Day 2- The Excuse Making Begins

Want to watch a Republican freak out? Utter the following statement:

“This shooting demonstrates that we really need to tone down the violent political rhetoric.”

Then watch the freakout begin, even though there is nothing partisan or pointed about that statement. “Why are you pointing fingers? Both sides do it! Why are you blaming Sarah Palin?”

And then my personal favorite: “He was just crazy!”

No shit. You have to be crazy to walk into a crowd of people and start spraying bullets, killing a bunch of elderly people and a little kid. That is crazy.

The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

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113 replies
  1. 1
    jk says:

    Dana Bash (A member of the “Best Political Team on Television”) “We’ve already heard from some members of Congress who have been on our air earlier today saying that they do hope that this is a wake up call, a wake up call for both parties to try to get out… get the word out their to their supporters, to constituents, to maybe even the blogosphere, which is not easy, to tone it down a little bit.”

    Fox News cuts away from ‘Giffords vigil’ when Sarah Palin’s name is mentioned
    http://crooksandliars.com/john.....igil-when-

  2. 2
    Tom65 says:

    The party of personal responsibility sure is good at avoiding it.

  3. 3
    Snarla says:

    I would also enjoy blaming his Christian upbringing, or start profiling white men, but alas.

  4. 4
    Jamie says:

    He’s crazy, but then again, so is Rand Paul.

  5. 5
    kerFuFFler says:

    It’s so frustrating!

    Now when a person calls for political discourse to be responsible, they’re the bad guy for “politicizing this senseless tragedy.”

    Meanwhile, Palin scrubbing her sites, getting rid of the targeted list with the cross-hairs, speaks volumes about her appreciation of her complicity.

  6. 6
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Tone down the crazy talk? That’s crazy talk!

  7. 7

    Between scouring DailyKos for random user comments that use “Giffords” and “dead” within 50 words of each other and someone reminding us that Barack Obama once referenced a quote from The Untouchables, this is going to be a landmark week in right-wingers pretending to be stupid.

  8. 8
    jinxtigr says:

    This is a nice simplification, John. Kudos :)

    Personally, I’d quite like to see civilized responses from the other side, even if we’ve got guns leveled at us. Which at times we apparently do :P

    Not “I want to see these people burned in the fire of a thousand suns”, but “I want to see these people on trial like Nuremberg and held responsible, as the rule of law comes into focus once more and lays down rules for what we can expect in a society.

    And if the rules have to include ‘no butchering old ladies and young children for standing too near the execution of a liberal’, too fucking bad.

    And if the rules have to include ‘I guess we can’t even TALK glibly about executing all the people we are hopelessly opposed to, and have to somehow cope with working a system where they’re allowed to demand stuff that we demand the opposite of’… well, shit, I guess your more wishywashy liberals have been doing that ALL ALONG and it’s our rightwingers (and firebaggers) who will be burdened by such a requirement. Again, too fucking bad…

  9. 9

    The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

    Oh but BOTH SIDES DO IT and blarggedy blargh ….

  10. 10
    Xenos says:

    Josh Marshall had a nice take on this on Olberman — that the crazy person being the shooter does not contradict right wing responsibility because that is exactly the sort of person one expects to encourage when engaging in this sort of violent rhetoric.

    I would try to put it a bit more simply: when you go around demonizing people you should not be surprised when some nut who believes in demons takes action in accordance with your statements.

  11. 11
    jk says:

    Howard Kurtz- The Patron Saint of He Said/ She Said False Equivalency Journalism Pontificating in the Daily Beast: “I hate to say this, but the blame game is already under way… Here we go again in Arizona, as people with political agendas unleash their attacks even before the victims of this senseless shooting have been buried. I find it depressing beyond belief. This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life. It would be nice if we briefly put aside partisan differences and came together with sympathy and support for Gabby Giffords and the other victims, rather than opening rhetorical fire ourselves.”

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    We could use the senseless tragedy to open a dialog about noticing and treating nutjobs with guns for mental illness; but I suppose there’s something wrong with that, too.

    As it apparently was the last five times it happened.

  13. 13
    TR says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their kind thoughts yesterday. After hearing about Gabby, I needed a place to scream in frustration where my kids wouldn’t hear me, and you all got the honor. Thanks.

  14. 14

    John, I think you are missing the point. I think you need to look at this from a larger perspective. As I wrote last night, our entire American experience is one of violence. Is it any coincidence that the largest employer in Giffords’ district is Raytheon Missile Systems? Is it any coincidence that the little 9-year-old girl killed was born on 9/11?

    Hello, people!

    I mean, we need to not just re-examine our violent political rhetoric which pushes people over the edge. We need to re-examine our violent and oppressive foreign policy. We need to re-examine our oppressive domestic policy, the intolerant rhetoric against gays and immigrants … ALL of it. It’s ALL part of the same issue.

    I really hate to start with the sermonizing on just one cup of coffee but to me God/Goddess/FSM/Universal Mind/whatever the fuck you call it is screaming at us now to wake up and change our warring ways.

