Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 3:57 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Paul Begala to right wing: Why so defensive about Arizona shooting?

By Greg Sargent

Paul Begala -- who was in the trenches with Bill Clinton in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing and remembers how quickly the promises of civility vanished -- gets in touch to say that he hopes Dems and Republicans alike do a much better job this time around of showing some restraint in the wake of the Arizona shooting.

Begala has a simple question for those on the right: Why are you reacting so badly to those who are insisting that we all exercise some judgment going forward?

In making this point, Begala held himself up as example number one.

Begala relates that a few months back, he joked on the Stephen Colbert show that Dems should smack John Boehner with a shovel "upside his orange head." But he now says he shouldn't have said any such thing.

"That was wrong -- now I really regret it," Begala says. "Now that I think about it in a different context, I think, `That wasn't very funny."

"Any person who has a megaphone also has an obligation to show some judgment," Begala continued.

Begala marveled at the angry and defensive reaction on the right to those who have been making the same point. This is particularly odd, given that some conservatives have been going a lot farther than Begala did with his shovel joke, talking up the possibility of armed revolution and hinting at Barack Obama's illegitimacy as president.

"What has been striking has been their defensiveness and lack of introspection," Begala said of right wing commentators. "Even if this was simply the delusional act of a madman, there's no harm in reassessing, by saying, `Holy smokes, what are we doing here?'"

Sage words.

By Greg Sargent  | January 10, 2011; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Calls for `civility' generally prove short-lived
Next: Happy Hour Roundup

Comments


FLORIDA


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

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


Hundreds of thousands of people died that time.

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


Time to STOP PROVOKING PEOPLE,

Time to respect the Will of the American people


Time to stop TWISTING MANDATES


Time to stick to what you say during the Campaign.


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


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"'Any person who has a megaphone also has an obligation to show some judgment,'Begala continued."

Fair enough, I guess, but (a) it was the Colbert show, some of that stuff is meant to provoke a reaction and (b) I'm not going to confuse that with a call to actually hurt someone by hitting them with a shovel.

But, a reflection on toning it down is always a good thing. We can communicate ideas and debate policy without talking about armed revolution or hitting people with shovels.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 10, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Why so offensive about Sarah Palin?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It's not just that, Greg - Sheriff Dupnik is being made a "leftist" by many on the right already as well for his comments during the press conference. But has everyone noticed that Dupnik never once mentioned the tea party, Republicans, conservatives or the right wing, in anything he said?

Wonder why they're reacting so strongly and immediately to Dupnik's comments about his state, and the state of our rhetoric? Why do they assume it's about them?

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

HA! That's hilarious.

Translated: The Obamateur is no slick Willy.

The shooter is all yours, Leftists. Own him.

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

To Begala:


You ask why so defensive???


- Because of the FALSE CHARGES of RACISM which have been pushed by the democrats over the past two years, PUSHED LIKE DRUG DEALERS.


- also, because your former boss, Bill Clinton, decided he was going to try to score political points with the right as a result of the OK City bombing


- So the LEFT has a history of FALSELY ATTACKING and trying to take POLITICAL ADVANTAGE OF SUCH SITUATIONS.


So, you question is actually an attempt to create a deception.


YOU KNOW PERFECTLY WELL WHY. We are onto your garbage.

.

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

""Any person who has a megaphone also has an obligation to show some judgment," Begala continued."

Yes.

ANY person.

ALL politicians have to show proper judgment.

And that includes standing up to -- and speaking out against -- incendiary rhetoric, and particularly incendiary rhetoric from entertainers who aren't elected to serve anybody.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is wrong with exercising more judgement. The problem is that the left is conflating all that with accusations of causality. If you denounce those who suggest that rhetoric caused the shooting then we can talk about civility, just as we could have discussed it the day before the shooting. But this tragedy is not about incivility and you cannot make it so because you say it is so. So we're asking you, why now? What are you suggesting?

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

@TPM:

Just out from Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-CO) office ...

"We can confirm that there was a threat against Senator Bennet's office and that the FBI working with the Capitol Police have arrested the individual responsible for the threat. Per their advice, we are referring inquiries related to this matter to the Capitol Police. Michael has full confidence in the law enforcement agencies handling the case and remains focused on his job serving the people of Colorado."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Honestly


Obama will never be able to "pull off the garbage" that Clinton was able to.


That includes this situation.

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

@swinkler: "those who suggest that rhetoric caused the shooting then we can talk about civility"

Nobody is saying that.

NOBODY.

Come prepared with facts or take your bs propaganda somewhere else.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

There is a strain of the infantile in our political talk which involves refusal to consider the consequences, refusal to take responsibility, and always looking to shift the blame. And as you know if you've raised a child, appeals to reason rarely penetrate.

I expect we will see ample evidence in the comments.

Posted by: j3hess | January 10, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, here's a bit of good news:

"Fox News CEO Roger Ailes said that he has told his network to "tone it down" in the wake of the shooting in Arizona, and that he hopes the "other side" will do so as well.

Ailes' comments appeared in a conversation with Russell Simmons that was published on Simmons' website, Global Grind. He said that any attempts to connect Fox News or the Tea Party to the shooting were "bullshit," and that "both sides" were responsible for extreme rhetoric.

But Ailes did say that he had issued a warning to Fox News staff.

