefully policing members of their own team will be the most effective way of returning civility to the discourse. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell must be the shining examples for all.

The thing I would add is a pledge for the media to act responsibly. Reporting should not focus on the lowest common denominator and controversial trivia, reporting should give newsmakers the benefit of the doubt in regards to intent and accept explanations and apologies, and, reporting should help raise the level of discourse by focusing on substantive issues. Finally, opinion pundits should follow Roger Ailes' edit to win discussions intellectually.

Your proposal is a good start.

Posted by: legacyaustin | January 13, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Discussion without vitriol is important - I agree with you there, Greg. However, your item #1 of the truce just doesn't logically work with the rest of your item numbers. #1 absolves all violence-mongering of any guilt. But as you state in the other item #'s, there may be a relationship between violence-laden and dehumanizing speech and crazy people attempting assassinations. A more logically rigorous statement would say something like "At this time no one can know if there is a relationship between any conservative commentator's speech and what happened.." or "Scientists do not know, and therefore neither do we, if there is a relationship between their speech and what happened..."

Posted by: LoriWisconsin | January 13, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

B-b-but, if Republicans are no longer evil until/unless proven otherwise, does this imply that we can no longer reflexively assume Democrats to be spinless? I mean, the spinelessness meme arguably had a certain internal logic to it when any failure on Democrats' part to get us everything we want, when we want it (i.e., right NOW damnit), meant caving in to dark forces of ultimate evil. But if it turns out that the dark forces of evil may not be as ultimate as all that, or at least not 100% of the time... what then?

Posted by: CalD | January 13, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising and KaddafiDelendaEst:

Gentlemen,

(If that is indeed what you are you)

I'm really sorry that you guys have such bitter hatred within you for the President of our county. Are you quite sure that you are, in fact, the patriotic Americans that you purport to be?

It's quite easy to hide behind psuedonyms on the internet, and continue to post your vile and, some might say, almost lunatic consipiracy theories.

When our country elects a president that meets with your approval, will I then be able to rail against that person with the same vigor and lack of intellectual rigor and honesty that you do? Will you allow that?

In all seriousness, I would ask both of you to perform this excercise. You are, of course, obviously upset at the perception that many in this country have that the actions taken by the deranged young man in Tuscon were somehow egged on by uncivil statements from those that would presume themselves to be conservatives. True?

If I am correct, why don't you spend some time, a day or so, reading most comments posted in the newspaper and compare them to your comments today.

Ask yourselves, if in fact, some impartial observer were reading all of these posts, who would they think is most likely to get a gun, and go shoot people that they don't like?

If you are as honest as you infer you are, and all-knowing as you apprently also believe that you are, I'm thinking that you might take a step back and calm down.

Of course, if you don't want to do that, then, on behalf of all right thinking Americans, I would ask you to kindly take your opinions to a landfill as they are, in fact utterly without merit or substance and should only be treated as garbage.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | January 13, 2011 1:39 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, Leftists!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

You forgot a couple:
1.) We (the left/liberals) admitt we started it all and we are truly sorry.
2.) We (the left/liberals), with the evidence we now have, we admitt that the murderer seems much more like a far left radical than a member of the Tea Party or anyone that might be aligned with Palin. In fact, based on what those who know him have said, he sounds more like a Bill Maher or a Keith Olbermann than anything else.

If the left/liberals admitt to this, we can all consider your other points, move on and all is forgotten.

Posted by: commonlogic | January 13, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

How about some of that mental health help for Rainforestrising? I am close to as strongly anti G.O.P. as he is anti Dem, but unless we really are going for a 2nd civil war we had better have a truce. Rain forest do you really want to see fighting in the streets? It sure sounds like it.

Posted by: SETinVA | January 13, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

You know you’ve won the argument when Lawrence changes the subject to ObamaCare Repeal.

/checkmate

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Fine, ANDYO1, do you want to be the one to tell the Secret Service to disarm, or shall I?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin:

'But who makes that kind of argument? "Well, it's fine for me to do it, but not for you." Even if that's what they mean, sort of, they cloak it in terms they can intellectually justify.'

Conservatives. Regular peeps, not leaders. But they will not even address whether these broadcast death threats and murder fantasies from their camp. (I do).

Shoe on other foot: outside of Frum, what conservative leaders criticize death threats and murder fantasies from their camp?

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why these trolls are wasting their time here. The left is not Palin's obstacle to getting the nomination. Their real opponents are in the Republican establishment, as represented by Martin's article at Politico today.

Having said that, I really don't understand why journalists on the left are so eager to do the Republicans work for them. If Howard Dean was running in 2012, would Fox News disqualify his candidacy for Obama? We need to let the Republican establishment deal with Palin, and see if they can manage it without splitting the party.

Posted by: Beeliever | January 13, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

[SETinVA whined: "do you really want to see fighting in the streets? It sure sounds like it."]

Did SETinVA just materialize from some alternate universe?

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

Obama's Leftist "progressives" spent the last DECADE on CNN committing acts of criminal mayhem during their kristalnaght-style, anti-Semitic gutter riots (masquerading as "peace" protests) in support of Islamo-supremacism to achieve their hate-America political agenda. http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame

Yet Leftists now have the temerity to climb up on their hind legs (without a shred of evidence) and howl about (alleged) "violence" from Taxed Enough Already (TEA) ralliers?

This shooter was one of your own. Own him, Leftists.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

as you can see, your points #6 and #7 are mutually cancelling. we can't "agree to disagree" on facts and then expect people to act on those facts. the very definition of the things you ask people to condemn is in dispute. "Condemn this ice cream!" "That's not ice cream, that's a goat, how dare you condemn my goat?! I condemn your condemnation!" etc. etc. etc.

it's the tribe first, rationale second.

Posted by: tatere | January 13, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

[SETinVA puffed: "unless we really are going for a 2nd civil war we had better have a truce... do you really want to see fighting in the streets?"]

That sounds like a threat to resume hostilities.

Don't Leftist have enough blood on their hands?

So progressive.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 13, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

ANDYO1, I seem to recall that Sen. McCain (R-AZ) urged an openly hostile crowd: "No, no. I want everyone to be respectful."

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/11/nation/na-campaign11

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Good article Greg, thanks for writing it.

After reading the commentary (such as it is, heh), I have concluded that there are lots of people who prefer acrimony and anger.

Very unfortunate that. I choose to be civil, and I'm glad you do too.

Cheers,

ZZim.

.

Posted by: ZZim | January 13, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse


Sargent, you wrote:

"...it is fair game to ask people on either side to condemn it when people on their side indulge in paranoia, dishonesty or violent rhetoric and imagery, question the legitimacy of the opposition, or suggest, tacitly or overtly, that those on the other side of the debate must be neutralized or countered by non-democratic means.

Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the left, that the right indulges in this sort of excess far more than the left does,..."


You are joking right?