  15. 15
    JCT says:

    And why exactly can this “crazy” person wander into a local sporting goods shop and buy a semi-automatic weapon capable of such carnage?

    Really, if the Republicans are going to wave their arms and get red-faced while absolving themselves from any complicity in this tragedy via their “tone-setting” by defaulting to the “crazy shooter defense”, I want the follow-up question to be ” why could this crazy person buy a gun in Tucson”. Please someone, ask this of that wretched governor of theirs who threw what little gun control existed in AZ right out the window.

    Fat fucking chance, I know, since consistency is not exactly the right wings forte.

  16. 16
    bottyguy says:

    That Sarah Palin took down her “Target Democrats” graphic says it all. They know they are egging on the crazies, they don’t care, but they want to hid their appalling behavior after the fact.

  17. 17
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    I think someone on this very blog, can’t remember the commenter, pointed out that OKC happened during Clinton’s admin after the midterms when the GOP took the house, and that they thought that’s when the shit would really start hitting the fan. Maybe they think the “taking back of America” has begun.

  18. 18
    Alex S. says:

    @jk:

    That’s exactly what’s wrong with journalism today – the omission of context. Like the NYT ignoring that Sarah Palin (or her webmaster) took down the target list only after the incident. It’s like the reaction to Rev. Wright’s “God damn America” without putting it into the context of slavery, segregation and oppression. Because once you start adding this context, you have to question a few american myths and you can’t simplify your stories down to horse-race dynamics.

  19. 19
    Maude says:

    This phase will be it’s everyone’s else fault that this happened.
    The Republicans who encouraged the violent tone of talk radio and cable tv will now be shocked that violence occurred.
    The part of the diatribe about the US Government, liberals, Democrats etc. that does have a huge effect is the various lies that the Government, Liberals, Democrats are going take things away from the righties and other citizens. They also talk about the Government controlling the citizens.
    These haters who loved the attention and money can squawk all they want that they are not responsible and everybody does it, but they aren’t going to be believed.
    This time, the connection between violent speech and violent action is too clear to dismiss or deny.
    Thank you for this post.
    Palin is now Lady MacBeth.

  20. 20
    Peter says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Is it any coincidence that the little 9-year-old girl killed was born on 9/11?

    …yes? All that means is her parents had sex some time in January.

  21. 21
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Southern Beale: If we take their “both sides do it” at face value, it seems that the right wing sure has a lot more vulnerable crazy people willing to act on the rhetoric.

  22. 22
    Nemo_N says:

    B-but… he had leftist books!

    That proves there is nothing wrong with inflammatory rhetoric!

    QED!

  23. 23
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Stop egging them on.

    Word.

  24. 24

    Oh and y’all will love the right-wing commenter at my site who dredges up the “he read Mein Kampf! He was a Liberal!” lie …

  25. 25
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Peter: Heh. I much prefer that than thinking God put that 9 year old there to teach us a lesson. But then, I am not religious.

  26. 26
    jk says:

    @kerFuFFler: @bottyguy:

    Sarah Palin is a world class coward launching deranged, over the top attacks against Obama from the safety of her Twitter and Facebook accounts and the womb of Fox News. I’d like to see this asshole try to defend her rhetoric and behavior before a journalist other than a paid stooge of Fox News.

  27. 27

    @Peter:

    No it means we reap what we sow.

  28. 28

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    I much prefer that than thinking God put that 9 year old there to teach us a lesson.

    Fuckitall that is NOT what I am saying. I am NOT saying God killed a 9-year-old cuz we’re all sinners or some crap like that. Goddamit don’t put words in my mouth.

    Jeebus.

  29. 29
    rachel says:

    @Maude:

    This time, the connection between violent speech and violent action is too clear to dismiss or deny.

    We wish. IOKIYAR

  30. 30
    Superking says:

    It’s the same thing with the fort hood shooter. The guy was crazy, but egged on by violent rhetoric. And the right has deemed that terrorism. Same thing here.

  31. 31
    Alex S. says:

    @Peter:

    Probably even during Bush Jr’s inauguration!

  32. 32
    Basilisc says:

    @WereBear:

    I’d be happy if we just had a dialog about keeping guns out of the hands of crazy people. But even that is probably beyond the pale.

  33. 33
    Jennifer says:

    It would be helpful if the token “liberals” who are allowed on the air would push back against this equivalency by noting that no one on the right questions that incitement from the media and authorities caused the slaughter in Rwanda 15 years ago.

    What, just because no one here has started hacking up their neighbors with machetes it’s different?

    The bottom line is: they know this type of talk is irresponsible, and they engage in it anyway. Sure, we may find out that this shooter never listened to Beck and has no poster of Sarah over his bed. Doesn’t matter. The last one may have, or the next one might. Just because every act of violence of this type is not directly linked to their irresponsible rhetoric doesn’t mean that NO act of violence results from it. We all know that, including the liars in the media and on the right. And since we know that, we have a responsibility to call out violent and extremist rhetoric whenever and wherever it appears, and to shun its purveyors. So that none of the crazies get the idea that it’s ok now.

