Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't Blame Palin, But Take Heed

I have been thinking long and hard about the tragedy that occurred on Saturday. Here are a couple of thoughts.

1. Palin should not be blamed for the killings. The murderer is clearly not a Tea Party purist. In fact, he has a strange blend of progressive and libertarian views. And his libertarians views are more likely to be heard from Ron Paul than Sarah Palin.

2. Having said that, I think that the conservative movement should count this as a stark warning. Palin's "targets" were out of line. They were not the cause of the shooting, but they are still dangerous. Of course, her rhetoric is not the only cause for concern. The far right in the conservative movement have spent the past two years treating President Obama and Democrats as traitors bent on destroying America. The entire imagery of the Tea Party movement is predicated on the notion that there is an illegitimate tyrant in the White House and that an extrajudicial and coercive revolution is needed to throw the tyrant out of the government (circa 1773).

I have argued this point for the past year: President Obama and the Democrats are not our enemy. They are not socialists. They are not trying to destroy America. They don't want the terrorists to win. They are not seeking to destroy the Constitution and take away our liberties. They are well-intentioned people with a different philosophy of government. If we do not stop the heated rhetoric, then we will eventually see violence in the name of that rhetoric.

It is time for the sane voices in the Republican Party to stand up and combat those who incite hatred. Up until Saturday, I would have argued that we should do that for political posturing. Turns out that there are much more profound reasons than politics (see Christina Taylor Green).


Right Wingnut said...


Sorry to see that you've waded into sleezeball territory to scor political points.

sam said...

I heard on TV that the shooter had a safe and in that safe was material dating to 2007 indicating that he had the intent to assassinate someone.

Palin didn't come on the national scene until 2008.

No to your rhetoric point. ALL sides need to tone it down.

Right Wingnut said...

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, WSJ: The Arizona Tragedy and the Politics of Blood Libel

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?

Pablo said...

Wrong, RW. I am saying that Palin's rhetoric was not related to the shooting, but that her rhetoric could stir up some crazy idiot to do something in the future. And so we need to be careful. That is not trying to score political points.

Again, Palin is not to blame for this accident.

Pablo said...

I should have said murder, instead of accident. It wasn't an accident.

Anonymous said...

The "targets" were not out of line. They were a normal part of political discourse that are used by everyone. We don't know whether this guy was disturbed or evil. Disturbed people can interpret anything in a way that is completely out of context. Their disturbed actions don't make anything "out of line." Evil people do their evil because they are evil. If they were influenced by society, they wouldn't do these things.

President Obama and the people behind him are our enemies. They have made clear that they want the country to be completely different in a way that is completely wrong. They do not want to play fair according to any set of rules in order to let the American people make intelligent and rational decisions about our future. Instead, they want to use the tools of propaganda and dirty tricks to destroy anyone who opposes them. Years ago, Whitaker Chambers wrote that battle would not be one of liberals versus conservatives but one of revolutionists versus counter-revolutionists. We cannot simply conserve the America that we thought we had. We are in the "cold war" period of a civil war for control of this country. If our enemies use certain tactics to gain an advantage, we have to regain our footing or achieve a superior position. Failure to do so means defeat. If using the kinds of tactics that they are using is necessary, we must use them.

The issue is not about hatred. I don't have to hate my enemies, and at the end of a war, many people end up realizing that the people on the other side were not all evil people just because they were part of another country. In some wars, that country's leadership may have been evil, but the average folks were not. We do have to defeat our enemies because their vision for this country is so wrong that they are a threat to us and our families. Their foot soldiers aren't evil. Maybe many of their leaders aren't evil, but to think of them as any less than enemies is a mistake.


Pablo said...

Wow, Bill! Please read what you just wrote. How many references did you have of "war" and "foot soldiers" and "enemies."

I am sorry that I do not know how to say this politely, but how dare you say that the other side is our enemy! They are not evil. You are completely wrong for what you are saying, and if I am the only conservative who will stand up and say it, then I will stand proudly. It is your kind of rhetoric that needs to be thrown out.

If we are going to tackle the big issues, like the national debt and global terrorism, we will have to do so with the Democrats. And declaring that they don't care about those issues is both wrong and unhelpful.

Bill, I am sure that if I met you in real life, I would probably like you a whole lot. I am sure that you are a nice guy. We disagree a lot, but just because we disagree doesn't mean that we have to be enemies. I disagree with the democrats on various issues, but they aren't my enemy. Neither is Sarah Palin my enemy.

