180 thoughts on “Who Dares Say, “Both Sides AREN’T Doing It”?

  1. Mike Thomas says:

    We like facts here right?
    Was the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981 the result of left hating liberal media?
    Does violent song lyrics and rap songs cause urban violence?
    Does the promotion of destructive family values and multiple father daddy contests on daytime talk shows cause high school drop outs and teenage pregnancy?
    Did radical Islam cause the shootings at Fort Hood?
    This innuendo before any facts are even proven that “right wing lunatics” on the radio are causing violence is intellectually thin, worthy of at best a seat with the 9/11 inside job crowd.
    For a group that applauds videos comparing our former President to Hitler, a current accidental Senators cute little books proclaiming their hate for right wing M-F’ers, a joke of a former and frequently fired sports caster going after the personal lives, families of anyone who dare disagree with him, foaming at the mouth a hatred for those more successful than himself proclaiming worst people in the world…a host comparing Rush Limbaugh to a Bond villain that will soon be “blown up”….It is hypocritical to walk away from your camp and point the finger over a the right to blame for any of society’s violent aggression. I personally think it’s MTV – that hypothesis has as much merit as thinking it was Fox News.
    By the way speaking of facts, where is the side by side comparison to O’Reilly and Olbermann where the frequent inaccuracies of O’Reilley’s program are going to be put out here in the blogosphere for all to see? The frequent charge that Fox News and their hosts provide mis-facts should be backed up with some facts, dates, times, right?

  2. Newt says:

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun…” – Barak Obama, at a 2008 campaign fund raiser in Philadelphia.

    You won’t find a quote by Bush or Cheney, or anyone in the GOP, approximating this kind of hate.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      It’s a quote from “The Untouchables” and pales in the face of “Second Amendment solution,” “if ballots won’t to do it, bullets will,” or “I want an armed and dangerous” citizenry, “don’t retreat, reload,” etc.

      This stuff was appalling pandering to the worst, basest instincts of the most credulous elements in our citizenry well before this shooting and will be after.

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    I knew it wouldn’t take more than 48 hours for the left to turn this into a political opportunity, despite the fact we know next to nothing about political speech causing this.

    How sad.

  4. 108 says:

    semi-automatic revolver?

    Bri, you’re a complete topical illiterate here and not knowledgeable enough to have a serious opinion.

    Oh the irony….always gleeful to indulge in a caricature of conservatives who repeat talking points, and yet can’t get the ones from his own echo chamber correct.

      1. 108 says:

        Brian, I don’t think this is news to you since you’re no longer a professional writer, but you can’t write. There’s nothing cogent to be had ever. It’s merely an avenue for you to indulge your insult fetish.

        I mean really, write a sentence without a comma for once. Or merely one comma.

      2. 108 says:

        I dunno, you put yourself out there. You’re the smuggest. I pull for ya though.

        The good news is I’m not very far into my forties and in tip top shape. I’ll be around a while.

      3. Mike Thomas says:

        Actually the extreme defensiveness looks to be from the left. Before any dead body has cooled, and a member of congress is still in the hospital..before any facts are known, before any connection or motive can even be determined, the blog here is…”Right wing guys are nuts but not us”….Such a preemptive defense and assumption of political opportunity shows a need for validation or to somehow rid of the guilt that people they idolize somehow are just as much part of the rhetorical noise problem they believe they are against.

      4. Mike: You read the blog, right? The topic is who dares to ID the source of most of the violence laced vitriol in this country. You say its Keith Olbermann and rap music. We disagree.

      5. PM: I’m happy to have my posse of freaked out, irrational trolls. If they weren’t here they’d be doing real damage to society. I’m performing a public service by keeping them occupied. Besides, there’s a kind of Village People campiness to their gun-smart machismo.

      6. Mike Thomas says:

        So how can one media form – right wing talk radio have such a great effect, but another media form “rap” have none? Again to an earlier post, I don’t think that ridiculous music or talk shows have any effect on the behavior of it’s consumers outside of a fist pump..but I am curious to hear your psychology behind it.

      7. This rap music thing doesn’t have much to do with over-heated political rhetoric, of the kind ginned up and sustained by partisan for financial and political effect. But I suppose somewhere rap imagery has inspired some Loughner-like nut job to act violently. It seems possible anyway.

      8. 108 - Erik Peterson says:


        You deleted your own post that revealed yourself in an unflattering light, then deleted some of mine to cover your tracks.