    And for the record, Atrios can rest easy that when the first public official is assassinated via guillotine, I will take full responsibility for my irresponsible rhetoric regarding the same.

  34. 34
    jk says:

    @Alex S.:

    To paraphrase Charles Dickens, the MSM is an ass. Thank God for Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and GritTV with Laura Flanders.

  35. 35
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Southern Beale:What is the opposite of something being a coincidence?

    ETA: Because I believe that was your word – I didn’t put it in your mouth. The gist of your post was that this wasn’t a coincidence and it was a message to us.

  36. 36
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Nemo_N:

    He also did this:

    After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a “terrorist for killing the baby.”

    I agree with John. Anyone doing things like this, of course he’s crazy. Trying to pick out the strands of political beliefs from the crazy is pointless, you can find left and right both woven into the crazy spaghetti.

    Inciting violence is all we can point at and try to stop, because what else can you do? Trying to eliminate crazy people (all jokes about Wingnuts aside) is pointless. Anyone calling for violence, left or right, should stop. That’s all there is to it. I think almost all of it is on the right, but that’s really beside the point.

  37. 37

    i’ll just repeat for emphasis *a 9-year-old* is dead because of this shit. fuck them all.

  38. 38

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    If you think the opposite of something being a coincidence is God orchestrating something to teach us a lesson then you need to broaden your perspective a little.

    Actions have consequences. That is the opposite of coincidence. You don’t have to believe in a bearded man sitting on a cloud pulling the strings of human puppets to believe that. We can choose to learn the lesson or not.

  39. 39
    ogliberal says:

    The most despicable excuse I’ve seen made by the right-wing – and I’ve seen this multiple times in the comments sections of several stories – goes something like this (these are actual comments, btw):

    “Why is anyone surprised at this? It was only a matter of time. Obama and the congress have been going against the will of the people since he took office and destroying peoples lifes and our country. You can only push so far before someone reacts. Really surprised it took this long. This could just be the beginning ot things to come.”

    “This is a sign of things to come. Our piece of crap system keeps taking and taking. They only lie, and they do not care about the American public. I say a few more scary things might make our government wake up to the fact that we are pissed.”

  40. 40
    JCT says:

    @jk: Yeah– well she knows better than to venture outside her safe Faux “News” cocoon. I would like nothing better than for every interview (yes, I know she doesn’t give them) to start with a question about that graphic.

    The fact that it was almost instantly “scrubbed” from her web sites speaks volumes. Remember Sarah — don’t retreat, just reload. Grotesque.

    At least we have that now chilling video of Giffords calling her out for it directly.

    Have to add that from a doc’s viewpoint I am beyond anxious about the next three days and how well they can control the inevitable swelling.

  41. 41
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JCT:

    Please someone, ask this of that wretched governor of theirs who threw what little gun control existed in AZ right out the window.

    Nonono, see, you don’t get it. Governor Brewer bears no responsibility in this whole thing, see, and this is true because I saw her oin television and she was totally crying and saying that Gabby Giffords was a friend of hers and that proves it’s not her fault so you can’t possibly blame her and why are you politicizing this anyway, huh?

  42. 42
    Maude says:

    @rachel:
    You are very cynical and that’s not a nice place to be.
    It’s too late for the Republicans to walk away from this.

  43. 43
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Southern Beale: The actions of the right lead to the shooting. The actions of the right don’t mean there will always be a 9 year old born on 9/11 to make a point.

    Explain to me how the 9 year old wasn’t just a coincidence? It’s just an unlucky break for her and her family. That was not a result of the actions anyone of anyone on the right or left. The shooting was not coincidental. The 9 year old born on 9/11 is. Sheesh.

    ETA: If you had said that this shooting was no coincidence and that it was a wake up call I would agree. But that was not what you said. You said the 9 year old born on 9/11 being there was not a coincidence.

  44. 44
    rachel says:

    @Maude: Watch them.

  45. 45
    kerFuFFler says:

    @jk:

    “Sarah Palin is a world class coward launching deranged, over the top attacks against Obama from the safety of her Twitter and Facebook accounts and the womb of Fox News. I’d like to see this asshole try to defend her rhetoric and behavior before a journalist other than a paid stooge of Fox News. ”

    Agreed!

  46. 46
    roshan says:

    The wingnuts keep saying that the shooter was a “left-wing nut” which is a surprising conclusion since he ended up shooting a democrat. I guess the crazies on the left are so elitist that they never deem the opposition party as target worthy. Also, why does Palin have to keep scrubbing her facebook page of any references to the cross-hair symbol article? It looks like she is taking her own 1st amendment rights away.

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    John,

    This shooting demonstrates that we really need to tone down the violent political rhetoric.”……………………………………..
    Then watch the freakout begin, even though there is nothing partisan or pointed about that statement.

    Me thinks they protest too much.

