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Posted at 3:11 PM ET, 01/11/2011

Which side is more to blame?

By Greg Sargent

Everybody is linking to this George Packer quote claiming that there's no equivalence between the rhetoric of right and left:

Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side's activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can't stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

At this point, I think it's useful to separate out all the different questions that are swirling around and intermingling with one another.

The first question: Are any specific conservative commentators or figures to blame for the shooting? No, of course not.

The second question: Even though the shooter by all evidence is a madman, should we still be asking whether our political discourse may have played some kind of role in triggering the shooting, and more broadly, whether the political climate risks tipping the unhinged into violence? The answer to this one, according to the mental illness expert I spoke to earlier today, is Yes.

The third question: Putting aside this shooting, is the rhetoric and imagery from the right and left equally excessive and incendiary, and is there any meaningful equivalence in the standing, reach, and influence of each side's most inflammatory voices? I'd say the answers are No, and No. But I recognize why some on the right won't see it this way, that the answers vary over time, that it's difficult to reach definitive conclusions on this question, and that people's conclusions will be highly subjective.

Whatever the answers, the bottom line is that questions two and three remain entirely fair ones that we should be asking. Despite what many have said, debating questions two and three does not necessarily amount to an effort to insinuate that the answer to question number one is Yes. Those who insist liberals asking these questions are trying to "smear" conservatives with the shooting need to explain why questions two and three are not perfectly legitimate, even desirable, ones for debate.

By Greg Sargent  | January 11, 2011; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
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Comments

"Which side is more to blame?"

For what?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse


Everyone knows Obama is to blame.


The basic truth is the DEMOCRATS are not mature enough to handle a black President.

The FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM have been flying, unrestrained, for three years now.


Obama appeared to make little effort to adhere to his campaign promises - that did little to help the situation.


Obama thinks that he has a "pass" because he had 60 votes. However, the American Peopld don't see it that way. The American People believe Obama made the commitment to be bipartisan to THEM, not to the Republicans.

The conduct of the Republicans (which is disputed) has NO BEARING on Obama's commitment to be bipartisan and compromise - a commitment MADE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Obama is to BLAME.


If Obama was a real man, he would RESIGN.


The best thing Obama can do for the nation right now is to RESIGN - and let the nation begin to heal.


The truth is that Obama's own conduct has damaged the political atmosphere in this country. There is little he can do to fix this - other than apologize and leave office.


MOST IMPORTANTLY - the country did NOT elect Obama to be a hostile, divisive force and that is EXACTLY what Obama has done in office.


Obama's conduct has PURPOSELY BEEN DIVISIVE.


And the conduct coming from the democrats - in defense of Obama - has been shameful and disgraceful.


The nation is SICK OF THE LIBERALS.


The nation does not want to listen to anything they have to say anymore.


The liberals have LIED time and time again - no one will believe their LIES at election time again - only to be caught a few months later when they ACT differently from what was promised during the election.


The Liberals have DONE THIS TO THEMSELVES.


Obama should resign and let the country start healing - and allow the Economy to start to recover.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 11, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, regardless of if the conversation is fair or not, having the Congress lady nearly assassinated one and a half months after she was on a target list and the conversation focusing on the target list, doesn't take some terribly complicated mental gymnastics. A basic summersault gets you there.

It's not a matter of smearing someone. Whomever made that list would be the focus of discussion.

Now, what comes next is finding out if the discussion was justified or not, and that's where evidence comes into play.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Should we still be asking whether our political discourse may have played some kind of role in triggering the shooting... The answer to this one, according to the mental illness expert I spoke to earlier today, is Yes."

I don't think so. Your expert said the question was *legitimate* - not that it *should* be asked.

No?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising,

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

LOL!!!!!!

You are BY FAR, the best, funniest, smartest person who post here!!!!

You should CONSIDER changing your name to Jon Stewart, YOU ARE THAT GOOD!

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 11, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Benen asks a good question ... do conservatives agree with this:

Rush Limbaugh actually said this on the air today. He wasn't kidding.

"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 a Democrat [sic] Party -- the Democrat [sic] Party -- is attempting to find anybody but him to blame.

"He knows if he plays his cards right that he's just a 'victim.' He's the latest in a never ending parade of victims brought about by the 'unfairness of America.' The 'bigotry, racism, homophobia' of America. The 'mean-spiritedness of America.' [...]

"That smiling mugshot -- 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 they can to make sure he's not convicted of murder."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027488.php

Do the resident righties agree with Rush?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 11, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@mike: "What comes next is finding out if the discussion was justified or not, and that's where evidence comes into play."

Actually, Mike, Greg is contending that the conversation is justified *regardless* of the evidence.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@prag: I think Rush Limbaugh is wrong.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Do the resident righties agree with Rush?"

Well, I don't believe anyone can read minds and knows what people are thinking, or what's in their hearts. So I don't think he really knows what Loughner knows or what the local sheriff is doing or anything like that.

Do I think he has the right to say it? Do I think it's an incitement to violence? Do I think he should be taken off the air? Nope.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm talking about a more specific conversation, the one directed at the political advertising with the cross hairs which is what I'm guessing a substantial percentage of Americans that were aware of it thought of and spoke about first when this happened, after the initial shock and sadness.

I 'think' he's talking about the conversation in general.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

sbj and Mike, in fact, I'm arguing that two and three are legitimate questions to be asking, whatever the answers turn out to be, and that they don't amount to an effort to insinuate that the right is to blame for the shooting.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

You are doing great stuff here. Greg.

pragmaticagain:

Limbaugh sure needs some new material. But I am curious to see how the Conservatives here react to that vile bombast.

I'm not optimistic.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"The third question: Putting aside this shooting, is the rhetoric and imagery from the right and left equally excessive and incendiary, and is there any meaningful equivalence in the standing, reach, and influence of each side's most inflammatory voices"

Republican politicians in the two years have become progressively more inflammatory -- during the election their imagery and rhetoric was remarkably violent and riddled with guns and talk of armed revolution and claims of government illegitimacy, which makes assasination sound like a *rational* solution.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

How about, do you think this statement is idiotic and irresponsible, KW?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

SBJ,

Instead of playing semantics, why don't you answer the questions that Greg meticulously laid out for you to answer?

Let's see your answers.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Leftists and Democrats want us to focus on the (alleged) "right-wing extremism" rather than the Leftist shooters discipleship with Obama mentor, Bill Ayers. Maybe they should start with condemning President Obama, the Extremist-in-Chief.
http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com/2011/01/did-barack-obama-cause-the-shootings-yesterday-in-tucson

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

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

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 MSM’s strong denunciation of Obama’s violent rhetoric.

Own him, Leftists. He's all yours.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

There simply are no equivalencies on the Right to compare with Leftists.

Leftists are now openly calling for Palin's assassination.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxgJKNpjSNI&feature=player_embedded#!

