Progressive Perspective · Progressives · Sarah Palin

Let’s Get This Straight…

A friend of mind chided me for being too quick to apologize about blaming Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann’s incendiary political rhetoric for the actions of Tuscon, AZ killer, Jared Loughner’s actions.

I stand by that apology.  There was a great pile-on among the progressive community to demonize Palin for Loughner’s actions.  In my opinion, there was no correlation.

However, my friend also pointed out the following article which speaks volumes to the entire debate about the current trend of political rhetoric and mainly, false equivalencies.

H/t LTL:


[Trigger warning for violent rhetoric of many different stripes.]

Both sides are, in fact, not “just as bad,” when it comes to institutionally sanctioned violent and eliminationist rhetoric.

An anonymous commenter at Daily Kos and the last Republican vice presidential nominee are not equivalent, no matter how many ridiculously irresponsible members of the media would have us believe otherwise.

There is, demonstrably, no leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, former veep candidate and presumed future presidential candidate, who uses gun imagery (rifle sights) and language (“Don’t Retreat, RELOAD”) to exhort her followers to action.

There is no leftist equivalent to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group which was created from the mailing list of the old white supremacist White Citizens Councils and has been noted as becoming increasingly “radical and racist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which classifies the CCC as a hate group—and is nonetheless considered an acceptable association by prominent members of the Republican Party, including a a former senator and the last Republican presidential nominee.

There is no leftist equivalent to Glenn Beck, host of a long-running nationally syndicated radio show, former host of a show on CNN and current host of a show on Fox, best-selling author, DC rally organizer, and longtime user of eliminationist rhetoric, including equating universal healthcare to rape, joking about victims of forest fires being America-hating liberals, comparing Al Gore to Hitler, condoning the murder of Michael Moore, accusing Holocaust survivor George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi, equating immigration reform with burning US citizens alive, publicly endorsing violent revolution, and winkingly telling his viewers not to get violent, all of which amounts to a speck on the tip of a very big iceberg.

There is no leftist equivalent to Ann Coulter, best-selling author and syndicated columnist, who has been a panelist on Fox’s Hannity 28 times and was on Hannity & Colmes an additional 18 times, who has been a guest multiple times on The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, Larry King Live, Huckabee, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hardball, and other cable news shows, has made appearances on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and has co-hosted The View, and has also said that a baseball bat is “the most effective way” to talk to liberals, as well as: “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.” And: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.” And: “In [Clinton’s] recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he ‘did it,’ even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.”        


Jared Loughner · Keith Olbermann · Rep. Gabrielle Giffords · Sarah Palin

Anti-Palin Rhetoric Is Not Helpful

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on June 2, 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

First let me say this:  Sarah Palin is not responsible for the very deranged character, Jared Loughner’s dispicable violence against 20 people, 5 of whom are dead, including a 9 year-old little girl.  

However, in my opinion, and Gabrielle Giffords spoke on this as well, the rhetoric that Palin and Michelle Bachmann promoted, in terms of gun images was not helpful in a partisan society where both sides see the other as “the enemy”.

The all too quick to blame meme from the Left (even I took that stance early on) was to accuse Palin and the Tea Party for Loughner’s actions.   That accusation  obviously proved to be totally false.  I apologize here and now for being a part of the frenzied rhetoric of blame from the Left.

Another point of view relating to Sarah Palin…

American Spectator

I am neither shocked nor surprised that this nation’s most prominent liberals see fit to blame Sarah Palin for causing the shooting in Tucson that severely injured Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and claimed six lives. But it does sadden me.

Before the shooter was identified much less his victims were identified we witnessed the spectacle of a Nobel laureate and an Academy Award-winning actress amongst many others falling all over themselves to excoriate the former Alaska governor.

Yet perhaps the most insightful of these denunciations of Palin was that of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Now when I use the word insightful I am not referring to the merits of his arguments. Olbermann’s arguments are devoid of any, of course. But his arguments do provide us with a keen insight into the mindset of American liberalism in the early 21st century:

If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bull’s-eye targets on 20 Representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics — she must be repudiated by the members of her own party, and if they fail to do so, each one of them must be judged to have silently defended this tactic that today proved so awfully foretelling, and they must in turn be dismissed by the responsible members of their own party.