  48. 48

    If we’re simply going to blame right-wing hate speech for these senseless acts of violence and not look at the wars we wage for our own profit or the general violence that permeates our entire culture then I despair that things will ever change. I feel that the universe is conspiring in a thousand ways to wake us up and yet we keep hiding our heads in the sand.

    I’m outta here.

  49. 49
    Peter says:

    @Southern Beale: …huh? Unless AlexS is right and the Bush inauguration got her parents all horny, I have no idea how her being born on 9/11 could be ‘reaping what we sow’. Unless you’re saying God arranged everything but you’re vehemently denying that, so…

  50. 50
    jk says:

    @Jennifer:

    “It would be helpful if the token “liberals” who are allowed on the air would push back against this equivalency” –

    David Gregory, Chuck Todd, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, and John King are the worst culprits when it comes to pushing the he said/she said false equivalency bullshit. In their own way, these alleged neutral, honest brokers are doing as much harm as Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and O’Reilly.

  51. 51
    Jennifer says:

    And a follow-up: I’d like to see the next excuse-making politician or media figure who hides behind the “just a random crazy person” excuse pressed in the following way: “yes, I’m sure we can all agree that anyone who would do this type of thing is mentally ill. But rhetoric like “don’t retreat, reload” and talking about “second-amendment remedies” – do you think these types of things said by leaders and would-be leaders make it less likely to set off one of the crazies, or more likely? Unless it makes this type of thing less likely to happen, what excuse is there for using this type of rhetoric? It’s not polite or civil to talk about your opponents in this way, so clearly the intent is not to improve the climate for political discourse. So what’s the defense for talking this way, if there’s even the slightest chance some unbalanced person might take it literally and do something horrible like this to innocent people?”

    THAT’S what I want to see asked of every one of these fucking apologists.

  52. 52

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    You’re asking me to explain how the universe works and I can’t.

  53. 53
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Southern Beale: I don’t disagree with any of that. I disagree with the 9 year old being born on 9/11 somehow being anything other than a coincidence.

  54. 54
    Violet says:

    @Jennifer:

    And for the record, Atrios can rest easy that when the first public official is assassinated via guillotine, I will take full responsibility for my irresponsible rhetoric regarding the same.

    And the media will say, “Some say the public official deserved to be beheaded; others say it’s going to far. With us tonight to discuss the pros and cons of decapitation is Rob Spierre, an expert on Public Safety, Mary Antoinette, public trends expert and the founder of “Cake for All!”, and Gill O’Tine, CEO of Headless, Inc. the industry leader in head removal equipment. Thank you so much for joining us. Mr. Spierre, is beheading going too far or do our public officials need this wake up call?”

  55. 55
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Southern Beale: No, but you are implying that you know that it isn’t random, so you are already trying to start explaining, but then bailing out with this attempt. I mean, you know enough about how the universe works to know that kid wasn’t a coincidence. Maybe you can explain the parts of the universe that support that belief.

  56. 56
    gelfling545 says:

    Yes, crazy people will do crazy things, but not in a vacuum. Possibly due to my sins in a past life and probably because of the kinds of work I’ve had over the years I have encountered a great many crazy people (the kind who get meds, not those who run for office). I have noticed that their craziness of whatever variety seems especially stimulated by 2 things – politics and religion – particularly if these are sufficiently emotional. For people who are already hearing voices, conspiracy theories are like catnip to a cat. I have also noticed that they tend to be extremely literal in their thinking and unlikely to judge someones statements to be rhetorical devices but see them as actual fact or even instructions. ( Example -one of the more fragile personalities I know was upset for weeks over Glen Beck’s tears and believed “something should be done for that poor man”. )

    I’m against censorship but it would be nice if (at least) those who govern, seek to govern or otherwise play a prominent part in our political life would give a little thought to possible consequences before they speak.

  57. 57
    Punchy says:

    Probably already mentioned, but the 9-year old girl killed was the granddaughter of former MLB manager Dallas Green.

    Fucking senseless loss gives me a royal sad.

  58. 58
    curious says:

    having an iota of shame that political rhetoric you once employed could even PLAUSIBLY be linked to this tragedy would be nice, too. caesar’s wife ought to be above suspicion and all that.

  59. 59
    BGK says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    Inciting violence is all we can point at and try to stop, because what else can you do? Trying to eliminate crazy people (all jokes about Wingnuts aside) is pointless. Anyone calling for violence, left or right, should stop. That’s all there is to it. I think almost all of it is on the right, but that’s really beside the point.

    Can you really point to any call for violence – explicit, or by a not-so-clever dog whistle like “reload,” et cetera – on the left? I think however well intentioned “both sides should stop” is meant, it really, really feeds the false equivalency.

  60. 60
    Dennis SGMM says:

    The Republicans will wake up to the dangers of inflammatory speech at the exact second when one of the crazies they’ve whipped up comes after one of them for failing him in some way.

  61. 61
    Peter says:

    @Southern Beale:
    @Southern Beale:

    If your thesis is that ‘the universe’ is sending us a wakeup call, then you should be aware that that is indistinguishable from the ‘God killed a nine year old as a warning’ theory.