Just look up all the negative articles and blogs on Palin alone in WaPo , not to mention the rest of the Journolistas, Democratic politicians and liberal pundits. Vilifying the Tea Party movement and writing misinformation (I am being kind) about them.

You also say "..after days of bitter fighting over the meaning of the shooting."

It was the LEFT falsely accusing the RIGHT of the reason for Saturday's tragedy.

It was you and the rest of the Left who were responsible for the "bitter fighting."

You and the Journolistas falsely accused the Right when in fact the cause was the man was deranged and his parents, college and Pima County Police dropped the ball.

The debate should be on how best to have mentally deranged people evaluated and treated before they commit these attrocities and slip threw the cracks.

That's the debate.

But that wouldn't fit the Liberal narrative of blaming everything on the Right and hoping something sticks.

I'm an Independent who once leaned left, opposed Bush, but for the last four years seeing the agenda of Pelosi (whom I used to admire), Reid and now Obama, I am moving further to the right and it is the Left who keep pushing me there.

Posted by: janet8 | January 13, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Some on the Right just cannot get their brains to separate the debate surrounding the shooting as an incident and the request for civil discourse and they cannot seem to get past their victimhood regarding the issue of timing of this request.

I've been unwilling to constantly mention Democrats and Liberals as well, because I. Shouldn't. Have. To. Intelligent people ought to be able to figure that out.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 13, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response and clarification, Greg.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 13, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It's a good list, Greg, but I think there's another element that must be considered...and that's the idea of intent.

Free speech is a guaranteed right, but it's perfectly fair as a society to question those who use violent rhetoric and ask them specifically what their intent is.

I think the media needs to play an important role in this. When a politician or commentator uses gun rhetoric, they should be asked point-blank (pun intended) if they literally mean that people should start shooting up our government.

We have seen Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin both backpedal on their rhetoric to the extent that they tried to explain to the rest of us clueless Americans that they meant something entirely different from what they actually said.

Even though they seem to be getting away with that now, long after the fact, their excuses have been disingenous, at best. When Palin said that "taking up arms" really means taking up votes, I had to laugh. If "arms" actually means votes, then let's all apply that to the 2nd Amendment and agree that the Founders only have us the Constitutional right to bear "votes."

From now on, let's question the intent of every commentator and politician, on both sides of the aisle, when violence is used in their rhetoric or when they use gun symbols and imagery. "Do you literally mean that you want the citizens of your state to be armed with dangerous weapons if they don't agree with a particular law or vote in Congress?" Make them state their actual intention.

Now, of course, these people will claim innocence, and in some ways, it will give them cover in the future if something else horrible happens, but at least it will establish for the record in public discourse that these politicians aren't claiming that their actual intention is to physically harm others or overthrow the government.

Unless, of course, that is their actual intent, and we have seen some evidence of that. There is a small faction in our country that wants armed revolution, and these are the people who have been making Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin millionaires. We have to face this fact and, as a society, reject it flat out. As we've all pointed out, it's dangerous to everyone, including the Republicans.

We're not going to able to make a polite truce with this group of seditionists because their intent is a violent takeover of our goverment. But what we can do is stop accepting the rhetoric that many conservatives are using to fire up these people. It's treasonous, and that is certainly not protected in the Constitution.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually the American people have roundly dismissed the media's disgusting slander:

"Some of the early news coverage of the shootings discussed whether the increasingly inflammatory language used in political debate today could have motivated the shooter to attack the Democratic member of Congress. That theory was put forth by the sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., who argued that conservative thought leaders like Sarah Palin use language that may encourage their supporters to commit acts of violence against their opponents.

Most Americans reject that theory, with 53% agreeing that commentators who allege conservative rhetoric was responsible were mostly attempting to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. "

http://www.gallup.com/poll/145556/Doubt-Political-Rhetoric-Major-Factor-Ariz-Shootings.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_term=Politics

Hacks like Sargent have disgraced themselves. He, along with many others, should resign.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 13, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12:

John McCain did say something once to a lady citizen at a campaign meeting. That was good.

John McCain has had nothing to say, to my knowledge, about broadcast death threats and murder fantasies. I think if he was asked he would attack Markos or Michael Moore and falsely claim they do the same thing. That is a lie.

Who are the conservatives, besides Barlett and Frum, who have publicly criticized the many broadcast death threats and murder fantasies from conservative leaders like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Anne Coulter, etc? Just tell us.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

After reading the commentary (such as it is, heh), I have concluded that there are lots of people who prefer acrimony and anger.

Posted by: ZZim
+++++++++++++

Correct.

Gabby Giffords' husband suggested, on her House website, that those who want to do something contribute to the Tucson Community Food Bank or the American Red Cross.

Imagine if instead of focusing on trying to bludgeon the other side into admitting responsibility for a toxic political climate we devoted energy to accomplishing something for the common good -- like giving blood. (Imagine how many units of blood were used in treating the shooting victims).

I suggested this in a comment a few days ago, and received no response whatsover. The fingerpointing just raged on, as if mining "the internets" for rhetorically "violent" quotes from the political opposition will somehow lead to greater civility.

I don't think a truce is enough. Liberals and conservatives need to find common causes we can work on, if only to do some good in the world and to find some good in each other.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | January 13, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

1) Agreed. I'll do you one better; I'll absolve liberals from creating "a culture of hate" that led to the shooter's actions, since it came out that he was a fan of the Communist Manifesto. I just wanted to put your mind at ease that your kind won't be blamed now that he turned out to be a liberal, because I don't subscribe to the same "logic" that you do. You are welcome.

2) Disagree. It's pretty simple; cultures that tolerate violence will reap political violence. Historically, our culture does not tolerate political violence. After he shot Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth thought if he got into VA, he would be hailed as a hero; instead, the people of the former confederate state were so disgusted with him, they turned him in. Certainly the KKK had moments where it grew large, but its methods ended up being rejected by the vast majority of citizens. Other cultures (Russia, Venezuela, Iran, etc) aren't repulsed by such violence, and it is even encouraged by the state.

3) Disagree. See above.

4) Disagree. I'd be more supportive of delving into mental illness and what should be done with those who have it, since that was the ONLY cause of this shooting.

5) Disagree. First, I'm not abiding by what a liberal defines as "civil discourse." If the president continues to exhibit socialist policies I will continue to refer to him as such. Second, "uncivil discourse" did not lead to this act of violence, and has not led to any significant acts of violence in quite some time in the US. Is the left going to stop hanging Sarah Palin in effigy? Or broadcasting hopes of the demise of Rush Limbaugh? Where you, Mr. Sargent to call out those acts of "uncivil discourse?"

6) Disagree/Not Applicable, since #5 was declined.

7) I challenge Mr. Sargent to prove his thesis. Between, those nuts at Journolist, Dailykos, huffington post, etc, I have a treasure trove of liberal exesses.