        I’ll leave.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Oh, please, 108, such small pedantry. “Pistol,” yes, Brian, should have written, “pistol.” It hardly matters.

      I still ask, why do we allow the sale of 30-round clips? To what good end? I can’t think of any.

      1. I always get mordant chuckle at the firearm expertise of Real Americans. Here’s a shocker. I don’t know fuck all about hand guns … and I’m proud of that.

      2. 108 says:

        Because a prohibition shouldn’t be written for a scenario of such low potentiality. This lowest common denominator statute writing drives me batty.

        Because the government gets to have them. And mind you, I’m not one of these apocryphal fellas at all. I’m quite sure you’d be shocked. But if the metro gang squad gets them, the public gets them.

        I use them with a 10/22. I enjoy them.

      3. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Well, by that reasoning, 108, we’d all have access to fully automatic weapons, flame throwers, grenade launchers, etc. We don’t.

        Your amusement at firing off many rounds without changing your CARTRIDGE, for me, doesn’t trump the demonstrated fact that a 30-round CARTRIDGE greatly and needlessly enhances the murderous potential of a legal handgun. Just add them to the extant list of weaponry unavailable to ordinary citizens.

        I recognize that we will not outlaw hand guns. Fine. But I can discern no compelling practical reason for anyone to have ready access to such large capacity cartridges, or so called cop killers bullets, either.

      4. 108 says:

        Damnit. Look Jim, this is a perfect example and you should be able to appreciate this given your talents.

        There’s no such thing as cop killer bullets. Because…. There’s no such thing as bullet proof armor. And because ‘cop killer bullets’ are not physically different than any other bullets. BTW, ‘cop killer’ bullets were never marketed.
        Cop killer bullet legislation was written in such a way as to give the Treasury and BATF administrative authority to ban just about anything. Including the .30-30 cartridges for grandpa’s deer rifle.

        I have lived under the Clinton Instacheck as gun buyer, and found my worst fears were never realized. I can probably live with a ban on high cap magazines, but I have no confidence that a piece of clean, unambiguous legislation will be introduced.

        Hence my pedanticism and annoyance at those who are aligned with legislation for which they have zero practical insight. Hence my annoyance with those who parrot an ignorant line of talking points because the Brady malcontents have been absorbed into the Democratic coalition.
        It behooves you folks to step up your game if you want me and my ilk to compromise. Use some of that qualitative brainpower you folks have so much of. The superior argument is for a free people owning small arms.

      5. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Look, 108, one needn’t be a gun smith to know that someone with 33 rounds in his cartridge has a much greater capacity for mayhem than someone with, say, a single-stack, 10-round magazine as is already required in some jurisdictions.

        No, I’m not a gun enthusiast, like yourself. And I’m not asking to restrict you and your peers to a black powder muzzle loader. But I don’t think that a compelling case can be made for anyone not in combat needing more than a ten-round cartridge for either plinking at targets or, in that rarest of instances, firing in self defense.

        I cannot fathom how this would in any meaningful way inhibit the exercise of your dearly-held 2nd Amendment rights.

      6. 108 says:

        As a practical argument, I think that’s fine. I’d relinquish them, but that’s just me. I support the NRA’s camel’s nose philosophy because the other side has largely been ignorant or disingenuous or both. And the only reason I say they’ve been ignorant and disingenuous is because they have been, and it’s quantifiable. The goal at one time was a prohibition, and you or Brian would be foolish to deny it.

      7. I realize I trot this one out a lot, but I don’t think you need a professional to diagnosis the issues related to this gun stuff. The guy at the end of the bar can handle that.

      8. 108 says:

        I knew that would come from you someday. You’re such a precious pipsqueak Brian. And a garden variety bigot of typical ignorance.

      9. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Hey, 108 (and “Newt” and “Bertram, Jr.” and all the rest of the blogonym users), Lambert puts his name on what he writes here and everywhere else.

        When you summon the courage to do the same, then you can get back to the name calling. Until then, stick to the argument.

      10. 108 - Erik Peterson says:

        I have before. There it, for all the google.

        So, Bri’s an intellectual and rhetorical heavyweight in your estimation Jim?

      11. Jim Leinfelder says:


        You can tell when I disagree with something Lambert’s written by my crabby, contrapuntal posts. While certainly much brighter than the average pajama-clad shut-ins out there, I’ve yet to encounter any particularly transcendent intellects on this blog, which is why I feel worthy to post right along with the rest of you.

