By now, most people have heard about the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona that left six people dead and wounded eighteen others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords. This pointless act of violence by a deranged young man should be denounced by every right-thinking person. Unfortunately, some of our allegedly right-thinking media commentators are trying way too hard to make their ridiculous political points.
First up, here's Howard Fineman, calling on Obama to use the Tuscon shooting for his own purposes.
Now comes Tucson. The deaths there are not about politics, ideology or party. From what we know, Jared Loughman's acts were those of a madman divorced from reality, let alone from public debate.
But that doesn't make Tucson politically meaningless. The president need not, and should not, speak of ideas or programs or parties. What he can speak about, and what perhaps he will speak about, is civility.
Arizona has become a ferociously divided and dangerous place, in which our indispensable need to argue--arguing is, after all, who we are as a people--seems at times to veer into an abyss.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords--"centrist" Democrat, survivor in a district with more Republicans than Democrats and more independent voters than either--has prospered in Congress by crossing lines and doing so with a sense of earnestness and good will.
Like her, the president has been attacked harshly of late from both sides: by progressives who regard him as a sellout, by Tea Partiers who regard him as a power-mad socialist usurper.
He and Giffords think of themselves as fellow travelers on a middle path of civility and compromise in a dangerous world. The president will likely argue that, implicitly if not explicitly.
Fate works in strange ways. This event is the first on the watch of Obama's new chief of staff, and a deal-making, turn-the-heat-down approach to politics is what Bill Daley is all about.
As was the case with Clinton, Obama may be able to remind voters of what they like best about him: his sensible demeanor. Amid the din and ferocity of our political culture, he respectfully keeps his voice down, his emotions in check and his mind open.
That is the pitch, at least. The trick is to make it without seeming to be trying to make it. He will, after all, be speaking at a funeral.
There is so much fail here, it almost overwhelms reason.
First, Fineman strains mightily against observable reality to draw a connection between Giffords, an actual moderate, and Barack 'I Won'Obama, a hard left statist who has to be dragged kicking and screaming to split the difference with Republicans. In fact, there is no comparison between the Representative and the President besides the fact that they're both Democrats. Quick tip for Fineman: When you call your partisan opponents hostage-takers, you're reaching across the aisle with a sharp left hook to the jaw. If there is a mood of partisan rancor in Arizona--or America--Obama hasn't done anything to alleviate it and done much to perpetuate it.
Even worse is Fineman's fetishization of 'civility'. Note that liberals only care about civility when they're the one's catching a good old-fashioned passionate ass-whooping at the ballot box. The 2010 midterm elections are still a giant source of pain for Democrats and their media enablers. Now that conservatives have a tiny chance to enact some small-government ideas, the professional Left wants Republicans to 'tone down' all this 'hot rhetoric'. In Fineman's five brain cell math, the GOP's insistence on dismantling Obama's health care reform bill = Tucson shooting.
Here's another problem. Homeboy wants America to have more 'civil' political debates. Forget for a moment that for Fineman, a well-mannered conversation means the Democrat Party gets it's way on every issue forever. The bigger issue here is that Fineman wants Barack Obama to score political points at what sort of event? Oh yeah, a funeral. You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a scenario more impolite than somebody throwing partisan bon mots over the body of a nine year old child.
Wait, did I say 'impolite'? What I meant to say is 'vulgar and nauseating'.
But hey, maybe Howard Fineman is right. After all, the Paul Wellstone funeral was a rousing success.
Next up, here's Paul Krugman. He's a New York Times columnist and a massive douchetool, but I repeat myself. Watch as this Nobel Prize winner completely beclowns himself.
A Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in the head; another dozen were also shot.
We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.
...You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.
This is what it sounds like when liberals wet the bed.
Let's break this down. Krugman wants us to believe that elements of the conservative movement created a climate of hate that led to this shooting. A cursory glance at the artifacts left behind by the shooter proves Krugman wrong. Take a look the alleged murderer's Youtube page. Here are his favorite books.
Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.
Funny. I don't see Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh mentioned in there. Try as I might, I can't find any Tea Party pamphlets or conservative manifestos either. Why, it's almost as if Paul Krugman is using his own political template for what he thinks the American conservative movement is and projecting that distorted image onto the Tucson shooter.
Again, Krugman is arguing that his right-wing bogeymen pushed the attacker to violence. If that were the case, there should be something, even a minute scrap of evidence that suggests that the shooter was influenced by conservatives. In fact, the shooter's most beloved tomes seem far less like a Tea Partier's book club assignment and far more like a slightly off-kilter high school sophomore's summer reading list.