8) Disagree. The "unhinged" are just that. They are going to do what makes sense to them, and some writer or talkshow host isn't going to change that. You need to accept the fact that there isn't some underlying reason for the actions of the mentally ill; this is what makes them mentally ill, they act irrationally.
9) Disagree. Your first statement was to absolve conservatives from blame for this particular instance. You then spent the rest of your post trying to set them up to be blamed for "the next one." This is sneaky, dishonest, and unseemly, but it is also something I've come to expect from you.

I reject your truce.

Posted by: octopi213 | January 13, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

After looking at your list again, Greg, I see that you addressed intent quite well in your #6. I would just take it a step further from just asking others to condemn it. I would also include holding the speaker directly accountable for explaining exactly what he or she meant.

And I just read your comment above to Chuck and Mike that WaPo is working on a new system to allow us to flag comments we don't want to have to wade through. All I can say is, GOOD.

You have a great blog and you are an important voice in the media, yet it's clear that some people come here only to try to take over the discourse and drive away thoughtful posters, from both sides of the aisle. Again, clearly a question of intent. ;)

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

elscott -

Yeah, you are right. How dare anyone respond to Sargent's incessant slanders.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 13, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"In the Sullivan universe, there is only one acceptable conservative, and that's him."

Which is to say, the only acceptable chocalate is vanilla.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Bob, you have every right to respond to Greg. What made you think you didn't? What makes you assume that you are not actually considered to be one of the thoughtful commentators from the conservative side?

I personally don't really have time to spend reading and posting on the blogs of journalists who I think should resign.

I'm here because I find Greg to be an insightful and fair commentator. Sure he's progressive, but this newspaper has plenty of conservative bloggers, as well, to satifsy those who don't agree with the Plumline's point of view. I appreciate conservatives who come here to discuss their thoughtful opinion but I don't understand people who come here just to insult Greg or demand his resignation.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi said: "you know you've won an argument when..."

Interesting question, isn't it? How does Kaddafi arrive at the thought or conclusion that he's the "winner" in some argument?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 13, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

elscott said:

"Unless, of course, that is their actual intent, and we have seen some evidence of that. There is a small faction in our country that wants armed revolution, and these are the people who have been making Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin millionaires. We have to face this fact and, as a society, reject it flat out. As we've all pointed out, it's dangerous to everyone, including the Republicans.

We're not going to able to make a polite truce with this group of seditionists because their intent is a violent takeover of our goverment. But what we can do is stop accepting the rhetoric that many conservatives are using to fire up these people. It's treasonous, and that is certainly not protected in the Constitution."

So much for this person's credibility and "civility."

You plainly have no real familiarity with either Beck or Palin. Perhaps you should take a look at Beck's post-shooting open letter as a starting point.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Greg, do you actually get paid to write this nonsense?

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

It's not the right vs. the left or the liberals vs. conservatives. Please acknowledge the growing number of Independents, who think independently.
Thanks!

Posted by: dummy4peace | January 13, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

In all sincerity, do you honestly not understand the implication of saying:

"No conservative commentators, officials or personalities are in any way to blame for the shooting."

...and then beginning your very next statement with "However..."? The "however" can only meaning that what follows it is somehow in tension with what just preceded it. If you did not think, consciously or not, that your second statement is not only connected with, but is somehow in conflict with, or mitigates in some way, your fist statement, you never would have put a "however" there...you would have simply made the statement and let it stand on its own.

Also, you say that "the relationship between political culture and political violence is poorly understood, and we need to know more about such a relationship, if it exists." That may be true, but what does it have to do with the shooting? Obviously (again, with the help of your "however") the implication is that what happened in Tuscon was "political violence" (it wasn't), and therefore its relationship to the political culture is not quite yet understood.

So, to me this is simply another way of saying "OK...we'll agree that no conservatives are to blame, but let's also agree to study the issue further to see if they just might have been to blame in some way not quite fully understood yet.". In other words, your second statement renders your first to sound entirely disingenuous.

I have no idea whether or not this was your intention, but this is precisely what I read your "truce" to be. In other words, not much of one.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 13, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

This is part of what drives me nuts about both sides. They are oblivious to their own warts. I am a conservative, so when a liberal says that it is the right that is disproportionately guilty of extreme language, paranoia, etc... I groan. for every conservative who has made one of those remarks I can match it with a liberal of equal or greater stature who has been just as unfortunate. I can name democratic congressman who have called for the murder of republican candidates, pundits who have denied conservatives legitimacy and so on. The things said about the administration during the Bush years were just as bad as the stuff said now. If we want to get to a more civil debate on the merits of our ideas we have to quit pretending the other side is the reason we are sooo uncivil. Both sides do it!!

Posted by: kttexas06 | January 13, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So RainForestRising (12:24 PM), I take it you're not buying into the idea that there's any value people on all sides of the political spectrum recognizing that we have shared values and interests.

Since you've taken the liberty to speak for EVERYONE IN AMERICA in your post, I'd like to politely point out that I don't remember getting a call from you today to see if it's OK for you to speak for me. As it happens, it's not because you have chosen to make up facts to suit your message.

Let's start with these "fact" about the crowd at the memorial service:

1. "The people in the audience were cheering because they wanted Obama to get a bump in the polls from the killings."

2. The people were showing support for the smear campaign against the Tea Party, and support for Obama who was weathering the backlash."

First, the memorial service was organized by the University of Arizona, not the White House. Second, aside from a small number of seats that were reserved for the family members of victims of the shooting and VIPs, tickets to the event were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Given that Pima County is almost equally divided between Democrats, Republicans, and "Others" and the event was held after work hours, no one could have predicted the political leanings of the crowd. Fourth, Obama spoke after his political polar opposite, Governor Jan Brewer. The crowd applauded fairly consistently during both Brewer's and Obama's remarks. The only point during which there was a marked rise in the level of applause and cheering is when Obama announced that Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time a few hours before and during the few minutes when he was describing courageous acts by people who had been present at the shooting who were present at the Memorial.

Finally, it would have been totally inappropriate for Obama to tell the crowd not to cheer or applaud. He was there as the guest of the university and the state of Arizona. It was therefore up to the president of the university and the governor of the state to set the tone for the event. Both spoke before the president and neither asked the crowd to refrain from applauding or cheering. It would have been the height of arrogance for Obama to imposed ground rules on the crowd during his speech that his hosts had chosen not to impose.

Posted by: exco | January 13, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

OT
There's some wonderful quotes coming out of DeLay and his lawyer re the jury-trial conviction.

From DeLay's lawyer...

*The prosecutors "made the jury hate politicians"*

Here's DeLay after being found guilty by a jury of his peers...

"I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas and, indeed, in the United States...The foreman of the jury was a Greenpeace activist," DeLay went on. "*So, I'm not criticizing the jury.*"

Here's DeLay during the trial...

DeLay told reporters he trusted the jury to acquit him, saying liberals are more empathetic. "I know them like they're my brothers and sisters," he said.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/delay_blames_liberal_jury_for_conviction_video.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: bernielatham | January 13, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"I groan. for every conservative who has made one of those remarks I can match it with a liberal of equal or greater stature who has been just as unfortunate."