Death threats: how progressive!

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

Own the Leftist violent rhetoric and vitriol.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent "sbj and Mike, in fact, I'm arguing that two and three are legitimate questions to be asking, whatever the answers turn out to be, and that they don't amount to an effort to insinuate that the right is to blame for the shooting."

Best response to this is probably from Jonathan Chait of The New Republic:

"Now, I do believe there is a problem with the current political moment. Both extremes of the political spectrum can embrace apocalyptic thinking and rejection of the democratic process. The left-wing version came to the fore during the 1960s, but it is tiny and almost completely disconnected from Democratic politics. The right-wing version, on the other hand, is drawing ever more tightly into an embrace with putatively respectable Republican politics. Since the closing stages of the 2008 election, conservatives have regularly described President Obama as an alien figure and his policies a fundamental threat to American liberty. It has become normal for conservatives to hint that they will take up arms if they don't get their way politically -- a violation of the cultural norm of respecting democratic outcomes that forms the basis for the stability of our political system. Sharron Angle, not just a fringe activist but the GOP's candidate in a major Senate race, rhetorically flirted with outright sedition, and Republicans paid no attention to this, because they wanted to beat Harry Reid.

This is, I think, a serious problem. But it's also a problem that has nothing, or almost nothing, to do with the tragedy in Arizona. This was not a right-wing militia member taking apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric about watering the tree of liberty too seriously. It was a random act.

I can see why those concerned about the rise of right-wing hysteria would want to use Loughner as a cautionary tale -- even if he wasn't a product of right-wing rage, they may be thinking, he is an example of what right-wing rage could lead to. Yet they fail to understand that this will appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them. The mania of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party must be dealt with on their own terms."

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/81168/the-arizona-shooting-not-product-right-wing-rage

Posted by: jnc4p | January 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Kaddafi, we all believe 100% of what you posted, now please stop.

K? thnx... hugs

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "I'm arguing that two and three are legitimate questions to be asking, whatever the answers turn out to be, and that they don't amount to an effort to insinuate that the right is to blame for the shooting."

Why is this post titled, "Which Side Is More to Blame?" More to blame for what? Presumably for "violent rhetoric."

Doesn't the title of your post itself imply there is a problem with the rhetoric of the right?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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

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

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

This shooter was one of your own. Own him.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"and that they don't amount to an effort to insinuate that the right is to blame for the shooting."


You aren't being intellectually honest, Greg. How stupid do you think we are?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight:


the position of the democrats is this:

the democrats have been making false charges of racism for 3 years

AND the Obama people have been attacking the Tea Party for 2 years - simply because they have have been Exercising their Freedom of Speech.

AND SOMEHOW the horrible political atmosphere is the fault of the Tea Party???


That idea makes no sense - It is all Obama's fault.


If Obama really cared, he would recognize that he is NOT helping the country at all, and he would resign.


CLEARLY Obama is responsible for these DEATHS -


AND for all those people who have been making FALSE CHARGES OF RACISM, it's manslaughter.


I have NEVER heard Obama urge any restraint on the False Charges of Racism.


One has to come to the conclusion that with Obama's silence, he is ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTING the False Charges of Racism.


This is a SHAMEFUL WAY TO CONDUCT POLITICS IN THIS NATION.

Begala included.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 11, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The more unhinged Kaddafi and Rainforest become, the more I'm convinced the burden of guilt upon their shoulders is becoming even too unbearable for them.

Poor souls.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

One way to test all this would be to propose a ban on guns at political events. (Bizarre idea, I know ... ) If the shooters are truly unhinged from any reality or ideological motivation, then politicians of all stripes are potential victims, all are equally at risk, and all have a personal stake in such a ban. However, if one or more political tendencies do not view themselves as threatened by crazies with guns, that fact may be somewhat telling.

Posted by: joeff | January 11, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

What Chait said.

Now, I'm off to read some blogs, copy and paste a bunch of links into a text editor, and I'll be back to paste it all into the comments here every five minutes, as that will make my arguments unassailable.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 11, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@ethan:

(1) No. No specific conservative commentators or figures are to blame for the shooting.

(2) No. We should not be asking whether our political discourse may have played some kind of role in triggering the shooting because "you can’t run a democracy with people biting their tongue for fear of offending someone else.... [and] you can’t run a democracy with everyone censoring themselves for fear of flipping some switch in the brain of a nutcase."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47383.html#ixzz1AlGPvUDo

(3) Yes. The rhetoric and imagery from the right and left is equally excessive and incendiary. Yes. There is a meaningful equivalence in the standing, reach, and influence of each side's most inflammatory voices.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"The more unhinged Kaddafi and Rainforest become..."

The more they prove us right.

Posting in all caps doesn't make one right. Just makes you more annoying.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 11, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Now, I'm off to read some blogs, copy and paste a bunch of links into a text editor, and I'll be back to paste it all into the comments here every five minutes, as that will make my arguments unassailable."

+1

Now THIS is the way to win @ the Internetz!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Jim David Adkisson, who murdered two people in a Knoxville church after reading Bernie Goldberg's book.

The manifesto he composed before his murderous rampage was just released; you can read the whole thing here [pdf file], and it's worth reading in its entirety for a number of reasons. But I especially took note of Part III:

"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence. "

Posted by: fiona5 | January 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"I can see why those concerned about the rise of right-wing hysteria would want to use Loughner as a cautionary tale -- even if he wasn't a product of right-wing rage, they may be thinking, he is an example of what right-wing rage could lead to. Yet they fail to understand that this will appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them"

Conservatives should stop claiming victimhood and should deal with the worrisome questions this horrible event raises like responsible adults. Instead of lashing out and being defensive Conservatives should be looking hard in the mirror, whether anyone suggests it or not.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks this storyline has played itself out? This talk about rhetoric is mind-numbingly boring at this point, and the height of narcissism to boot.

The only thing left to see is if any laws will be changed or not.

Posted by: funnystory | January 11, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

RainForestRising,
I KNOW RIGHT?!?!?!?!

today you juxtaposed funny is ON TARGET!!!!

Have you THOUGHT about getting YOUR OWN BLOG?!?!?!

LOL man, LOL!!!!

Dont let ANYONE stop you when it comes to your FUNNY!!!!

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 11, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Now THIS is the way to win @ the Internetz!"

It's called "working smarter, not harder."

For certain values of "smarter."

But seriously, it's getting a bit thick in here. Page me if anyone finds the shooter who claims to have shot up a rightie church because he couldn't get to all the people ever mentioned on Olbermann's "Worst Persons in the World" segments.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 11, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@funnystory: "This talk about rhetoric is mind-numbingly boring at this point"

Then stay out of it!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Chait, the author of Why I Hate Bush, thinks there's a climate problem.

But he deserves some credit here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"The only thing left to see is if any laws will be changed or not."

