Credit Where Credit Is Due: The New Republic Warns Against Blaming The Right For Tucson
Believe it or not, this really is The New Republic:
The rhetorical attempts to connect Jared Loughner to mainstream politics take two forms, neither convincing. One is to condemn the use of combat metaphors in politics, such as Sarah Palin’s web page superimposing gunsights upon Democratic districts targeted by the GOP. Glenn Reynolds persuasively notes that this is a well-established, bipartisan practice:
Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently.
I don’t believe that analogizing politics to combat encourages anybody, even the mentally ill, to take up violence. People use metaphors like this in all aspects of daily life—sports, business, dating, and on and on.
The second form is to lump together all sorts of extremism under the broad rubric of “anger” or “hate.” The New York Times news story posits “a wrenching process of soul-searching about the tone of political discourse and wondered aloud if a lack of civility had somehow contributed to the bloodshed in Tucson.” NBC’s Mark Murray writes, “If one word summed up the past two years in American politics, it was this: anger.”
This category is far too broad. Strong feelings are a part of political discourse. This is serious business. Important things are at stake, including, at times, life and death. People have a right to get angry.
Of course, being TNR, they do try to claim that “The mania of Giffords’s would-be assassin may be slightly more right-wing than left-wing,” but actually there’s more evidence that the shooter was anti-Iraq-war, anti-Afghanistan-war, and thus anti-Bush than anti-Obama. As I posted yesterday, someone said his views circa 2007 were “radical”, “quite liberal”, and “left-wing”.
But, give TNR two cheers for the attempt.