OK. You're on.

Take Glenn Beck and his murder fantasy to beat Charlie Rangel to death with a shovel. Or to poison Nancy Pelosi with wine.

Please "match it with a liberal of equal or greater stature who has been just as unfortunate."

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the reason GReg said:

"2) However, the relationship between political culture and political violence is poorly understood, and we need to know more about such a relationship, if it exists. "

Is so that we can have discussions on the subject without someone making charges of "waving the bloody shirt".

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I thought Bush's views on the economy and especially the financial meltdown of 2008 were too influenced by Wall Street. My friends on the left thought I was great and my friends on the right attacked me. I think Obama has been too influenced by advisors with Wall Street connections. My friends on the right agree with me and my friends on the right cannot believe that I am so hostile to Obama.In both instances, I took the same position: Wall Street is too influential. If you want to know we cannot have civil discussions on almost any issue in this country, I have just outlined the problem to you.

Posted by: jeffreed | January 13, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"However, the relationship between political culture and political violence is poorly understood, and we need to know more about such a relationship, if it exists."

We do know that Leftist use bombs to try to kill people and them become college professors, embraced by Left-wing politicians so we do know something about political violence and its roots in Leftist thought.

Posted by: JustJoe3 | January 13, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yikes! John Podhoretz on Palin...

"But here’s the thing. Sarah Palin has become a very important person in the United States. Important people have to speak with great care, because their words matter more than the words of other people. If they are careless, if they are sloppy, if they are lazy about finding the right tone and setting it and holding it, they will cease, after a time, to be important people, because without the discipline necessary to modulate their words, those words will lose their power to do anything but offer a momentary thrill — either pleasurable or infuriating. And then they will just pass on into the ether.

If she doesn’t serious herself up, Palin is on the direct path to irrelevancy. She won’t be the second Ronald Reagan; she’ll be the Republican incarnation of Jesse Jackson."

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/jpodhoretz/386302

Posted by: bernielatham | January 13, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

JustJoe-

Brutus' stabbing of Ceasar-"Leftist" or "Conservative"?

Awaiting your erudite discussion...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 13, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

lms said:

"It doesn't matter how many times you correct the meme that you and apparently all other lefties directly blamed the "armed and dangerous" rhetoric for the shooting, too many people on the right have internalized it. I saw, heard and read any number of people calling for restraint so I'm not sure how this thing got started unless instead of reading actual pieces from bloggers and journalists they were simply reading the comments from the unhinged, of which both sides have too many."

Let me take a shot at it. Here's a place it started:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/assassination-attempt-in-arizona/

Note the time -- witin 2 hours of the shootings, Krugman was asserting that, although we didn't have the proof "yet," it was a right-wing assassination attempt. He was even anticipatorily (and lamely) rebutting arguments that it was something else. Lots of other commentators large and small joined in. Some small fry on this blog asserted that Palin et al specifically intended to incite violence. Dkos and his mob of crazies said essentially the same thing.

And it worked. Within hours, the national media were connecting the dots, identifying Giffords has a Democrat targetted by Palin's sinister "cross hairs" map. Sheriff Dipstik was flapping his big mouth accusing conservatives, and even people like Bernie were here defending him as speaking with special authority on the causal connection between discourse and violence. What other message was anyone supposed take from all this?

Greg said not a word about any of it until it began to become clear it was all a monstrous lie. And, yes, it's true that he did not "directly" claim that Palin et al caused the shootings. But what he did was try to have it both ways. He tried to forward (see whose word I borrowed there?) the accusation while denying that he was doing so. He temporized, in a way that was transparently calculated to continue the accusation but cloak it in plausible deniability, saying, in substance, "I'll stipulate that Palin et al didn't 'directly' cause the shootings, but we must still investigate whether they created a 'climate' that 'contributed' to them or 'triggered' the killer to kill."

These were and are meaningless distinctions. It isn't really complicated or difficult to figure out.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

this guy usually has an inkiling of common sense. but this article shows proof positive that leftists are incapable of seeing the monster they've created. by saying hte first commandment that no commontators blah,blah,blah -- its true no commontators did lead to the shooting. but you think they did and its not the lefties and commies you blame its us the christians on the right. you're still saying we did this even though the shooter is one of you. dont try marriage counseling. just get back to kissing obamas butt that's what you do best.

Posted by: harbinger317 | January 13, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Please amend your 7. to:

7) Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the RIGHT, that the LEFT indulges in this sort of excess far more than the RIGHT does, some people on the LEFT appear to believe in good faith that this is hogwash. So while each side will hold to their views in this regard, we may as well agree to disagree on this point, at least temporarily, as long as people pursue No. 6 in good faith, which is the paramount goal.

Posted by: pvilso24 | January 13, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm not too bright. Your first statement is that there's no relationship between conservative talk and this murder. Then you spend the rest of your article wanting to discuss the fine points of a relationship that doesn't exist.

This is a serious question: do you have use of all your faculties, Sargent?

Why not ask if I've stopped beating my wife?

Posted by: Cdgaman | January 13, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

exco, we will have to agree to disagree then. I saw (and still have on tape) the LOUDEST cheering of the night after Obama ended and sat down. To be honest, it looked like he realized it went over the top as he sat there. I will go back tonight and time it for for you.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Atwater/Rove scorched earth politics almost got the Republicans their 'permanent majority', AKA the death of democracy in the US. There is just no way they will EVER surrender the 'tap the rage' political strategy when they came so close the last time.

Posted by: aartmann112004 | January 13, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

In response to this:
===========
Finally, it would have been totally inappropriate for Obama to tell the crowd not to cheer or applaud
====================

No, it would not have been inappropriate. In fact the tone of the ceremony is typically set by the first speaker. A proper invocation, that speaks to the solemnity of the occasion would have served well.

It seems to me that Obama could easily have included something to the effect that "this is a solemn ceremony and and opportunity for sober reflection" He didn't and I'm not criticizing the speech. I'm merely pointing out that such a conditioning of the audience is perfectly acceptable.

Ed McMahon conditioned Johnny Carson's audience for decades.

The real shame of this is the boorish behavior of the kids themselves. Reared properly a person of that age should have known the proper behavior for a such a solemn event. I guess that few of them attend church.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's a thought --

Let's have a National Day of Retraction and invite every politician and every commentator, on both sides of the poltiical spectrum, to make amends and correct any public statement they have made in the past that infers violence, killing, political overthrow, or that uses violent or gun-related rhetoric or imagery.

It's all a matter of public record. It's not difficult to find these examples. And after everyone has had a chance to clear the air and say what they really meant, we'll start fresh from here and stop the pointless bickering.

Anyone who has engaged in this type of destructive rhetoric in the past and who refuses to particpate in this national day of verbal redemption can be assumed to have meant exactly what their words or images implied.

And from that day forward, we all attempt to hold our public officials and commentators -- on both sides of the political spectrum -- accountable for the intent of their language.

