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Posted at 12:42 PM ET, 01/12/2011

Questions for Charles Krauthammer and others on the right

By Greg Sargent

I agree with Charles Krauthammer: It's wrong to blame the Arizona shooting on any specific conservative commentators, officials, or personalities, as he argues in his column this morning.

But in the spirit of civil debate that everyone is suddenly clamoring for, I have a couple of follow up questions for him -- or anyone else who feels like answering them -- that I hope he will address, which he could do anytime he likes over on the Post Partisan opinion blog.

Krauthammer argues that claim that the rhetoric used by Palin and others incited violence is ridiculous, because...

Because fighting and warfare are the most routine of political metaphors. And for obvious reasons. Historically speaking, all democratic politics is a sublimation of the ancient route to power -- military conquest. That's why the language persists. That's why we say without any self-consciousness such things as "battleground states" or "targeting" opponents. Indeed, the very word for an electoral contest -- "campaign" -- is an appropriation from warfare.

I agree that it's a huge stretch to blame the "crosshairs" for inciting violence. That said, this is not what many on the left are pointing to as the primary problem, and it's my view that arguing over the "crosshairs" is an overly narrow framing -- perhaps a deliberate one -- of the larger issues at play here.

Rather, what some on the left object to is the rhetoric from the right that tacitly or overtly seeks to deligitimize the political opposition's democratically-obtained hold on power, and flirts with the idea that non-democratic means are an acceptable way of countering or undoing it.

In his original column decrying the current "climate of hate," for instance, Krugman didn't focus on Palin's crosshairs or the right's use of standard-issue war metaphors. Rather, he argued against the right's genuine "eliminationist rhetoric," their "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary."

Krauthammer pointed to that column today to accuse Krugman of suffering from "delusions." But he didn't respond to that key aspect of Krugman's argument.

So here are my questions for Krauthammer and whoever else wants to answer them: Do you agree that the "eliminationist rhetoric" cited by Krugman is a problem and is out of bounds? Are you denying that such rhetoric exists, or that the preponderance of it comes from the right?

More broadly, putting aside the case of Jared Loughner, is it a valid question to ask whether such rhetoric in general risks tipping the unhinged into violence? A mental illness expert told me yesterday that even if we stipulate that Loughner is completely nuts, asking whether the current excess of our political culture makes the insane more likely than they otherwise might be to commit political violence is a completely valid, and even desirable, line of inquiry. Does Krauthammer disagree with that? Does Krauthammer think this subject as I've defined it is not worth discussing?

I'd genuinely like to hear Krauthammer's answers to these questions.

By Greg Sargent  | January 12, 2011; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
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Comments

Huh Sarah? What effect does that have on MY First Amendment?

How bout this. Go fk yourself you stupid b***ch.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 11:34 AM


_____________________


Ethan is far out of control.


All he is is a paid troll who re-types talking points which have been emailed to him.

That - and he posts nasty comments about other people


There has NEVER been a constructive or civil discussion from Ethan


Greg Ban him forever.


Foul language Ban him forever.


False Charges of anti-semitism. Ban him forever.


Enough


It is about time.

.

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

Well crafted Greg, nicely done.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

COMMUNITY COLLEGE


I know the liberals have all these "zero tolerance" positions - and it is a way to demonize people who they don't like - especially a way to suppress young white males.. who act like young white males.


_______________

The point is this: the Conduct of the Community College was to call the Campus Police and throw the guy out.


DID THAT SOLVE THE PROBLEM???


No, it just transferred the problem to the Safeway Parking lot.


Seriously folks, a community college is usually a part of the county government - should that government act to SOLVE the problem by making sure such a person gets the proper treatment?


Did the community college act to SOLVE the problem through treatment ???


And let's define "solve." On the most basic level, treatment is aimed at making sure a person does not commit violence in the community - "treatment" can contain the worst, and lead to long-term healing.


Treatment may have been successful enough to prevent this crime.


Instead, the Actions of the Community College could have made the situation WORSE.


Instead of this guy going BACK to school this week - he was thrown OUT of school.

Most college students in the country probably got drunk Friday night and were hung-over Saturday morning - not up at a Safeway parking lot.

I am just saying - that KEEPING THIS KID IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE WITH TREATMENT just may have prevented the crime.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 12, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Say"Sorry" to Sarah Palin

http://newsallaroundus.blogspot.com/2011/01/saysorry-to-sarah-palin-former-governor.html

Posted by: overthere55 | January 12, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Sarah


however, I have been defending her.


Posted by: RainForestRising | January 12, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

They won't revisit the argument with such nuance. It's like the gun control argument: they're fear that if they give gun control advocates just an inch of regulation, then those advocates will take a mile, no, they will remove the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution. So it's not worth regulating even moderately, even if people are killing each other.

Even if we only proposed a modest reform of campaign speech etc., they'd see it in absolutist terms and interpret it as the left wanting to remove the 1st Amendment. In fact, they double down and say that's precisely why they should engage in such eliminationist rhetoric, because engaging it is the very act of protecting the first amendment.

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

So, we live in a country where hate protects freedom.

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

@Greg-

"Rather, what some on the left object to is the rhetoric from the right that tacitly or overtly seeks to deligitimize the political opposition's democratically-obtained hold on power, and flirts with the idea that non-democratic means are an acceptable way of countering or undoing it."

That's what I've been saying in a nutshell. Take away D & R from the equation and the problem doesn't go away.
Sadly, it has taken a tragedy for this debate to reach white-hot levels (which is a problem in itself).

What we do know is there are folks who fan the flames of irrational discourse. That has got to stop, IMO.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 12, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Greg great column....good questions.

RainForestRising. His parents own some of this too as they knew he was unbalanced and did nothing or nothing effective about it. I really don't think its the colleges responsibility to take care of Jared...he had a family that was aware of his problems.

Posted by: Twiddle | January 12, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

it's a huge stretch to blame the "crosshairs" for inciting violence.

Perhaps it would have been more precise to say "for inciting this particular act of violence." On the other hand, who knows?

Other violent acts, such as the guy who with a car load of weapons who was going to take out the Tide Foundation because of what Beck said, his own words by the way, can be tightly linked to particular people and the things they said. Not only did he specifically link Beck to his reason for acting, but there is no reason to believe that he would ever have heard of the Tide Foundation if Beck hadn't wanted it to be attacked.

Posted by: dkmjr | January 12, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Greg wrote: "putting aside the case of Jared Loughner"

Within a few hours after the shooting liberals did not "put aside" the case of Jared Loughner, but used it as a reference to attack their political enemies. You can't now change the discussion away from its reference point. Krugman and others accused, and are still accusing, conservatives of directly causing the shooting.

Krauthammer addressed the topic directly and correctly, so Sargent looks for a diversion. Poor form!

