I’ve been tied up a bit and was too late to the party to really add anything new to the blogospheric reaction to the Arizona shootings, but looking over the comments to this thread, I am reminded that many of the left-wingers still trying to score political points on this one are seriously beyond parody.
Everything we know about the Arizona shootings points to the same conclusions: Jared Lee Loughner was not any sort of political conservative or Republican, paid no attention to political conservatives or Republicans, didn’t even vote in 2010, was your basic unhinged lunatic and recognized as such by the people around him, and had been obsessed with Congresswoman Giffords since 2007. Thus, any effort to use the shootings as an excuse to attack Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Jan Brewer, the Tea Party movement, etc. in any connection with the shootings is dishonest political opportunism, plain and simple. And yet the ecstasy of folks on the left in their immediate reactions to the shootings was palpable from the instant the story hit Twitter, and nearly none of those folks have allowed their initial reactions to be affected even slightly by the facts.
I know why this is being done, but I don’t know why anybody should be expected to believe it. We all saw coming clearly the pre-existing desire of the Left to replicate how Bill Clinton benefitted from Oklahoma City. We also saw the the instant efforts to blame all the same people for the Discovery Channel shootings, the Holocaust Museum shootings, the suicide of a government worker in Kentucky, the Times Square bombing, the DC Sniper, etc., none of which held up at all after the facts came out. But the lesson of Hurricane Katrina remains embedded for the Left: the first out of the chute to build a narrative can set it in stone before the facts are available. So we see the same people using the same “frame” over and over again until they can get it to stick. This week’s Word Of The Week was “eliminationist,” which got recycled endlessly by Kos, Paul Krugman, Peter Daou and other usual suspects (samples here). Which is ironic, of course, as it is the Left that has conducted the noisiest campaign over the past several years to delegitimize the Tea Party and the Republicans it supports through a barrage that has little or nothing to do with discussion of political ideas and everything to do with trying to make citizen activists sound crazy, dangerous, racist, etc.
The merits of the argument that people on the Right were using “dangerous” rhetoric that could have hypothetically contributed to the shootings – even in the complete absence of any sign that they did – are also lame, best symbolized by this rather pathetic effort to explain why it’s dangerous to use a crosshairs on a map of political election targets, but perfectly OK to use a bullseye. These angels-on-heads-of-pins distinctions are, unsurprisingly, not that effective in persuading the public, but effective in giving the media a deniable rationalization to keep running stories drawing a connnection that’s not there.
What’s left is a sort of passive-agressive rabbit-punching strategy: attack Sarah Palin in particular in an effort to politically destroy her over the shootings, then complain that she’s politicizing the issue when she fights back (one day we had Chris Matthews saying Palin was “on the lam” for not addressing the attacks, the next she was being faulted for responding; heads I win, tails you lose). This is emblematic of people who cannot bear to take a fraction of what they dish out, and are uncomfortable with robust debate rather than a one-sided media narrative in which all media voices proceed from the same premises.
And you know who really has no standing to complain about extremists? Supporters of Barack Obama, that’s who, as we can recall from the extensive evidence of Obama’s long, sorded background with hate-spewing and in some cases violent extremists. Sarah Palin condemned Jared Lee Loughner after the fact; that may seem like a ridiculously low bar to set for public discourse until you consider that our current president directed large sums of grant money to Bill Ayers, an unrepentant member of the terrorist group the Weather Underground, to direct a distinctly politicized school curriculum after Ayers’ crimes.* Of course, typical of the rabbit-punching strategy, the same people who concoct incredibly baroque theories trying to tie Sarah Palin to violent extremists argue that it is illegitimate and racist to discuss Obama’s direct association with an actual terrorist.
None of the criticisms leveled at Palin or the Right in general here have been made in good faith. None at all.

* – I have no idea if there is any credibility to this report that one such curriculum was used by the school attended by Loughner; World Net Daily is not exactly what you’d call a credible source. But the facts asserted by WND ought to be checkable, and checking them would give you the basis for an article less dependent on wholesale speculation than, say, this one.