That might just be one small step toward trying to become the country that little Christina imagined America to be.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

I'll reserve a more definitive response to this post, while for now noting that those who've pointed out a fundamental contradiction between 1 and 2-8 are correct. And, btw, 9 appears obviously untrue, because 2-8 are indeed what it says they aren't.

But why don't you give us a demonstration of how all this investigation and discussion and evaluation would be done. I have a feeling you really have no idea.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

harbniger:

"you're still saying we did this"

No, I don't think that's a reasonable conclusion. We are asking you, especially your leaders, to please stop promoting murder, even if you say you are only joking about the murder.

And don't excuse it by pointing to some obscure individual on the Dem side who wrote a diary or comment. Or by getting outrage and making unsubstantiated claims like:

"for every conservative who has made one of those remarks I can match it with a liberal of equal or greater stature who has been just as unfortunate."

Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Eric Erickson, etc openly discuss or broadcast murder fantasies, and other calls for violence in shocking terms. not remarks, but major parts of their show.

It would be nice if a conservative could a) say those statements were wrong, and b) could show statements from people of equal or greater stature on the left.

Instead of, you know, hurling insults.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

skip writes...

"In fact the tone of the ceremony is typically set by the first speaker. A proper invocation, that speaks to the solemnity of the occasion would have served well."

Perhaps, skip, you didn't see the entire memorial? President Obama was the last speaker of the evening. The tone of the ceremony had already been well established by the time he spoke, which was almost an hour after it began.

If anyone should have established the tone you would have preferred to see, it would have been the Preident of the University, who was the host and Master of Ceremonies, or Governor Jan Brewer, who was the first public official to make remarks.

It's just silly to try to criticize the President for the reaction of the invited audience of an event that was held in a basketball gymnasium. This was an event sponsored by the University of Arizona, and President Obama was simply one of many guests and dignitaries who spoke.

He had enough to do last night without being expected to be the Scolder-in-Chief to a large group of college kids. And if you've ever had children, you'll know that they often grieve in a different way than we do, and express their emotions differently from adults.

I don't think it's right to judge the way these young people expressed their grief or their attempt to heal their community.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's see how long WashPost columnists can refrain from calling conservatives
racists
stupid
cruel
Before any columnists take the pledge not to use these words, remember that the House will repeal Obamacare next week and soon thereafter will cut the budget.

Be careful what you promise.

Posted by: jfv123 | January 13, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I have to confess that when I heard about the shooting one of my first thoughts after digesting what had happened was, "Glenn Beck's career is over."

And I am fairly certain that Glenn Beck did as well, as he revealed that the first thing he did was to call his staff telling them not to talk about it.

When it turned out the shooter was an apolitical nut, unlike the congresswoman, Beck dodged a bullet there.

But as for this proposed spirit of conviviality, no way the likes of Beck et al embraces it. No way.

Muckraking is how they make their money and it's simply not in their best interest to change.

Serious people on the left and right should mind what they say, and try not to be dragged down to the level of their respective fringes.

But on the right, unlike the left - the problem is fringes make tons of money and have much louder bullhorns.

Posted by: GavinM | January 13, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama is now an "obscure individual"?! What about his "bring a gun" comment, or that Pennsylvania Dem who specifically named Gov. Scott of Florida in "put him against a wall and shoot him"?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

ChuckinDenton writes: Brutus' stabbing of Ceasar-"Leftist" or "Conservative"?

Awaiting your erudite discussion...
------------------------------------------

A Leftist changing the subject and attacking? How very predictable!

What's step 2 in your Alinsky Bible?

Posted by: JustJoe3 | January 13, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It is a bit disconcerting that the rants of RainForestRising in this discussion sound a lot like the illogical and nonsensical ravings of Jared Loughner.

Posted by: WallisM | January 13, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think it's right to judge the way these young people expressed their grief or their attempt to heal their community."

They weren't expressing grief or trying to heal anything. They were treating it as an Obama campaign rally.

Skip as usual is right on. It was appallingly inappropriate. Obama's body language and facial expressions said he thought the same thing. At least until he decided to go with it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

It is a bit disconcerting that the rants of RainForestRising in this discussion sound a lot like the illogical and nonsensical ravings of Jared Loughner.

Posted by: WallisM | January 13, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Greg,

You seem to have struck a raw nerve in alot of people by proposing conciliation. That is proof it's a good start.

The next step is to move away from the silly liberal/conservative paradigm through which all politics is now sifted. Not only does it not reflect the true nature of our polity it prevents people from seeing and thinking clearly. One poster above felt he was accused of being an excessory to 6 murders by the WP and all 3 major networks. Now from what I saw on the WP (didn't watch the network coverage but knowing how they operate it seems extremely unlikely) I saw a few people pointing fingers at the likes of Beck and Palin for creating a toxic environment. But overall and this includes the editorial board it was nothing of the kind. If someone whose a liberal/conservative makes an outragous stmt that person is responsible for that stmt not the entire universe of liberals or conseratives. That kind of thinking (or total lack of thinking) is unproductive and pointless and creates unending hostility.

Good post Greg. I don't usually like you. Keep it up.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 13, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"What about his "bring a gun" comment,"

That is a pretty standard figure of speech used often in politics. Nonetheless, I suspect he regrets it. He did not fantasize about shooting anyone.

"or that Pennsylvania Dem who specifically named Gov. Scott of Florida in "put him against a wall and shoot him"?"

That was a stupid statement, whoever said it. They should retract and apologize.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 13, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

quarterback, I certainly and sincerely hope you have nothing to grieve for in your life, and at the sad moment that you might, I hope no one is there to judge the way you express your grief. No one should be ridiculed in that fashion.

One might categorize this memorial as more akin to a wake than an actual funeral. That appears to be the way the university intended it.

I have advanced degrees in communicatinos and have taught several different courses at major unversities that focused on public speaking in all different kinds of settings, body language, nonverbal communication, etc. So I trust that you won't judge my credibity or my civility when I say that your comments are .....pretty much nonsensical. ;)

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Oops, sorry. I was only specifically referring to your comments about communication, public speaking, and nonverbal body language.

On any of your other comments, I have no professional credibility to make any judgments.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

#2 is false.

There is no evidence of any "relationship between political culture and political violence".

It isn't an open question.

Posted by: asudnik | January 13, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Greg there are so many of us that would love to see our politicians debate honestly and for the good of all the people but just look at people like rianforest - - it really seem hopeless when all you get is NO...

Posted by: Hawkestreet1 | January 13, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I will say it again.

I don't want civility. I want insanity. I want MORE violent rhetoric, MORE vitriol, MORE discord.

I want riots and rock throwing. Shootings and suicide bombs. I want this country to be reduced to the landscape of an unfolding nightmare of epic proportions that could only be dreamt of by a guilt-stricken Russian on the verge of insanity (read Crime and Punishment).