  62. 62
    Ash Can says:

    As long as they can deny responsibility, they won’t ever stop “egging them on.” Palin may have scrubbed her crosshairs map from her site, but that was a CYA move in response to being essentially directly called out. The right-wing screamers will egg the crazies on for as long as the rest of the media, with their false equivalencies, and media ownership, with their desire for profit margins, allow them to do so. And this is even without acknowledging the 800-pound gorilla in the room that is our freedom-of-speech laws and how they’re interpreted.

    Sure there’s violent rhetoric on both sides. All you have to do is read a comment thread here on banks and bankers to see that. The difference on the left is that 1) the rhetoric is prompted by actual events, and 2) this blog isn’t a nationwide mass media outlet like Clear Channel or Fox. The “both sides do it” crowd looks more than a little ridiculous in light of those crucial factors.

  63. 63
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Peter: Well, since the existence of the universe is an event whose probability is unknown, I’m going to still call this a coincidence.

  64. 64
    Maude says:

    @rachel:
    I will. I hope you and I can watch them together. Too many people have connected the dots. They Repubs and all the talkers can say what they want. It won’t wash.

  65. 65
    kerFuFFler says:

    When you have people showing up to political rallies carrying guns (as happened at several Tea Party events), carrying signs with that quote about watering the tree of liberty with blood, and politicians blathering about “second amendment remedies”, secession, and the “treasonous” shredding of the the constitution, you have an environment where it is indefensible to be distributing maps with cross-hairs targeting the opposition candidates and saying things like “don’t retreat, reload” .

    Responsible politicians pointed this out over the course of the campaign, but the complaints fell on deaf ears within conservative circles. And now conservatives will resort to empty excuses saying there will always be crazies who commit terrible atrocities.

  66. 66
    uila says:

    Does anyone have a status update on the Tree of Liberty this morning?… Has it perked up at all?… NO?…. It actually died a little?? WTF?!

  67. 67
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @BGK:

    I think however well intentioned “both sides should stop” is meant,

    That’s not what I wrote. I wrote:

    Anyone calling for violence, left or right, should stop.

    “Anyone doing it should stop” is slightly, but significantly different from “both sides should stop”. Yours is a claim that the Left was doing it too, mine wasn’t.

    The point I’m making is this: To the Wingnuts, you say: anyone inciting violence should stop. Don’t worry about left, right, just stop. If your claim that “the left does it too” is true, then that will stop too. Just stop.

    It’s no defense to say “I incited violence but it doesn’t count because the person who listened to me was crazy/lefty/etc.” That’s insane.

    Put yet another way: I want them to stop inciting violence because of what it does. Not because they’re “on the right”. And also not because the person they encouraged was “on the right” or “on the left” or just crazy. Doesn’t matter.

  68. 68
    Sly says:

    The point is that people who experience paranoid and sociopathic rage feel a desperate need to find an outlet for that rage, and politics serves an almost perfect outlet when the political climate is soaked in eliminationist rhetoric. Fulfilling those violent fantasies then becomes a legitimate means of political participation. Creating an atmosphere where killing your political opponents is a “solution” or “remedy” to a political confrontation effectively democratizes violence.

    This is not new, of course. American politics has a long and inglorious tradition of political paranoia leading to violence, except that most of it has been obscured by issues of race (the vast majority of political violence in the United States has been committed by white supremacists). Especially paranoia against a government that, in the mind of the paranoid, has become reduced to something little more than an impersonal abstraction that has, at its primary function, their complete subjugation and/or destruction. It should come as little surprise to anyone, then, that acts of sociopathic rage rooted in anti-government paranoia come largely from people who find far right ideology as a fitting view of how the world around them functions.

    In other words, crazy people can have political opinions, and they often reinforce one another. Especially when it comes to their modus operandi. And I will state, with all sincerity, that far right political ideology is far more hospitable to sociopathy than its counterpart. It’s not that paranoia-driven leftism is particularly immune to sociopathy, because frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared Lee Loughner turned out to be a LaRouchite (who are crazier than shit house rats). Its just that leftism hasn’t had a centralized antagonist against which it could be paranoid for a very long time.

  69. 69
    BobS says:

    @jk: Maybe David Gregory, Chuck Todd, et al, need to be made to appreciate that in the eyes of Teabag Nation they are the enemy liberal MSM, and therefore fair game.

  70. 70
    Jennifer says:

    Ash Can – and also, calling for someone to be “tarred and feathered” or for a return of the guillotine, heads on pikes, pitchforks and torches, etc. are all understood to be taken as rhetorical flourishes for communicating extreme anger – because clearly, assassinating someone with a guillotine would be much more difficult than just walking up to them in a public setting with your concealed-carry gun and popping a cap in them. I mean, you’d have to muscle past security with the guillotine or the guillotine-ee, etc etc. And have you priced those things lately? Outrageous! The same goes for calls to tar & feather and storm the castle with pitchforks and torches.