Posted by: pilsener | January 12, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"More broadly, putting aside the case of Jared Loughner, is it a valid question to ask whether such rhetoric in general risks tipping the unhinged into violence? A mental illness expert told me yesterday that even if we stipulate that Loughner is completely nuts, asking whether the current excess of our political culture makes the insane more likely than they otherwise might be to commit political violence is a completely valid, and even desirable, line of inquiry."
____________________________
But then the mentally ill can be set off by many thing in our culture. The shooter at the Discovery Channel was upset that Al Gore's remedies for society were not being implemented. The Unabomber was set off by modern technology. The jihadists are set off by modernism. What about the movie, Inception? If a madman thought the government was controlling his dreams, couldn't watching this movie set him off? Should we ban movies as well as political speech?

The real issue here is the left wing writers--I can't bring myself to elevate them to the level of journalists--trying to stiffle anybody who they oppose. As I see the volume of writers criticizing Palin, Beck and Limbaugh, I am reminded of the Journolist group who organized and coordinated their thinking and writing to disparage anyone with thoughts different from the "professional left" dogma.

I hope Krauthammer does not respond to you because I don't think your writings are worthy of a response from a responsible, respectable journalist.

Posted by: amazd | January 12, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"I'd genuinely like to hear Krauthammer's answers to these questions."

You won't.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | January 12, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer called Krugman delusional because there were no conservative "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary."

Does Greg (or Krugman) cite any EVIDENCE to support this specious assertion? Of course, not. They won't, because they can't.

So, why should Krauthammer respond to a patently false assertion?

This is a VERY silly premise for a post, Greg.

Try harder.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to cut Krautsy that much slack. He says there's "no evidence." Sure, but the investigation is only a few days old - we have no idea what the FBI will find when. And neither does Krauthammer.

Crazy people can be set off my all kinds of things, but when the right wing have spent the past 20 years demonizing the democratic party and labeling them as baby-killing, soulless, godless scum bent on stealing your money and guns - well, throw the recent eliminationist rhetoric into the mix - sorry, but I'm not inclined to believe this shooting occurred in a vacuum.

I am inclined to think that Krautsy doth protest a little too much.

Posted by: lcrider1 | January 12, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Cluebat to Leftists: Feel the Leftist hate-target rage.
http://www.verumserum.com/?p=13647

[Source: Democratic Leadership Committee website]

The AZ shooter was one of your own. Own him, Leftists.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

BUSTED! Daily Kos Founder Endorsed T-Shirt Targeting Sarah Palin’s Face With Rifle Crosshairs
http://weaselzippers.us/2011/01/12/daily-kos-founder-endorsed-t-shirt-targeting-sarah-palins-face-with-rifle-crosshairs/

Question for DailyKostards: How are those windows in your glass house?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Is it a valid question to ask whether such rhetoric in general risks tipping the unhinged into violence?"

Have you ever wondered whether the rhetoric of the left - say when they call Tea Party supporters "teabaggers" - might lead to violence? Since you believe that tea party supporters are already unhinged, do you fear that the incendiary rhetoric that the left uses to describe tea party supporters (calling them racists or Nazis) might drive one to commit an unspeakable act? In the past when tea party supporters have acted out in violence, did you wonder whether the rhetoric of the left somehow inflamed them and helped drive them to do it?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 12, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that... the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America... this guy clearly understands he‘s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder-- but something lesser.

Question for Leftists: Putting aside the case of Jared Loughner, is it a valid question to ask whether Leftist scapegoating smear campaigns (in general) risk tipping the scales of justice against the victims?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how the very same people who say Obama wasn't born in the U.S. deny that the right is engaged in rhetoric trying to undermine his legitimately Democratic hold on power.

Not a lot of self awareness there.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 12, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that... the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America... this guy clearly understands he‘s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder-- but something lesser.

Question for Leftists: Putting aside the case of Jared Loughner, is it a valid question to ask whether Leftist scapegoating smear campaigns (in general) risk tipping the scales of justice against the victims?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Verrrrrrry interesting...

~Investigators probe Loughner's gun purchase, examine finances~

Federal and local investigators are trying to determine how Jared Lee Loughner came up with the money to buy the weapon and ammunition he allegedly used to shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other people at a Tucson constituent event Saturday, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

The investigators believe that Loughner, 22, did not have sufficient income of his own to buy the Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun, the four magazines and the knife he allegedly carried to the event in front of a Tucson supermarket, the sources said. They estimated the cost at close to $1,000. Two of the magazines were extended ones capable of holding up to 33 rounds.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/11/AR2011011107371.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Some good news...

Dr. Rhee said Ms. Giffords appeared to be responding without prompts now, repeatedly flashing a thumbs-up at doctors and her husband, Mark Kelly, an astronaut.

Astonishing. Back in the horrible crack wars days, I worked as a 4th year med student and then as an intern at Harborview, Seattle's trauma center. We had a lot of people come in with point blank range gun shots to the head and this, lemme tell you, is really unusual.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@greg: "It's funny how the very same people who say Obama wasn't born in the U.S. deny that the right is engaged in rhetoric trying to undermine his legitimately Democratic hold on power."

I acknowledge Obama's legitimacy, and have never denied he was born in the United States, and have never suggested that he was anything other than American.

And that was before I decided he was actually a better president than I thought he was going to be, all things considered.

Just to be clear. There's a lot of heaping everybody in one big basket going on, I'm noticin'. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Some more Tea Party Love (via Talking Points):

An Arizona Republican Party District Chairman resigned shortly after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 18 others on Saturday. According to The Arizona Republic, Anthony Miller had been subject to verbal attacks and internet postings by apparent Tea Party members, and said he feared for his safety.

"I wasn't going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday," Miller told the Republic. "I love the Republican Party but I don't want to take a bullet for anyone."

Posted by: Papagnello | January 12, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"I'd genuinely like to hear Krauthammer's answers to these questions."

Me too. Great stuff, Greg.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 12, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: “~Investigators probe Loughner's gun purchase, examine finances~“

Turns out, he borrowed the money from Sarah Palin!

The plot thickens.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Poor Mr Sargent. Poor Mr Serwer. That dish of road kill crow can't be all that palatable. why not wash it down with the juice of the sour grapes left over from the November election Greg?

but I absolutely adore this line from Mr Selfawareness himself:
=========================
Rather, what some on the left object to is the rhetoric from the right that tacitly or overtly seeks to deligitimize the political opposition's democratically-obtained hold on power, and flirts with the idea that non-democratic means are an acceptable way of countering or undoing it.

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

gosh, I guess breathing the rarified air of the journ-o-list orbit must inhibt effective memory. Apparently Mr Sargent doesn't recall "selected not elected". I certainly do. And as I recall the attempts to deligitimize Mr Bush began before his inauguration. But why let mere facts disturb a good rant?

Ah, but as Mr Sargent would no doubt hasten to point out, that effort didn't include threats of violence.

Oh really? How many books about assasinating Mr Obama have been published Mr Sargent? There were two about Mr Bush, one published by respected Knopf label. And how many movies about killing Mr Obama have we been treated to Mr Sargent? Do you think that such a film would do as well at the Toronto film festival as the one about the assasination of Bush?

yes, you might say, but these are not the products of the rank and file liberals in America, who have always behaved with dignity and respect. Oh really? Take a visit to the Zombie blog hall of shame. Photo after photo of ordinary, dignified and respectful Americans holding up signs demanding the death of Bush will provide you with ample opportunity to excersize your hyperactive denial gland.