Conservatives reject a truce. WONDERFUL! Show us liberals what you've got! Lets get it on. Let the games begin. World War III Armageddon here we come. YEEAAAH!

but..
If you choose to go the boring route, let "reason" and "understanding" rule the day, be the bigger person when the other side tries to play the blame game, and all that rot, well fine. Ruin my good time. Phooey on you.

Woulda been more fun my way...

Posted by: ashtar377 | January 13, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank you very much QB1!!

Elsecott, I am specifically NOT criticizing Obama. I merely disagreeing with the notion that it would have been improper for him to state that applause and cheering is inappropriate.

My point is simple and straightforward: the tone of solemnity could have been set, and re enforced easily. Obama could have easily included language about behavior at the ceremony. He didn't and that's that.

I've seen politicians, even some that I despise, rise to this type of occasion. I clearly recall the memorial service for the 14 Marines killed in the original assault on Haditha. These guys were all from districts represented by dyed in the wool liberals, including Dennis Kuchinich. Yet their speeches were devoid of politics while setting a tone of both solemn rememberance and fond memory. There was not a dry eye in the place.

Now I must admit that the audience was different. And that is my second point: the kids needed coaching and they didn't get it. They got a t shirt instead.

and no I didn't watch it. I don't watch TV. It is just that simple.

an invocation that set the tone of solemnity and reverence a tone of ceremony and sober reflection was in order. That didn't happen and the audience behavior was the net result.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 13, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Not a chance Greg, you already tipped your hand in #7. You and the rest of the MSM liberals will never admit your were wrong in your rush to accuse. That's why those in the middle will only trust you as far as we can kick you.

Posted by: je121819 | January 13, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

ANDYO1, I agree they should apologize. You will also admit now that krtexas06 (not harbinger317 as you seemingly cited) made a valid point ("for every conservative who has made one of those remarks, I can match it with a liberal of equal or greater stature who has been just as unfortunate") that is clearly substantiated, right?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

JustJoe-

If I have to explain....

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 13, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

skip, we'll just to agree to disagree about this.

I know we don't agree on much at all. Maybe you have a dog you love very much? Maybe you like chocolate? Maybe we could fiind some common ground on at least those 2 areas?

It's just that I don't understand why some conservatives must find something to fault with every single thing President Obama does. I understand that you said you weren't criticizing the speech. But yet you had to find something you thought he should have done differently, and it was important enough to you to publicly call him out on what you thought he did wrong.

I understand you don't like or agree with him. I didn't much like or agree with George W. Bush. But I didn't find fault with the way he comforted the nation after 9/11. I'm sure there were things he could have, or should have, done better in his address to the nation or his demeanor on the occasion. But the scope of the tragedy, and the enormity of the weight on his shoulders to comfort a grieving nation, transcended my dislike of him. I was deeply touched when he choked up in the Oval Office about the effect of the tragedy on the children who were effected.

So my question to you, and to others here who agree with you... would have to be this....what do you despise so much about our President that you can't even find it within yourself to leave him alone after a moment like last night? He was truly grieving, and he did the best he could in a difficult situation.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Are liberals really this oblivious, or do they just think that the rest of us are? They yammer and preen about civility. Who said the following: 1) "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun", 2) GOP victory would mean "hand to hand combat", 3) "I want you to argue with them and get in their face". Who? Who said that, you liberals? And Sargent is just priceless, just like every other lib. Item 1 in his list--conservatives aren't to blame. Item 7--yeah, but you and I both know they are. I'm asking you liberals a question--are you really this oblivious?

Posted by: kbarker302 | January 13, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

elscott said:

"I have advanced degrees in communicatinos and have taught several different courses at major unversities that focused on public speaking in all different kinds of settings, body language, nonverbal communication, etc. So I trust that you won't judge my credibity or my civility when I say that your comments are .....pretty much nonsensical. ;)"

Good for you, but you assume incorrectly. I have an advanced degree plus many years of working with communications (and others) based on which I make a decent living largely by communicating and understanding others' communications and responses. And even more importantly I've lived on this planet in this society for almost 50 years, which gives me all the experience I needed last night in interpreting basic body language and facial expressions to see that Obama was a bit discomfited by the audience behavior.

I assume that, with your advanced education and university experience, your keen senses picked up on the subtle fact that Obama very deliberately did not smile at all when he took the podium and finally called for quiet. He looked sober while listening to the other speakers as well. And several times while speaking he subtly but obviously tried to quell the cheers and applause and restore some solemnity. (Like Skip, I think he should have been a litle firmer, but I don't fault him too much, and a tiger can't change its stripes. The man loves adulation.)

When I say this was obvious here I mean that it was obvious to anyone with basic social communication skills that he was, on the fly, trying to walk a fine balance between restoring some solemnity and not overbearing his adoring fans.
Then after a while, especially when he got to the more "uplifting" parts of the speech, he got a little more comfortable with the crowd's demeanor.

If you didn't see any of this and consider it "nonsensical," despite your lofty credentials for judging such matters, then I'm afraid you wasted your money and time gaining them, and robbed the students you've taught with them, because it was obvious to anyone with normal even though uncredentialed social and communicative faculties.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

should have said "communications experts (and others"

dangit

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

elscott has advanced degrees in communication but doesn't even realize I'm complimenting Obama.

Remarkable.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed this part of elscott's comment again:

"quarterback, I certainly and sincerely hope you have nothing to grieve for in your life, and at the sad moment that you might, I hope no one is there to judge the way you express your grief. No one should be ridiculed in that fashion."

elscott, this is what I would call misplaced condescension, which I'm surprised someone like you would think is a good communications strategy. You don't appear to know what ridicule is, nor have noticed that the raucous behavior last night was by some thousands of university students, not those grieving their lost.

But thanks for your insincere wishes.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

you got your answer from the wingnuts greggy,,avoid those political rallies the next two years,,the flakes posting will be carrying like their ultra deepcover assassin with the smile,of course hes not ours etc.

Posted by: schmidt1 | January 13, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

quarterback, I'm glad to see you using your experience and expertise to actually praise the President for handling a difficult public speaking venue.

Unless you have ever spoken to a crowd in the tens of thousands, you can't really understand the nuances and intricacies of that form of public speaking.

I suppose your keen social communication skills missed the facetious wink I gave you when I pronounced you "nonsensical." I keep forgetting that many conservatives are too angry and too tightly wound to notice or appreciate teasing. And, yes, I was teasing you about your previous slam on my character and credibility.

As for your most recent insults, I'm just going to ignore those because if after your 50 years of social communication you haven't learned to disagree without personal attacks then I'm afraid you're not going to change your stripes, either.

Have a nice evening.

Posted by: elscott | January 13, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg, when you read the comments here from all the usual suspects it is difficult not to come to the conclusion that these people do not want civil discourse. They do not want bi-partisanship. They do not want to get rid of the mad tone of our recent right wing political discourse. Because they love it! For them it is a kind of entertainment, like watching kick-boxing or cock fighting. These people will not act like the rest of us, and to try to bring them to the table is hopeless.