      12. 108 - Erik Peterson says:

        Ya, well, if there’s any fascination for me it’s Bri’s moral certitude and shallow intellectualism.

        The emperor has no clothes. It’s about penises to Bri. Conservatives have penile complexes, which is why they’re racists and like guns…….

        That’s his fall back position. He doesn’t have the chops.

      13. Let me just interject a note from the management to thank Erik for revealing his secret identity; I think the quality of our discussion is much improved when people sign their names to what they write. We don’t require it, of course, and there are reasons on occasion why you might not, but as a general rule, more transparency is better.

        – Austin

      14. 108 - Erik Peterson says:


        You deleted your own post that revealed yourself in an unflattering light, then deleted some of mine to cover your tracks.

        I’ll leave..

      15. See? See how the quality of discussion improved when everyone uses their names?


        Everybody take a big drink of their sippy cups and count to ten. In Farsi.

        – Austin

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    In the last year especially, it does feels like the violent talk has been much more on the Repbulican side. It hasn’t always felt like that to me — lots of violent rhetoric from the left in the past, as folks have pointed out here. But lately, it feels like Republicans have been especially been using violent framing. Potential reasons:

    1) The whole “Tea Party” issue constuct that was so popular on the right in the recent election season very naturally causes things to be framed up in “revolutionary” terms, which natually leads to more violent wartime metaphors and language.

    2) Firing up the base for the right means firing up the gun folks, and that very unique pandering need particularly makes gun/shooting/targeting metaphors more tempting for right wing communicators than it is for left wing communicators.

    3) Firing up the base for the right means firing up the anti-abortion folks, and that unique pandering need particularly makes “Killing/killer/save babies” language and rhetoric more tempting to right wing communicators than it is left wing communicators.

    4) Firing up the base for the right meant tarnishing congressional Democrats’ highest profile accomplisment, health reform, and that issue also very naturally leads to blood drenched language (e.g. “Death Panels,” “unplug Grandma”).

    Finally, the right has much more effective message delivery channels than the left these days (i.e. data shows much higher audiences for right wing radio and TV programming than their left wing counterparts), and so when viloent stuff is said by the right it is louder and more repetitive in the public square.

    It does feel like the talk has been louder and more violent sounding from the right in recent times, and those might be some environmental reasons why. Their “fire up the base” issues — revolution, guns, babykilling, and Grandmas saving — naturally take them in that violent rhetorical direction, and they are just much better equipped communicators at this point in history.

    1. True enough, Joe. What I’m saying is that if the likes of MPR and the daily papers really want to “lead” a productive discussion of the whos any whys of ‘violent vitriol” they have to name names and HAVE THAT DEBATE. Moreover, we really are talking rhetoric soaked in violence, gun violence, blood, etc. Garden variety snarkiness, name-calling and accusations of dishonesty are a qualitatively different thing.

  6. Minnesotan says:

    This whole argument over conservative vs. liberal rhetoric really has me scratching my head.

    From what little has been documented about this guy he wasn’t a some right-wing lunatic, nor was he a left-wing lunatic.

    He didn’t seem to hate liberals or conservatives, just the government in general. It didn’t appear that he targeted Rep. Giffords for any other reason than proximity and that she served his district.

    Why are we trying to say this is the right or the left’s fault when most likely he mistrusted both?

    1. The specific issue, before this goes completely off the rails, is: WHO TODAY, RIGHT NOW, IS MANUFACTURING/SPEWING/SELLING/ violent rhetoric and imagery? Try wrestling with just that.

      1. Minnesotan says:

        Look, I’m not here trying to defend Palin’s bullseyes or some of the Tea Party rhetoric during the elections. But both sides have their PHd in Rhetoric.

        The very point of the national discussion taking place right now is we need to turn down the dial on the rhetoric. Both parties need to look within right now, not point the finger at the other side.

        It would be nice if something positive came of this. Some of us might even be silly enough to hope it ushers a return to civility in politics – and your post seems nothing more than one infant saying, “but he started it” when they’re both caught fighting.

      2. PM says:


        I would tend to agree with your point that most of the violent rhetoric today (and in the recent past) has come from the right.

        What i am not (yet) prepared to agree with is any assertion that violent rhetoric played an important role in this killing.

        At the moment, I think that we have to assume that the 2 things are unconnected.