Still not enough? Tell us, Mr Sargent, was it a conservative journalist who asked the question, in a prominent newspaper, as Charles Brooker did? “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. — where are you now that we need you?"

Mr Sargent it seems to me that you should perhaps change the subject. I understand that eating crow isn't high on anybody's list of delightful times, but eat it you must. The journolistas made this mess. Whining about it now is just a sign of immaturity.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Rhee said Ms. Giffords appeared to be responding without prompts now, repeatedly flashing a thumbs-up at doctors and her husband, Mark Kelly, an astronaut.
--------------------------------------------------------
Let's say that Ms. Giffords continues to improve and someday will be able to speak out on her shooting. What will she say? "Oh, Sarah, I'm so sorry that you were a victim, just like me. So sorry. I'd do *anything* to make it up to you."

Mrs. Palin should think ahead a few moves before she gets out to the nation with a seven minute video clip about how she has been victimized.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 12, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

[Greg Sargent "It's funny how the very same people who say Obama wasn't born in the U.S. [sic] deny that the right is engaged in rhetoric"]

LMAO! Frustrated by readers' rejection of his silly red herring, Greg now ignites an even sillier "Birther" strawman. {weak}

Anything to distract himself from facing the ugly truth: This Leftist shooter was clearly yet another lunatic Leftist. Own him, Greg.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Two related points: AZ friend says anyone can swear out an involuntary commitment for evaluation [true?]. If so, a bunch of folks missed the boat here.

Second, did y'all know this?

http://www.azcentral.com/community/ahwatukee/articles/2011/01/11/20110111gabrielle-giffords-arizona-shooting-resignations.html

Makes me want to be harder on TEA groups in Tucson than I have been. Four *Rs* in Pima County quit for fear of violence from TEA constituents. Wow.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 12, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

An Arizona Republican Party District Chairman resigned shortly after the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
--------------------------------------------------------
I've been reading that there is such an uproar among families and staff of House Reps (federal), that more than one of the freshmen members have talked about resigning.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 12, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh and one more question Mr Sargent: Does the name Diebold ring a bell?

Do you recall how those dignified and respectful liberals in America convinced themselves that Bush rigged his re election by inducing the Diebold company to modify the electronic voting machines?

And do you recall that the move to these machines was as a response to the hue and cry from those very same dignified, respectful and oh so very self aware liberals because the "chad" issue in Florida was the reason they think Gore lost?

Remember that Mr Sargent?

I didn't think so.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Tea Party Love:

Threaten.

Posted by: Papagnello | January 12, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

[@Ethan2010: “~Investigators probe Loughner's gun purchase, examine finances~“]

So, did the Leftist shooter borrow or steal the money from his Jewish mother?

Is that what Ethan is wondering?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how the very same people who say Obama wasn't born in the U.S. deny that the right is engaged in rhetoric trying to undermine his legitimately Democratic hold on power.

Not a lot of self awareness there.

Posted by: Greg Sargent
____________________________
You are right. The people that claim this are fringe lunatics, and I wish the mainstream would state this more often.

That said, you are ignoring the history of the democratic party. How often was Bush's presidency questioned?

How often did we hear that Bush stole the election? And from MAINSTREAM Democrats? Robert Kennedy Jr. said it, Move On was created in part because everyone believed it. Not just in 2000, but also in 2004.
What is that but an attempt to make a presidency less legitimate?

Posted by: Bailers | January 12, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"How often did we hear that Bush stole the election? And from MAINSTREAM Democrats?"

The Supreme Court not allowing the FL recount to continue seemed a little odd though imho. They should have stood down and let the recount play out.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Another day, another chapter opens in the consequences of violent rhetoric. As Paganello and Mark have cited, now local Republicans are resigning in fear of the Tea Party. Wait a few more days, and see if others follow suit.

This is what is dumb about Mrs. Palin--she does not think ahead.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 12, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

One thing is clear...

Bill Ayers should burn a Koran every day until Obama either releases his birth certicate or admits his culpability in Giffords' shooting.

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

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

I eagerly await the Greg’s strong denunciation of Obama's Weatherman connections.

Own Obama, Leftists. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Political leaders dropping out for fear of their and their families life is a problem.

Tom Perriello here in VA had his gas lines cut to his house and some idiot tea party leader in VA made a horrible tweet shortly after the shooting that said something along the lines of 'Cutting your gas line doesn't seem so bad now..what? Too soon?'

I know the majority of the tea party isn't extreme but the extremists sure seem to have found a home in the tea party.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think this line of inquiry misses the point that many are making. It's not just the "eliminationist" rhetoric, which can be attributed to very few political and media figures, but the use of extremely toxic language, tactics and claims to rile up hatred and fear that the very republic is in jeopardy and that our own elected leaders (from the other party) are not just our political enemies but enemies of the country. This kind of rhetoric not only pollutes the political and social environment but can also contribute to the data points that effect a sick or unbalanced mind and play a factor in their acting out with violence...such as shooting out the windows of various candidates' offices including Giffords office, sending death threats, bringing guns to rallies and even murder. Some examples of this kind of worped language/claims that can create these data points: the various accusations/suggestions that the other side isn't legitimate or one of us -- in terms of the Pres: he's foreign (not a naturalized citizen or deeply rooted here), he's muslim, he's racist, he's a socialist, he's not patriotic (Palin suggests this over and over again often through digging at Michelle Obama), he hates America, he hates our values, he's deliberately trying to ruin the economy (recent Palin claim). In terms of Giffords, no doubt she was the recipient of similar claims/tactics. Both side say horrible things and it is a challenge to know when and how to dial it back. If the other side actually believes these things (that the threat to the republic is so fundamental, that Dems are traitors and unpatriotic and espouse communist policies), it's understandable that they would not want..nor should they...dial it back. They are warning the country and trying to save it from catastrophe.

Posted by: wswest | January 12, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it again, it is important we not conflate the ongoing danger to our society represented by armed, radical political factions with the actions of this person. People afraid of the armed wing of the Republican Party have plenty of reason to be. I have heard them and they are not joking when they talk of insurrection, they are not kidding around.

The potential for incitement of the mentally ill is its own issue and it has been explored (and explored and explored again) in the last few days. I think we all agree, it is irresponsible to incite violence by using certain types of rhetoric, as politicians have done since politics began and that crazy (as well as intoxicated) people are particularly vulnerable to incitement.

But the potential for organized or vigilante style political violence (John Brown's 1859 raid at Harper's Ferry for example) and the nature of this young man's actions and most important, the remedies that need to be applied to are completely different.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

OT:

Announcing WaPo Troll Hunter 1.7.9!

Now don't just ignore trolls! Hi-lite favorite users! On any comment, just mouse over the commenters name where is says "Posted by: Kevin_Willis", click on their name, and, from now on,their posts will hilited. Un-hilite the same way, or clear the entire favorites list just like you can clear the whole troll list).