I agree. Clyburn is using this to call for the fairness doctrine. Of course, maybe he's just mad because he has to wait in line at the airport with the hoi polloi.

and Rep. King is planning legislation that would make it a crime to knowingly carry a gun within a thousand feet of "certain high-profile" government officials.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 11, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

What's the methodology for answering 2 and 3? Do we just argue back and forth, citing examples ad infinitum and alternately asserting things like "false equivalent!"; "out of context!; "he clarified!"

If that's the methodology, how is this not just an exercise in accusation and vitriolic rhetoric?

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Am I the only one who thinks this storyline has played itself out?"

I thought it did the day it happened. I keep posting economic news, taunts about Republican prospects for 2012, but no, everyone wants to talk about the crazy guy who killed. No one worried about socio-political causes of what Cho did, because he murdered people at school.

Greg keeps saying the questions are worth asking. Everyone agrees. But since the answers are beyond us, we fight as a proxy for knowing.

"The only thing left to see is if any laws will be changed or not."

Quick answer, no, the laws won't change. This just keeps happening.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 11, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"and Rep. King is planning legislation that would make it a crime to knowingly carry a gun within a thousand feet of "certain high-profile" government officials."

Makes total sense. Loughner would never have . . . oh wait. [facepalm]

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

It pains me to have to agree, with respect to question 3 at least, that the argument is unprovable and unwinnable. I certainly have my opinion that I believe is based in objective evidence but I am certain that I will not convince anyone from the right that their side is more at fault and I cannot deny that folks from the left have made irresponsible statements in the past. For example --
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/dem-ex-rep-calling-for-civility-once-said-floridas-gov-should-be-shot.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 11, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "Conservatives should stop claiming victimhood and should deal with the worrisome questions this horrible event raises like responsible adults. Instead of lashing out and being defensive Conservatives should be looking hard in the mirror, whether anyone suggests it or not."

There is no more (or less) reason for Conservatives to look hard in the mirror after this incident than there was after the Seung-Hui Cho shootings at VA Tech or the shootings at Fort Hood by Major Nidal Hasan.

Unless new evidence is uncovered that shows differently, there's no reason to believe that Sara Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and "right wing rhetoric" had any more to do with inspiring Jared Lee Loughner than with the previous shooters.

As David Brooks discusses today in his column, these accusations and questions about "which side is more to blame" say more about the mindset of those making the accusations than they do about the incident itself and it's causes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/opinion/11brooks.html?ref=opinion

Posted by: jnc4p | January 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I've really appreciated your posts today. Thank you for contacting a professor who can shed some educated light on the subject.

I'm sure that the word "blame" stings those who now have to face the reality that their words are coming back to haunt them. Perhaps "blame" is not a constructive word in this discussion, but the evidence is clear that in our present society the preponderance of hate speech has been on the conservative side of the aisle.

We need to remember that it was Congresswoman Giffords herself who recently spoke about the potentially dangerous effects of Sarah Palin marking her district and the districts of others who voted for health care reform with gun imagery. Ms. Giffords spoke about the need to realize that there are "consequences."

At the very least, one of the consequences of using violent rhetoric and gun imagery is that if a horrible mass shooting happens involving a "targeted" politician it's only natural that people will look toward Ms. Palin, Sharron Angle, Carl Paladino, Glenn Beck, and others who have openly used gun rhetoric to make their points or rile up their supporters against their political opponents.

I still believe that it's in the best interests of every single one of us to stand up and realize that hate speech in this country is literally poisoning our society. That was true even before the shootings in Tucson.

I take heart in the fact that most of the people who engaged in this kind of violent rhetoric did not actually win their elections. Ms. Giffords was re-elected, despite Sarah Palin's map and her opponent's open gun shooting. Debbie Wasserman Schult's opponent, who had people shooting at cardboard cut-outs with her intials on them, was also defeated, as were Sharron Angle and Carl Paladino. The large majority of people in this country do not believe that Sarah Palin should ever be President. It appears that most Americans reject political hate speech.

It's time for reasonable people on both sides of the aisle to speak out against hate speech that incites violence and anti-government fervor. It doesn't weaken Republicans to do this -- it actually strengthens them. This is a bigger issue than politics -- it's about the soul of America.

Posted by: elscott | January 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse


'
The more unhinged Kaddafi and Rainforest become, the more I'm convinced the burden of guilt upon their shoulders is becoming even too unbearable for them.

Poor souls.'

whining here is all the got. the hysteria is pretty amusing though.

Posted by: fiona5 | January 11, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Makes total sense. Loughner would never have . . . oh wait. [facepalm]"

Setting aside the pointlessness of such a law, the more disturbing notion is that these guys think they're entitled to special treatment. Clyburn can't be bothered to wait in line and be screened. And Rep. King apparently wants to masses to disarm in his wake. Make way for the King.


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

"It's time for reasonable people on both sides of the aisle to speak out against hate speech that incites violence and anti-government fervor."

Just as soon as you turn your criticism against your own side's hate speech instead of attacking the other, we'll know you are sincere about all this.

Until then, you are just another attacker from the left using this tragedy for political leverage. More polite, but otherwise no different.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Conservatives should stop claiming victimhood and should deal with the worrisome questions this horrible event raises like responsible adults."

Amen.

I'm tired of hearing people who claim to be serious leaders pretend that there's no consequences to telling the American people that the President of the United States is passing a law with "death panels" and that has a provision which would force parents to bring their children in front of a government panel to beg for their lives.

This is a dangerous thing to do. We have been lucky to date that violence has been limited to death threats, cut gas lines, and shots fired into empty offices.

But it's ridiculous to pretend a person can be a responsible leader while telling the most dangerous kinds of lies to the people.

Posted by: theorajones1 | January 11, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"It's only natural that people will look toward... others who have openly used gun rhetoric to make their points or rile up their supporters against their political opponents."
===========

"Sen. Joe Manchin said his infamous “Dead Aim” political ad should not be connected to the tragedy that occurred over the weekend in Tucson, Ariz."
==========
"If you think it’s silly to give Manchin grief over these old campaign ads, I concur. But it’s also silly to unleash the Metaphor Police on Sarah Palin."

http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/256825/candidate-raises-gun-shoots-opponent-out-midair-ad

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

All this talk, talk, talk about whether it is *legitimate* to ask this or that seems so silly. We're not in a courtroom here with someone adjudicating whether this or that can be introduced into evidence.

We're in the court of public opinion where there are no judges or rules of evidence. The whole nation is shook up about the shooting. The entire Congress is shook up about the shooting. A lot of people (but not all) are shook about violent rhetoric coming from the Right and this concern is not new. It's just that now it's ok to talk openly about it.