        I do not like the violent rhetoric, and i think that it would be a very good thing for it to be toned down considerably.

        I also think that it is generally the party that percieves itself to be in opposition (not in power) that tends to head towards more violent rhetoric (hence, while republicans are tending more towards violent rhetoric now, democrats did a lot more of this (than they are currently doing) when BushII was in office)

      3. PM: Again, what I’m most interested in here is who is responsible — as in “accountable” — for the preponderance of violence-suggestive rhetoric. I simply don’t believe the even-handed complaint that “we all need to tone things down” is specific enough to lead to anything more than the same discussions we have every time one of these things happens.

  7. MINNESOTAN: … which makes your position, “both sides are doing it”.

    OF COURSE I’m saying “dial it down”. But if you want that to be more productive than hand-wringing, you have to press charges against the worst offenders. And right now it isn’t even close in terms of who is ratcheting up the invective.

    1. Mike Thomas says:

      Can you name and cite some examples of talk radio hosts and or Fox news anchors or personalities that have advocated violence?
      And let’s say that hypothetically that is true, if a detective were to find a suspect’s ipod during some violent urban crime investigation and it contained hip hop/rap/top 40 music, you would then deduct that the messages from the songs and lyrics drove the person to commit crime?

      1. “Advocating violence” is juuust a bit different than employing violent imagery and CONSTANTLY suggesting that the opposition is un-American, un patriotic and set on the destruction of basic morality. Feel free to do your own homework on how often the new conservative mythologists resort to that tactic.

      2. To my surprise, Glenn Beck said “I’m thinking of killing Michael Moore. Is that wrong?”

        Hyperbole is part of literature and conversation — Mark Twain wrote about how someone would be improved by a little killing. But that was in the truly Wild West.

        As someone who can still feel the visceral shocks of 1963 and 1968, I’ve always recoiled at “killing” and “shooting” language from any side or point of view. Just don’t need it.

    2. Mike Thomas says:


      In all due respect you are making statements that mainstream talk radio and Fox News is..ok using “violent imagery” and suggesting that the opposition is Un-American. Alright, wouldn’t it be fair to back those statements up with some citations and proof? And not the Sarah Palin connection that has been used. You made the sweeping remarks, looking for your homework to back them up. I can provide a list of citations of Ed Schultz yelling at callers, his famous August meltdown where he threatened to blow up NBC, and of course the kind soft gentle liberal language of double voting to keep bastards out of office. Olbermann – too easy, worst person doesn’t exactly aid to our political discourse does it? Or does it depend on what team’s stripe one wears?

      1. Early on this thread Jim posted a handy chronology of recent outbreaks of anti-government violence and (some of) the rhetoric that preceded it … from those who you seem to regard as blameless, or certainly no worse than Keith Olbermann’s “Worst People” list.

      2. Mike Thomas says:

        I am not blaming anyone – I don’t really think that TV commentators and clowns weather they are Beck or Olbermann really make people react much more than they do to a football game on TV. Didn’t read Leinfelder’s post to the cherry picked liberal blog until now, and yes there is some rhetoric out there, but I don’t believe it is causing any more acts of violence than Olbermann caused the masked anarchists at the RNC in 2008.

  8. My cats have the brains of…cats. One of them is so screwed up we actually force half a tab of Prozac down its throat each evening (long story).

    And yet they are smart enough – along with the dog – to know when the mood in our house is tense or angry. Their ears go back, their fur puffs up and they watch the proceedings from under a piece of furniture. Woe unto you if you try to pet them at this time.

    From the little bit we know of Mr. Loughner, it’s hard to believe he has a coherent world view let alone a political philosophy that can be neatly pegged to the misleadingly simplistic, two-dimensional “right-left” spectrum we persist in using. Even so, I cannot imagine he was so divorced from the temper of the times that he didn’t feel the energy of anger that is coursing through our society these days. I’m confident that, like my pets, he could sense the mood in our national “house.”

    I also can’t imagine that some of our national anger – inchoate, unfocused, uncontrolled in the mind of Mr. Loughner – didn’t power him on Saturday. What might energize someone else to curse, to shake their head in disagreement, to attend a rally, boo a motorcade as it went past, in Mr. Loughner’s diseased mind helped fuel a different action.

    Everyone who has helped raise the level of vitriol and anger in our national debate is responsible for a share of this butcher’s bill. “Left” or “right”. I get a share for what I’ve said about President Bush, Sarah Palin and others. I’ll leave it to you to calculate your share of the bill but I’m betting most of us owe something to this check and to the next one..and the next…and the next.