Please think about what you are saying. Seriously.

Pablo said...

I reread my post several times and RW, I don't see why you think that it was offensive to Sarah Palin. The only thing I said was that she should not have used the "targets" analogy. My post is directing at the conservative movement at large. The whole movement needs to tone down the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

"The entire imagery of the Tea Party movement is predicated on the notion that there is an illegitimate tyrant in the White House and that an extrajudicial and coercive revolution is needed to throw the tyrant out of the government (circa 1773). "

Put the bottle down Pablo as you sound like a pundit on MSNBC. The Tea Partiers are so tame they clean up after themselves at rallies. Please stop demonizing a movement you seem to know nothing about.

Pablo said...


Can you please describe the Boston Tea Party? And then tell me which part of that sentence of mine that you quoted is incorrect?

illinoisguy said...

Sarah was not responsible for what happened in Arizona. The guy was a complete nut case. There are times when I here a candidate say something that causes me to think they could be potentially planting a seed in the mind of a kook. One example was when Palin's supporters at C4P ran that little ad showing Sarah shooting a bear chasing Mitt Romney. I was a little uncomfortable with that because potentially some kook could glean from it a though of shooting a few feet further forward.

ellie said...

Pablo, the fact that no one watches Palin's 'show' anymore if offensive to RW.

This guy was a nut. However, the political climate today is this: Democrates=Evil. Republicans=bad. White hats vs. black hats. If we don't tone it down, and start getting respect BACK into our national conversation, we are heading to a huge dark cloud. I agree with pablo that democrates are not evil or socialist. Nor is OUR president. (and yes, he is the president for all, like it or not). They want one path, we want another. Time to tone it down and get that respect back.

Anonymous said...

As to whether the Dems are actually evil, that is between them and their conscience. The fact is that their policies are destroying the country. Further, it was Mr. Obama that essentially declared that the Tea Party was the enemy of the state. It is not the Tea Party who has to tone down the rhetoric, to say such is to have one's head in the sand.


Anonymous said...

Good post Pablo, and my thoughts exactly.

The political implications of this incident cannot be ignored. This hurts Republicans, because Palin's targets/reload rhetoric will be used in commercials against us. It doesn't matter if you can find some democrats doing the same thing, because the left owns the media.

It's irresponsible speech. I thought that from day one, when she revealed her "targe" list and tweeted her fans to go to the page and "reload".

It's too bad that the tea party is getting dragged into it. It seems like most Americans agree with the tea party message. But the left has painted it as extremist and hateful, and unfortunately, they have some evidence - at least enough to use.

Palin's rhetoric is often inflammatory, hateful, and accusatory. She goes after Michelle Obama in her book for crying out loud! A war with Michelle over nutrition? How stupid is that?


Anonymous said...

Pablo, Frum has some very good points here about Palin:

"Then, as Palin came under a barrage of criticism, her supporters stepped forward to offer defenses. The gunsights were not really gunsights. The criticism of Palin was unfair, even “obscene.”

And of course, they had a point. Obviously, Palin never intended to summon people to harm Representative Giffords. There was no evidence that the shooter was a Palin follower, and in short order it became evident that he was actuated by a serious mental illness. Whatever you think about Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” rhetoric, it could not be blamed for this crime.

So – argument won? No. Argument lost.

Palin failed to appreciate the question being posed to her. That question was not: “Are you culpable for the shooting?” The question was: “Having put this unfortunate image on the record, can you respond to the shooting in a way that demonstrates your larger humanity? And possibly also your potential to serve as leader of the entire nation?”


Anonymous said...

"She goes after Michelle Obama" She should go after Mrs. Obama; it is ashame that Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Romney do not have the courage to do so. Mrs. Obama brought it on herself by promote Government food mandates. This is a disgrace to America. Are you satified that our country is becoming a laughing-stock?


Anonymous said...

I guess this is one more way we disagree, OJ. I think Palin is politically tone-deaf to go after the First Lady on anything. Michelle Obama is very popular, and her campaign for good nutrition is not only harmless, but helpful.

She is not promoting Government food mandates. I do disagree with her effort to spend more federal money, but her campaign to promote healthy living in children is exactly the kind of thing First Ladies should be doing.