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Ailes said. You don't have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

-Lawmaker Urges Ban on Clips Linked to Shooting-

A longtime Senate gun control advocate announced plans Monday to introduce legislation banning high-capacity ammunition clips like the one linked to a weekend shooting that left six dead and an Arizona congresswoman gravely wounded.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said he would introduce the measure to re-establish a prohibition that lapsed in 2004 on clips that feed more than 10 rounds at a time.

"The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market," Lautenberg said in a written statement announcing his plans. He said he would file the bill when the Senate returns to session later this month.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/01/10/us/politics/AP-US-Congresswoman-Shot-Gun-Control.html

Go ahead and make your case, Right-to-Life Pro-Gun Tea Party community. This is your chance.

Go ahead and make your case that 33-round clips should be available to anyone who wants them.

33 bullet ammo clips should be legal because ________________________.

Go ahead.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually," Ailes said."

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Calls for a reduction in violent political rhetoric have plunged the Fox News Channel into chaos, with a Fox spokesperson warning today that such a move “would leave us with 24 hours to fill.”

“Let’s not underestimate the giant hole this would create,” said spokesperson Carol Foyler. “Fox without violent rhetoric would be like The Weather Channel without maps.”

Ms. Foyler said Fox was preparing for a “worst-case scenario” in which it was pressured to air responsible statements in place of its current programming: “If it comes to that, God forbid, we’ll just air 24 hours of ‘24’.”

In contrast with Ms. Foyler’s alarmed comments, Fox host Glenn Beck took the news of a possible programming change in stride: “If I’m kicked off the air, I’ll return to my first love: standing in the back of crowded theaters and yelling, ‘Fire.’”

But Fox commentator Sarah Palin was less enthusiastic about the new call for tempered rhetoric: “For the first time in my life I don’t have anything to write on my hand.”

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

This is all a little more complicated. The issue is not whether this shooter was specifically influenced by a particular statement or website. One larger issue is whether a climate of eliminationist, violent and demonizing rhetoric may make it more likely that a marginal personality like this one decides to act our his fantasies or make his mark in a violent way with a political figure as the victim. To me it is clear that it makes it more likely, especially if guns are freely available.

Next question is whether there is something we can do about the number of disaffected and disconnected loners in our society. It is now very different than the '60s in that there are no jobs for young people and for many no real way to fit into society. The internet gives an illusion of connectedness, but it is not the same as real people.

Another issue is the lack of good mental health support in our society (or support generally), particularly for marginal people like this. I hope these issues don't get lost in all the recriminations about political rhetoric.

Posted by: Mimikatz | January 10, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@TPM:

Just out from Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-CO) office ...

"We can confirm that there was a threat against Senator Bennet's office and that the FBI working with the Capitol Police have arrested the individual responsible for the threat. Per their advice, we are referring inquiries related to this matter to the Capitol Police. Michael has full confidence in the law enforcement agencies handling the case and remains focused on his job serving the people of Colorado."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Sue: And recall the explosives sent to DHS Janet Napolitano the day before the Tucson Massacre. I'm glad to hear that Ailes is telling Fox to tone it down. But wIll Beck and Hannity and O'Reilly listen? And, in many ways, Limbaugh is really the heart of the problem.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr Begala might as well have asked the conservatives if they've stopped beating their wives.

What abject nonsense.

Ethan, I think that the comments section here would be greatly improved were Mr Sargent to ban you. Sad to say your incessant spewing of anger does nothing to improve the conversation here.

The liberals accuse their political opposition of being responsible for this madman's shooting spree and Mr Begala wants to know why we've abreacted? Really?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Now they're threatening more Democrats. Psychopath arrested today after threatening a Democratic Senator.

See TPM.

Oh but it's just a coincidence.

Has nothing to do with the toxic environment created by the Right Wing.

Yeah RIGHT.

WAKE UP AMERICA.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Even if this was simply the delusional act of a madman, there's no harm in reassessing, by saying, `Holy smokes, what are we doing here?'"
===

I disagree. The effort here leads directly to an assault on our !st amendment rights.

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

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

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

skip nailed it.

I mean really, attack someone and then ask, "Why so defensive."

You liberals are like 7th graders.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

QB, I'm *still* waiting for you to explain how this: "We're going to take this country back, and it's going to take election, after election, after election, work after work, after work, and win, after win, after win." is the equivalent of Sharron Angle's "Second Amendment remedies" comment of Joyce Kaufman's "if ballots don't work, bullets will."

False equivalency.

Posted by: Michigoose | January 10, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg

This posting about this comment of Begala is not very civil.


There are many legitimate reasons why the Republicans have no reason to trust the rhetoric of the democrats.


The democrats started attacking the Tea Party right away.


The ONLY thing that will unite the nation right now is if Obama resigned.


WHY DON'T WE START THERE???

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ethan

You come on this blog and post your vitrol every day - and yet you appear perfectly content to claim you are innocent in dragging down the political atmosphere in this nation.


YOU do it everyday.

So, what do you say about your PERSONAL RESPONSBILITY???


(and I don't think the answer is in the talking points which you re-type into this blog everyday)

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Japanese Pilots at Pearl Harbor to Nurses running for cover:


Why so defensive???

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

German Panzer Division to Polish citizens:


Blitzkrieg? Where???


Why so defensive???

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Why is the right-wing so defensive about Arizona shooting?
Because they are on the run!
Conservatives are on the run in every area of political discourse.

Guns? A right wing problem Americans are talking about on every channel.

Gays? More accepted and more protected in every corner and every institution of this country.

New stimulus spending? neatly tucked into a two year tax extension.

Health care reform? Law that the GOP know they can't repeal.