If the Right had sense, they would follow the leadership of Speaker Boehner who came out quick with an unequivocal statement condemning the shooter and generalizing that an attack on one is an attack on all. Boehner doesn't get defend anyone. If the Right had sense, they would not be in a defensive crouch about how *they* are the victims or how inflammatory speech is somehow their legitimate right.

Maybe inflammatory speech is the constitutional right of the Right, but now is hardly the smart time to make that case. The lowliest product manager at P&G would tell you that.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 11, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The more fiona5, mikey and the rest of Greg's toadies ignore the cited EVIDENCE, the more they betray their intellectual bankruptcy.

/pathetic loser leftists

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

[12BarBluesAgain bedwet: "A lot of people (but not all) are shook about violent rhetoric coming from the Right"]

Alot of Leftists have active imaginations.

The shooter is one of your own.

Own him, Leftists.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

KaddafiBelendaEst,

I already HEART RainForestRising, please dont make me HEART you AS WELL!

Your comedy is good, dont get ME WRONG. It needs SOME WORK to reach to the level of my pal RAIN but you are WELL ON YOUR WAY.

MORE LINKS! MORE FUN! I am a Toy r us kid!!!!

Posted by: somethingelse2 | January 11, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of talking about the Arizona shooting. The left has done its best to try to pin it on the right. We know now that not only was Loughner of the left before he went nuts, but that, in fact, Loughner was nuts. His actions can be pinned on neither the left nor the right.

All of the media handwringing over the “tone” in the country and the “extremist rhetoric” distracts from and implies that the tone and rhetoric had something to do with Jared Loughner’s rampage. It did not. By continuing to discuss this topic, the media continues to imply that it did.

We also know Barack Obama’s advisors are urging him to seize the moment and join the left in blaming the right for this violence. Not only is that disgusting, but should he, the media wringing their hands about the tone better call him out on it — but I won’t hold my breath.

Through it all though, well meaning people on both sides of the ideological and partisan divide are not talking about the one thing that should be talked about — a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2011/01/11/whats-missing-2/

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"If you think it’s silly to give Manchin grief over these old campaign ads, I concur. But it’s also silly to unleash the Metaphor Police on Sarah Palin."

The unfortunate coincidence of Palin's cross hair map and the Congresswomen's attempted assassination are something which is terribly hard to overlook.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

""The only thing left to see is if any laws will be changed or not.""

SO TYPICAL OF THE RIGHT WING MENTALITY.

What about the toxic environment? We have the power to change that if we want to. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not the Republicans have the moral fortitude to BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY.

The fact that Right Wingers so easily blow off this critical question shows the level of their depravity. They don't feel that this is an issue that deserves attention. Perhaps this is because they know they simply CANNOT act in a moral and responsible manner. Why debate the impossible? The Republican Party has no sense of morality or even humanity.

Until Republicans of all stripes start pushing back against the absurd, hate-filled, and violent speech by Right Wing Republicans, they will remain a party run entirely by two former drug addicts and a Reagan-in-a-dress wanna-be.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@sbj
"The rhetoric and imagery from the right and left is equally excessive and incendiary. Yes. There is a meaningful equivalence in the standing, reach, and influence of each side's most inflammatory voices."

How handy. Nothing to think about, study or reflect upon. That's not an address to the question. It is a complete avoidance of it.

Limbaugh says, to an audience of millions...

"What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country...and he understands he's got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything they can to make sure he's not convicted of murder."

Not only is this false - a straightforward lie - it pushes a truly ugly claim that the full breadth of the Democratic party and its allies "support" this murder of a political figure and innocents including a nine year old girl and that the party and its allies desire and are working to see the shooter escapes conviction.

Find me, sbj, any left wing media figure who makes a claim that the entire Republican party and its allies are happy about this event or that they, as a party or collective, "support" such violence or the perpetrator of it or that they wish he escapes conviction.

I'm hoping you won't disgust me as much as Limbaugh has just done.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

wb, are you ok? You are scaring me man.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 11, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@mike: "The unfortunate coincidence of Palin's cross hair map and the Congresswomen's attempted assassination are something which is terribly hard to overlook."

Even though the nutjob was taking issue with the conghresswoman well before the Palin map?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne, see what Benen had from Erickson regarding Obama's moment of silence.

He attacked the President for saying the following:

"come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027490.php

I'm sorry but I try and tone it down but then POS's like Erickson come out with that kind of garbage. I hope David Gergen over @ CNN lambastes his colleague.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@Bernie-

I don't know how Rush is psychic about the suspect's motives, but, I'm not psychic either.

Sounds like Rush is a conspiracy theorist-much like the perp. Food for thought.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 11, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Even though the nutjob was taking issue with the conghresswoman well before the Palin map?"

Odd how the mind works with facts determined after an opinion is formed. Counter facts only cause a reflexive hunkering down effect and with the question being posed dozens of different ways, only reinforces the opinion. Not all people mind you but most defiantly among partisans.

I'm no psych though, just how I see it is all.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Laughably ridiculous...

Right-Wing Media Smear Moulitsas With Doctored Image

In a January 10 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft wrote, "Top leftist blog Daily Kos put a bulls-eye on Rep. Giffords in June 2008," adding, "[t]his hate speech must stop." In his post, Hoft included an image of Rep. Giffords and a bull's eye. The image Hoft posted said its source was a Daily Kos post. Hoft included the following image in his post:

[image]

Instead of linking to the actual post, the [Tea Party Express] letter links to a photoshopped version, which ads an image of Rep. Giffords and a bullseye, neither of which were in the original post.

http://mediamatters.org/research/201101110003

Lying fools.

How do they sleep at night considering how brazenly and openly they lie about pretty much every gdmn thing?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

All, that Fox story I targeted yesterday has now been conclusively debunked:

http://wapo.st/goCIUO

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 11, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: I have no intention of embarking on a pointless conversation with you about whose rhetoric is worse.

As Greg wrote: "I recognize why some on the right won't see it this way, that the answers vary over time, that it's difficult to reach definitive conclusions on this question, and that people's conclusions will be highly subjective."

Would you disagree with Greg when he says "that the answers vary over time, that it's difficult to reach definitive conclusions on this question, and that people's conclusions will be highly subjective?" Because I don't.

Perhaps you can explain why we are discussing ideological extremism or violent rhetoric at all when by all accounts so far there is no evidence that ideological extremism was even a minor factor in this incident?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Arizona Republic to Sheriff Dipstik: Shut up!

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/01/11/20110111tue1-11.html#ixzz1AkjBHV4J

From Jay Nordlinger at the Corner:

"What the irresponsible Left has done in this instance — in its exploitation of a massacre — is so low, so foul, so disgusting, I barely have the words. I mean, turn Paul Wellstone’s funeral into a political rally if you want to. But this? As I said on the Bennett radio show, I’m not a blushing violet, and I know that politics is rough. But to pretend that a murder spree by a psychotic has something to do with those of us who oppose the Democrats’ health legislation and other measures — this is beyond the pale, way beyond it."