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Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Rather, what some on the left object to is the rhetoric from the right that tacitly or overtly seeks to deligitimize the political opposition's democratically-obtained hold on power, and flirts with the idea that non-democratic means are an acceptable way of countering or undoing it."

By my recollection, delegitimization has been going on since at least George W. Bush, although you can make a fair argument that Bill Clinton was subjected to it as well. A substantial portion of the left didn't consider Bush a "legitimate" president because he was "selected not elected".

Regarding using "non-democratic means are an acceptable way of countering or undoing it" would you consider having the judiciary overturn something that the voters enacted as "non-democratic"?

"So here are my questions for Krauthammer and whoever else wants to answer them: Do you agree that the "eliminationist rhetoric" cited by Krugman is a problem and is out of bounds? Are you denying that such rhetoric exists, or that the preponderance of it comes from the right?"

Krugman's argument on ""eliminationist rhetoric" would have been stronger had he cited some specific examples. Do you have any particular ones in mind Greg?

Posted by: jnc4p | January 12, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Why did Gifford's subscribe to Loughner's Youtube?

Screenshot:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_qJjmrMNfViI/TSqsEG6xB5I/AAAAAAAABWE/7qo5hKimloY/s1600/giffords2.jpg

Posted by: Truthteller12 | January 12, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent "It's funny how the very same people who say Obama wasn't born in the U.S. deny that the right is engaged in rhetoric trying to undermine his legitimately Democratic hold on power.

Not a lot of self awareness there"

This is true, but I generally lump the "Birthers" in with the "9/11 Truthers" and disregard both of them.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 12, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I read Krugman's column the other day and agreed with him about the real issue being the "eliminationist rhetoric."

The problem is that the Republicans have decided to make angry people with guns their political base. Ms. Palin is just one of many, many conservatives who have played to this base....and it's been programmed almost 24/7 over at Fox News.

I sense, however, that some Republicans are beginning to understand that this kind of eliminationist rhetoric, directed at angry people who believe that the only solution to "getting their country back" is by using guns, can be just as dangerous to one of them.

It's pretty clear that Loughner was anti-government. If he does have mental health issues, would he have been able to discriminate between a Democrat in government and a Republican in government? Only time will tell if he acted on his anti-government fervor specifically against Gabrielle Giffords because she is a Democrat who voted for healthcare reform, or because she is a woman, or because she is Jewish, or simply because she happened to be the easiest available target.

Would he have attempted to assassinate John McCain or Jon Kyl or a Republican representative if he could have? We just don't know yet, but again, why take chances with anyone's life?

So the real need at this point is for us, as a society, to figure out to prevent this from happening again to any political figure. And one of the ways to do that is to curtail the hate speech -- stop making our political opponents "enemies" who are dangerous to America. In short, to stop the ugly, divisive rhetoric.

By her releasing her "speech"...her defense...whatever Ms. Palin wants to call it, on the day that the President of the United States is speaking to the nation to comfort us after this tragedy -- seems to be an attempt to elevate herself to the same level as the President.

She has every right to defend herself, but by placing herself front and center in the media on this day, and by continuing to be divisive and rallying her angry base, and by using controversial and potentially offensive rhetoric, ...well, either her timing is lousy or she has delusions of grandeur...or she's just plain reckless.

Posted by: elscott | January 12, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, that feature to show Images is awesome!


Thanks hah. WaPo should hire you.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Very nicely and clearly stated, Greg. These are questions worth asking (and answering).

Posted by: paulpgh | January 12, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiDelendaEst, you are ill. We can all see that. I really, truly pity you. Please get help before you become the next Jared Loughner. Now meet the Troll Hunter.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This is a test....

Rainforest on your average day while chatting here:

|img:http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f213/Unknown11191/bang-head-on-keyboard.gif|

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

lmao. That's great Kevin. I'll try not to abuse the image linking.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"...either her timing is lousy or she has delusions of grandeur...or she's just plain reckless."

Can't we pick all of the above? These issues are not mutually exclusive, they ride together often, we could call them, the three horsemen of failed political careers.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"I read Krugman's column the other day and agreed with him about the real issue being the "eliminationist rhetoric."

And what example of eliminationist rhetoric did Krugman provide? Michele Bachman: "urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous”

There's a big problem here with Krugman.

"For the record, here is what Michele said: “I’m going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back.”

"Yes, that’s right: she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with “materials”–facts and arguments–not guns. If this is the best example of “eliminationist rhetoric” that the far left can come up with, you can see how absurdly weak the claims of Krugman and his fellow haters are."

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/01/12/krauthammer-wonders-at-the-delusions-of-the-media/

Posted by: sbj3 | January 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
============
"eliminationist rhetoric"
========================
First, why not define the term for us? This seems to me yet another liberal invention, like homophobe, to obfusticate.

And if you really want to discuss this "issue", why not provide some examples of what you find egregious about the statements of others.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious...but mike is right, could get out of hand. I wonder if Greg uses TH, he'll never say.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

test

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 12, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010 should burn a Koran every day until Obama either releases his birth certicate or admits culpability in Giffords' shooting.

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

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

I eagerly await Ethan’s strong denunciation of Obama's Weatherman connections.

Own Obama, Ethan. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: """she wanted Minnesotans to be armed with “materials”"""

I think you left out one little bit.

She wanted Minnesotans to be armed and DANGEROUS.

Imagine if Anthony Weiner said that he wants Democrats to be armed and dangerous? Would you be excusing his remarks? Of course not.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Are regular "quotes" getting turned into smart quotes at some point in time? I am curious, because sbj3's formatting and blockquotes don't make much "sense" unless something else happened that "contributes" to the blockquoting thing . .

“This is an official blockquote. Maybe I should pick something different? Left-Curly-Quote worked fine with the AICN Extra Stuff Mod.“

Yay!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out, moving on to an important issue, the debt ceiling:

http://wapo.st/fz2P8X

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 12, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"but mike is right, could get out of hand."

That's what ignore is for.... |img:http://www.emoticonsfree.org/wp-content/uploads/mad0009.gif|

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

so ethan, based on this:
===========
She wanted Minnesotans to be armed and DANGEROUS
======================

What are you afraid of sonny?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

[Greg: "moving on to an important issue"]

Good call...clearly Greg's points here were conclusively demonstrated to be trite and unimportant.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 12, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

There goes sbj3 again, trying to muddy the waters with facts.  How dare you counter teh Krug!  Don't you know he has a Nobel Prize?  Shame!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 12, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

http://www.emoticonsfree.org/ for anyone interested in loads of em..

yeah. I'm 10.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"What are you afraid of sonny?"

People like Michelle Bachman anywhere near a firearm.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 12, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@mikefromArlington: "That's what ignore is for...."

Then you had better start ignoring me, and quick. ;)

|img:http://dustythoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/sarah_palin_5.jpg|

Talk about libel!