Deep sea drilling? Down and under scrutiny.

Financial reform? Passed with a new consumer protection agency.

Integration? Even in the White house.

God bless America.

Posted by: karenfink | January 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Ethan says: "@swinkler: "those who suggest that rhetoric caused the shooting then we can talk about civility"

Nobody is saying that.

NOBODY."
_______________

The Right wing should be ashamed at how they are destroying this country from the inside out. It was no accident that the congressmember who was shot was a DEMOCRAT. Fk the Right Wing Republican Teahadists.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 8, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse
____________

QBs comments are part and parcel to the Republican psychosis that led to this assassination incident. Attack anyone who dares tell it like it is, attack anyone who disagrees. Attack attack attack.

The Republican Party - not the fringe but the mainstream establishment - has irresponsibly and intentionally incited huge swaths of the Republican electorate with fear-mongering and race-baiting tactics. That is simply a FACT. It is time for the Republican Blood Lust to END. They have kicked the hornets' nest and now a true American Hero of the People lies in a hospital bed with a grievous gunshot wound to the head. NO more blood lust. NO more lies, fear-mongering and race-baiting. Say NO to Floyd Brown and his propaganda. Say NO to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. Say NO to the rhetoric of violence and hatred. Say NO to putting your ideology and your political party over the good of the people. This country NEEDS to move FORWARD. We CANNOT do so without two parties interested in moving America forward. If the Republican Party isn't willing to work on the economy and jobs and important issues from a standpoint of reality, then either the American people need to rise up and remove them from power or they will destroy America forever. We cannot let that happen.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 9, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse
____________

The Tea Party and their 2nd Amendment remedies, their obsession with violence needs to end.

They either win or lose on ideas just lijke everyone else. This guy was insane, but the Republican Tea Party - including and especially Sarah and Todd Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and rank and file Republicans in the House and Senate - created this climate of hostility and they did so INTENTIONALLY.

There needs to be a public commitment by ALL politicians, to condemn irresponsible comments without hesitation.

That includes intentionally incendiary comments by Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and any other Republican commentator.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 9, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse
__________

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

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

And there's more where those came from. Keep digging, Ethan. You must be feeling ashamed now? No, I'm sure that's not the case.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Man arrested in threats to Bennet staffers

Federal authorities have arrested a man accused of repeatedly making threats to Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet's staff.

The most recent threats allegedly came on Thursday, two days before a gunman in Arizona killed six people and wounded 14 others, including a congresswoman.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, John Troy Davis called Bennet's Denver office Thursday upset over his social security benefits and during the call said he, "may go to terrorism." He also allegedly said, "To get your attention, I will go down there and set fire to the perimeter," according to the affidavit.

During a call several days earlier, Davis, who lives in the metro area, told another Bennet staffer, "I'm just going to come down there and shoot you all," while complaining about social security benefits, according to the affidavit.

"Davis is well-known to the Senator's office as he has called frequently to complain about such benefits," the affidavit states.

During one call, according to the affidavit, Davis told a staffer, "I'm a schizophrenic and I need help." Bennet's staff had previously set up a hearing regarding Davis's Social Security benefits, but Davis did not attend, according to the affidavit.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained an arrest warrant for Davis on Friday, and a Colorado Bureau of Investigation record shows that he was nabbed that day. According to the CBI, Davis was also arrested in July on a drug charge that was subsequently dismissed.

The threats resulted in security being increased around Bennet's office and Denver home, according to the arrest affidavit.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17057473#ixzz1AfkUjKId

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"QB, I'm *still* waiting for you to explain"

Yeah QB.

Please explain how Obama's words equate to needing to resort to "Second Amendment remedies."

Here is Sharron Angle's full quotation:

Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who's in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical...

Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

Angle: Well it's to defend ourselves. And you know, I'm hoping that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

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

Okay QB, your turn.

How is Obama's quotation the exact same thing?

First you'll need to point to how his comments imply that he was talking about tyranny.

Next you'll have to explain how Obama's comments imply that there might need to be gun violence if he doesn't get his way.

Okay.

Shoot.

Ahem, I mean, go for it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Greg, you are a left-wing hack. You know who also posted a bullseye over Gifford's congressional seat? Your buddy Markos over at DailyKos (by now that little worm probably took down any mention of it). You and your sage advice friend Begala can't attack the right, then ask "why so defensive?"- your rhetoric is fraudulent, your views are toxic, and the fact that the Post pays you is a huge indictment on what kind of shenanigans are going on in the main stream media.

Posted by: steelers_rule123 | January 10, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Michigoose, what happens when Americans reach the conclusion that they cannot impact their government via the ballot box?

Just exactly how do the citizens of this country demonstrate to a standing government of well over a million people that they have withdrawn their consent to be governed by them?

Here is a perfect example. The congress refused to pass cap and trade. Now the EPA simply promulgates regulations, which have the same force on the citizens as laws passed by congress, and that's that. So how many trips to the ballot box does it take to bring this massive and errant government to heel?

Here in Ohio we've watched a corrupt and inept government lay waste to the state. If the personnel changes that occurred in the recent election don't result in a massive retrenchment of the government, what is our next step michigoose?

If the people lose hope that they can reclaim their freedom via the means provided by the very government they distrust, then what?

Am I advocating violent overthrow of the government? Of course not. What I am saying is that spouting vapid platitudes won't mend the nation.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Threadjack warning!

DeLay sentenced to 3 years in prison, with ten years probation on one count. ADA argued for immediate incarceration but Judge Priest granted bail pending appeal.