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Even though the nutjob was taking issue with the conghresswoman well before the Palin map?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 4:28 PM

I'm relatively sure you're not conflating "taking issue with the congresswoman" with "shooting her point blank in the head." Right, sbj?

Because it's pretty clear that everyone has the right to "take issue" with a politician and that the Arizona shooter did not agree with the congresswoman in 2007 (without shooting her) does not prove that inflamed rhetoric did not influence him three years later.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 11, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

the rhetoric currently is "worse" on the right because that side is out of power. rhetoric is basically all they have. when power switches back at some point, those on the left will ratchet up the ugliness and those on the right will decry the death of civility. lather, rinse, repeat. always repeat.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 11, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 "wb, are you ok? You are scaring me man."

I think the lack of quotation marks in his last post may have thrown you off.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 11, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks I know, I was just joking. He was annoyed awhile ago that I was deviating, even if ever so slightly and briefly from The Right is the Universal Source of All that is Evil message, so I decided to rib him.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The shooter was schooled at a neo-Weatherman indoctrination camp.

The gunman attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a Leftist group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama.

The group, Small Schools Workshop, has been led by a former top communist activist who is an associate of Ayers.

Obama provided the group with funds in the 1990s when he worked at an education reform group alongside Ayers.

Read more: Bill Ayers' communist provided Arizona shooter's curriculum
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=249429#ixzz1AlWX33Gl

He's all yours, Leftists. Own him.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

the rhetoric currently is "worse" on the right because that side is out of power. rhetoric is basically all they have. when power switches back at some point, those on the left will ratchet up the ugliness and those on the right will decry the death of civility. lather, rinse, repeat. always repeat.
-----------------------------------------
Actually, VA, I agree with you. Let's hope that the Left will not ratchet it up. But if they do, and some conservative congressman gets shot, we'll be remembering these days.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey quarterback -- is this beyond the pale?

"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 a Democrat [sic] Party -- the Democrat [sic] Party -- is attempting to find anybody but him to blame.

"He knows if he plays his cards right that he's just a 'victim.' He's the latest in a never ending parade of victims brought about by the 'unfairness of America.' The 'bigotry, racism, homophobia' of America. The 'mean-spiritedness of America.' [...]

"That smiling mugshot -- 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 they can to make sure he's not convicted of murder."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_01/027488.php

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This was from today's David Brooks op-ed:

"""Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” (ignoring his own earlier 2008 bullseye on a picture of the pro-gun Giffords)"""

It has since been removed.

There WAS NO bullseye picture at all. That there was is nothing more than a concoction of the Right Wing, who are now proliferating the lie throughout the internet.

All of these Republicans are just lying sacks of snot. This time Brooks was caught and the fraudulent bit removed. Scum.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

Not precisely what you have requested, but a fine example nonetheless. From Keith Olbermann, on the occassion of George Tiller's murder:

"Fox News Channel will never restrain itself from incitement to murder and terrorism. Not until its profits begin to decline, when its growth stops."

Not only is this false - a straightforward lie - it pushes a truly ugly claim that the full breadth of Fox News Channel and its employees "support" the murder of an abortion doctor and that the organization and its employees desire and are working to see such acts of terror occur again.

Somehow I'm guessing this doesn't "disgust" you quite so much. Or, indeed, at all.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 11, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how someone like Rush, or BillO, or Beck can get where they are financially and career wise, with such limited vocabularies. All I've heard from them is violent imagery rhetoric. How come they don't have vocabularies that they can use to "attack" their "enemies" like real adults, instead of resorting to violent imagery? BillO saying of Milbank being beheaded, Beck saying Pelosi's wine should be poisoned. They obviously can't think of anything concrete and constructive to critisize with, so they resort to this hateful rhetoric and bombast.

Posted by: katem1 | January 11, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"The shooter was schooled at a neo-Weatherman indoctrination camp."

teh stupid, it hurts!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Odd how the mind works with facts determined after an opinion is formed. Counter facts only cause a reflexive hunkering down effect and with the question being posed dozens of different ways, only reinforces the opinion. Not all people mind you but most defiantly among partisans."

Here's how this worked in this instance:

Before the bodies were cold or the shooter's identity known, leftits prominent and obscure (including on this blog) declared it the work of a Tea Partier/Palin follower.

It transpired that this was hogwash, that in fact the shooter is psychotic, and that there is no shred of evidence that he was exposed to the allegedly responsible figures, let alone influenced by them, let alone inspired to murder by them.

No facts mattered to the left, however, and still none do. Each day they double down and compound their vile accusations. To the point where now the charge is that it was no one in particular but everyone in general on the right who is to blame. That's a handy way to defame your enemies.

Facts have been completely irrelevant to the left. They've stood on the bodies of the dead to accuse, in their own deranged and lunatic fashion, purely for partisan politic benefit, and the preposterous nature of the charges dim their zeal to smear conservatives not a bit.

I don't need to know any psychology to have observed these obvious facts of the matter.


Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, VA, I agree with you. Let's hope that the Left will not ratchet it up. But if they do, and some conservative congressman gets shot, we'll be remembering these days."

I truly believe that Giffords was targeted simply because he lived in her district and had a previous interaction with her. This could, and I would proposed would, have been a R had he lived in Arizona's 6th congressional district instead of the 8th. And then we'd be hearing about the bolsheviks storming the gates.

Geography had more to do with this than politics, left, right, mainstream or fringe.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 11, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@KaddafiDelendaEst,

Small Schools Workshop

Our menu of supportive programs and services includes:

-School-change feasibility studies

-Resource and grant development

-Curriculum-integration projects

-Peer coaching and team-building techniques

-Designing advisory programs

-Public information meetings and forums

-Parent and community engagement

-Building a culture of literacy

-National conferences, courses and summer institutes

http://smallschoolsworkshop.wordpress.com

Sounds like a dangerous organization if you ask me. /snark

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 11, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

sbj (to Bernie):

"Perhaps you can explain why we are discussing ideological extremism or violent rhetoric at all when by all accounts so far there is no evidence that ideological extremism was even a minor factor in this incident?

I'm sure it is as obvious to you as it is to me. The left believes there is political advantage to be had in discussing it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 11, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually Scott, Fox systematically demonized Tiller and he was murdered.

There is a fairly linear cause and affect there. But you're right, Olberman should have singled out O'Reily and the others who hammered away at Tiller rather than blanketing the claim at Fox.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

“Whether you believe it or not, here is the reality: beyond us is a world we cannot see with our eyes — a world of very real angels and very real demons, of a very real God and a very real devil. ”

Well, that's settled then.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, where's that from? The killer?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 11, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

It's all been said so just a few thoughts...