To the latest, latest version, I've added |red:typing stuff in red, you know, for accusations of **blood libel**| (same open and close with the pipe thing) and |hi:hiliting certain segements if we kinda want to emphasize that this is where we demonstrate our wisdom|, but those will only show up for people running version 1.8.0 of the Troll Hunter. ;)

Heh.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Hilarious...but mike is right, could get out of hand. I wonder if Greg uses TH, he'll never say."

It's gotten out of hand already. And I'm pretty sure Greg doesn't use Troll Hunter.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: C'mon, pal. Get serious.

BTW, I'm a little bit worried that your incendiary rhetoric - calling Sarah Palin an effin' b!ch - might incite her to commit a violent act. I'm a bit worried that your incendiary rhetoric - calling Kevin's comments disgusting - might lead him to do something crazy. You've got to take responsibility for your words - please watch what you say!

Posted by: sbj3 | January 12, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@troll: "trying to muddy the waters with facts"

Of course he's trying to muddy the waters.

He wants to excuse the right of all their violent rhetoric. Things like "Second Amendment Remedies" and "Armed and Dangerous"...

Troll, what would have happened with those of you on the Right if Anthony Weiner had said he wants his constituents "Armed and Dangerous" on Health Care Reform?

It would all be flowers and rose petals, right?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3: “I'm a bit worried that your incendiary rhetoric - calling Kevin's comments disgusting - might lead him to do something crazy.“

It's already happened. Update the WaPo Troll Hunter to see me |red:typing in an angry red colored font!!|

Phew. All right, I'm settling down now. But that was close.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: “Troll, what would have happened with those of you on the Right if Anthony Weiner had said he wants his constituents "Armed and Dangerous" on Health Care Reform?“

Well, if it were me, I'd think to myself: boy, if a Republicans said that, the liberals would go crazy!

Otherwise, I'd think it was typical, overblown rhetoric. As to what certain pundits would do with it, I dunno.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate your article, but in my case there is no need to explain Charles Krauthammer. The man is a bitter, partisan, insecure megalomaniac that cannot accept the fact that his party lost the 2008 election, and particularly to an African American candidate. Even now, Charles and his ilk would rather willfully invalidate this President through incivility and disrespect and borderline insurrection, even though he was elected in a democratic society. It is the Charles Krauthammers that are the real fascists in this country, and not all of us are fooled.

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 12, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Side note first... Krauthammer writes:

"Historically speaking, all democratic politics is a sublimation of the ancient route to power -- military conquest."

Leaving aside that the verb "sublimate" is not a term/concerpt that is used by historians but rather by psychoanalists (and had application to the individual, not the group)... it makes sense to posit some such mechanism at work in group dynamics and cultural change over time in the West at least. Further, as the US invasion of Iraq demonstrates with clarity (and it's just the most recent example) Krauthammer's use of "ancient" is a tad obtuse.

But overall, yes, codes of laws and institutions to forward those codes - particularly at the international level - can be seen to have one function such as Krauthammer suggests (even if he was happy to have his country attack Iraq and even if he has little if any use for international institutions that might constrain the US as it operates in the world to enhance its self-interests).

One cannot validly draw a causal link between particular rhetorical instances and this act. But that's difficult in any case, even as in the earlier example of the fellow who read and wrote about Goldberg's book and then proceeded to murder some "liberals". Though this case surely has a closer relationship between rhetoric and act, it's still not easy to assert causality because of the complexity of what goes on in a person's head.

In that second case, lots of people read Goldberg's book but only one moved on to political murder. Would he have committed the act had he not read that book? We don't know of course. But we understand that the murderer's political reading didn't begin with that book...he'd been steeped in the extremist literature that is common in the modern right. Would he have committed the act if he had not been living within that conceptual world for as long as he was to the degree he was? That's certainly less likely, isn't it?

One might also want to ask Krauthammer about the anti-Semitic rhetoric that preceded events in Germany last century. Anyone who has read Shirer's book (or similar histories) will understand the role that such violent and exclusivist rhetoric played in what was to come. Indeed, what happened would simply not have been possible without such rhetoric flooding that country through the preceding decades.

And another question to put to him or those who see things as he does, would be "are there any limits"? Is it OK to produce a video that portrays hundreds of Mexicans (or whomever) lined up on the edge of a trench and mowed down by automatic weapons while blonde cheerleaders jump and wave red, white and blue pom poms?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 12, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ethan! How are you?

I'm worried my 'nick might inspire some act of violence. I denounce myself!

I'm taking suggestions for a new 'nick.  What about 'butterflies&puppies'?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 12, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate your article, but in my case there is no need to explain Charles Krauthammer. The man is a bitter, partisan, insecure megalomaniac that cannot accept the fact that his party lost the 2008 election, and particularly to an African American candidate. Even now, Charles and his ilk would rather willfully invalidate this President through incivility, wholly disrespect and symbolic insurrection, even though he was elected by a majority in a democratic society. It is the Charles Krauthammers that are the real fascists in this country, and not all of us are fooled. The right wants to tell us that our vote didn't count and that their desires trumps the majority. Well I am here to tell them that my vote did count and wishing it away wont work. No, you dont have to explain Charles Krauthammer because he is an open book.

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 12, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: “One might also want to ask Krauthammer about the anti-Semitic rhetoric that preceded events in Germany last century.“

Ding! Another nickel for the Godwin jar. And, teacher says "every time a Nazi rings, a linguist gets his wings!"

"That's right, Zuzu. That's right!"

|img:http://tinyurl.com/5t7pm7y|

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

SBJ, KW,

Have fun mocking everything.

You truly have blessed lives if you can sit there and laugh at even the most serious of topics as you both do on a daily basis. Congratulations.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Hi Ethan! How are you?"

I've just blocked you.

Sadly, I cannot have a serious discussion with ANY Republicans any more because you are all so frigging pathetic. So you are ALL being blocked.

You, SBJ, KW, QB, ScottC, all of you.

I'm done with your idiocy.

I look forward to debating real issues with real adults, i.e. Democrats only.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:
they aren't laughing at "serious topics" son. they are laughing at you.

And with good reason

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate your article, but in my case there is no need to explain Charles Krauthammer. The man is a bitter, partisan, insecure megalomaniac that cannot accept the fact that his party lost the 2008 election, and particularly to an African American candidate. Even now, Charles and his ilk would rather willfully invalidate this President through incivility and disrespect and borderline insurrection, even though he was elected in a democratic society. It is the Charles Krauthammers that are the real fascists in this country, and not all of us are fooled.

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 12, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

""Hi Ethan! How are you?"

I've just blocked you.

Sadly, I cannot have a serious discussion with ANY Republicans any more because you are all so frigging pathetic. So you are ALL being blocked.

You, SBJ, KW, QB, ScottC, all of you.

I'm done with your idiocy.

I look forward to debating real issues with real adults, i.e. Democrats only.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 12, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse"

Sadly, my self-denunciation came to late.  Gaia weeps for my superciliousness.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 12, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"A Palm Springs man has been arrested for leaving phone messages threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, the Seattle Democrat."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013915035_mcdermott13m.html

Posted by: wbgonne | January 12, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: "Have fun mocking everything."

