In the Climate of Hate, Palin and Tea Party are the Targets Not the Source
Those who purport to care about the tenor of political discourse don't help civil debate when they seize on any pretext to call their political opponents accomplices to murder
By GLENN HARLAN REYNOLDS
Shortly after November's electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn appeared on Chris Matthews's TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday's tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree might fill the bill.
With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate."
Pima County, AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnik held a press conference during which he blamed vitriolic political rhetoric for provoking the mentally unstable, and lamented Arizona's becoming the "mecca of prejudice and bigotry." Video courtesy of AFP.
The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—"lock and load"—and talked about "targeting" opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's district on a list of congressional districts "bullseyed" for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama's famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"—it's just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.
There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.
Jared Lee Loughner, the man suspected of a shooting spree that killed a Federal Judge and critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, had left a trail of online videos in which he railed against the government. WSJ's Neil Hickey reports.
American journalists know how to be exquisitely sensitive when they want to be. As the Washington Examiner's Byron York pointed out on Sunday, after Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood while shouting "Allahu Akhbar!" the press was full of cautions about not drawing premature conclusions about a connection to Islamist terrorism. "Where," asked Mr. York, "was that caution after the shootings in Arizona?"
Set aside as inconvenient, apparently. There was no waiting for the facts on Saturday. Likewise, last May New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CBS anchor Katie Couric speculated, without any evidence, that the Times Square bomber might be a tea partier upset with the ObamaCare bill.
So as the usual talking heads begin their "have you no decency?" routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?
To paraphrase Justice Cardozo ("proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do"), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on "rhetoric" and a "climate of hate" to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.
To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?
I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America's political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder. Where is the decency in that?
A Federal Judge is furious at the way a Liberal Sheriff and Media are Exploiting the shooting
"He should be strung up." The speaker: one very angry federal judge furious at the cynicism displayed by both Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and the mainstream media in the shootings that took the life of one federal judge, wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killed or wounded 17 others.
The judge, a personal friend of the murdered federal judge John Roll, declined to be cited by name but was brimming with anger at what he termed the "cynicism and downright evil" of the liberal media's "cynical attempt" to blame conservative talk radio and television for the murder of the only public official not to survive the shootings -- the conservative Catholic Roll, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.
The judge, who assigned blame for the shootings to "a lone nut," was bitter over Dupnik's much televised departure from his job as sheriff to relate the facts of the shooting and instead start "grabbing the limelight for publicity."
Said the furious judge: "And though terribly tragic though all of this is, how ironic that the one constitutional officer to die was a conservative, Republican-appointed federal judge. Will anyone point out the hypocrisy of liberal media on that one? Or is it a fact that is just too inconvenient?"
Roll was described by his grief-stricken friend and colleague as "a conservative, values type Catholic who attended mass almost daily. When John and I first met, we discussed religion and culture at dinner. Just the two of us. I introduced him to Richard John Neuhaus's First Things, and he later subscribed."
The judge's fury comes as both Sheriff Dupnik and the liberal media are trying to blame everyone from the Tea Party to Sarah Palin to, in Dupnik's words, "the crap that comes out on radio and TV" for the murders. Meaning, of course, conservative talk radio and Fox News. While Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva tries to say that Palin was responsible for the "political tone and tenor" that led to the rampage, the judge says that in fact federal judges receive threats all the time ranging from "disappointed litigants and prisoners" to "nuts."
The judge believes the alleged Arizona killer, Jared Lee Loughner, repeatedly described by those who knew him as mentally unstable, was decidedly in the latter category and therefore the kind of person who poses a special threat to federal judges or any public official -- the "lone nut who doesn't make a specific threat."
The judge sees Dupnik, the man Politico identifies as "the liberal sheriff," disgracefully using his time in the tragedy's spotlight not to do his job but gain publicity by helping the liberal media exploit the killings by a "nut" to exploit a liberal political agenda -- gliding over the hard news fact that the only constitutional officer to die in the attack was a conservative Republican.
It was noted that during the controversy over the passage by Arizona of a bill enforcing federal immigration law, Dupnik sought out national media to essentially call the state's governor and legislature racists
The judge's angry remarks mean one thing: it's time for plain talk:
LEFTIST POLITICAL philosophy -- whether at its Communist extremes or with its weakest American liberal strains -- is about one thing and one thing only: man's domination of other men. Control. And in the relentless drive to dominate, leftists have a brutal, well-on-the-record history of two things.
First, deliberately and willfully committing political violence in the name of a leftist cause.
Second, blaming that violence on others -- the "somebody else made me do it" defense. Or, if the violence was perpetrated by a non-political crazy -- a "lone nut" in the judge's words -- cynically ascribing this violence to the favorite leftist political target -- and yes, target is the word -- of the moment.
How does the leftist political violence addiction work? Let's list a few examples.