    But, let’s not pretend that the check ought to be split evenly.

    In the two-plus years since Mr. Obama has been either the president or the leading Democratic candidate, the leading professional purveyors – not the only, but the leading lights – of anger, fear and the demonizing of political opponents have come from those associated with various conservative beliefs. “Leading” in most numerous, best compensated, most effective. Let’s call them “emotion-mongers.”

    When Mr. Bush was in office, the emotion-mongers mostly associated with liberal beliefs were more successful than they are now. I will note, however, that conservative emotion-mongers as a class are generally more numerous, successful and effective than liberal ones regardless of the political persuasion of the party in power.

    – Austin

    1. True enough. But again, a few batshit liberals comparing W to Hitler or Dick Cheney to Voldemort is a different thing than all this guns, and targets, and blood stuff exploited with what I think of as astonishing regularity across the national broadcast and cable spectrum. Even the hippies of old railing against LBJ and Dick Nixon came up a little short on selling/marketing via the mass media their “in the gunsights” imagery.

      Also worth examining is all the truly reckless (and violence-laden) anti-immigration talk. The beheaded ranchers … etc. It is thick in the air down there, and it wasn’t coming from moderate Democrats like the wounded congresswoman.

      1. Mike Thomas says:

        Can you cite some examples of “anti immigration” talk, or is your definition of anti immigration, not wanting to support amnesty for illegal intruders in this country? As a cynical approach to try to gain votes, the liberals seem to want to blur the well deserved outrage over illegal immigration with immigration.

      2. Mike Thomas says:

        Would love some examples of the “astonishing regularly across the national broadcast and cable spectrum”…

        The mainstream batshit liberals such as Olbermann and Schultz, the former who claims that any right of himself person of ideology is the “worst person in the world”, and the latter who advocated voting illegally to stop Scott Brown, and then blowing up the NBC headquarters in New York….seem to have a tough time dialing down their flaming rhetoric.

      3. Perhaps you’ve heard of Arizona’s new immigration policy. It was in all trhew papers. Along with comments by every Republican up for election –including John McCain, fighting off J. D. Hayworth and the Tea Party, that immigrants (the guys picking strawberries in California) were slaughtering ranchers, etc. and turning Arizona into a charnel house.

        As for the “astonishing … ” see above. And really, yopu’re taking “The Worst Person in the World” bit … literally? If the new conservative elite confined themselves to calling anyone who disagreed with them “batshit” I’d be fine with that. It’s the “getting armed and dangerous” and the “Second Amendment remedies” and taking what frankly strikes me as psychotic pride in toting guns to political rallies that makes their crazy shtick … well, truly crazy.

      4. Mike Thomas says:


        The issue is not immigration, it is ILLEGAL immigration. The people of Arizona apparently have no issue with immigration violence? Liberals in Minneapolis have all the answers while the state of Arizona is desperately trying to solve problems the Federal Government is too politically correct not to do. Again, name a Republican politician who is attacking IMMIGRANTS without the world “Illegal” in front of it.
        Is this Mexican border violence issue just a made up event? Those crossing and entering this country illegally, we should continue to allow this right? No fence, no border control, and no repercussion for those who enter here illegally?

      5. Actually Mike, this issue there, as with so many other new conservative positions, is the hysterical demonizing of all immigrants — of color. The ILLEGAL assertion is a very cynical cover. Not as cynical as persistent claims that these ILLEGALS are invariably violent (the better to gin up votes from the new Republican base), but extraordinarily cynical.

        Now really, I’m trying to enjoy the football game.

      6. Mike Thomas says:

        The beauty of the internet is you really can ignore it if there is a big game on….but anyways…So there is no illegal immigration issue in this country? It’s just a made up problem by conservatives because they don’t like non-whites?

      7. Mike Thomas says:

        I do take some exception to the remark about conservatives having issues with non whites. I would challenge the majority of white liberals on this blog and board as to the level of non whites in their environment, neighborhood, close network of friends, and work life as to my experience. As a right of center, educated, professional adult, lived in larger metro areas than Minneapolis, traveled internationally (and not just to the touristy college abroad towns) voted on the Republican ticket, and is concerned with the illegal immigrant issue in this country, I can confidently say that my opinions have nothing to do with the shade of their skin. I have the “street cred” to back that up.