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/you-mock-me/280540/

Do I mock everything? I don't think so.

I just try to keep a light heart. At least, that's how I view it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: “I've just blocked you.

Sadly, I cannot have a serious discussion with ANY Republicans any more because you are all so frigging pathetic. So you are ALL being blocked.

You, SBJ, KW, QB, ScottC, all of you.

I'm done with your idiocy.

I look forward to debating real issues with real adults, i.e. Democrats only.“

The irony is •deeeeelicious•. Mmmm.

No doubt, Ethan will better enjoy the echo chamber.

He may miss important updates to the Troll Hunter though. Again, the irony is . . . •luscious•.

Hee.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I saw the SNL Mocking skit when it originally aired (the one I linked to above). They edited out about 2 very important seconds where Jan Hooks pretty much fell out of her bustier on live television. Redaction!

This is revisionist history, and I will not stand for it. They mock me!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Greg, Myerson has a good piece out today. I wouldn't bother with Kraut -- he always writes garbage.

"Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, who told a rally in Washington last April that, "We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it. They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists."

It is completely laughable to suggest that people like this are not creating a murderous culture where we will continue to see Dems being murdered because they are aching for a new civil war to break out.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 12, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Greg, Adam, or someone else already linked to this, but I think this lays out my position and I believe the position of many others on the Left regarding calls for more civil language and the arguments defending the use of violent rhetoric:

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/81155/how-the-giffords-tragedy-made-me-anti-anti-anti-political-hate-speech

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 12, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@sbj3:
So now even name calling is too much for the right wing? the 'teabaggers' used the term themselves before anybody else did. "Tea bag them before they tea bag you" was the rallying cry.
.
So calling them 'teabaggers' is perfectly valid. Doubly so because of the ever so delicious irony that they didn't know the word was already being used for something most of them would find repulsive.
.
To all those saying the left uses rhetoric..yes we do. And some of it has been over the top and the left side has said they will tone it done. The right has decidedly *not*. They have gone into victim mode.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 12, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It is simply amazing how selective liberals are in what they see and hear. Of course it's only conservatives and Republicans saying such things. What horrible people. Democrats and liberals are the enlightened ones and anything they say or do in pursuit of their goals is legitimate.

Jay Nordlinger runs down some examples on the left:

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."

Liberals where were you with outrage at those statements?

Face it liberals the country is finally on to you. You've been massively rejected in this last election due to the massive failure of this last congress and admistration and its not going to get any better. You can't debate the substance of your failed policies so change the subject I suppose.

All of you who have blamed this atrocity on anything other than deranged man should be ashamed of yourselves. But that will never happen as liberal have no shame.

Disgusting, Godzilla sized disgusting.

Cmon 2012 !!!

Posted by: LiveFree5 | January 12, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It is simply amazing how selective liberals are in what they see and hear. Of course it's only conservatives and Republicans saying such things. What horrible people. Democrats and liberals are the enlightened ones and anything they say or do in pursuit of their goals is legitimate.

Jay Nordlinger runs down some examples on the left:

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."

Liberals where were you with outrage at those statements?

Face it liberals the country is finally on to you. You've been massively rejected in this last election due to the massive failure of this last congress and administration and its not going to get any better. You can't debate the substance of your failed policies so change the subject I suppose.

All of you who have blamed this atrocity on anything other than deranged man should be ashamed of yourselves. But that will never happen as liberal have no shame.

Disgusting, Godzilla sized disgusting.

Cmon 2012 !!!

Posted by: LiveFree5 | January 12, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"Gaia weeps for my superciliousness."

Fine, but don't try to tell us your IQ is 71 anymore.

Kevin, is that you? Do you live in Soho? I think we should charge a dollar for Nazi trolling. Charities are hurting these days. How about 50¢ for Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Idi Amin, Papa Doc...and so on.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 12, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Ding! Another nickel for the Godwin jar. "

Yes, I understand that all libraries have now removed copies of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" because it violates Godwin's Law.

If one wants to speak of certain particular issues, ie propaganda techniques, anti-Semitism, or the historical instance of a sophisticated, cultured, educated modern European nation falling to the crimes and the attending moral/philosophical universe that the world witnessed last century, then we will not gain by avoiding discussion of 1930's Germany.

Godwin was, of course, referencing not careful analyses of the above but the trite, facile and inappropriate analogies to German/Hitler that are common on discussion boards.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 12, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@skipsailing28:
You claim the left manufactured the Diebold conspiracy. In fact, the CEO of Diebold said on the record he was going to do everything he could to get Bush elected.
.
When you're company makes the bulk of the voting machines in use, that's a pretty ripe target for wondering just what you did do in pursuit of that cause. Especially when the election was so close.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 12, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

And when you combine the overtly eliminationist rhetoric that Dave Neiwart at Crooks and Liars has done such a good job documenting over the years, with the loose talk of "destroying political enemies" that is also routine, with the statements of Republican leaders that "compromise" isn't in their lexicon, then you get a political environment is which politics itself is taking a back seat to the brute acquisition of force and power, however that plays out.

Posted by: TedFrier | January 12, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

No rpixley220 I didn't state that the left manufactured a conspiracy. I merely pointed out to Greg, and now to you, that efforts to deligitimize the opposition are a common aspect of American politics these days.

whether the Diebold scare was valid or not is hardly the point. The point is that Mr Sargent is simply blinkered by his rank partisanship.

I note that you cannot refute my other points. The left did work hard to deligitimize Bush. Now they are whining about the same tactics being used against them.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the Gander.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 12, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@shrink: “Kevin, is that you? Do you live in Soho?“

No! I was punk'd. I went to find a picture of Jimmy Stewart at the end of It's a Wonderful Life, found it, put it in, and the server it's coming from knows it's being embedded in a different page, and serves up another image, just to be irritating. But it knows to send the right image to google to fake me out. Goofballs.

I apologize for the dude from SoHo.

@bernie: “Yes, I understand that all libraries have now removed copies of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" because it violates Godwin's Law.“

It does not. It's a book. Godwin's Law is expressed thusly:

“"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin put forth the sarcastic observation that, given enough time, all online discussions—regardless of topic or scope—inevitably end up being about Hitler and the Nazis.“

“Godwin was, of course, referencing not careful analyses of the above but the trite, facile and inappropriate analogies to German/Hitler that are common on discussion boards.“

Your reference was •just• facile enough to qualify. But only •just•.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 12, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@rpixley:

The CEO of Diebold wrote in a fundraising letter that he was committed "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President." Not "he would do everything he could to get Bush elected."

Only the most cement-headed partisan could infer his statement was support for voter fraud.

But, nice try anyway....

Posted by: sold2u | January 12, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I would see the day that rainforestrising would admit to being a big government socialist in such a brazen fashion. Remove the first, second and fourth amendment rights of a mentally ill person and force them into a government run brainwashing community college? Blasphemy!

