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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) gets it right: "We should always refrain from engaging in personal verbal attacks against those with whom we differ on important questions of the day. But we must also resist the temptation to assign blame to those with whom we differ for the acts of others. No expressed opinion, liberal or conservative, was to blame for Saturday's attack and we must resist efforts to suggest otherwise because to do so has the potential to inhibit freedom."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D.-W.Va.) gets it right as well, albeit in defense of his own shooting ad. "The act of a deranged madman who commits a horrific act should not and cannot be confused with a metaphor about a piece of legislation. I have never targeted an individual, and I never would. This tragedy, I hope, serves as call for common sense, and wake-up call that we should all come together with common purpose to do what is best for our country."

Jake Tapper gets the facts straight. "There's no evidence that the shooter even heard of Sarah Palin. And Palin aide Rebecca Mansour in a podcast interview says the image was not violent. . . .The shooter's motives remain unclear. One acquaintance from 2007 described him as liberal. . . . [W]e know from the investigation that the shooter's interest in Gabrielle Giffords, Congresswoman Giffords, ties back to 2007, three years before Palin's map."

Notice as the facts become more definitive, the left's rhetoric gets fuzzier. So now the right is only guilty of "creating an atmosphere" or "identifying targets," as an official from the Southern Poverty Law Center put it. gets into the act, giving new meaning to the word "chutzpah." Daily Caller reports: "Despite having a sordid history of using vitriolic rhetoric, George Soros-funded advocacy group MoveOn has seized upon the tragic shooting of Ariz. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other attendees of a public event in Tucson Saturday as a means to go after 'overt and implied appeals to violence in our political debate.'"

George Will gets to the nub of it. "A characteristic of many contemporary minds is susceptibility to the superstition that all behavior can be traced to some diagnosable frame of mind that is a product of promptings from the social environment. From which flows a political doctrine: Given clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected. This supposedly is the path to progress. It actually is the crux of progressivism. And it is why there is a reflex to blame conservatives first."

Tom DeLay gets what he deserves -- 3 years in prison. No, this isn't the "criminalization of politics;" it's a pol getting caught for a crime.

Jonathan Cohn gets to maybe the only real lesson here. "After a major disaster, like an airliner crash or terrorist incident, we conduct thorough investigations to determine what caused the tragedy and how we might avoid another one like it. This occasion calls for a similar response. We may never know whether a better mental health care system would have averted this massacre. But we can be sure that it would avert some future ones." Maybe someone should ask the ACLU about its role in forcing deinstitutionalization (i.e. "dumping") of mental health patients.

A professor (students be warned!) gets tangled up in his Palin Derangement Syndrome. "I don't know if Palin needs to offer a broader explanation for her brand of confrontational politics, or even an apology. On the other hand, I do not think that Palin is owed an apology." Because all she was accused of was instigating a murder, you know.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 11, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
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The people who blame Palin for this are the some of the same people who have SAVAGED the woman in the most awful and personal ways for 2+ years. She herself is a major victim of our poisonous public discourse. Lefties really need to look at themselves if we're going to start casting blame for violent rhetoric.

But of course, like most sensible people, I blame the killer, not anyone else.

Posted by: jmpickett | January 11, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Is Tom DeLay Conway Twitty's love child?

Posted by: aardunza | January 11, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Members of the Left are generally proponents of antidisdeinstitutionalizationism, aren't they?

Posted by: aardunza | January 11, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the split infinitive jest.

Posted by: aardunza | January 11, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Members of the Left are generally proponents of antidisdeinstitutionalizationism, aren't they?
Posted by: aardunza

Along with Mona Charen

"our legal framework for handling those who resist treatment — can and should change. Widespread deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, along with laws that require proof of dangerousness before a person can be involuntarily subjected to treatment, make it exceedingly difficult to stop a crazed gunman before his murderous spree. In the Tucson case, as in the Virginia Tech case, others noticed the gunman’s oddity in advance but were unable to force him to get treatment. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws, if enforced, can radically reduce the number of hospitalizations, incarcerations, and violent episodes among those required to participate. A misplaced respect for personal autonomy — the right to reject treatment — arguably carries too high a price, particularly now when pharmacological treatment is so benign, and when the kinds of crimes committed by the untreated mentally ill are so heinous.
That’s the discussion we should be having"

Posted by: rcaruth | January 11, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Don't shoot me I'm only the player piano. Hey, it scans!

Posted by: aardunza | January 11, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

But of course, like most sensible people, I blame the killer, not anyone else.
Posted by: jmpickett

I believe that your assumption,along with other sensible people,that someone with a serious brain disorder like the shooter still possesses "Free Will" and should be held legally responsible for his acts,is ludicrous. Read Ms Charen's comment from NRO in the previous post.

Posted by: rcaruth | January 11, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Ton DeLay is the epitome of GOP politics. To him being a member of the GOP means he doesn't have to obey laws. His illegal acts are the GOP's standard operating procedure. Delay's ignorance is only surpassed by his arrogance. Too bad he spent $10 million on his defense just to be found guilty. Tough break.

Posted by: edanddot | January 11, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer-With all due respect, you're completely wrong about Delay. Here's a link to what National Review had to say about it.

Posted by: cajunkate | January 11, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

We disagree but commmenters out there: THIS is precisely the type of comment that is appropriate on the blog. It's is polite, substantive and helpful (gives a link). You will all notice that we are stepping up enforcement of the Post guidelines.

Posted by: Jennifer Rubin | January 11, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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