51 thoughts on “Opportunism”

  1. Here is a simple question Crank are you happy with the political discourse and tone in today’s politics? We can wrap this tragedy in the debate of they do more than we do, which is rather childish. Things we do know when events like this happen we do reflect on our lives and the people around us. Maybe for most rational people they have decided to make a change in the way they debate the issues of today. Instead of reaching for the lowest form of debate look for substantive answers to the questions of the day. Based on your post we know which way you are leaning.

  2. There’s plenty I don’t like in modern American political discourse, but some of it is timeless features of democracy and/or human nature – you can’t know much history of the 1960s or the 1930s, let alone the 1860s or the 1780s, if you think today is unusually bad.
    Why do you think this shooting, as opposed to the shooting of the President in 1981 (or the attempts on the President in 1975-76), is a reason to have a discussion about political discourse, when it is no more related to public discourse than that shooting was? It seems to me the answer is that the people who lost the debate over the elections in 2010 are trying to use it to regain momentum for 2012, and that’s all this discussion is about. I didn’t hear a whole lot of liberals in January 2009 arguing that our political discourse was fundamentally broken.

  3. I should add that the biggest problem, to me, in today’s political discourse is emblemized by the way the mainstream media and left-wing advocacy groups have reacted to these shootings, and the only workable solution is more, rather than less, speech that exists outside the control of those media organs.

  4. there was not a toxic environment in 1975,76 or 81 nice try. How about this maybe a large portion of American feel slightly guilty about the way they are participating in the political discourse? Tragedy does cause reflection that spurs people to strive for change. In today’s politics we have quite a few people profiting from dividing and bringing out the worst in people. Just like during the high point of Jerry Springer TV the lowest form works till people reassess things around them. Just like when people was forced to see the ugly parts of Jim Crow change happened. The pendulum of the world before Saturday was on the side of the ugliness of people now it is swinging back to the better side. I know you will not be as popular if people are more civil but you will have your day again.

  5. I repeat: why have this discussion in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, unless it’s an attempt to implicitly lay blame for the shootings?

  6. Tragedy make people reflect. It is pretty simple, when should people reflect about things around them?

  7. When people respond instantly to a tragedy by pushing their pre-existing political agenda, which has nothing to do with the causes of the tragedy, you’ll forgive me if I don’t put much credence in the notion that this is about “reflecting.”

  8. I don’t blame the media for all the initial attention brought to the issue, as it came from the sheriff, and one could assume that he had some information about why the shooting occurred. But as more facts are coming out, it looks to be a ridiculous rush to judgment if not a completely politicized statement.
    Obviously, the responsible thing to do is retreat from that position until further info is available, but these latest attempts to pin it to Palin based on the info so far are completely incredible.
    Incidentally, in spite of the obvious threadjack of your other post, the discussion fit rather well. It simply shifted from one kind of deficit to another.

  9. if there is anything we learned from tragedies like 9/11, it’s the right-wing would never use it for political gain.
    By the way, Crank, what was the concrete connection between the twenty-one 9/11 hijackers and the guys who wanted to build a community center in lower Manhattan.

  10. “Which is ironic, of course, as it is the Left that has conducted the noisiest campaign over the past several years to delegitimize the Tea Party and the Republicans it supports through a barrage that has little or nothing to do with discussion of political ideas and everything to do with trying to make citizen activists sound crazy, dangerous, racist, etc.”
    I’ll bite, Crank.
    The fact is, most Americans saw their taxes go down under Obama. Yet Tea Partiers think theirs went up. Stupid or lying?
    These same people cheered along Cheney’s Unitary Executive Theory (which most assuredly grew the government). Now they’re upset about tyranny of a growing federal government. Stupid or lying?
    They are upset about government spending, but supported Bush’s Medicare Part D program. which blew a giant whole in the deficit. Stupid or lying?
    They deny that their movement is funded by the usual Republican suspects, when it’s a proven fact. Stupid or lying?
    They’re the Republican Party with a name change. nothing more. Did you see they’ve already walked back the $100 billion in spending cuts promised?
    You had told me they were different, because THIS GROUP really would cut spending. Stupid or lying?