      8. If conservatives are serious about immigration reform … they’d propose serious legislation … rather than ranting about building fences and arming themselves against waves of Latino invaders. Oddly W. was more serious about this than any of your current legislative heroes. Again, they’re mainly gaming the rubes for money and votes.

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:

      I don’t know who discovered water, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a fish. Bertram, Newt, etc. are swimming in this stuff day in and day out. You can’t expect them to notice it, I guess.

    3. PM says:

      I don’t know, Jon.

      One of the traits of many people who are mentally ill is that they are incapable of recognizing what you (or I) would say was “in the air”. For example, many believe that autistic people have trouble reading human emotions.

      your argument is that this guy was exquisitely sensitive to those emotions, particularly the emotion of anger and rage.

      Certainly that is within the realm of the possible–but I certainly see no evidence for it as yet, and i do not think that it fits well with what we generally recognize as mental illness. I don’t find it convincing (at this point in time).

      1. PM says:

        (don’t want to leave the impression that people who suffer from autism are mentally ill, or that this guy suffered from autism. but this guy had problems with fitting into society, and clearly did lots of inapprpriate things, which were apparently freaking his friends out–all of which suggests to me that he was not hypersensitive to emotions and emotion laden rhetoric)

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        The more I hear, the more I think you’re right PM, Kennedy and others — this particular guy probably wasn’t inspired by Beck, Hayworth, Palin and the gang. I heard on the news that he was obsessed with her because he had once asked her a bizarre question, and she didn’t respond. If the personal slight was really his primary beef, it was much more personal than political.

        As I said earlier, there are lots of good reasons to tone down the violent political rhetoric. But increasingly it is looking like preventing these particular murders is probably not one of those reasons.

  9. bertram jr says:

    A nut job shot some poor innocent people. A nut job that someone should have intervened on long ago.

    The sheriff of Pima County needs to explain why the paid (government) security wasn’t sufficient to neutralize this threat.

    Me, I like constitutional carry (like they have in AZ) more every day.

    There are nut jobs everywhere. Even in open carry states like AZ.

    Which makes the sob sister red herring mewling about 30 round magazines all the more soporific.

    Only the mentally ill liberal would attempt to politicize a tragic event like this, perpetrated by a nut job, by blaming an inert piece of metal.

  10. 108 says:

    You’re not the only one doing this….

    The prevailing point is that the guy is a whackjob. He’s Czolgosz, Oswald, Fromme, Hinckley.
    You can’t acknowledge that yes the guy is a whackjob and was motivated by being a whackjob, and then assert the correlation to vitriolic rhetoric that, damnit, we need to do something about. Write a statute, whatever.

    I think it would be very timely right now if you could explain to us how Oswald was a college Republican with Lee Atwater, or whatever it is that you’ve come to accept through qualitative thinking.

  11. john sherman says:

    There are a couple of unanswerable questions: (1) If the guy had spent his time watching reruns of Sesame Street rather than checking out the fringe right wing websites where he picked up the nonsense about government mind and grammar control, would he have stayed home and played with his Tickle-me Elmo doll, rather than going out and killing people? (2) If the answer to #1 is, as I suspect, no, then did the political atmosphere direct him towards shooting up a member of congress rather than, for example, a college classroom? I suspect the answer is yes.

    One of the problems with demonizing the government is that it turns government employees into evil beings whom it is virtuous to kill. A Glenn Beck fan killed some cops in CA because they frustrated his intention to shoot up the ACLU and an environmental organization; cops in Philadelphia were killed by a guy who feared that Obama was going to take away his guns. And it’s not just cops; for example, the tax protester who protested by flying a plane into the IRS office. There’s a steady drum beat of park rangers, BLM employees etc. being menaced or attacked because they are from the government. Then there’s Tim McVeigh, the small government conservative and gun fan, who up until 9/11 held the domestic terrorism record.

    Though I’m afraid the gun horse is too far out of the barn for control to have much chance of being really effective, still there are some things that could be done like forbidding extended magazines. Actually, I think Glocks should only be available to police or people with comparable training. It ought to be possible to crack down on straw buyers particularly near the Mexican border to, among other things, stop the flow off weaponry to drug gangs. About a month ago I noticed in a Mills Fleet Farm flyer in the Sunday paper, an ad for a 6.something mm rifle with a banana clip and a bayonet; if that’s a sporting gun, what the hell is the sport?