I mentioned Lehmberg [our DA] and Cobb [our First Asst DA] the other day in a "black-white" discussion. Cobb prosecuted the DeLay case well, beat the defense attorney I would choose to rep me were I ever in a major bind.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 10, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

skip nailed it.

I mean really, attack someone and then ask, "Why so defensive."

You liberals are like 7th graders.

Posted by: quarterback1
---------------------------------------

Never thought I would say this, but maybe you should take a page from Fox News leadership who reacted by saying, let's tone things down.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 10, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@QB: We wonder, why is the left yelling about the right's political rhetoric when there is no evidence that these actions had anything to do with such rhetoric?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

question from skipsailing:

Just exactly how do the citizens of this country demonstrate to a standing government of well over a million people that they have withdrawn their consent to be governed by them?

answer from skipsailing:

Am I advocating violent overthrow of the government? Of course not.

obvious question to skipsailing:

Since you are part of the aggrieved, what is your solution? We are all waiting to hear...

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"False equivalency."

You're still waiting for someone to debate your false premise. There's a great body of Democrat hate rhetoric of which that's a fine part, along with "we'll bring a gun," and "punch back twice as hard."

Why don't you explain how Palin's survery map was the equivalent of Howard Dean's statement that the election was a struggle between good and evil? Or tell us how it is equivalent to leading Dem figure's accusing Bush betraying his country or saying he runs a brownshirt or Nazi administration?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

This latest atrocity reminds me of the famous, freeway, sniper caper of some years ago. People were being randomly shot from freeway overpasses in the D.C. area.

The Democrat media assumed it was some crazed, right-wing, racist nutcase out there acting out his paranoid fantasies that were fueled by conservative talk shows and FOX NEWS.

Turned out it was two African American, psycho racists.

Most of the liberal, noise makers waited this time so they would not be embarrassed again. If the murderer happened to have been a TEA PARTY type we would have seen a Democrat media, orgy of blame and recrimination the likes of which have not been seen since the Oklahoma City bombing.

They wanted it so badly. Now they must salvage the propaganda value of the incident in any way they can.

They generalize about rhetoric but slyly push the blame off onto right-wingers just the same.

No wonder people on the right get a little defensive. The liberals are very good at the blame game. They invented it.

Posted by: battleground51 | January 10, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

wbg: "I'm glad to hear that Ailes is telling Fox to tone it down. But wIll Beck and Hannity and O'Reilly listen?"

No, I really don't expect that they will, or that they can. But, no matter, Ailes is on the record as having told his people to turn the heat down. That's kind of a big deal in itself, because if the heat wasn't too high, why would he have issued his edict?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The Righties are in full victim-complex freak-out mode today. The totality of the evidence of their grievance (that Lefties are tarring them as responsible for the violence) seems to amount to some statements from Markos Moulitsas, several tweets from people I've never heard of and a couple emails they received.

I'm sure there were some intemperate comments in the immediate aftermath, but have there been any from anybody who is actually a public face of liberals or Dems? Other than Kos maybe, I am not seeing much.

Posted by: jbossch | January 10, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@phenabarberella

"Wonder why they're reacting so strongly and immediately to Dupnik's comments about his state, and the state of our rhetoric? Why do they assume it's about them?"

Thanks for mentioning that. I remembering turning to my wife and saying, "thank God he didn't mention any specific political party or group in that statement and kept it generic. Perhaps it will start a conversation. Oh yeah

@mimikatz Your 4:37 post is spot on.

I hate Fox News but they are in a bind...as is MSNBC..and all the talk show hosts left and right. As a former broadcaster who got out in the early 90's...just in time..you must realize the real mandate of these personalities and outlets....RATINGS....alas in 2010 hate really sold. I remember getting out of the newsbiz when a station in Miami shot to the top of the ratings in just two sweeps...their credo was literally..."IF it bleeds it leads" Blood and gore at the top of the news show won the ratings. In depth discussions about HCR and the differences between socialized medicine, single payer etc would have been ratings killers.

Yes Fox peddles propaganda...but I'm not persuaded Ailes or Beck or Limbaugh are true ideologues on a mission to save our nation. Nah they're just out to make a buck and have some fun along the way. Considering the damage to our social compact I actually believes that makes them worse than propagandists. They are opportunists who remain in denial about the negative effect they are having on our nation.

Hate, fear, and playing on our basest emotions alas is potent ratings. It's not just our politics...Jersey Shore? Snooki?
Our political climate is probably an accurate reflection of what is going on in our nation.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 10, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The Lame Duck Session Sent the Gunman Over the Edge


It is pretty simple: the sense that the government was running out-of-control, against the will of the people as expressed in the November election, caused the shooting in Arizona.


The actions of the democrats gave people around the nation the sinking feeling that their votes meant little -


The democrats were going to hijack the government NO MATTER what the voters said in November.


The shooter felt the need to strike back.


The lame duck session is what drove him over the edge. In a democracy, the government should ALWAYS act according to the will of the People. The democrats have not been doing that for two years. Only now, are the people able to muster one "check" on the democrats - in the form of control of the House of Representatives.


Let's hope the democrats restrain themselves from here on out - and they stop getting the nation angry.


The actions of the democrats over the past two years have been extremely INFLAMMATORY - AND IT IS CLEAR that the will of the people has been ignored and disrespected.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"Never thought I would say this, but maybe you should take a page from Fox News leadership who reacted by saying, let's tone things down. "

I don't know what Fox statement you are talking about, but if you've read the comments it's pretty obvious that its the left that is in full frenzy and stridency mode. They are in fact 100% responsible for it. I'm just standing up to the storm of invective.


Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

QB,

Thank you for re-posting my comments.

I stand by them all.

As one can read, I clearly never said that rhetoric caused the shooting.

I have REPEATEDLY called for an end to incendiary and violent rhetoric.

I have REPEATEDLY called for standing up to extremists, commentators and pundits.

YOU, on the other hand, have heartily endorsed irresponsible and incendiary rhetoric with every comment you've made since the minute the whacko stopped shooting.

Hecukva job! Country First! You Lie!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

After reading this post, and the one you wrote about civility, Greg, I wanted to chime in with a mother's viewpoint.

It's awful to see a young Congresswoman gunned down in an attempted political assassination. But the other part of this event that has so much meaning is the tragic shooting death of the 9 year old child, Christina, who was only there because she wanted to learn about democracy and meet her representative.

As a mom, I know exactly what Christina must have been like -- 9 year olds are wonderful and creative and imaginative and lovable beyond belief. And when my empathy for her mother and father led me to just a brief moment of imagining what I would feel if this had been my child, I had to pull back quickly because of the intense, overwhelming, aching feeling that welled up deep inside of me.

And then I thought of another mother, Sarah Palin. Surely she would feel the same gut-wrenching ache if she took a moment to put herself in Christina's mother's place. And I began to wonder if this killing of this little girl would make her reassess her violent imagery and gun-related rhetoric.

You see, here's where the rubber meets the road. Even if the conservatives claim that the shooter was a mentally deranged loner and that the vitriolic rhetoric of many on the conservative side,as well as the open showing of firearms by Tea Party activists, had nothing to with inciting this man, it still remains a fact that he targeted a political figure and those who were around her.

That means that no conservative politician is safe anymore, either. And neither are their children who accompany them to public events. Everyone in the political arena is now at risk.

So why isn't it in the best interests of Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and every other single conservative who has made violent and gun-related statements.... to radically dial the rhetoric back and tone it down -- for their own sake and the sake of their loved ones, their staff members and their constituents, and yes, their own precious 9 year olds.

There are plenty of ways to make pointed political observations and to disagree with the Democrats without engaging in the kind of rhetoric that these people have been using in earnest since the elections in 2008. Making the political environment more civil is good for everybody -- Democrats and Republicans, alike. No one wants this to ever happen again to anyone on either side of the political spectrum.

Why keep pushing envelope? Why keep playing Russian roulette with every mentally deranged person by constantly filling the airwaves with violence and violent imagery? Nothing occurs in a vacuum -- and there's no disputing that.

As a society, and as parents, we must demand that our politicians and political commentators stop the violence in political discourse for the sake of all of our children, and in honor of the memory of Christina Taylor Green.

Posted by: elscott | January 10, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The purpose of defensiveness is to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.

Once again, true in this case.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

Why do dogs howl at the moon?

Why do pigs wallow?

Why do rats live in sewers?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

in other words 112barblues, you have nothing to add. How so very unusual.


Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 10, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"So why isn't it in the best interests of Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and every other single conservative who has made violent and gun-related statements.... to radically dial the rhetoric back and tone it down -- for their own sake and the sake of their loved ones, their staff members and their constituents, and yes, their own precious 9 year olds."

FANTASTIC post.

My response to your question...

Because they are greedy, egotistical, narcissistic lunatics who are incapable of behaving like normal people.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

in other words 112barblues, you have nothing to add. How so very unusual.

In your words, you can't answer the question.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@Josh Marshall at TPM:

"I'm listening to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on Hardball discussing the issues sounding violent political rhetoric. And she's reminding Chris how last year her opponent in her reelection campaign had one of these shooting range campaign events where he fired a gun at a silhouette marked with the initials DWS.

How could something so innocent lead to a misunderstanding?"

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

elscott:

I agree with Ethan. Great comment.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Democrats:

Dial down the incendiary rhetoric.

Tea Party:

"Liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs [...] You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express - CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/tea-party-express-fundraises-off-giffords-shooting-tea-party-wont-be-silenced.php

Republican Tea Party = Lunatics

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Because they are greedy, egotistical, narcissistic lunatics who are incapable of behaving like normal people.
-------------------------------------------
Ethan, I have to disagree with you. I believe that Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann are fully capable of being civil. I doubt that as 4 year olds they were violence spouting. Somewhere along the line, they adopted their present style because it makes them money or gets them elected, or just out of innate anger. I doubt that any of them talk to their family and friends in an aggressive manner, or they would be all alone soon. They are capable of behaving like normal people.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not persuaded Ailes or Beck or Limbaugh are true ideologues on a mission to save our nation. Nah they're just out to make a buck and have some fun along the way. Considering the damage to our social compact I actually believes that makes them worse than propagandists. They are opportunists who remain in denial about the negative effect they are having on our nation."

ruk: Great points (which is to say that I agree completely).

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Ethan

Is there no end to your attacks?

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"So why isn't it in the best interests of Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and every other single conservative who has made violent and gun-related statements.... to radically dial the rhetoric back and tone it down -- "

This is really a rhetorical point. It's because they can't,and they don't know any better. They would all be tongue tied without hyberbole. All the people you've mentioned are none too bright to start with.
The political Right, because of their sociopathic nature is incapable of any self reflection. They will only blame others. It pretty much goes hand in hand with the infantile nature of our modern culture.