So does Olbermann think the Democratic Leadership Council should be dismissed from politics? Surely Olbermann believes the DLC should repudiate its part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics after it, on behalf of John Kerry in 2004, put bull’s-eye targets on nine states won by President Bush in 2000. After all, the DLC did describe these nine states as being situated “behind enemy lines.”    More…

Related Articles

Glenn Beck · Glenn Beck Delusions · Jared Loughner

Bill Maher: Jared Loughner’s Chalkboard Likely Looks Like Glenn Beck’s Chalkboard


Anderson Cooper took a very different tack last night in trying to make sense of the Arizona shooting tragedy from the weekend. While many on cable news were turning down the partisan rhetoric, AC360 producers booked comedian Bill Maher, who was unafraid to compare the imagined mindset of alleged assailant Jared Loughner with Fox News host Glenn Beck, while at the same time calling for responsibility in the media. Huh?

Cooper opened by asking about the soul searching and finger pointing that came almost immediately after the news of the shooting took place. To his credit, he went straight to the heart of the matter, asking Maher “Is it fair to place blame at the feet of anyone other than the shooter at this point?” Maher answered with the long and rambling rant:

Yeah. I mean, not direct blame. No, this guy was clearly a nut. I mean, a schizophrenic, a paranoid. I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist. Nut is the layman’s term. But he was very anti-government. If you read some of the stuff that we have, that we know he wrote, i mean, it’s sprinkled with things, anti-government ideas, treason, tyranny, the gold — get back to the gold standard, that kind of stuff that seems like, you know, I don’t know who else but Glenn beck talks about that stuff. I’m not saying he was specifically listening to Mr. Beck or anybody else. But Glenn Beck is also a little nutty. I mean, you know, this Jared guy’s chalkboard in his basement, I’m not sure it would look that different than Glenn Beck’s chalkboard. I think it’s disingenuous for the right wing, as I’ve heard them say today, that we can’t make any connection here or else the — or the false equivalency argument that I hear, you know.

There’s a lot of nuts on the left, too. yeah, there are nutty people on the left, too. They don’t make threats. They don’t talk about guns. I heard someone on NPR today say, well, when Bush was president, there was Bush equals Hitler signs. From who? Not from someone in Congress.

Yeah, there’s always going to be some nut out there. I don’t know who had that sign, but Sarah Palin put the cross hairs up on her website. That’s a person in a position of authority. Her other example was, you know, Keith Olbermann says worst person in the world.” Well, first of all, it’s comedy. It’s tongue in cheek. And it’s very different than what Alan West talks about, what Michele Bachmann talks about. I want to, you know, keep my opponents scared to come out of his house. I want Minnesotans armed and dangerous. Sharron Angle with 2nd amendment remedies. Nobody on the left is saying it would cause a rational person to do something crazy. We’re saying it goes out to the borderline cases, the nutty people. but it’s always from the right.

Later in the interview, Maher further clarified on whether a Democrat played any role in the tragedy. No he doesn’t:      More…

Orly Taitz

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Filed By Birther Queen Orly Taitz

Attorney and activist Orly Taitz
Image via Wikipedia

Orly Taitz gets yet another rejection…

Huffington Post

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a lawyer who has been in the forefront of the challenge to President Barack Obama’s citizenship.

The high court on Monday did not comment in refusing to hear the appeal filed by California lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz. She was contesting a $20,000 fine for filing what a federal judge determined was a frivolous lawsuit.

The suit was filed on behalf of Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who sought to avoid deployment to Iraq by claiming Obama wasn’t born in the United States and thus, is ineligible to be president and commander in chief.

President Barack Obama · President Obama · Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Obama Going To Tuscon On Wednesday


President Barack Obama will travel to Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday to honor the six people slain by a gunman last Saturday in a shooting spree that gravely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to an administration official.

Obama, who ordered a national moment of silence in memory of those shot to death at Giffords’ “Congress on the Corner” event at a Tucson shopping mall, plans to attend some kind of memorial service, the person said. 

The University of Arizona, which is located in Tucson, said that the president  “will speak at a memorial event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 to support and remember victims of the mass shooting in Tucson, and to lift the spirits of those who have been personally affected by this tragedy. ‘Together We Thrive: Tucson and America,’ will take place at McKale Center and is free and open to the campus and greater Tucson community.”

 First lady Michelle Obama will be in attendance, the university said.

White House staff had been in communication with local officials to figure out the best way to honor the victims without creating a huge distraction at a time when investigators are still collecting evidence — and Giffords remains in an area hospital in the first stages of a precarious recovery.

The president’s trip to Arizona parallels a decision in 1995 by President Bill Clinton to visit the site of the Oklahoma City bombing four days after that tragedy.

At that time, Clinton spoke about against the militia movement and hate speech; Obama’s staff say he plans, at some point, to deliver a speech that soothes the nation while urging a ratcheting down of often-violent political rhetoric.