  11. Crank, the right has been pushing it’s nasty political bilge since at least the Clinton days. Let me guess, you don’t watch the Fox Comedy Network, to watch O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck, nor obviously do you listen to Limbaugh, or never read a quote by Gingrich or Buchanan. The far right has been nasty, venal, and frankly, a load of liars for a long time. There is a difference between campaigning over differences and out and out lying and meanness.
    So when you suddenly awake with a start to find that Democrats are angry, wow, is that doubleplusungood thoughtcrime, or are you coming out of a 30 year old cocoon?

  12. Crank,
    I’m sure you are proud of how that pathetic coward Palin used her great “executive experience” to post a video. Even Faux News would have provided too much risk, apparently.
    Yesterday was the complete example fo why Obama is president and she will never be. (I guess she is still working on that pipeline you touted in 2008. Moving much oil and gas, is it?
    If you hadn’t been absent the day they taught law at law school, you would know that you intend the natural and foreseeable consequences of your actions. The violent rehtoric of the tea baggers and the rest of the right leads to violence. Rep. Giffords herself presciently foresaw the danger.
    If you weren’t so dangerous, I’d pity you.

  13. MVH, the sheriff knew Loughter was a loon and lied blaming people when he failed to do his job and left him on streets knowing he was dangerous. Java, 75 & 76 was dangerous. It was not long after Ayers & buddys were bombing and killing police. Why do you support smears of innocent people? Are you power hungry or just a hater? Darry the left has been lying about republicans for years now. Have they no shame? McCartyite tactics are their only game. Berto, the lack of democrat leadership has led to all this uncertainty that has prolonged recession. So why do things look better now withe the election of a republican House and lost of six d seats in senate?

  14. Magrooder, is that really the best you can do to avoid entirely what actually happened?
    OK, inflammatory anti-Semitic rhetoric leads to violence against Jews, and inflammatory anti-American rhetoric leads to violence against federal officials. So by your reasoning, why isn’t this the natural and probably consequence of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons? After all, you assume that blame has nothing whatsoever to do with what actually motivated or influenced Loughner. All you gotta do is hate someone enough and you get to blame them. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
    Berto – Uh, nobody is blaming the Ground Zero Mosque promoters for causing 9/11. And nobody on the Right is proposing to celebrate the things Loughner believed in at the site of the shootings. So, your analogy is not an analogy; as usual it’s just a series of non sequiturs.
    Daryl – So, you concede then that there is no defending any of the things I criticized in this post, you just feel that Republicans are fair game for any sort of slander. Ok, then.

  15. Oh and Magrooder – I feel like being entertained, so give us your rendition of how a mentally unstable person would find a compelling distinction between a map with a crosshairs on it and a map with a bullseye on it.

  16. Magrooder, Why the homophobic libel against the tea party? Are you so insecure that you are are unaware of the natural consequence of your hate? Why do you mock the congresswoman by attacking the same 1st amendment that she read in the House. Do you also hate Obama by rejecting statement that free speech did not cause this violence. Have you no sense of dignity?

  17. I think what’s his face was right–we should use this tragedy to reflect. Reflect on how teacher’s unions are destroying the public education system…what? I thought we were supposed to use the tragedy to reflect on problems, whether they are related to the tragedy or not. Am I confused about how this game works?

  18. Magrooder,
    This is like arguing that John Hinkley was motivated by all the left-wing vitriol against Ronald Reagan. This is just a crazy line of argument. It fails on all levels. There is no evidence thus far showing that this guy was driven by right-wing hate speech to kill Giffords. None. There is plenty of evidence that he was delusional and paranoid. If the right-wing was on trial for the wrongful death of Giffords, it wouldn’t even get to a jury.