Posted by: sparkplug1 | January 12, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

It's really quite interesting to watch the deranged and constantly furious right get even more deranged and furious at Democrats because a Democrat got shot.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 12, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent should note that the only example Krugman cites of right-wing "eliminationist rhetoric" is Michelle Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" quote. Read this blog for his source on that (http://thinkprogress.org/2009/03/23/bachmann-armed-and-dangerous/). It's a poor choice of words for sure, but Krugman greatly overstates things to call this "eliminationist". But it's all beside the point, because political rhetoric had nothing to do with the shootings in Tuscon. So any attempt to bring it up as an issue in response to Tuscon is an attempt to use a tragedy to silence your political opponents.

Posted by: lseltzer | January 12, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

In the wake of the massacre at Fort Hood, the President and liberal media told us not to 'rush to judgement.' Did the same thing happen with the Tucson, AZ tragedy?

Posted by: JustJoe3 | January 12, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

In the wake of the massacre at Fort Hood, the President and liberal media told us not to 'rush to judgement.' Did the same thing happen with the Tucson, AZ tragedy?

Posted by: JustJoe3 | January 12, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

-----------------
Solid point sir. I live in Arizona and what is going on in the media in the wake of this tragedy is downright scary. They are attempting to link the actions of a psychopath with conservatives in this country. This step is not shocking. It's been brewing for a while.

If you disagree with the president you are labeled a racist.

If you supported SB1070 you are a racist.

I have a friend who had a Jan Brewer bumper sticker on his vehicle and he had the windows smashed out and the bumper sticker covered with a Mexican flag bumper sticker. This culture of corruption has now come to the point where even an opposing voice will be a crime.

Yet these columnists have the nerve to call the right in this country paranoid!!!

Posted by: skins91r | January 12, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

My comment on Krauthammer's column was simply the old Shakespeare quote: "Thou dost protest too much, methinks."

I don't think that it's unfair to suggest that the degree of the right's angry response to this issue indicates an underlying unease that they may in fact bear the bigger share of responsibility for the overly inflamed political rhetoric these days.

And Greg's conversation with the the mental illness expert is right on point: Certain traits may exist independently of the environment (in this case a shooter's pre-existing tendency to violence) but different environments may or may not provide the impetus for expression of the particular trait.

Further, the universal interplay of individual traits and social/economic environment is a good point for Republicans to bear in mind when discussing the morality of taxing the rich: A rich person is never rich by himself, it depends on his environment. That's why some ambitious people come to this country to get rich - their ambition alone is insufficient. Ambition needs the right environment to be successful.

Posted by: Poster3 | January 12, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Republicans NEVER take responsibility for the damage they cause.

Just look at how they blame Obama for the ugly mess Bush left behind!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 12, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you and Krugman on the centrality of "eliminationist" rhetoric. I also believe that key element must be understood in its interplay with others:

1. Identify the opposition as people who are not merely of a different opinion but disloyal (Palin: "people who hate America"), alien and from a different culture (birthers), and/or from a different religion (30% of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim).

2. State or imply that they are acting illegally, extra-Constitutionally -- that they are attempting to subvert law ("impose sharia") and impose their will upon you.

3. State or imply that the opposition does not merely disagree on policy but wishes to alter fundamental aspects of life: (Michele Bachmann saying Obama will make us slaves; Glenn Beck saying they will come for your children; tea partiers with signs portraying Obama as Hitler).

4. State that these opponents will subjugate you by taking your guns away, in violation of your Constitutional rights (GOP candidates too numerous to count, and of course the NRA).

5. Do all this in a country already frightened by the prospect of terrorism, and divided over a two lengthy and inconclusive wars.

6. And do it all in the context of a long, long tradition, especially in the Bible belt where these messages resonate the most, of antipathy toward the federal government and affection for firearms. Couple it with calls for a Constitutional amendment that recalls the Nullification Crisis of 1830, and while the governor of one of the largest states (Perry of Texas) talks about the potential of secession (as we observe the 150th anniversary of the Civil War).

What you end up with is about what you'd expect. And many of us have been warning about it long before Tucson.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 12, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is a loon who is desperately trying to stay relevant by dabbling in politics.

Google image search "bush kill signs death" and then come back and tell me the use of eliminationist rhetoric isn't a left problem. Listen to Olbermann's rant on Scott Brown after the MA Special and tell me the left isn't intolerant. They're lucky they have such a large bully pulpit in the media.

Posted by: dnara | January 12, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Krugman is a loon who is desperately trying to stay relevant by dabbling in politics.

Google image search "bush kill signs death" and then come back and tell me the use of eliminationist rhetoric isn't a left problem. Listen to Olbermann's rant on Scott Brown after the MA Special and tell me the left isn't intolerant. They're lucky they have such a large bully pulpit in the media.

Posted by: dnara | January 12, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to echo a comment I heard from another commenter. "It was something like this...we on the left sense that those on the right do want to shoot us." The woman went on to ask "is that true?" It was one of the better comments I've ever read. Also, I teach and I hear kids all the time talking about shooting Obama, or gays or whatever. It's ridiculous. I do think there is a climate of hate and intolerance fostered by Palin and other right-wingers. I think the media eats it up too...these folks are marginal.

Posted by: pdurand | January 12, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Please. Krauthammer should not respond to Sargent for two reasons:

1) Sargent is a troll and desperately wants to play in the big leagues.

2) Sargent's "argument" is nothing of the sort. It is just more liberal ranting that conservatives are violent without providing any evidence.

Sargent is a clown and not a very bright one.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 12, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

http://www.google.com/images?client=safari&rls=en&q=bush+kill+signs&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1280&bih=595

Here you go. Makes the Obama signs look like hazing on the softball team. Truly sick, violent and intolerant leftists.

Posted by: dnara | January 12, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Look, the only evidence that Krugman gave for his hateful theory is Bachman's "armed and dangerous" line.

That line was actually willfully taken out of context. The actual line was:

"I'm going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back."

So to be clear she was saying they should be armed with KNOWLEDGE.

Sargent is beyond pathetic. He is jumping on to an argument that was discredited a long time ago.


http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/01/028118.php

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704803604576077892006683586.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Not only is Sargent a mindless partisan, but he is woefully unknowledgeable. I am embarrassed for the Post for having this moron on the payroll.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 12, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Sargent and the other liberal hypocrites just refuse to look at the liberal hate.

Take a peek, cowards:

http://www.binscorner.com/pages/d/death-threats-against-bush-at-protests-i.html

Show me ONE thing from a Tea Partier as violent as that crap.

Tell us more about "eliminationist rhetoric" Sargent, you hypocritical ghoul.

Posted by: bobmoses | January 12, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Excellent points my friends. Educational as always.

To my friends on the left: We need to at least be aware of the rhetoric during the Bush years. Yes, I know, WE don't think it ever reached THIS level. That, you must understand, may only be a matter of perspective.

To my friends on the right: Jared is a lefty, and Fort Hood excuses this? I realize I am oversimplifying but that isn't even an apologist position. It's just...weird. Interesting, but weird.