Posted by: gposner | January 13, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@MikeinArlington-

"I still don't get why your company doesn't grow a pair and enforce some rules around here."

Co-sign.

Highly recommend quarterback1 | January 13, 2011 6:17 PM

Posted by: Whazzis | January 13, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Greg, but I'm not buying either, but I'm keeping an open mind (the most basic definition of liberality, by the way). If you can show me one single incident of mainstream democrats:

Calling for "second ammendment solutions" if their candidates do not succeed in the legitimate electoral process.

Stomping on the head of a peaceful demonstrator against a political candidate.

Encouraging supporters to come to a campaign fundraising event where, for a contribution they are encouraged to fire a machine gun.

Find nothing wrong with supporters of their ideological position showing up at a town hall meeting brandishing weapons.

Any takers?

Actually, I am aware of two isolated instances of questionable by

Posted by: cucullen0 | January 13, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent ran out of I-hate-Palin material. Time to call a truce until he can think of more insults to throw out.

Posted by: diehardlib | January 13, 2011 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Nice thought, Greg, but "Conservatives" (I'm trying to be civil) have two basic trains of thought:

1. They can not now, never have nor never will, accept the reality that America elected Obama President.

2. Anyone and everyone different from them by race, religion, language, skin color or sexual orientation are sub-humans who should have no Constitutional rights.

As long as they cling to these ideas, there is no hope for civility. Somehow they delusionally believe if they bully enough, the "marxist, socialist, Mexican, Muslim, gay, non-believing, bedwetting" liberals will finally cave in. It's simply not going to happen.

Posted by: areyousaying | January 13, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It is a bit disconcerting that the rants of RainForestRising in this discussion sound a lot like the illogical and nonsensical ravings of Jared Loughner.

Posted by: WallisM

...make one wonder if he is yet another nutjob packing a Glock with 30 round clips (for hunting Bambi, of course).

Posted by: areyousaying | January 13, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Greg, I'm not buying either, but I am keeping an open mind (the most basic definition of liberality, by the way) if you can show me one single incident of a mainstream democrat (or their supporters):

Calling for "second amendment solutions" if their candidates do not succeed in the legitimate electoral process;

Stomping on the head of a peaceful demonstrator against a political candidate;

Encouraging supporters to come to a campaign fundraising event where, for a contribution, they are encouraged to fire a machine gun as did Rep Griff0rds' most recent republican opponent;

Find nothing wrong with supporters of their ideological position showing up at a town hall meeting brandishing weapons;

Repeatedly use gun and shooting metaphors like,"don't retreat, reload"

to name but a few of the uses of violent imagery, actions and words emanating, not from rabid-right wing zealots, but mainstream republican candidates and their supporters.

Actually, I am aware of two isolated instances of questionable imagery and language used by mainstream Democrats which should be condemned.

The first was the political ad by then-Governor Joe Manchin in which he blatanly pandered to potential voters of the Tea Party persuasion by firing a rifle at a copy of the Comprehensive
Health Care Reform Act of 2009.

The other was when Barak Obama, early in his run for the White House, quoted a line from the the movie "The Untouchables" about prohibition-era Chicago, "if they come at you with a knife, you come back with a gun."

I think those examples of imagery are indefensible and believe those two democratic politicians who used them should apologize.

Any republicans/conservatives/tea party types think THEIR candidates should apologize for their any of their imagery or actions?

I doubt it.

Posted by: cucullen0 | January 13, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

The "problem" of the "tone" of discourse is irresolvable, owing to the parameters that liberals, generally without even being consciously aware, place on the outcomes.

Sargent like many liberals, in a rather self-congratulatory piece, calls for "honest and civil" discussion. The unfortunate, inescapable reality is that people today are incapable of accepting disagreement(s) and, in many cases, the more "honest" a discussion is, the more it will offend the sensibilities of one (usually the liberal) or both parties.

Specifically, liberals have a truly mind-warping definition of civil discourse, that being "agreement". When discussing a topic with a liberal, you will be branded as uncivil ("disagreeable") practically from the moment you reveal yourself as not being in complete and total agreement. Just a few examples today, in answering the factual claims of liberal posters, I have been charged with posting "rhetoric", or being "smug", which I now understand as a liberal's way of saying "I don't have any good response to the gaping factual and logical holes in my opinions, that you have drawn attention to, so I am going to call you names."

This phenomenon is obviously a product of culture that exists at our institutions of higher learning, and is forcibly being spread down, to high schools and lower; being taught what to think, WHAT IS RIGHT, rather than how to think, how to decide for yourself the difference between right and wrong.

How I long for the days of the French salons, when, as I understand it, a person could give their opinion, and when he/she was done, another could stand forward and say "I'm afraid I have to completely disagree with you, and here's why", without the kind of howling that something like that brings today. Take note that the era I speak of was the most active and productive, intellectually, in all of human history.

Posted by: mmwatch | January 13, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Greg, I'm not buying either, but I am keeping an open mind (the most basic definition of liberality, by the way) if you can show me one single incident of a mainstream democrat (or their supporters):

Calling for "second amendment solutions" if their candidates do not succeed in the legitimate electoral process;

Stomping on the head of a peaceful demonstrator against a political candidate;

Encouraging supporters to come to a campaign fundraising event where, for a contribution, they are encouraged to fire a machine gun as did Rep Griff0rds' most recent republican opponent;

Find nothing wrong with supporters of their ideological position showing up at a town hall meeting brandishing weapons;

Repeatedly use gun and shooting metaphors like,"don't retreat, reload"

to name but a few of the uses of violent imagery, actions and words emanating, not from rabid-right wing zealots, but mainstream republican candidates and their supporters.

Actually, I am aware of two isolated instances of questionable imagery and language used by mainstream Democrats which should be condemned.

The first was the political ad by then-Governor Joe Manchin in which he blatanly pandered to potential voters of the Tea Party persuasion by firing a rifle at a copy of the Comprehensive
Health Care Reform Act of 2009.

The other was when Barak Obama, early in his run for the White House, quoted a line from the the movie "The Untouchables" about prohibition-era Chicago, "if they come at you with a knife, you come back with a gun."

I think those examples of imagery are indefensible and believe those two democratic politicians who used them should apologize.

Any republicans/conservatives/tea party types think THEIR candidates should apologize for any of their imagery or actions?

I doubt it.

Posted by: cucullen0 | January 13, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

exco, after reviewing the tape (Obama clearly suppressed a smile at all of the cheering when he first took the podium, which is why he didn't stop it right then and there), the final cheering lasted exactly 46 seconds (only the college president and choir director saved him from more applause). Have you ever heard of "Wellstone Memorial"? No wonder Speaker Boehner didn't go. Maybe you should review the history books about that before we discuss further.