Posted by: filmnoia | January 10, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@elscott,

That is a beautiful and well written post. Reading a gem like your post is a very sweet payoff for following this blog.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"but if you've read the comments it's pretty obvious that its the left that is in full frenzy and stridency mode."

Yes, a frenzy for civility and against violent rhetoric. Oh the horror. Granted some comments are hypocritical in their lack of civility. Which then leads to uncivil comments condemning their lack of civility. Not sure why one should even bother asking for civility.


What is clear is that criticisms of Palin (which for the record I think are silly) and Angle (more legitimate) comments will be couched as attempts to score political points or as attempts to limit free speech. All while crying about being attacked.

Do some of these criticisms score political points, probably, but reading Begala's comments I'm not sure he was trying to do much other than tone done the rhetoric just like Fox has encouraged.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Sue: Agree re: Ailes and Fox. I truly hope this will be a turning point.

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

elscott: "So why isn't it in the best interests of Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann and every other single conservative who has made violent and gun-related statements.... to radically dial the rhetoric back and tone it down -- for their own sake and the sake of their loved ones, their staff members and their constituents, and yes, their own precious 9 year olds."

This is a home run! Thank you!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

rukidding

Yesterday - you said you wanted to have a reasonable conversation.


In response, you picked out lit bits of my comments - and tried to give your neighbor's email as an example - to reject EVERYTHING said, without any response.

Just wanted to mention - that is not reasonable conversation -

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, the odds of a whacko showing up at a political rally armed with a shovel and killing five people with seem pretty slim, so maybe Begala shouldn't back down too far ...

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | January 10, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

" But wIll Beck and Hannity and O'Reilly listen? And, in many ways, Limbaugh is really the heart of the problem."

Are you proposing legal remedies?  If so, what are they?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Scarborough On Giffords Shooting: ‘Is This Not A Time For People, Like Sarah Palin…To Apologize?’

SCARBOROUGH: So Pat, is this not a time for people, like Sarah Palin, who have used violent imagery – she just has. I know some of my conservative friends and family members won’t like that reality. Or, Michele Bachmann, who said she wants Minnesotans armed and dangerous. Isn’t this an opportune time for them to apologize -– not saying that it led to anything — but just saying that they’ve been irresponsible in their rhetoric and they’re going to be more careful moving forward? […]

I am just saying though, I mean, God, you’ve worked for two presidents. Would you not be in there if you were working for Sarah Palin right now, saying, go out and say it had nothing to do with this shooting, but you understand that it was irresponsible, and you’re going to be more careful moving forward. Wouldn’t you give her that advice if you were her aide?

PAT: Well, I certainly would. I would give everybody the advice to tone down the rhetoric and get away from military and the armed metaphors and things that a lot of us have used in campaigns, especially at a time like this. You know, I sure would Joe.

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/10/scarborough-palin-apologize/

QB outrage in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Ethan

A few weeks ago Chris Matthews on MSNBC asked for Hawaii to open the birth certificate file in Hawaii, which is being held in secret NON-TRANSPARENCY


So, is there anyway you would tone-down your comments -


Because you - everyday - add fuel to the flames.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with conservatives Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanon.

I would like to see both Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann APOLOGIZE to America for their irresponsible and incendiary rhetoric.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Chris Matthews


Obama should open the file in Hawaii.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

elscott, thank you for the beautiful post, you made me cry and I try not to do that very often.

This is an interesting development I think. Apparently Congresswoman Giffords was searching for a partner in figuring out a way to tone down the rhetoric and partisanship. I've read lots of comments from Arizonans, from both sides of the political divide and it seems things have really gotten caustic there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WASHINGTON -- On the eve of the shooting that left her critically injured, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) wrote an email to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R), asking his help in toning down the partisan rhetoric in the country.

"After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation," wrote Giffords. "I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

Grayson recently announced that he would be stepping down from his public position to become director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Giffords's note was a congratulatory email in response to the news.

In an interview with cn|2 Politics, which received the email, Grayson said that he and Giffords became acquainted as part of the Aspen Institute's Rodel Fellowship program, and they often discussed the divisiveness in politics.

"That is something she and I have been quite passionate about -- to run for office in the right way and for the right reasons," Grayson said. "I think Gabby was really sincere in that email .... And I am going to to redouble my efforts."

Posted by: lmsinca | January 10, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

PAT: Well, I certainly would. I would give everybody the advice to tone down the rhetoric and get away from military and the armed metaphors and things that a lot of us have used in campaigns, especially at a time like this. You know, I sure would Joe.
------------------------------------------------------------
This is a most sensible comment. And it is smart. What would not be smart is to ratchet up the military and armed metaphors. Some people have trouble disconnecting from their anger and doing the smart and disciplined thing, but Buchanan is giving good advice.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, will never regulate my own heated rhetoric merely because some whackjob (Ethan?) might use my words and twist them and do something crazy.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Things will not change. That much is certain.

Posted by: funnystory | January 10, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"I, for one, will never regulate my own heated rhetoric merely because some whackjob (Ethan?) might use my words and twist them and do something crazy."

Duh. It is politicians and entertainers who are in the public eye who need to be especially responsible for their comments.

Are you suggesting that because YOU don't want your comments regulated that politicians don't need to be responsible for what they say? I don't understand your point, if you had one.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Okay QB, your turn.

How is Obama's quotation the exact same thing?"

Gee whiz, never said they were. But thanks for posting the full (well more full) Angle exchange. She gave an accurate response to a question involving the 2d Am and then responded to a statement by saying she hoped "that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies."