If we want to really pick through the books and find a pattern, you'd be hard-pressed to find any real partisan trend. "Animal Farm", "Fahrenheit 451" and "Brave New World" are well-regarded works of fiction loved by members of the Right, Left and apolitical. If "The Odyssey", "Gulliver's Travels" or "The Old Man and The Sea" are right-wing calls to arms, they're the most well-disguised revolutionary tracts ever. "We The Living" was written by Ayn Rand, so in some bizarre left-wing fever dream, this could be evidence of the shooter's right-wingery. But then what are we supposed to make of "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf"? These are the holy texts of international and national socialism and not exactly beloved political tracts within the conservative movement.
Contrary to Paul Krugman's bullshit on stilts masquerading as sober analysis, there is no coherent political philosophy to be found in the shooter's favorite books. But surely for Krugman to tar the Palin/Beck/Limbaugh axis as inciting violence, there must be something going on in the shooter's intellectual life. Perhaps the attacker's Youtube videos showed Krugman the indications he needed to make his accusations.
Nope. Nothing here.
Maybe this video?
Once more, we find nothing in the attacker's personal statements that indicate that he had any intellectual connection to the Tea Party, conservatives or Sarah Palin. That begs the question: From what part of the political spectrum did the shooter come from? If you answered "Insane Street In The Nutbar Development Right Smack Dab In the Middle of Crazyville", give yourself a gold star. You just did better at examining the motivations of the Tucson gunman than an overpaid undersmart New York Times hack.
Howard Fineman and Paul Krugman: Kindly go to the back of the short bus, sit down and shut the hell up. Your services are no longer required. For anything. Ever.
UPDATE: RE-Violent political rhetoric.
Paul Krugman had a pathetic crying jag over Sarah Palin's 'infamous' targeting of vulnerable Democrat representatives for the 2010 midterms. If that picture...which I had never seen until today...is so inflammatory, what about the DailyKos? Jim Treacher finds this little gem.
"[Gabrielle Giffords] is dead to me."
BoyBlue posted this diary on January 6th, 2011. By Paul Krugman's dainty standards, this is eliminationist rhetoric that contributes to a climate of violence. But since this angry missive came from the a left-wing site, I guess this doesn't count. It's just sober political talk, right Paul?
What's even cooler is that Markos Moulitsas took down the post. Yup. It's gone down the memory hole. If it was done out of a sense of class or fear of political blowback is anybody's guess.
The Giffords shooting has already turned into a left-wing cluster bang. The problem is that it's only going to get worse.
UPDATE II: Of course, more elements of the progressive movement have chimed in blaming conservatives for the shooting. One problem: It's not right-wingers publicly calling for violence.
Hey Eugene Robinson, Joshua Marshall, and Keith Olbermann: Your propaganda cartoonist, your socialist-apologizing little pissant artist, your tantrum-throwing scribbler is the one that is saying that America needs violent revolution to fix it. It's not the Right that's saying this stuff. It's Ted Rall, respected member of the statist movement, that's proposing a violent overthrow. Then you have the nerve to use some maniac with no political motivation beyond his own insanity as a tool to try to make your patent lies about conservatives stick.
The fact that this leftist narrative coalesced so quickly tells us a few things about liberals. They're liars. Ironically, for a political movement that breaks it's arm patting themselves on the back for being geniuses, the left revels in group-think. Worse, there is absolutely no tactic too low for them. The only thing they care about is if the strategy works to wound their enemies.
UPDATE III: Eugene Robinson says that the Right has a monopoly on violent political rhetoric. Check out this link [WARNING: Not Safe For Work] and you tell me-Is Eugene Robinson senile or is he just conveniently lying about the eight years of liberal demonstrations during the Bush presidency when Robinson talks about the Right's supposed lead-pipe lock on inflamatory partisan rhetoric?
Face facts. Many elements of the Left spent the Dubya years using the most vile, disgusting, hate-filled language against America, Israel, the American conservative movement and others that progressives deemed as enemies of their movement. MSNBC, The New York Times and many other left-of-center media organs did nothing to condemn this broiling leftist rage. In fact, many of them stoked the fires of partisan hate while pretending to be sane comentators. Eugene Robinson and others in the 'respectable' liberal camp want us to forget all that vitriol--again, emanating solely from the Left--and focus on a single political graphic used by Sarah Palin as evidence that the Right is the only part of US political life that employs violent rhetoric.