    People use these types of phrases for the explicit purpose of communicating that they feel angry enough for violent action, but they are not ADVOCATING violent action. There’s a huge gulf of difference between the type of pseudo-“violent” rhetoric most often expressed by some on the left, and the non-pseudo violent rhetoric expressed by some of those on the right.

  71. 71
    JCT says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: +1 exactly

    The point needs to be made that comments like “they do it too” is essentially *condoning* the action.

  72. 72
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Violet: The greatest compliment I can pay: I wish I’d written that.

  73. 73
    curious says:

    @jk: of course meting out blame is not inconsistent with “coming together” for the victims. when intentions are good, the “blame game” works to prevent future massacres. kurtz and his showy even-handedness are useless.

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O christ almight, Fluffy on MTP is quoting from that “both sides do it” NYT Matt Bai piece. It’s officially a meme now.

  75. 75
    bob h says:

    There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

    There was little effort to show restraint as the 2010 campaign moved towards November. Maximizing turnout was just too important to Republican leaders.

  76. 76
    DarcyPennell says:

    I can actually think of a way that the birthday of the child who died isn’t a coincidence:

    1. Because she was born on 9/11, she became interested in politics at an age when most kids could care less.

    2. Because she was interested in politics, her neighbor took her to an event where she could meet a congresswoman.

    So, not a coincidence in the sense that her being there was not random, it was related (tenuously, but still) to her date of birth. But was she born on 9/11 because the universe is sending us a message? Clearly not, and kind of appalling to think about another family’s tragedy in such a solipsistic way.

    Also, anyone who can hear about that girl’s death and their first reaction is to defend Sarah Palin’s reputation? Is on my shit list forever.

  77. 77
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @Southern Beale: I find that the pseudo-Unix env var $DEITY works pretty well in place of “God/Goddess/FSM/Universal Mind/whatever the fuck you call it”. As in.. “I really hate to start with the sermonizing on just one cup of coffee but to me $DEITY it is screaming at us now to wake up and change our warring ways.”

    This has been your l337 g33k moment of the day.

  78. 78
    MsSkwEsq says:

    I am even more upset today than I was yesterday after watching the morning shows go down the ‘crazy guy’ excuse and then the false equivelency paths. (you know, the lie about both parties do it). This tragic event lies right at the feet of Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, and the Tea Party. They can spin all they want, but the truth is plain to see and there is NO GETTING AROUND IT.

  79. 79
    nick says:

    Bogs, like this one that I read several times daily, are part of the problem. They have become magnets for partisans (like me), echo chambers for similarly minded people to stoke their righteous anger.

    The analysis blogs provide is very useful, as shown by the many bloggers who got Iraq correct, in detail. Most of the MSM was just useless in the drive to war, and one hopes that the internet will be a useful grassroots democratizing force in the future.

    I have spent the past 7 years angry about the mendacity and vitriol spewed by the right leading up to Iraq (active duty veteran from a family of veterans–told to shut up, called a traitor for pointing out what should have been obvious), and have gradually been coming to my senses. It’s been a slow evolution, clearly; I’m not that mature, despite my years.

    Part of that evolution has been the realization that posting comments too often contributes to this culture of political anger we have going on. I don’t think it’s good for my health to continue, and it usually doesn’t make a productive contribution to society.

  80. 80
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @Darcy
    It’s still a coincidence that they chose this event, or that the neighbor up and volunteered to take her, hell, just because she was born on 9/11 doesn’t mean that she’d necessarily be interested in politics. There were probably many kids in that county born on 9/11. They weren’t all there.

  81. 81
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    Watching Fluffers on Press the Meat – he’s really pouring it on now. The tap dancing this man is doing is absolutely world-class.

  82. 82
    batgirl says:

    @gelfling545: Yes, and as we keep talking about Palin, Not that we shouldn’t but I also can’t help thinking of Glenn Beck. He is like catnip for those with mental illness.

  83. 83
    SGEW says:

    A thought:

    Say, for the sake of argument, that the “both sides do it” meme takes hold. Obama says “violent rhetoric is very bad, and people on both the right and the left must stop using it.” Boehner says “violent rhetoric is very bad, and people on both the left and right must stop using it.”

    Since there is essentially no rhetoric that incites violence coming from the left, the only question is: will this result in less violent rhetoric from the right? If so . . . wouldn’t a net reduction in violent rhetoric be worth swallowing the bitter pill of false equivalency?

    Pres. Clinton called the Republicans out on their rhetoric after the Oklahoma City bombing. Did that result in a lessening of vitriol? If Pres. Obama plays the false equivalency game, will it decrease the chances that some future crazy person will do something like this?

  84. 84
    Judas Escargot says:

    Yesterday was a test, of sorts. We had a chance to make this horrible thing mean something. To recognize the core problem. To tone down the violent rhetoric (which, I still say and will continue to say, was one-sided). To grow the fuck up.

    Our country, our society, had already failed the test by the time I woke up this morning. Just more proof that, if you’re in the media/political/financial class, you are never responsible for anything you do, or say, or cause (directly or indirectly).