So, as usual, the left misrepresents what she actually said. I think she was a lousy candidate and no well spoken here, but the claims that she called for violence are ridiculous.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"PAT: Well, I certainly would. I would give everybody the advice to tone down the rhetoric and get away from military and the armed metaphors and things that a lot of us have used in campaigns, especially at a time like this. You know, I sure would Joe."

Pat, isn't even the word "campaign" linked to military/war rhetoric?  Dude couldn't even finish his advice without violating it.  Buchanan, splitting atoms... with his mind.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 10, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

You're a bit obtuse there, sbj, just like your favorite politician.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 10, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point coming out


When the shooter is a Muslim, or an airplane bomber, Obama and the democrats have cautioned everyone NOT to jump to conclusions


THIS TIME, we have the Obama people LAUNCHING INTO A POLITICAL ATTACK AGAIN THE RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

Sorry, liberals, but ALL your credibility is gone.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 10, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: Their speech is as free as mine or yours. (I never suggested that people aren't to be held responsible for what they say. I think you entirely miss the point. You are responsible for what you say, not what someone else does with it.)

"We have been on a linguistic trajectory in this country that allows for this kind of faux-populist — and baldly political, in my estimation — control of speech. From granting “authenticity” to those who are even allowed to speak to questions concerning certain identity groups, to insisting that meaning as a function of reconfiguring signs to create our own texts determines what meaning we can “reasonably” attribute to an utterance (and, it follows, to an utterer), we have embraced an idea of language that, as I’ve been at pains to point out, leads inexorably to the very place we are finding ourselves: considering, however marginally, a plan to constrain speech so that we’re legally responsible should we somehow incite nutjobs into taking our own texts, making them their own, then acting upon them in their own way (with us as complicit rhetorical accomplices).

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

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

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

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, its nice to know that Ailes finally admitted that Fox News is a Right Wing mouthpiece.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"And then I thought of another mother, Sarah Palin. Surely she would feel the same gut-wrenching ache if she took a moment to put herself in Christina's mother's place. And I began to wonder if this killing of this little girl would make her reassess her violent imagery and gun-related rhetoric.

You see, here's where the rubber meets the road. Even if the conservatives claim that the shooter was a mentally deranged loner and that the vitriolic rhetoric of many on the conservative side,as well as the open showing of firearms by Tea Party activists, had nothing to with inciting this man, it still remains a fact that he targeted a political figure and those who were around her."

It "remains a fact" -- what exactly does that mean if there is no connection?

The other problem, again and as always, you are selective in your criticisms. Very selective. I'll take all these attacks more seriously as more than mere political attacks when you liberals start policing your own and including your own rhetoric.

Yes, we know, you deny Democrats are ever guilty. You deny they ever do anything wrong. That's why you have no basis to lecture anyone.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 10, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/happy_hour_roundup_162.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 10, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@QB: "the claims that she called for violence are ridiculous."

God, you're an idiot. There were NO claims that she called for violence.

Enough distraction, QB.

YOU said that Obama's rhetoric in the quotation you provided "is the equivalent of" Sharron Angle's rhetoric.

"is the equivalent of"

"is the equivalent of"

"is the equivalent of"

Please explain how Obama's rhetoric in the portion you provided "is the equivalent of" Sharron Angle's "2nd Amendment Remedies".

Go for it QB.

We are all ready for your explanation, sans distraction of course.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

elscott, thank you for your heart-felt post. Obviously, none of us wanted a little girl to be shot, but you have to admit that Democrats have said much worse. Even if every Republican stopped the heated rhetoric, little girls would still be killed tragically. Also, calls for "civility" generally prove short-lived. At least you have finally awoken to the reality that Democrats and Republicans are at risk (which is why Glenn Beck wanted to make sure that Sarah Palin has armed security too).

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 10, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

@SBJ: "I never suggested that people aren't to be held responsible for what they say."

So you think that Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck should be held responsible for their irresponsible comments?

Who should hold them responsible? And how?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@qb-

Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.

Angle: Well it's to defend ourselves. And you know, I'm hoping that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems."

I think you are being selective in your analysis of Angle's comments:

I'm going to give you mine-
"Well its to defend ourselves", presumably she means against government, criminals, who knows exactly but within the topic of the discussion, she means Gov't.

"I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems". What does she mean by that? If you elect him, then all bets are off? Harry Reid is directly responsible and therefore should be held to Second Amnedment remedies?

Sure, she says she hopes we don't resort to that, as I'm sure we all agree, but her implication, *especially* after Mander's previous quote, is that now may be the time.

At the very least, even if we can excuse her (which I will not) she is acknowledging a right wing problem. She sees anger on the Right and is saying that, if the vote doesn't provide rememdy, the Second Amendment will.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"Who should hold them responsible? And how?"

Listeners, viewers, and voters can always stop listening, watching, and voting for them for whatever reasons they choose. I assume they already do that.

But that's different from your point (no matter how much you deny) that heated rhetoric (from the right) is a threat to us all because it might incite violent actions of the deranged. Implied in your belief is some sort of remedy other than what I outline above.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

sbj-

Thats the rub, aint it?

Sometimes you have to stand up to the madness. Deciding when and how is a sticky wicket.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 10, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "Implied in your belief is some sort of remedy other than what I outline above."

What a bald-faced liar you are. Unreal.