Much of this discussion has been off point...this is about style not substance.
Nobody wants to belittle the Tea Party positions...most of us understand and respect their concerns and belief that government is too large...that the pols don't listen and thus represent them(move over tpers many Dems feel just like you about that)..that the deficit is an ENORMOUSLY frightening problem(again move over tpers we agree) We respect your issues even those we may disagree with.
But your style...scary stuff guys.

What we resent is being told that we are not "real" Americans...we resent being called socialists just as you do being called fascists or nazis..but most of all we resent the nutjobs that walk around armed with locked and loaded weapons threatening to kill our elected leaders if
we win at the ballot box...we resent the tpers smug arrogant attitude that THEY are patriots...especially ironic since a large number of them do not behave in patriotic fashion but are rather guilty of sedition.

Sedition- In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition

We understand your substantive arguments but all the violent theatrics and trying to divide us into "real" Americans and we on the left is not only inappropriate it certainly is not Christian...sorry Christians but either live up to your faith or stop wearing it on your sleeve bragging about it.

IMHO I wouldn't mind a candid unemotional discussion of our gun laws while still keeping our basic 2nd Amendment. It takes more responsibility to own and operate a car in our nation than it does a deadly weapon. If we ask people to all study and take tests written and performance, if we ask them to register their vehicles with VIN #'s and detailed titles is it really that big of a stretch to do the same for firearms?

Re the guns at political rallies I don't wish to have to resort to legal remedies.
In a perfect world the NRA would come to it's senses and issue a simple statement..
It is inappropriate to carry loaded firearms in public with threatening signs or at political rallies. It is your legal right but is is still irresponsible and we at the NRA stand for responsible gun ownership.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 11, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

"Hey quarterback -- is this beyond the pale?"

Good to know I'm going to be the judge from now on. (But just treat all Olbermann and Shultz statements as beyond the pale unless you hear otherwise. I don't have the time to take them one at a time.)

Rush is making a point, I would say, that is a bit awkward but has a truth to it, which is that Democrats are, by trying to blame Republicans, by definition seeking to relive Loughner of some or all the blame. And it's pretty hard to take issue with that.

Why are you so defensive about it? You are claiming Loughner was obviouly pushed over the edge by Republicans, right? Do you doubt that the storm of accusations that he was triggered by the hostile "climate" will be part of his attorney's insanity defense of him? I sure don't. Democrats are making part of his defense argument. That's just a fact.

As for Sheriff Dipstik in particular, I'd suggest you go read all his public statements. Yesterday, after blaming the right, he told Katie Couric that it is impossible to determine a person's motives or why Loughner did what he did. He's doing everything he can to prejudice the case against Loughner.

I do think Rush is wrong in his claims or arguments about what Loughner "knows" or why he is smiling in the photo. To me it's pretty obvious he is "smiling" the smile of a homicidally psychopathic nut (one of the creepiest portraits I've ever seen). But on the other hand Sheriff Dipstick did say he invoked his rights, so some piece his mind must be working.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

scott said: "Not precisely what you have requested, but a fine example nonetheless. From Keith Olbermann, on the occassion of George Tiller's murder:

"Fox News Channel will never restrain itself from incitement to murder and terrorism. Not until its profits begin to decline, when its growth stops.""

Not precisely? It's not even close to what Limbaugh is explicitly stating. If Olbermann said that "all Republicans are supporting Tiller's murderer and the entire party is doing all it can to ensure the murderer is not convicted" then you'd have an analogy (excluding the innocents also mowed down, of course). And he didn't say that, did he? It's not close, is it?

And as is noted above, O'Reilly's campaign against Tiller ran for years and included at least one O'Reilly fantasy of killing Tiller. Here's some of the commentary from FOX re Tiller...

http://foxnewsboycott.com/bill-oreilly/more-connections-between-fox-news-and-tiller-murder/

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Actually Scott, Fox systematically demonized Tiller and he was murdered."

Define demonized.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@mike - it's from Erickson.

The easy bridge some people make between elements of faith and ontological reality has always bewildered me. That is one fine example. You want to ask the guy for clarifying information, eg "what color are those demons? and are they about five feet tall or what? do they ever wear fancy hats? can they read? which languages? " etc

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Shrink:

I thought Erickson's self-parody was self-evident.

Deviate all you want, My Friend. And then deviate a little bit more.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"He's doing everything he can to prejudice the case against Loughner."

Yeah, that's it. I like your straight talk, fella. We'll skip that in the same post you held that mind-reading is a faulty enterprise.

How about, just maybe, this peace officer for some fifty years in the region, is telling you what he believes he has witnessed as regards the degradation of political rhetoric and the increasing extremism his rather uniquely privileged position has allowed. Jesus.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"I truly believe that Giffords was targeted simply because he lived in her district and had a previous interaction with her. This could, and I would proposed would, have been a R had he lived in Arizona's 6th congressional district instead of the 8th. And then we'd be hearing about the bolsheviks storming the gates. Geography had more to do with this than politics, left, right, mainstream or fringe."

Whether it was Republican or Democratic, the target of the assassination was a representative of the people in the United States government. It can be a political matter without it being a partisan political matter.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 11, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Which parts of O'Reilly's "campaign" against Tiller materially differed from the years of leftwing media and Democrat officials' campaigning against Bush and Cheney as torturers, war criminals equal to Nazis, WWII Japanese, Pol Pot et al, betrayers of the country, mass murderers of blacks in NO . . . shall I even go on? Have you reviewed any of Olbermann's Special Comments accusing Bush and Cheney of being conscienseless criminals and killers?

Was it "beyond the pale" to report factually what Tiller's practice consisted of -- a horrific reality that is normally hidden by euphemisms from public view?

You are incredibly blind.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives are reaching back a Reconstruction era argument to try to shout down and intimidate their critics - the "wave the bloody shirt" argument:

"Waving the bloody shirt: it would become the standard retort, the standard expression of dismissive Southern contempt whenever a Northern politician mentioned any of the thousands upon thousands of murders, whippings, mutilations, and rapes that were perpetrated against freedmen and women and white Republicans in the South in those years. The phrase was used over and over during the Reconstruction era. It was a staple of the furious and sarcastic editorials that filled Southern newspapers in those days, of the indignant orations by Southern white political leaders who protested that no people had suffered more, been humiliated more, been punished more than they had. The phrase has since entered the standard American political lexicon, a synonym for any rabble-rousing demagoguery, any below-the-belt appeal aimed at stirring old enmities.

That the Southerners who uttered this phrase were so unconcerned about the obvious implications it carried for their own criminality, however, seems remarkable; for whoever was waving the shirt, there was unavoidably, or so one would think, the matter of just whose blood it was, and how it had got there. That white Southerners would unabashedly trace the origin of this metaphor to a real incident involving an unprovoked attack of savage barbarity carried out by their own most respectable members of Southern white society makes it all the more astonishing."