• Racial Violence: Yes, those were leftists underneath the hoods and robes of the Ku Klux Klan. As mentioned in this space repeatedly, the Klan was founded as what liberal Columbia University historian Eric Foner called a "military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party…It aimed to…reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life." Using the Klan as a power base, the left elected hundreds of state legislators, congressmen, U.S. Senators and governors -- Democrats who in turn took a "progressive" stance on issues of labor and economics for the so-called "working man." All in the interest of controlling blacks.
With the rise of the Civil Rights movement, not all African-Americans were enamored with the non-violent protests of Dr. Martin Luther King. Others turned to violence, to seeking control just as the white Klan did. Yet as with the Klan, these black activists stayed within the political framework of leftist politics -- in this case the politics of control as advocated not only by Malcolm X and radical activists Stokely Carmichael, but by the writings of James Cone.
Cone, portrayed as a distinguished academic by the left because of his teaching position as Charles A. Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary, came to broader fame with the emergence of President Obama's infamous pastor Jeremiah Wright, a Cone disciple. In his new book Radical-In-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, journalist Stanley Kurtz cites Cone's call for the goal of black intellectuals to "aid in the destruction of America," a challenge to violence Cone presents in Black Theology and Black Power.
Gone is King's famous rhetoric about the importance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and judging all men by the content of their character. Instead Cone uses the rhetoric of violence, referring to whites as "the oppressor" or "whitey." These indeed were the sentiments behind racial riots in the African-American sections of Los Angeles in 1992, most famously captured on video when white truck driver Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck by four blacks and almost beaten to death.
Kurtz cites the work of black Marxist Marable Manning and his determination to tie race and class issues together, resulting in the need for blacks to reject the "legitimacy of the State" …which is exactly what was happening when Reginald Denny drove his truck through South Central Los Angeles in 1992.
Arizona is famously ground zero in the illegal immigration fight -- and leftist violence is ruling the day. This time the cause in which violence is given a pass by the left belongs to Latinos -- and the repeated murders that have now resulted in U.S. government signs in southern Arizona warning Americans there own country is no longer safe is a perfect example of the "so-what" attitude the left has about political violence. The Obama administration could do something about this immediately by sealing the border -- yet consistently refuses for political reasons. Political violence when leftist race goals are at stake? No problem.
• Labor Violence: "We kind of agree with Mao that power comes largely from the barrel of a gun," says Obama "Manufacturing Czar" Ron Bloom. Bloom is, surprise, surprise, a former SEIU and United steelworkers official. Long before Mao, however, American labor was practicing political violence well-admired by the American left. From the Chicago Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which a bomb was exploded killing eight policemen during a strike, plus an unknown number of civilians, all the way down the years to the disappearance of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa in 1975 -- through to ex-SEIU chief Andy Stern's famous vow on how to bring about political change (""[W]e prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn't work we use the persuasion of power") violence or the threat of it has been a regular feature of the American left.
• Student Violence: A classic example from the 1960's was the confrontation between then-Governor Ronald Reagan and radical leftists who had forcibly taken over a park owned by the University of California at Berkeley. The university, which owned the property, planned to build a sports field. The leftists had another idea -- a park. A standoff resulted, with the leftists making it plain they intended to stay and simply appropriate the land. Reagan saw this as an issue of property rights -- the university had duly bought and paid for the property and were free to develop as they wished.
Eventually almost 800 sheriff's deputies and law enforcement personnel faced off against some 6,000 leftists, the latter sending a shower of bricks, rocks and bottles down on the authorities. The deputies answered the violence with buckshot and nightsticks. One student was killed, another blinded.
These type of confrontations were a regular feature of the 1960s, with leftists repeatedly employing violence in marches against everyone from college officials to the Pentagon, where one student set himself on fire.
Much more HERE
Two Leftist writers (below) are dubious about the Leftist hate speech resulting from the Giffords shooting
The paucity of hope: "This tragedy has prompted not reflection but just another round of sparring. Some liberals quick to point the finger are linking 22-year-old shooter Jared Loughner to the Tea Party — showing the same lack of restraint and tendency to demonize their ideological opponents that they accuse the right of having. Some conservatives, meanwhile, were more concerned with the political consequences of this tragedy than with the possible impact of their rhetoric. Is this a moment for the president to give a big speech? The suggestion feels old-hat."
The Arizona shooting is not a product of right-wing rage: "Conservatives are furious that the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords is being pinned on them. Their indignation is justified. The mania of Giffords' would-be assassin may be slightly more right-wing than left-wing, but on the whole it is largely disconnected from even loosely organized extreme right-wing politics. The rhetorical attempts to connect Jared Loughner to mainstream politics take two forms, neither convincing."
In defense of inflamed rhetoric: "For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such 'inflammatory' words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read — and even written! — vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun."
Politicians miss no opportunity to exploit Tucson shooting: "Basically, Loughner’s crime can’t be blamed on anybody but himself, and his writings and actions lay quite a solid groundwork for a criminal insanity defense. But never doubt the readiness of the usual suspects to piggyback favorite pre-packaged authoritarian bills on the emotional reaction to the shooting."
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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