    We are led by sick and soulless people, who are enabled by sick and soulless people, in a culture where if you’re anything but sick and soulless… you’re the freak.

    In other words, I woke up in America this morning.

  85. 85
    JCT says:

    I think the original observation regarding a child born on 9/11 meeting a senseless, violent death was really about the horrible irony.

    Though it seems hard to believe, those of us who lived/worked in NYC at the time still remember the time immediately after the event as essentially non-political. Many of us hoped that it would ultimately serve as a renewal of our country, maybe eradicating or at least softening the hyper-partisan nature of our public discourse. Of course, we all know how well that worked out.

    For a little girl born on that day of tragedy to be blown away at a supermarket where she had gone to see a public servant who she probably viewed as a hero or role model, and to have the perpetrator be someone who was, in all likelihood, riled up by the disgusting hyper-partisan atmosphere, just seems to me to represent a greater death — a death of our collective spirit, coming full circle.

    We had a chance to turn tragedy into triumph after 9/11 — and we fucked it all up. Completely.

    That’s what the significance of that sweet little girl being born on that terrible day means to me.

  86. 86
    HRA says:

    All those adjectives about the shooter floating out there, unstable, mentally deranged, unhinged, are a perfect fit for those who spout the hatred continuously for their own fame and gain. No amount of scrubbing will erase their vitriol. They own it and they will do it again.

  87. 87
    Maude says:

    @Judas Escargot:
    Speak for yourself. I don’t see this country that way and as there are well over 300 million people here, it is not a good idea to paint everyone with the same brush.

  88. 88
    Judas Escargot says:

    @SGEW:

    Since there is essentially no rhetoric that incites violence coming from the left, the only question is: will this result in less violent rhetoric from the right? If so . . . wouldn’t a net reduction in violent rhetoric be worth swallowing the bitter pill of false equivalency?

    It’s an interesting argument, especially seeing as we’re going to be forced to swallow that bitter pill in any case… but I don’t see it happening. If anything, I now expect the Right (after a suitable quiet period– maybe even a week!) to up the tone even more, since Palin will obviously pay no price for her complicity.

  89. 89
    jk says:

    @curious:

    I find Howard Kurtz’s success as a media critic deeply depressing given his shameless, mind-boggling toolishness.

    @batgirl:

    Where was the outrage when Glenn Beck pretended to give Nancy Pelosi a glass of wine that was spiked with poison?

  90. 90
    Anya says:

    @roshan:

    The wingnuts keep saying that the shooter was a “left-wing nut” which is a surprising conclusion since he ended up shooting a democrat.

    Oh, you haven’t heard? She was a critic of Obama and she voted against Nancy Pelosi. I heard it on the liberal MSNBC.

  91. 91
    batgirl says:

    @jk:

    Where was the outrage when Glenn Beck pretended to give Nancy Pelosi a glass of wine that was spiked with poison?

    Shit, I didn’t even hear about that. How awful.

  92. 92
    piratedan says:

    @Alex S.: Naturally they took it down, it’s almost 100% mission accomplished now, no reason to leave it up there….

    Sorry, I’m just saddened, outraged and generally pissed off. Yes I’m saddened that my town now gets lumped in with events like OKC and Columbine in the same breath now. I’m horrified with what happened to my Congresswoman and those folks who were simply “in the way”. Lastly I’m pissed off at those that are holding the matches claiming that they have nothing to do with the flames.

  93. 93
    Violet says:

    @Chad N Freude:
    Thanks! I wish it weren’t so easy to caricature our feckless media.

  94. 94
    Mike in NC says:

    Fluffy on MTP is quoting from that “both sides do it” NYT Matt Bai piece. It’s officially a meme now.

    Yes, once again false equivalency is going to carry the day. Sarah Plain offers her sham prayers, Boehner sheds crocodile tears, the media applauds and the cycle repeats itself.

    No doubt some congressman in the pocket of the NRA was about to introduce a bill to permit people to buy rocket-propelled grenade launchers at WalMart. Now he’ll just have to sit on it for a decent interval until everyone forgets about this latest insanity.

    This country went over the bend when Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face and it was the old man who came out and apologized for getting in the way.

    By this time next week somebody will begin organizing a “Second Amendment Rally on the Mall, April 2011” and all 48 of the GOP presidential hopefuls will pledge to attend.

  95. 95
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Maude:

    When the Silent Majority enables the Violent Minority, I don’t see much difference between the two anymore.

    Sorry.

