Saturday will mark 2 weeks since Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down at a meet-the-candidate type of an event in front of a street corner supermarket in Tuscon, Arizona. Though the actual shooting technically was not a politically-driven act, in a 2011 political sense for conservatives it could be considered the shot-heard round-the-world. What we saw in the aftermath, outside of the common outpouring from the general electorate, was a basic glimpse into the beliefs and the soul of the progressive movement. From the second hour after the event on, members of the left intelligentsia immediately jumped to knee jerk conclusions about the role of conservative rhetoric; particularly from the TEA party movement, in developing the environment that led to Jared Loughner going out-of-his-mind, pulling the trigger that killed six people and wounded 19 others. Paul Krugman, EJ Dionne Jr, Robert Kennedy Jr, Howard Stern, Christ Matthews, Keith Olberman, lined up over the succeeding 2 days to rant, rave, and otherwise pin the blame on anybody who was a card-carrying member of the right for spouting views and catchphrases that supposedly sent a right-wing nut job to the brink of a homicidal massacre. Among those blamed by name: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck; a veritable top 4 of the left’s most wanted criminals. “Vitriol” was the word being thrown around like confetti at a ticker-tape parade. The right’s “vitriol”, “vitriol” from talk radio, “vitriol” from the political extremists from TEA Party fomenting anti-government sentiment that targeted a left-wing congresswoman in a tough race in Arizona that eventually led to an explosion of violence that was simply seething under the surface.
When it became clear that Jared Loughner was an apolitical loner with a likely mental disorder and long-time obsession with Giffords ala John Hinckley Jr, the comments backed off and even though President Obama at the memorial for the victims in Tucson stayed away from playing the tempting “blame game” himself, deciding to abstain from throwing a few barbs against his political enemies. There, of course, were no apologies. Sarah Palin, who defended herself as eloquently as she possibly could from committing the awful creative sin of putting simple targeted cross hairs on congressional districts, was still being dogged at the end of last week by those who insisted that she remove them.
Was it all by design or by coincidence? I think it’s very clear what we saw from the left during these past two weeks is a glimpse into the soul of the Progressive movement. The first reaction of those who consider themselves the elitist left was to immediately determine that Jared Loughner was a conservative and thus being a conservative was pushed to the brink of political violence by rhetoric from conservatives, particularly the wing of the conservative movement that foments an anti-big government sentiment and particularly those in Arizona who had “targeted” Gabrielle Giffords in a contentious congressional race. When the facts came out, the scathing op-ed attacks had lost their bluster, and public opinion had not been swayed, the theme nonetheless continued to be bantered about by the likes of MSNBC and Pima County sherif Clarence Dupnik, the left-wing blogs (the real source of vitriol on the Internet), and the shooting victims themselves.
According to theDaily Caller on January 15th, “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target,” Eric Fuller, a former campaigner for Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, told Democracy Now. “Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled.”
Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran, was at Gifford’s “Congress on Your Corner” event on Saturday when 22-year-old accused gunman Loughner opened fire. Fuller was shot in the knee and his back was wounded.
Fuller stood up at the event where he made the remarks, a town hall meeting sponsored by the local Tucson TEA Party, tore up a photo of TEA Party spokesman Trent Humphries, and told him, “You’re dead.”
So much for lack of vitriol. But lack of evidence didn’t stop the lefties from continuing to poke around and finding a conspiracy where there wasn’t even the hint of one:
California congressman and friend of Giffords, Bob Filner, went so far as to say last week that the shooting was an act anti-Semitism and was potentially the beginning of a revolution. Said Filner on the Lawrence O’Donnell show on January 12th.
“The next day, Lawrence, and also right after Gabby’s shooting, there were blogs to say that clearly politics doesn’t work for us because Filner the sneaky Jewish guy obviously defrauded us, and we have to go to violence. And here`s some AK-47s; here`s how you do sniper work. And that was repeated a couple days ago with — when they said this is the start of the revolution, the shooting of Gabby Giffords. So this is not an isolated incident. Everybody who tries to put it off on a deranged individual I think is — that’s a political statement in and of itself, because they are absolving themselves of the responsibility of their words and their actions.”
So now it isn’t just an incident urged on by the vitriol of the wackjob right, it’s seething underground revolution of bigotry and anti-government anti-Semitism ready bubble up to the surface of racist America. As a person who understands that anti-Semitism is at an all-time high around the world, I would never temper an accurate depiction of how the Jewish people are maligned in today’s world political climate but that problem is not occurring IN AMERICA. That is not an issue in this situation. This was an assination attempt on the life of a generally low-key congresswoman, pure and simple. Gabrielle Giffords is not an upper echelon politician. She’s not anywhere near a member of the leadership structure of the House of Representatives. If any conservative was going to target her to shift the political establishment in the House minority, they would not be successful in doing anything to tip the balance. It would be a useless exercise. That leaves the only other option being that of a “right wing crazy” with a vendetta stirred up by the right-wing extremist “powers that be”. And that is precisely the picture that the left has been trying to paint of those responsible for the conservative resurgence in the 2010 elections. The truth is that they cannot defeat us at the ballot box, they cannot defeat us on principle, amd they cannot defeat us in the realm of ideas so they are trying to destroy us by using the public PR angle. This is their MO, their world view, and this is how they operate in the very recesses of their calculating liberal brains. Conservatives are whackos and so here’s a perfect opportunity to brand them as such. Let’s take a random incident involving an assassination attempt on the life of a Democratic politician and bludgeon them with accusations of violence and mayhem even before the facts of the case have been revealed and when the facts are revealed, let’s keep pushing that template. They know the conservative wave-train is rolling full steam into Washington so what better way to derail us than by labeling us as unstable nut jobs and making it stick. This is how they’re going to execute themselves from now on, this is how they’re going to try to bring us down, and this is what we’ve been fighting and will have to fight in order to continue to be successful. If there is anything that has been on display for the past 2 weeks that is exactly what it is. The game is on and we know exactly what the strategy is. It’s become abundantly clear what we’re up against and what we’ll have to do to continue to fight it. The lesson has been on display for all of us to see since the afternoon of January 8th.