Source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/books/chapters/1st-chapter-the-bloody-shirt.html

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 11, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, that's it. I like your straight talk, fella. We'll skip that in the same post you held that mind-reading is a faulty enterprise."

Mind reading has nothing to do with it, fella. All I have to do is listen to the words he is saying. Even his intentions don't matter. It is an objective and indisputable fact that he is DISREGARDING his duties as a law enforcement officer and instead making public statements that prejudice the investigation and prosecution of Jared Loughner.

"How about, just maybe, this peace officer for some fifty years in the region, is telling you what he believes he has witnessed as regards the degradation of political rhetoric and the increasing extremism his rather uniquely privileged position has allowed. Jesus. "

How about, just maybe, he's a county sheriff, which makes him in no way "uniquely privileged" to witness or judge the "degredation of political rhetoric." It makes his opinion worth precisely no more than mine or yours.

He's repeatedly admitted he is SPECULATING based on NO EVIDENCE. You go ask some real "peace officers" whether that has anything to do with doing his duties. I'll give you a preview: Hell no, it doesn't.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@Scott "The left believes there is political advantage to be had in discussing it."

Is this broad (shocking from you Scott you are not usually given to hyperbole and write very tightly)accusation not exactly what you guys have been decrying since Saturday. And of course you are bright enough to realize that if you truly mean this you believe we all on the left are so untroubled by six deaths, all the horror that we are all motivated by political gain. That's really harsh coming from you Scott. You are not RTR or Kaddafi or Brigade.

And so Scott let's compare beliefs. I do not believe any of you on the right wish to use this tragedy for political gain...that's ghoulish...there are obviously some in the Dem establishment who have sold out for $$$ I can point out at least two poor actors in the right's media Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck who I sincerely believe are opportunists playing on the fears and prejudices of a populace, there are some righty pols..Palin and Bachmann who come to mind..toss in the Newster..but Mittens, Huckabee and others have been straightforward players.

I conclude with a question Scott. Do you sincerely believe that people on this blog, any commentators or pols you wish to single out, are really so craven that they would use a tragedy to score political gain.

Again Scott you are smart enough to know that knocking Palin off her perch would not be a political gain for the Dems but rather the R's. You realize she is an unelectable bomb thrower whose independence scares the beejeesus out of the R establishment. This is a political loss for Dems we want Palin to run..she trails Obama by 10 points at the present..Mittens leads Obama by ONE and Huckabee is tied. Please bring on Palin.

Yes this is political..issues of hateful "eliminationist" speech, gun control, our lack of success in dealing with our mental health issues in our nation....these are political issues that deserve to be discussed. You and I may disagree on the resolution of these issues but at no point Scott will I believe you or your fellow posters on this blog are trying to milk this situation for political gain. I think far more highly of you than that.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 11, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Bernie, where's that from? The killer?"

Mike, IIRC Loughner self-describes as an atheist.

Posted by: tao9 | January 11, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Everybody's favorite loony old aunt from North Carolina says the assassin was "the liberal of liberals"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/gop-rep-loughners-beliefs-the-liberals-of-liberals.php?ref=fpa

Just my advice as a visitor, it's probably not a prudent move to elect people this bogglingly stupid to office.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Why not just call him a likely schizophrenic or "some other axis I disorder". Language about mental health still sucks. I'm aware of the complicated legal and ethical issues involved in public discussions of provisional diagnosees, but the garbage that's been pouring out of peoples mouths on tv about this guy, and how to interpret what he means, has been amazing, and useless as analysis.

Posted by: ferguson2 | January 11, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Q.B. "You are claiming Loughner was obviouly pushed over the edge by Republicans, right? "

Could you be more specific with your you...perhaps I lost it in the thread but are you addressing that "you" to a specific poster or is the "you" a general reference to progressives?

No one I know has made that claim. Many have suggested it could be ONE factor in the case, many more including myself have said it's not specifically Palin's fault.

Q,B. You are so over the top you're sounding a bit paranoid. We are not blaming this one R's. It's been said a 1000x on this blog already that the D's are just as bad....great then lets ALL agree to ratchet down the hate, divisiveness and complete falsehoods presented by EITHER side of the aisle.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 11, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

QB - if you don't mean your sentence to suggest or imply intent then don't write it that way.

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

"Do you sincerely believe that people on this blog, any commentators or pols you wish to single out, are really so craven that they would use a tragedy to score political gain."

Yes.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

We have a had a long series of physical attacks, murders and attempted murders on liberals, Democrats and others in the past several years.

The idea that we are supposed to ignore this recent bloody history is absurd. People are dying from political violence in America today and the right wing demands we not discuss it, let alone assign responsibility for those political leaders who legitimize violence.

That is sick and twisted.

-- July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.

-- October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.

-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

-- December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.

-- January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.

-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.

-- April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.

-- April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.

-- May 2009: A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.
... more to come...

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

ruk,

Pardon the interruption but:

"You and I may disagree on the resolution of these issues but at no point Scott will I believe you or your fellow posters on this blog are trying to milk this situation for political gain. I think far more highly of you than that."

Well of course not. The accusation your side has been making is that the right incited the assassination itself. And some like Ethan claim it was intentionally incited.

Rather a bracing charge, wouldn't you say?

And so, the answer to your earlier question:

"Do you sincerely believe that people on this blog, any commentators or pols you wish to single out, are really so craven that they would use a tragedy to score political gain."

. . . from my perspective is, obviously that is the case. You can't have read this blog since Saturday and have missed it. Does that mean they don't care about the deaths? No, but it means they are more than willing to use them for political gain. It's self-evident. Your buddy Ethan is distributing fire and brimstone letters to the editor denouncing Republicans and demanding they be held accountable.

It's only surprising that you think that is a more unfair and incendiary charge than the one your own side is making.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

More political violence from the right, which our news reporters have completely forgotten.

-- February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas. (Media are reluctant to label this one "domestic terrorism" too.)

-- March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.

-- March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.

-- May 2010: A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.

-- May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.

-- May 2010: Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.

-- July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.

-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | January 11, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Some of you may have been following the kerfuffles arising around CPAC this year. It's getting juicier. Weyrich suggested a while ago that there would be a fight for the "heart and soul" of the movement/party. Here's a good update from Digby...

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/god-and-gays-in-gop.html

Posted by: bernielatham | January 11, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey ANDY - are you getting your talking points from Bernie or vice versa?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 11, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"QB - if you don't mean your sentence to suggest or imply intent then don't write it that way."

I didn't. Perhaps ambiguous, but you assumed. I'm willing to accept that he's pretty darned stupid and grinding a political axe. He is intentionally shifting blame to Republicans without perhaps being smart enough to realize the consequences. I'd wager the lawyers and FBI are not so dumb.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

ruk, didn't see your earlier questions:

"Could you be more specific with your you...perhaps I lost it in the thread but are you addressing that "you" to a specific poster or is the "you" a general reference to progressives?"

