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January 09, 2011

Disgusting Partisanship on Display After Shooting

When the news broke yesterday that there was a shooting at an event for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the response for most was immediate: concern, prayers, and hope that the perpetrator is caught immediately and punished severely. Politics didn't matter in that moment; if someone shoots at one of our elected leaders, that person is an enemy of us all. The response for a few others was equally immediate: Sarah Palin.

This has become a recurring pattern for liberal commentators over the past few years. Something bad happens and somehow, without any evidence at all, it is Palin's fault and, more broadly, the Tea Party's. That was the first reaction of Markos Moulitsas and Matt Yglesias yesterday. It was widely taken up by the left side of the blogosphere who managed to convince themselves that Gabrielle Giffords had been shot on the express orders of Sarah Palin. Not kidding.

Remember, all this liberal posturing about Sarah Palin's gun rhetoric took place before we knew anything about the shooter. In fact, at that time we didn't even know how many shooters there were. Giffords had been reported dead, then alive, then unknown. For a while it was unclear whether she had been the target or the federal judge who was also killed. This uncertainty about the facts went on for most of the afternoon. But liberals kept a steady faith: this is all Sarah Palin's fault.

How is it that people who endlessly protest that they are part of the "reality-based community" can't even wait for the facts before proclaiming the state of reality? The truth is, liberals were posturing about Palin's "extremist rhetoric" long before the shooting, so it doesn't matter what the facts on the ground are or how disconnected she ultimately is from the event. She's still at fault.

And that's what happened as the facts slowly emerged about Jared Lee Loughner. Based on his internet sites, he appeared to be nuttier than Planters and it seems that his actions were based not on anything he saw or heard from Sarah Palin, but rather his own mental illness. There is no evidence, whatsoever, that he was a devotee of Palin or a Tea Partier. No evidence that he ever came into contact with the "extremist rhetoric" on the Right at all.

Doesn't matter. Liberals have assumed that he heard "right-wing vitriol", that it motivated him, and that as a result, all charged political speech should be condemned. This makes no sense at all because, at this point, we don't know anything about whether Loughner heard any of this "dangerous" rhetoric, much less whether it motivated him. And so every newspaper this weekend and all the cable news shows are fretting about "extremist rhetoric". Without any evidence, whatsoever, that political rhetoric had anything to do with the shooting.

Maybe we'll find out he was active in the Tea Party. But I doubt it. His favorite books included "Mein Kampf" and the "Communist Manifesto." He favorited a flag-burning on YouTube. Not your typical Tea Partier, anyway.

I imagine we're going to have a few years now where candidates and campaigns are going to tiptoe carefully around charged rhetoric and the newspapers will forever be linking Giffords and Palin for an explanation. Entirely without evidence. Imagine that. Liberals have used an unrelated event to confirm their liberal ideas and score low-hanging fruit off of an atrocity.

More: Definitely check out Legal Insurrection's review of the attack and the liberal response. He's got a great list of the violent attacks over the past few years where Liberals started out blaming the Tea Party only to discover that the criminals were either a-political or out-and-out Leftists.

Later: It shouldn't come to this, but in light of the overwhelming media coverage somehow linking the Arizona shooting to Palin and the Tea Party, it's worth highlighting what we all know already: "extremist rhetoric" is by no means evident only on the Right.

Here's the President dangerously suggesting gun violence to his followers.

Here's Markos Moulitsas putting Congressmen, including Rep. Giffords, on a "target list."

Do I think that these men are responsible for the violence in Arizona? Of course not. There's no evidence that Loughner even heard or read this stuff. That's the point. Without a single shred of evidence that "extremist rhetoric" encouraged the attack, the Left has decided that it simply must have contributed. Because they want it to be so, dammit, that's why.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 10:38 AM

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