  19. No Crank, your basic point was not that the left used a tragedy to highlight a point where perhaps it was misplaced. It was your supposed high moral ground that only the left did it, when the right did, and continues to do it far far more. You are so hellbent in having your “side” take the high ground, however unmerited it is, you don’t realize that if your “side” wins, everyone loses. Because we are really supposed to have different views of the same side—you were in law school the day they read Mr. Madison’s document, right?
    And now everyone is getting on how the schools could do more for disturbed people…well, they can’t. W’s medical privacy laws made sure that can’t happen.
    Oh, your previous post stating deficits were not that important, tell it to Moody’s. The US without a AAA rating. Interesting times. One of your “side’s” latest gifts. And it’s one that keeps on giving.

  20. “[H]ighlight a point where perhaps it was misplaced” is quite a euphemism for people running around screaming that Palin has “blood on her hands.” I suppose Hitler was just highlighting a point about fire safety where it was perhaps misplaced in the national conversation he wanted to have in the aftermath of the Reichstag Fire? A false accusation is a false accusation no matter how many euphemisms are used to cover its tracks.
    As to Moody’s, since when have I argued that the US is in good fiscal shape after four years of Democratic control of Congress? My point is simply that the current level of spending compared to private sector growth is ruinous no matter where you set the tax levels.
    I agree with you about medical privacy laws being nuts.

  21. Daryl, POTUS has refudiated you and you ilk for your lies about Palin. Do you think repeating fake hate is an argument? Be a mensch and admit your errors.

  22. Anybody that thinks that the political discourse in the country today is significantly worse than any other point in the history of the country is remarkably deficient in historical perspective. The political discourse between Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, Burr et al was noxious, and ultimately led to Burr killing Hamilton. Andrew Jackson was involved in multiple duels. I’m pretty sure that Abraham Lincoln was subjected to some pretty strong language during his time as President (before being assassinated). It goes on and on. Sorry people, we don’t live in special times here. Truth is, there is a lot less political violence now than there has been historically.

  23. Crank,
    I never wrote anything about Ground Zero Mosque promoters. I wrote about how you intimated a connection between the twenty-one 9/11 hijackers and those who wanted to build a community center in lower Manhattan. Now I’m asking for specifics. What was that connection?
    You’re the one passing yourself off as the arbiter of what is connected and what isn’t. Step up and show us the connection, or continue to be ridiculed as a partisan hack who has no floor to how low he will stoop to protect his political tribe (which is standard-issue conservativism).
    Also, about the Tea Party (AKA the Republican Party), stupid or lying? I realize you refuse to answer that question because to answer it will explain why no one should take them serious or legitamize them.
    Finally, exactly how long do we have to wait before we can speak about how indefensible the eliminationist rhetoric has been coming from right-wing radio, politicians, and the media?

  24. No fair, Daryl. The right wanted to impeach Clinton because they are all about “the rule of L—–ha ha ha ha ha. I couldn’t even type it, it’s such an absolutely ridiculous premise.

  25. As I said on the last thread, the good news is that only the truly wacked-out leftoids are taking this attack on the Right seriously.
    The bad news is that some truly wacked-out leftoids are taking this attack on the Right seriously.
    How many of our usually guffaw-inducing site-lefties might be driven to leave their basements and commit some terrible act of violence instigated by the hate speech of Paul Krugman?

  26. Sponge,
    Is there some crazy right-wing nut-job website that will randomly generate crazy paragraphs if you give it a couple of key words? Or do you really come up with this stuff yourself? You are one angry dude. In regards to the basement dwelling tendencies of folks I always presumed you lived in either the Unabomber’s old cabin or your grandmother’s attic.

  27. More hate speech from the Left!!! Aren’t you worried I’ll freak out and go on a rampage? You’re not?
    You can’t have it all ways. Either the rhetoric causes death or it doesn’t. I mean, unless you believe only speech directed at the Left causes rampages.
    You know, I actually think some of you guys might believe that.