    1. 108 - Erik Peterson says:

      They’re relic surplus, and have zero street ulitity. Theyve been coming into the country for oh 65 years now. But by all means, spend some time contemplating a legislative remedy for them.

    2. I think you can tell by the vehemence with which the “opposition” is reacting here that even they recognize the culpability of their standard message-bearers. What’s always telling and disappointing is that you’ll almost never hear any of them condemn Beck/Palin/Bachmann/name your loon of choice for incendiary speech. Even something as grave as a mass killing can’t shake them out of their uncritical kinship with reckless partisans. What’s really curious is why they feel so strong an association. Criticism of Glenn Beck is criticism of them?

  12. mike kennedy says:

    At least there are honest liberals on this blog like Benidt, PM and Loveland who admit that similar hate rhetoric was used against Bush, Cheny and other conservatives in the past.

    While I don’t always agree with you, debating with you is always civil, fair and even handed (for the most part — at least when we are sober).

    May we always have vigorous, passionate and constructive debates and may we always refrain from drinking too much of the Kool Aid.

  13. Judging from my e-mail after my story tonight, people on the right are really desperate to hear: but the left does it too! Which I don’t understand.

    You’re either arguing that: 1) this speech is bad, destructive, dangerous – and they’re as bad as us. OR 2) This speech is no big deal, but hey – those guys do it too!

    It confuses me.

    1. As this thread expanded and the flame wars ratcheted up, I wondered more and more what it is that compels otherwise polite people to defend Glenn Beck, to use one example. It seems to me there is a question whether liberals have engaged in SIMILAR, VIOLENT RHETORIC. As I’ve said, some have. But currently, we have an entire media business plan built around fanning hysteria and outrage against the proper, ordinary function of government. And that business plan is ardently conservative-supporting. That’s a fact. There isn’t much debate on that point. Its kind of a closed case. The “natural” thing to do would be to disassociate yourself from ranting yahoos.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        As one who has never watched nor read Mr. Beck, could you tell me what has been violent or hateful?

        I like facts and evidence. I have seen Bill O on Fox and can’t recall seeing any hate or call to violence. Palin, other than a target of some sort, which is used routinely in campaigns (itself a reference to war and a target or targets was used by the DLC), I’m not sure I’ve seen a call to violence or hate.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        One of the rules of debating, Brian, is to do your own homework when trying to make a persuasive argument, otherwise known as proving your point.

        Exepecting me to believe what you say without backing it up is lazy debating, at best.

        1. Mike: I’m just not interested in playing the game of educating you on what is easily available to anyone with a genuine curiosity in the debate at hand. Your shtick is to dismiss anything you don’t care to be confronted with and demand the author produce different material. Ain’t got the time or interest.

  14. mike kennedy says:

    What confuses me is how the media suddenly woke up that there are nasty things said about certain politicians or a particular party. Well, hello.

    As I said, it comes as no surprise that many have tried to turn this tragedy into a political opportunity.

    I also get a chuckle out of the line “well look how defensive conservatives are about this.” Simply responding to set the record straight is now considered being defensive. Gotta love it.

    1. What they’re “waking up to”, Mike is that the “nasty” talk may have contributed to the murder of six people. At least there seems to be an implicit “flash consensus” in terms of the tone and direction of the coverage.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        The only consensus is the liberal media that you read. I think most reasonable people are sickened by naked political opportunism the far left is attempting.

        Krugman and his ilk have made assertions with nothing in fact to back them up.

        And, as I have indicated before, there is zero evidence any speech has contributed to any violence. Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

      2. PM says:


        I disagree. I think that there is a consensus building here that it it time to tone down the rhetoric.

        I do not think that that involves specific blame–but i do think that people are getting tired of the rhetorical excesses in our political speech.

        I think that, in political terms, this is good news for a Pawlenty, and bad news for a Bachmann or Palin.

        Again, i do not think that there is explicit blame here, but call it guilt by association.

        Hell, even Roger Ailes (http://globalgrind.com/channel/news/content/1900155/roger-ailes-amp-russell-simmons-both-sides-are-wron/
        says he has told his network to tone it down (while also insisting on a “false equivalence”. But he isn’t waiting for the other side to accept any responsibility or even to say that they will also tone it down. He recognizes the reality of the political situation–which is that this event and its context looks bad for the right. Fair or not, that is the political reality. (if some nutter took a shot at Sarah Palin, maybe it would be different)

  15. PM says:


    I thought that this piece was one of the best at pointing out the dangers of the rhetoric of the right–and I agree that the attempt to de-legitimize government is dangerous. And it is also good in that it includes the important role of guns in that de-legitimation. Still, I am not certain that it can be connected so directly with this particular tragedy.