To everyone: To show my militant streak for a moment, I absolutely do not want ANY interference with political speech because of this. Why? Because I want the right to continue like this, hell I want them to ramp-it-up. I want every God-fearing, gun-loving, Fox news-watching REAL american to get out there with everything they've got. I want more planes crashed into federal buildings, I want more politicians shot, I want more deranged manifestos on the web! I want it all!

And when the dust settles, and we get it out of our system (maybe), we can all sit back and quitely look forward to our next bout of craziness while we fill the time in between with boring discussions about infrastructure, global economic policy, taxes, and social programs.

Teehee

Posted by: ashtar377 | January 12, 2011 8:59 PM | Report abuse

"So here are my questions for Krauthammer and whoever else wants to answer them: Do you agree that the "eliminationist rhetoric" cited by Krugman is a problem and is out of bounds?"

It is a problem. That's why Liberals invented the fairness doctrine, to eliminate the other side. Only Liberals try to instutuionalize the marginalization of the other side.

"Are you denying that such rhetoric exists, or that the preponderance of it comes from the right?"


Of course it exists. No, the preponderance does not come from the right. Liberals refuse to believe that conservatices hear their ideas, ruminate about them, and soundly reject them, for a whole host of reasons. Instead, they fantasize that somehow their ideas are not heard, much like the whole health care debate, where after a thousand speeches from Obama and others, there is still a solid majority against the bill. Eliminationism is not the problem, liberal.

Posted by: scf2 | January 12, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The key lesson in the Republican catechism is that the Federal government is to be feared and distrusted, even though the average citizen has little to fear besides a possible tax audit. This feeds the paranoia of the mentally ill. Republicans fuel and stoke the paranoid.

Posted by: rhallnj | January 13, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The key lesson in the Republican catechism is that the Federal government is to be feared and distrusted, even though the average citizen has little to fear besides a possible tax audit. This feeds the paranoia of the mentally ill. Republicans fuel and stoke the paranoid.

Posted by: rhallnj | January 13, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Questions for the ignorant:

1. Are you saying the heated rhetoric and savage imagery such as what we saw in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and the Lincoln-Douglas debates made the Civil War more likely?

2. At what point do you arbitrarily go back in the past to before the rhetoric was dangerous? To 2006, when Democrats routinely accused President Bush of treason, murder, and worse? To 2003 when a large portion of progressives claimed he faked 9/11 (and many still do)? To 1995, when President Clinton assigned blame for Timothy McVeigh to Rush Limbaugh? To when Kennedy accused Republicans of being soft on Communism? Where does that "hockey stick" start?

3. Are you suggesting free and open speech is not good for our democracy? What would you do about it?

The facts are that Sarah Palin is not far off with her "blood libel" comment. The left-wing media is trying to seize on the actions of a nut who, it is increasingly clear, had no real political inclination or agenda, to silence their opposition. You don't like the political climate? Consider the blood on your own hands first, because you are as much to blame as anyone else. Then...get over it, because this is America and we have the freedom of speech, for better or worse.

Posted by: INTJ | January 13, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

seeks to deligitimize the political opposition's democratically-obtained hold on power" Oh, like Bush stole the election? As to the 'eliminationist' rhetoric, that has been used exclusively in terms of elections...and Krugman is a scoundrel. My question to you is why can't you catch a whiff of your reeking hypocrisy?

Posted by: Tomdebar | January 13, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm right of center - fiscal conservative, social liberal. Whenever I read the comments from readers I find good insightful ones on both sides. But why is it, even under a piece about civility in dialogue, there's still insulting speech. Some of it comes from the left, but the majority comes from the far right. Let's be honest, the far right has pretty much one position--fiscal responsibility--about which they can sound rational. But I part ways over guns, creationism, abortion, gay rights, climate change, immigration, Obama's birth to name a few. I part ways because I see things differently, but that chasm is really wide because I want nothing to do with how pissed the far right is over these issues and how unable they are of talking about them without negativity, insolence and hostility. It's been the subject of national debate even before the Loughner shootings. If you write a comment using "-tard" or "lame stream media" or whatever, you're just a far righter keeping the issue afloat.

Posted by: 20000days | January 13, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"Eliminationist rhetoric” is the duty of the political opposition. You want to “eliminate” your opponents from power/office. There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, calling for their elimination from LIFE, or through violent means, is a much different story. It’s heinous. However, neither you nor Krugman cite any examples of where this is going on, other than to point to the use of metaphors (random internet posters don’t count).

As to your question regarding the preponderance of “eliminationist rhetoric,” might I point out that we have a Democrat in office right now? OF COURSE eliminationist rhetoric will tend to emanate from the Right (though Leftist venom isn't exactly lacking). Prior to, the eliminationist rhetoric was on the other side, and was just as vitriolic. Yet none of you had anything to say about it then. If you had, you’d now have a leg to stand on.

Lastly, I never would have barked up this tree if I were a Democrat. It may very well come back to bite you (and by saying "bite," please know that I do not condone any actual, physical biting). After all, what shall we conclude the next time an environmental activist with Schizophrenia decides to take a bunch of hostages with a bomb, as happened just a few months ago? Will you blame the global warming hyperbole?

Posted by: BlaineC | January 14, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

Good luck getting an answer out of that bitter old man. He is too busy sucking lemons in his echo chamber to bother responding. He barely responds to the tepid debate on that crappy "Inside Washington" with Gordon Peterson. It is spew, pontificate, roll eyes, rinse, repeat for that old buzzard.

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

Mr. Sargent, early in your post you ask;
"Are you denying that such rhetoric exists, or that the preponderance of it comes from the right?"
Now I will honestly admit that I don't have time to follow every nuance of this debate. However, I have never heard of
"eliminationist rhetoric" When was this term coined and by whom? Also can you give me at least one, but preferably several quotes of "eliminationist rhetoric".
Thanx

Posted by: sageofthewabash1 | January 16, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

"A mental illness expert told me yesterday that even if we stipulate that Loughner is completely nuts, asking whether the current excess of our political culture makes the insane more likely than they otherwise might be to commit political violence is a completely valid, and even desirable, line of inquiry."

This might be a good debate to have, but first you would have to establish that Loughner had been a consumer of said political culture. All evidence is that he was totally detached from main stream culture. Or if he felt a political affiliation of any kind it is not clear which way he leaned, Right or Left, his thoughts were so disorganized who could tell?
Second, are we really in a period of excess political rhetoric? Just in my lifetime I can remember the election of 1964 was punctuated by fist fights at rallies and vilification in the press. We forget our own history and the days of the yellow press who openly engaged in character assassination. See the election of 1828

http://history1800s.about.com/od/leaders/a/electionof1828.htm

I would suggest that these times in which we live are fairly average for us as a nation.

Posted by: sageofthewabash1 | January 16, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Before giving credence to Charles Krauthammer's opinion on ANYTHING, due diligence requires I first assess his judgment, so MY question for Krauthammer is:

Why did you jump headfirst into a swimming pool with no water in it, paralyzing yourself in the process?

Seems quite injudicious, I must say . . .

Posted by: bobdevo | January 19, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

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