  28. Uh, you other don’t read too well or don’t remember too well. In the last thread on this I said I thought this guy was a loony toon of his own making and that people are responsible for their own actions. Go back and check if you want.
    I think when you do go on a rampage it will because of whatever it is inside of you that makes you such a mad guy.

  29. No, what makes blogs and the internet in general such a mad place is the anonymity. Put your real name to things, and I’d like to see just what everyone says them.

  30. Crank,
    The most amazing thing about the responses to the irresponsible reporting and blame game nonsense is how the left acts like their side doesn’t ever use strong language. That and the incredible ignorance of history displayed. Palin put something out that listed races that showed congresscritters from districts that McCain carried in 2008 that voted for the health care take over. Then a year later a nut shoots one of those congressmen and several other people. Somehow the left decides the POS killer was motivated by Palin’s rhetoric even though it turns out he has been obsessed with the congressman for at least a couple years before Palin was on the scene. Then when they find out they decide that rhetoric still needs to be criticized, but apparently they are only aware of the right ever saying anything impudent. Except for the thousands of examples of morons on the left wishing for violence against anyone smart enough to realize their policies are flawed. I don’t even have to go into the way back machine to find the ugly desires for death to Bush or Cheney. Heck, just a couple months ago a Democrat congresscritter from Pennsylvania said he wanted the Republican running for governor in Florida to be put in front of a wall and shot. Berto and his buddies have no problem with that outright threat but oh my gosh how dare Palin target congressional races she would like Republicans to win. I don’t know if they are truly ignorant or just attempting to re-paint history when they claim public discourse is worse than years past, regardless it’s pathetic in either case. Impossible to take any of them seriously.

  31. “”Eliminationist Rhetoric” sure is a gussied-up way of saying, “words”.”
    Well, I would expect an American-hating traitor to write something like that. Hitler just used “words” too, or did your Ivy-league professors lie to you about him physically turning on the ovens? Google the name “Neville Chamberlain” and learn more about yourself.
    Did you see what I did there?
    Sure, you and I might know the whole right-wing gun fetish is just a bunch of doughy, pampered, scaredy-cats trying to pass themselves off as tough-guy frontiersmen, but you can’t tell me there aren’t a lot of mental weaklings on the right who buy into that kind of shit. How do you think people like Limbaugh get their ratings?

  32. Crank,
    Dammit. I always seem to forget that you “conservatives” are such delicate flowers, practically virginal in your innocence, offering only true-spirited attempts at doing good for all and defending yourselves ever-so gentlemanly from the nasty, mean, bullying left.
    First, you don’t refudiate the putting of gun sights – oh, excuse me, surveyor’s signs – over congressional districts listing names of the sitting member’s, the appeal to the use of second amendment rights, Erick Erickson threatening to brandish his wife’s shotgun at census workers, or bringing guns to political rallies, etc. All these acts coarsen the political discourse and provide aid and comfort to the warped minds out there buying weapons no one should be allowed to own. Do some on the left go too far? Of course. In the wing nut bunker, even that irrefutable truth cannot be acknowledged.
    Second, Palin. Nice try on the bait and switch strawman, but as usual, you avoid the point because you have no counter to it. Palin was – correctly – criticized for not addressing her use of the gun sights on Rep. Giffords and the others. She can’t even say she regretted doing it? I guess like W she doesn’t even recognize her own errors. Then, when she did speak – so courageously in her own studio – she was criticized – again correctly – not for speaking, but for what she said. Just one example of her ignorant, paranoid mind – and not the blood libel usage (incorrectly used against me here, I might add). The lowest point was the inherent illogic of her arguments all intended solely to defend herself.
    On the one hand, she argued that Loughner and only Loughner was responsible for his acts: “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.” We’ll ignore the factual inaccuracy because in the next breath, she contradicts herself, “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.” Wait. I thought only the individual was responsible. And those pesky First Amendment rights? I guess they matter only to those who agree with her.