You is mostly general. The claim beginning Saturday was the killer was simply a Palinite Tea Partier. Now it has become some shifting claim that it was the "climate of right wing hate" that "contributed" or somehow "indirectly" influenced or caused him to kill.

These are all weasel words, ruk. You can't have it both ways -- accuse of responsibility while denying what you doing. I really don't get why you don't get that.

"Q,B. You are so over the top you're sounding a bit paranoid. We are not blaming this one R's."

Yes, plenty on the left have been blaming the Rs. Just with varying degrees of certitude.

"It's been said a 1000x on this blog already that the D's are just as bad....great then lets ALL agree to ratchet down the hate, divisiveness and complete falsehoods presented by EITHER side of the aisle."

I've never seen that said even once. On the contrary, virtually all your colleagues deny any equivalency. Greg included. See above.

Posted by: quarterback1 | January 11, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Mental illness expert, Question2 and Question3, vitriol, eliminationist, violent rhetoric, vary over time, equivalence, highly subjective...

Here's where we're at:

The NYTimes, Obama amanuensis and the locus of the first (before the bodies were cold) volley of blood libel against 50% of the American people, has an opinion piece today.

The opinion piece is by former Rep. Kanjorski.

Mr. Kanjorski, during the last campaign, called for the now Governor of Florida to be shot.

His piece in the NYTimes is on civility.

The mono-vocal Left calls for "soul-searching;" the soul-searching presumably to occur in the hearts of the half of their countrymen the Left has called violent, raging, ignorant fetishizers of the Constitution, without cease for the last 72 hours (continuing the refrain of the last 20 years or so).

I definitely believe, many on the left are very concerned and of good faith. As, of course, are conservatives.

I think Mr. Krugman, Mr. Moulitas, Mr. Yglesias, Ms. Walsh, Mr. Benen, et.al., gave less than a trice of a thought for anything other than political advantage, they simply cannot change as a scorpion cannot change. Unfortunately a few at PL aped the NYT-stenographed line.

Meanwhile, the families of the Tucson dead and wounded mourn, and get to bear this sick spectacle, started and driven up to this very hour by the Professional/Media Left.

The call for civility by these reptiles is not to be given a shred of credibility.

Posted by: tao9 | January 11, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Listening to a couple of the Other people I work with talk about Arizona and its consequences, My thoughts jelled on this subject.

In essence there is absolutely "Nothing we can do" BECAUSE, well.

That is these four, who are gun enthusiasts were mad because the press was going to use this to try to get over sized magazines banned, and after all, if the guy had practiced at all he could have done more damage ... and the real problem was that the gunman was crazy and what could we do about that anyway because to make possession of firearms by dangerous mental patients might be ok but then somebody would have to determine...

We can't do anything because we can't do anything.

Meanwhile we can't ask that the rhetoric be toned down because Democrats called Bush a liar and complained about Reagan's deficits and...

In other words, we now live in a country where we have to accept a few crazy gunmen shooting up McDonalds Restaurants and College Campuses and high schools and political gatherings lest some demented NRA member not be allowed to buy a gun or lest some Teaser be restricted in how far he carries his hyperbole.

We have witnessed one murder too many, for the Right has murdered common sense.

I wish I had an answer, or a course of political action that might resurrect common sense, but I have only a feeling of dread that we are headed for the condition of Somalia, where the NRA ideal if gun ownership is on prominent display.

Posted by: ceflynline | January 11, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Loughner seemed more concerned that Giffords was "illiterate" and didn't understand what "words" meant than with any of her political stances. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that "political rhetoric" had any influence on him at all. His failure to vote in the 2010 elections and the absence of any normal political writings would support that conclusion. He was worried about government "mind control", not the Healthcare bill or the debt ceiling. All this concern and outrage among the left seems to be no more than an attempt to discredit the GOP, the Tea Party and talk radio in general and Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh in particular.

When a professional gives at best a qualified "maybe" to the question of whether "rhetoric" MAY have influenced Loughner, it DOESN'T mean it's up to the uninformed public and biased pundits to settle the question. Do we "debate" whether the latest cancer drug is effective? Until an exhaustive evaluation is made of Loughner's mental state, placing the blame on "rhetoric" or "vitriol" for his actions is very irresponsible.

Posted by: TobyTucker1 | January 11, 2011 11:47 PM | Report abuse

These questions mirror the difference between neutrality and objectivity. There is only the slightest veneer of dignity in neutrality which simply finds at least one instance of some phenomenon on each side. From this many presume dignity but it's only the slightest veneer of dignity as a cover for arrested cognition. Objectivity compels us to consider frequency and severity...to analyze and try to understand cause and effect without influence by affiliation or labels.

Gotcha politics by the average person is mimicry of that which pervades our media. Media in a question for ratings and to keep the sustaining food fight going is weighted heavily towards neutrality. Lamentably, we become alienated from our humanity inasmuch as we are unable to base our arguments on values. Public discourse is reduced to unexamined, half-baked theories on cause and effect with little intellectual heavy lifting or there is no apparent obligation to even state a basis for assertions which are justified with no more than "because-I-said-so". That is venting, not dialog and unfortunately it sells.

You are so right to ask the third question and I believe that no/no is on the money. I'm only aware of one source of violent, revolutionary imagery in America today. What is even more telling is that there are 3 sub-camps -- one denies it exists, the other projects the same on their opponents and the third thinks it's fine.

I can think of no better characterization of our times than defiance. As we've become alienated from our natural world we've lost the imperative to answer to anything larger than ouurselves. Instead of defying natural law we not defy rationality and objective knowledge with apparent impunity...or at least we think we do. This could be species-limiting or lead to something almost as bad, I fear.

Posted by: ppatt54 | January 12, 2011 1:28 AM | Report abuse

after thought -- I find the attempts to find equivalence curious, indeed. In almost every other walk of life degree or amount of something is of utmost criticality. If you run a fever "how much" is important. With a bank account balance more is good and less is not so good. When a pregant woman's time is near the frequency of contractions is important.

So why with the violent metaphors predominating politics is it all of a sudden not politically correct to whip out the ol' set of scales and weigh things to know for sure whether the poison emanates predomaintely from one source or is balanced between the two.

Isn't it ignorant not to engage in that sort of analysis?

Posted by: ppatt54 | January 12, 2011 1:53 AM | Report abuse

No connection? Since when do even the unhinged shoot the politicians they agree with? Even a distorted reality draws from the fabric of reality.

Posted by: ppatt54 | January 12, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

@Sargent: "Those who insist liberals asking these questions are trying to "smear" conservatives with the shooting need to explain why questions two and three are not perfectly legitimate, even desirable, ones for debate."

Fritter away. We'll respond in a different fashion.

Posted by: revprez | January 12, 2011 5:36 AM | Report abuse

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