At today's Press Briefing, even Gibbs admitted (when asked "about the pep rally aspect and tone of the event last night"): "I read the speech several times and thought that there wouldn't be a lot of applause, if any.". According to the White House's own transcript, there were 54 instances of applause.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the left, that the right indulges in this sort of excess far more than the left does, some people on the right appear to believe in good faith that this is hogwash. So while each side will hold to their views in this regard, we may as well agree to disagree on this point, at least temporarily"

-----------------------------------------

"Though the evidence seems overwhelming"

That says it all Greg. The evidence only seems overwhelming in your liberal bubble. But Gallup has pointed out that your liberal bubble consists of only 20% of the population.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/141032/2010-conservatives-outnumber-moderates-liberals.aspx

We have watched over the years liberals rioting, protesting, making movies about the assassination of President Bush. While we are on the subject of Bush...maybe you have forgotten the insane demonizing and hate poured out on him. What about the hundreds if not thousands of death threats Sarah Palin has received.

"some people on the right ~appear~ to believe in good faith that this is hogwash"

One would think that you and the Post are now trying to offer an Olive Branch with thorns. Trying to promote your agenda under yet another disguise.

Sorry Greg but I accuse you and the Post of yellow journalism in the name of your minority political agenda.


Posted by: Straightline | January 13, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Though the evidence seems overwhelming, at least to those on the left, that the right indulges in this sort of excess far more than the left does, some people on the right appear to believe in good faith that this is hogwash. So while each side will hold to their views in this regard, we may as well agree to disagree on this point, at least temporarily"

-----------------------------------------

"Though the evidence seems overwhelming"

That says it all Greg. The evidence only seems overwhelming in your liberal bubble. But Gallup has pointed out that your liberal bubble consists of only 20% of the population.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/141032/2010-conservatives-outnumber-moderates-liberals.aspx

We have watched over the years liberals rioting, protesting, making movies about the assassination of President Bush. While we are on the subject of Bush...maybe you have forgotten the insane demonizing and hate poured out on him. What about the hundreds if not thousands of death threats Sarah Palin has received.

"some people on the right ~appear~ to believe in good faith that this is hogwash"

One would think that you and the Post are now trying to offer an Olive Branch with thorns. Trying to promote your agenda under yet another disguise.

Sorry Greg but I accuse you and the Post of yellow journalism in the name of your minority political agenda.


Posted by: Straightline | January 13, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

cucullen0, allow me to add a third example to your vast knowledge:

Ex-Rep Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) said of Florida Gov. Rick Scott that we should "put him against the wall and shoot him."

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 8:31 PM | Report abuse

More examples:

Even before [George W.] Bush was elected president, the kill-Bush talk and imagery started. When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words "SNIPERS WANTED." Six years later, Bill Maher, the comedian-pundit, was having a conversation with John Kerry. He asked the senator what he had gotten his wife for her birthday. Kerry answered that he had taken her to Vermont. Maher said, "You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone." (New Hampshire is an early primary state, of course.) Kerry said, "Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone." (This is the same Kerry who joked in 1988, "Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they're to shoot Quayle.") Also in 2006, the New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi, spoke to graduating students at Queens College. He said that his fellow Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

I will agree with everything but #7.

The whole argument "most of it is coming from..."
sounds to me like what I hear on the elementary school playground when Bobby cries out "But Ms.Smith!!! Ricky is a MUCH bigger bully than I am! You should be punishing HIM, not me."

The argument doesn't work in kindergarten.
It oesn't work here.
And if YOU, Mr.Plum , or any of your progressive friends continue to put forth this argument.
I guess we are just going to have tosay "Bobby, Ricky being a bigger bully than you does not mean YOU can be a bully."
And then give you progressives a time-out and let mature adults govern for a while.

Posted by: chromenhawk | January 13, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

(cont.)

"Death of a President" was a 2006 "documentary" film recording the assassination of George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President, on 19 October 19, 2007, in Chicago, Illinois.

You liberals sure seem to have forgotten all about these re: "most of it coming from the right."

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Bill Mahr says no one in Congress ever said "kill Bush". Only the right does it?! Anderson Cooper let him off easy.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 13, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12 wrote:

...allow me to add a third example to your vast knowledge:

Ex-Rep Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) said of Florida Gov. Rick Scott that we should "put him against the wall and shoot him."

...When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words "SNIPERS WANTED."

Kerry said,"...I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone."

AND
"...the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they're to shoot Quayle."

...New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi...said...Charles Schumer, would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."

Hmmm, clawrence, that's more than one by my liberal counting methods, but that's OK.

For your first example, let's get the full quote on the table, viz:

"That Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida, instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida. He's a millionaire and a billionaire. He's no hero. He's a damn crook. It's just we don't prosecute big crooks."

Despite the fact that he was expressing outrage over someone who walked away with billions of swindled taxpayer dollars (yet is still a darling of the right because he uses the correct, anti- "big government" rhetoric), Kanjorski's remarks deserve condemnation.

Kilborn's remark was offensive and deserves condemnation. Has he run for office as a democrat? Perhaps you can enlighten all of us on that.

Not to sound too tit for tat, but I recall that during the Clinton administration, a very popular souvenir at the Virginia state GOP convention was a "where is Lee Harvey Oswald when you really need" T-shirt. When pressed about such an item would be sold openly at such a venue, a spokesperson said it was "just a joke."

A good case can be made that Kilborn should also be condemned for plagiarism.

If, indeed, Kerry made the remarks in question, they should be condemned. He should apologize.

EX-New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to a felony corruption charge on October 7, 2010. What he said about another politician is, in my view, highly suspect. I do not view his remarks as being relevant to this conversation. Neither would I vote for him for Florida governor. (Why is it that republican crooks always seem better at it than their democratic counterparts? More practice?)

Death of a President, a work of fiction, was by a British team. I've never seen it, but understand that it portrays a fictional assassination and possible cover-up, a la what many people believe occurred after the Kennedy assassination. Attempting to limit fiction about political events is, to my mind, highly problematic.

So how about you? Anything at all to say about ANY inflammatory language from the right?

Posted by: cucullen0 | January 14, 2011 1:21 AM | Report abuse

"Unless you have ever spoken to a crowd in the tens of thousands, you can't really understand the nuances and intricacies of that form of public speaking."

Ah, the old "you wouldn't understand" dodge.

This creates some interesting conundrums, since no one can understand without having done it. Thus, if you are saying that being able to speak before a large audience is beyond the ken of anyone who hasn't already done it, then we would have to conclude that no one can do it and hence no one has ever done it.

Similarly, since speaking before a large audience is a different form of communication than any other and cannot be understood by those who haven't done it, we would have to conclude that the audience itself is unfamiliar with these communication methods and so cannot understand. The body language, expressions, and vocal inflections and rhetorical techniques can only be understood by the speaker.

I have a fair amount of professional speaking training and have worked with numerous communications PhDs. I am calling bs.

As for your credibility, your previous remarks about Palin, Beck and the treasonous masses speak for themselves.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 14, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Where did you run off to Greg? You called me a liar and I showed my evidenced to the contrary.

Typical lib coward.

Posted by: illogicbuster | January 14, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

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