  33. Now the GOP is guilty of “coursened political discourse” (which comes as a set with “eliminationist rhetoric” don’t ya know). What a bunch of pretentious babies you people are. You make every oblique and indirect charge in he book, perhaps because you know the public isn’t buying your BS for a second, and still you keep doubling down. What a spectacle you’re making of yourselves.

  34. tsmonk,
    You’ve convinced me. Urging people to “exercise their second amendment rights” is uplifting rhetoric. How could I have missed that?

  35. Magrooder, you silly goose you. Why are you bringing the First Amendment into this? Conservatives can only count by twos, up to two. As in,”Let’s count the amendments in the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. OK, two….uh, ,,,,, two, and only part of that one…Nope, there’s only the Second Amendment. The others? Not counting.”
    From the famous book, “Constitutional Law as needed for Conservatives.”

  36. I told you guys that Magrooder’s explanation of how a bullseye is different from a crosshairs would be hilarious.
    You fellas must be real proud of Eric Fuller right about now, following your script to a T.

  37. Crank,
    Have you considered doing a post about how the Dem’s & their most fervent followers tend to project the worst of their behaviors upon their opponents and then pretend they never do similar or worse?

  38. “I told you guys that Magrooder’s explanation of how a bullseye is different from a crosshairs would be hilarious.”
    I’d like to see him cover flag-burning. I wonder if that counts as coarsening the political discourse. If anyone tried to burn down the White House, I’m sure that would be defended.

  39. Now that Fuller’s in for psych eval, who wants to bet which of berto, jim or magrooder will be strangely absent from this conversation going forward?
    I mean, you can’t type in a straightjacket, can you?
    Tough call, but I’m going with magrooder. Palin’s in his head bad.

  40. Crank,
    Exactly which words did I use to distinguish crosshairs/surveyors symbls from bullseyes?
    In an astonishing run of being wrong every single time, spongeworthy adds to his own record.
    Wow. Eric Fuller? Really? Crank, I hope you are just as nurturing when your kids f**k up. What do you do? Punish them by making them altar boys?

  41. Sponge, it is as if you insist upon proving your double digit I.Q. here every chance you get. Please point to the post where I said anything of the sort. I stated that I thought this guy was a nut. You are so determined to lump everyone who disagrees with your incredibly tiny world view that, shockingly, you do so absent facts or context. I mean, it is hardly surprising that you would get it wrong but it becomes so tiring to constantly have to correct you at every turn. I’ll accept your silence on this as your apology since I’m not sure you have the fiber of being to actually do so.

  42. “Exactly which words did I use to distinguish crosshairs/surveyors symbls from bullseyes?”
    My point exactly – you’re the one arguing that Palin’s map is somehow dangerous, but you’ve made no attempt to distinguish it from other perfectly unremarkable examples by mainstream Democrats.
    “Kids”? Fuller is 63 years old.

  43. Crank,
    You should have a post this week explaining why we should take the Republican Party (AKA the Tea Party) serious. We could all use a laugh during these trying times.

  44. I lost 10 cents on the Patriots this weekend (on the Centsports website). I hate the Pats with the fury of 1000 suns, but I figured there was no way they were losing. I joked that they were doing this just to spite me.
    That theory makes more sense than pinning the Arizona shootings to Palin or Limbaugh.

  45. Crank,
    I have not attempted to make comparisons between specific hate speech directed at individuals and generic references to “targetting” states. Such comparisons exist that exist only in the addled minds of the wing nuts. It never occurred to me that a member of congress specifically targetted by Palin being shot in the head was unremarkable.

  46. Loughter was a 911 Truther, Bush hater likely influenced by left wing media which had place Palin and Bachmann in their cross hairs, not register marks like Palin used. Dem Party ad used targets and gunsights on Republicans. Why are leftists unable to discuss their hate rhetoric and say how wrong they were?

  47. PaulV,
    Seriously. There are doctors who can help those voices from to which you are listening.

  48. “Seriously. There are doctors who can help those voices from to which you are listening.”
    Those doctors can get expensive.
    Here’s a cheaper alternative: Turn off right-wing radio and cable “news” stations, and grow-up.

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