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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Americans are a fair-minded people. "Nearly six in 10 Americans say the country's heated political rhetoric is not to blame for the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to a CBS News poll.

Republicans are going to have to get their act together and make a successful appeal to Hispanic voters. Jeb Bush tells his party: "The good news is that in the Hispanic community, there is real opportunity. But conservatives have to commit to serious and sustained engagement. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country and will continue to play an important role in future elections and the future of our country. This past election was a sign that the Hispanic community is willing to listen to a center-right message. The question now is whether the center-right movement is willing to listen to and engage the Hispanic community."

Arizonans (h/t The Corner) are not all that thrilled with Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. A local paper excoriates him tor using "the opportunities to blame Arizona's lax, new gun laws and, again, the angry 'rhetoric' of talk radio. The shootings were spurred, he suggested, by 'the rhetoric about hatred, about mistrust of government, about paranoia of how government operates.' Dupnik took up his cause again on Monday. And, in response, we have to say at last . . . enough. Enough attacks, sheriff. Enough vitriol. It is well past time for the sheriff of Pima County to get a grip on his emotions and remember his duty."

The sheriff's fans are going to be unhappy to learn that he's making conviction harder. Ex-prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains, "While I'm sure we're all very impressed with Sheriff Dupnik's thoughtful views on gun policy and right-wingers, his day job is law enforcement. A large element of that job is to maximize the chances that the guilty will be convicted (to say nothing of the duty to avoid prejudicing the jury pool). How does it help matters for him to be telling the media that, in his vast experience as an investigator, he has learned that we can never really know what motivates people to act? That motive evidence is sheer speculation? That in his opinion, Loughner is 'a very troubled personality' -- a statement that will surely be used by the defense to argue that even those running the investigation concluded that the defendant was insane?"

Opportunists of all stripes are running wild. Stephen Hayes reports, "There has been no shortage of individuals and institutions that have sought to capitalize on the shootings in Tucson. Add Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to that list. This afternoon Sanders sent out a fundraising appeal, seeking to raise money to fight Republicans and other 'right-wing reactionaries' responsible for the climate that led to the shooting."

Constitutonal dopes are everywhere. "Governor Lincoln Chafee doesn't plan to spend his own time on talk radio, and he intends to ban state employees from spending their state work time talking on talk radio, which was [former Governor Don] Carcieri's favorite medium and an integral part of his communications operation." Ben Smith ever-so-delicately asks, "Does this also mean he won't appear on television? Won't give quotes to newspapers? This doesn't sound entirely thought-through." Not even a tiny bit.

Civil libertarians are going to be miffed about William Galston's latest. The smart Democrat argues: "Starting in the 1970s, civil libertarians worked to eliminate involuntary commitment or, that failing, to raise the standards and burden of proof so high that few individuals would meet it. Important decisions by the Supreme Court and subordinate courts gave individuals new protections, including a constitutional right to refuse psychotropic medication. A few states have tried to push back in constitutionally acceptable ways, but efforts such as California's Laura's Law, designed to make it easier to force patients to take medication, have been stymied by civil rights concerns and lack of funding. We need legal reform to shift the balance in favor of protecting the community, especially against those who are armed and deranged." Read the whole thing.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Tim Pawlenty Interview (Part 2) - does it help to be nice?


So six out of ten Americans don't believe right wing rhetoric was to blame in the shooting? The fact is ten out of ten Americans don't know what motivated the shooter. Using uninformed opinion to castigate or exonerate the violent rhetoric (on both sides, but predominantly on the right)is, well, stupid. I will point out, though, that the defensiveness of the right is an indication to me that they realize they have gone overboard with the gun and shooting analogies.

Posted by: randy1macon | January 12, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"The sheriff's fans are going to be unhappy to learn that he's making conviction harder."

Why do you think they'll be unhappy about this?

Posted by: kbash33 | January 12, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse


Enjoy your new blog, including "morning bits"........reminds me of posts that I used to read on another site called "Jetsam and Floatsam". (Ha, ha)
Keep up the great work!!!!!
It's SO important.

Posted by: MartinChuzzlewit | January 12, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"I will point out, though, that the defensiveness of the right is an indication to me that they realize they have gone overboard with the gun and shooting analogies"

Very few on the right are defensive. Most are calmy and firmly repudiating your blood libel. Others are laughing at you and enjoying watching you shoot yourselves in your collective foot (oops, another gun metaphor!). Some are doing both, depending upon the occasion.

Posted by: adam62 | January 12, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The sheriff's fans are going to be unhappy to learn that he's making conviction harder."

Why do you think they'll be unhappy about this?

Cause presumably they'd want a conviction. See the linked piece for why the sheriff has mucked things up.

Posted by: Jennifer Rubin | January 12, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

William Gaston doesn't know his you know what from his you know what!

As someone who was once intimately acquainted with the process, it's exceedingly easy to get someone placed with a 72 hour hold for observation. After that, it's a crap shoot with shrinks, as it always is.

Also Andy McCarthy has a lot in common with Dupnik in that nothing either of them says will have any bearing on the outcome of the case, but both like attention.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The Left's use of violaence to score political points is revolting. Most Americans see it that way, as the polls indicate. But let the NYT and its mouthpieces continue to berate us. It will only cause the percentage of Americans that self-identify as liberal ontinue to shrink.

Posted by: gord2 | January 12, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The disturbing thing thing is that ONLY 57% of Americans realize the entirely self-evident fact that whatever obscene mix of psychosis induced the shooter to act no minimally coherent or even the least bit sane* political viewpoint played the tinniest part. It is the 43 and 32 percent that cause concern (although something like 30% believe in UFOs).

Of course almost the same thing could be said about the proposition that Obamacare would offer higher quality healthcare at a lower cost to them as consumers and taxpayers than the current system but this speaks only to extreme and impenetrable ideological rigidity rather than a diagnosable clinical illness.

Posted by: cavalier4 | January 12, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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