  96. 96
    bemused says:

    I’ve been very uneasy and worried about the hate/violent rhetoric from the right and extreme right for several years now, long before the last presidential campaign when the insanity really ratcheted up. It’s totally irresponsible for rightwing radio/tv/print voices and politicians/legislators that reach a huge number of americans to encourage and provoke fury in their susceptible listeners. They give the green light, legitimacy to people to act out on their rage and most do this deliberately for money, power, political gain, ideology. It’s an extremely dangerous game they play.
    There are no excuses whatsoever for media political pundits saying repeatedly that the violent rhetoric is just campaign tactics or that Democrats are just being political for talking so much about the huge increase in violent incidents against Dem legislators (I guess if no one talked about that, it would just all go away!) or the phony meme that far left liberals do the same. I call that aiding and abetting.
    In a rational country, so-called Christian, family values people like Palin with her crosshairs map/locked and loaded language and “armed and dangerous” Bachmann would roundly denounced by media and legislators alike for using such obviously cheap, inflammatory tactics.
    If we had actual journalism in big media, conservative politicians and legislators would be pummeled daily for their own hate rhetoric, for their milquetoast condemnations of violent language and acts and for their too late, insincere condolences for victims of violence.

  97. 97
    jk says:

    @Mike in NC:

    With a few exceptions, the Sunday morning talk shows are nothing but an epic fail.

  98. 98
    Quicksand says:

    This shooting demonstrates that we really need to tone down the violent political rhetoric.

    Yeah TBogg, dial it back a notch!

  99. 99
    DotHead says:

    I’d love to see even ONE example of “violent rhetoric” that this tragic event is being blamed on.

    Instead, you leftist morons are using a tragic situation to lash out against your enemies who have no more to do with this than the leftist media had to do with the Times Square bombing or the Fort Hood attacks.

    Despicable.

  100. 100
    4jkb4ia says:

    As far as this goes, I applauded. It was absolutely right.

    But what David Neiwert has been talking about for years as far as delegitimizing your political opponents goes farther than this.
    Also, the fear that Obama would be assassinated, or could still be assassinated, goes farther than one crazy person. The hypothetical assassin could be a committed racist or it could just be what Philip Roth called “the indigenous American berserk”. The indigenous American berserk would include shootings at a school or workplace where the person might have been driven over the edge but was not obviously “just crazy”.

  101. 101
    4jkb4ia says:

    68 was there first.

  102. 102
    Brachiator says:

    The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

    Thanks for this.

    I am still numbed and saddened by this horrible attack. I listened to the first news reports, the brief presidential address on the issue, and the reports from the local hospital and law enforcement officials, to get some idea of the scope of the tragedy.

    But I have mostly avoided reading any commentary or blogs, and try to avoid the speculating and finger pointing.

    And yet one thing is clear. The worst of those who stir up the hornets’ nest just don’t care what awful thing may result. They just don’t care.

  103. 103

    I am now worried that the day will come will some crazy will follow TBogg’s advice and make Bill Kristol eat a bag of salted dicks.

  104. 104
    NR says:

    @SGEW:

    If Pres. Obama plays the false equivalency game, will it decrease the chances that some future crazy person will do something like this?

    I predict that it will be about as effective as his decision to “Look forward and not backward” was.

  105. 105
    Caz says:

    The murderer associated himself with socialism. So he was following the mantra of the left if anything.

    The left is far more vitriolic and violent than the right. See Weather Underground.

    In any event, I don’t think either party is responsible for this wacko’s acts.

    But to say the right fueled his murders is wrong, and to say that anyone’s free speech fueled it totally misses the point.

    Free speech is essential to our democracy. With the exception of the proverbial “Fire!” in a crowded theater, it’s very dangerous to start calling for toning down free speech or limiting that speech.

    That may inevitably lead us to the very form of oppressive government that this murderer idolized.

  106. 106

    […] Got Nothing Published January 9, 2011 We Are Dumb Country Leave a Comment John Cole: The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to […]

  107. 107

    […] Former Republican blogger John Cole: “The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.” […]

  108. 108

    […] not himself be a poster child for the presumptive murderousness of the American right, I think, as John put it and Kay echoed: The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that […]

  109. 109
    moron says:

    John, I notice you complain when GOP officials put this kind of disingenuous apologia for incitement out there, but you defend ombudsman E. D. Kain when he does exactly the same thing on the front page of this blog. You need to rethink giving your editorial imprimatur to this shameful right-wing hack.

  110. 110
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @DotHead:

    I’d love to see even ONE example of “violent rhetoric” that this tragic event is being blamed on.

    Sarah Palin’s ‘Don’t retreat, reload!’ tweet and her crosshair map?

    http://ubnotorious.blogspot.co.....hairs.html

  111. 111
    Peter says:

    @Caz: Too obvious a spoof.

  112. 112

    […] violence is embedded within it. When you do that, someone somewhere will take you seriously.”Former Republican blogger John Cole: “The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need […]

  113. 113
    Paul in KY says:

    @Southern Beale: The little girl who was murdered being born on 9/11 was a coincidence, IMO.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] violence is embedded within it. When you do that, someone somewhere will take you seriously.”Former Republican blogger John Cole: “The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need […]

  2. […] not himself be a poster child for the presumptive murderousness of the American right, I think, as John put it and Kay echoed: The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that […]

  3. […] Former Republican blogger John Cole: “The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.” […]

  4. […] Got Nothing Published January 9, 2011 We Are Dumb Country Leave a Comment John Cole: The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to […]

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