But then again, to you public servants have no duty to condemn irresponsible comments or to maintain the dignity of their office, so your line of thinking is immediately suspect.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 10, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

@chuck: "Sometimes you have to stand up to the madness. Deciding when and how is a sticky wicket."

Yes, we each must do this as individuals and for ourselves only. ("It matters who we empower to determine what something means.") Therefore, there can be no universal standard to conclude that "the right does it more" nor any standard to conclude that such heated rhetoric led directly to violence. Even if a madman points to my words to justify his own insane actions it does not mean that I was irresponsible to use such words.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, at the heart of the dispute, is the fact that Republicans lost the 2008 election and both houses of congress. What would have been the logical thing for the most extreme wing of the losers to assert in order to energize their base? It is that there is an existential threat to the country from the election of the Democrats, and that a state of *extreme emergency* exists to save the country from sure destruction. This exaggerated sense of emergency cries out for extreme measures (guns, revolution, blood, etc.).

By 2010, some of this rhetoric worked, in that the base was energized and the R's took the House. Now, they are being asked to tone back the rhetoric that has worked. If they were not screaming out that the country is being destroyed, what else would they have to say? What would energize their base?

sbj says that the consequences for inflammatory rhetoric is a free market response, in that if people don't like what they say, the R's will lose voters or listeners. That is a logical response if inflammatory rhetoric being nothing but a campaigning style. The open question for most people, but perhaps not the conservatives on this blog, is whether there is more at risk than campaigning.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 10, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

Why do dogs howl at the moon?

Why do pigs wallow?

Why do rats live in sewers?

Posted by: quarterback1


And why do you post on this blog you profess to hate all day long every day?

Posted by: fiona5 | January 10, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

@12bar: "sbj says that the consequences for inflammatory rhetoric is a free market response."

What's the alternative remedy?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 10, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party Killers !

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 10, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The reason republicans are reacting to this is because the vast majority of Democrats are not talking like the author of this article, that the rhetoric is from both parties. The majority of democrats are saying that only republicans use hate speech.

When Obama said if republicans bring a knife then democrats bring a gun, well that was exceptable to Democrats, after all it was said by a Democrat.

A republican would have had to say it to make it hate!

I find this all amusing, that Democrats are concerned about hateful and aggressive rhetoric. I recall all the respectful language they used for the eight years of the Bush administration.

Cindy Sheehan? Code Pink? Did liberals demand they engaged in respectful rhetoric, or did liberals support and even join with these people in their use of hateful words?

Liberals have no problem with hateful rhetoric, just so long as your hating the right people!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | January 11, 2011 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Republicans use hateful rhetoric?

If someone disagrees with Obama on policy, they are promptly called a racist by the liberal left.

How does an opinion on health care, or on taxation or any other issue make you a racist?

But the left will attack you and call you a racist, just for having an opinion they don't like!

And when it comes to hateful rhetoric, we need look no farther then the eight years of love we saw from the liberal left during the Bush administration!

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | January 11, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. The effort here leads directly to an assault on our !st amendment rights.

==

The First Amendment doesn't extend to criminal incitement. It might cover "I think Jews should be rounded up and exterminated," but it doesn't cover "I'll pay a hundred dollars a head for every Jew killed, no questions asKed."

Nor does is cover naming specific people and saying "I think they should be killed."

Palin should have been arrested when her map was first published and the message made quite plain that nobody thinks this assassination talk is cute.

Posted by: caothien9 | January 11, 2011 5:57 AM | Report abuse

DeLay gets three years in the slammer.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Do your time standing up, bug man

Posted by: caothien9 | January 11, 2011 6:06 AM | Report abuse

William Jefferson got 13 years. Not surprisingly, caothien9, is wrong about Sarah Palin being arrested. That would clearly violate the 1st Amendment. In particular, the leading Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Watts (1969), held that the Constitution protects even the statement "If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.," said at antiwar rally. Statements that place the President in a bullseye or a crosshair might thus be entirely constitutionally protected, if for instance the statement is in a Democratic or Republican party mailer urging people to give money to help defeat the President in the next election. A reasonable reader would not perceive such a flyer as a threat that the author, or the author's confederates, are going to actually shoot the President. As Jack Shafer (Slate) and many other have noted, martial metaphors are commonplace in American politics. The mere use of such a metaphor does not strip the speech of constitutional protection.

Even If the concern is not that the President will feel threatened, but that some readers might be moved by such statements to attack the President, the speech remains protected. Under Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), speech may be restricted on such a theory only if it is "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action” (emphasis added). Hess v. Indiana (1973) makes clear that speech doesn’t satisfy the “imminence” requirement if it is merely “advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time” (emphasis added). But in any event, it certainly can’t qualify for the Brandenburg exception to the First Amendment when it is not at all directed to producing lawless action, and the concern is simply that a few kooks or extremists might be moved to commit a crime at some indefinite time as a result of seeing the speech.

Note that Watts and Brandenburg both came in 1969, at the end of a decade that saw the assassination of a President, of one of the leading candidates for President, and of one of the leading political leaders in the nation. It was also a decade that generally saw far more homegrown political violence than this past decade has seen. Nonetheless, the Court firmly concluded that even speech that specifically calls for violence, or even seems to explicitly threaten violence, is unprotected only if it fits within the narrow “true threats” or “incitement” exceptions — and, as I said, political maps with targets painted on them, the “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” line, and the like certainly fall far outside those exceptions.

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 11, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Paul Begala ,

Why must you persist with the narrative of lies?

Posted by: FredKnowsBest | January 12, 2011 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

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

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




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company