    1. Mike Kennedy says:


      Here we go again, a Slate journalist already tagging someone a schizophrenic before the guy has even been examined. Then he tries to tie in Libertarian reading to right wing?

      Now, let me get this straight. Liberals are concerned about “junk science”? Hmmm.

      I think journalists ought to take a break and examine what they write based on known facts and stop speculating to further a political agenda.

      I’m afraid the train left the station on questioning the role of government’s size and function in today’s political discourse.

      This in other ages, was known as debate.

      1. john sherman says:

        I hate to break it to you, but Rand Paul did the diagnosis, and Fox news [sic] incorrectly linked him to American Renaissance.

    2. Mike Kennedy says:


      Tone down the rhetoric, yes, that we can all agree on.

      However, we can disagree and debate all day long and should. The problem is when one side starts personally attacking the other — not the ideas, the people.

      The problem also exists when normal opposition to policies is interpreted or branded as racist or hateful because someone doesn’t like that opposition. That is just a tool for trying to shut down debate.

      We have been arguing about the role of government for a few centuries. That is going to continue and there is unlikely to be agreement.

      Despite the lack of any evidence of speech playing a role in the recent tragedy, I think basic civility in debating is definitely needed and can only benefit society in general.

    3. PM: Good piece. It continues to beg the question of proportionality. as in, where is the most and worst of this stuff coming from today. The “debate” over “violent liberal rhetoric”, espoused by the occasional blog commenter or showboating cable host, is without serious merit. Sadly, this “vitriolic” environment is a major, big time. bona fide money maker and influence-builder for today’s conservatives. They are really the only ones who can apply discipline to their message, and as we read here, they don’t see any reason to do that.

  16. Joe Loveland says:

    To Brian’s original question about whether there is an unusually extreme tone on the right these days, here are some excerpts from the April 2009 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fuels Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

    The current economic and political climate has some similarities to the 1990s when rightwing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers.

    DHS/I&A assesses that a number of economic and political factors are driving a resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity. Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization…

    Rightwing extremists are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool. Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. From the 2008 election timeframe to the present, rightwing extremists have capitalized on related racial and political prejudices in expanded propaganda campaigns, thereby reaching out to a wider audience of potential sympathizers

    Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty.

    1. As I said to Sherman, the extremes in this context are pretty extreme and nutty. Yet people who I’d think of as normal, every day Republicans/conservatives seem duty bound to defend them, as if they were moral brethren.

      1. Mike Thomas says:

        I can only speak for myself, but it is not so much that I am defending right wing pundits, it’s that I am pointing out that there is plenty of house cleaning in your own camp to look into before attempting to blame a national tragedy on one of the few mediums not dominated by the liberal media class. I don’t listen to Glen Beck, I don’t purchase his books, never read an op-ed by Sarah Palin, and don’t see myself casting a vote for her….Their country bumpkin act isn’t exactly something I am missing in life.
        How often have you been critical of your heroes on MSNBC or other liberal politicians?

    2. Joe: As regards the DHS report … I couldn’t have said it better. There is simply no credible comparison between the two “fringes” in terms of what is going on. The usual partisans will dismiss it as some kind of “Democrat report”, which only goes to show how committed they are to avoiding any level of introspection on what is a very serious matter.

  17. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, interesting post. However, the DHS seemed to have left out significant examples of facts. Perhaps they are there but you left them out of the excerpts. I’ll check out the report further.

    Being opposed to illegal immigration does not say a thing about racial prejudices, nor does speaking about fears that the U.S. faces economic decline or even collapse.

    There are people of no particular stripe who believe we are in a downward economic spiral. I couldn’t disagree more. However, it is human nature — the part of our brain hard wired to look for danger and fear risk.

    It is not at all racial or radical to disagree with a president, regardless of his skin color. Vehement and passionate opposition to Mr. Obama’s policies are as American as apple pie.

    Again, I hope I can find evidence in the report of the DHS assertions, but I can quite well remember in the 1980s, the world coming to an end because of President Reagan.

    People were going to starve in the streets, nuclear bombs would end the world etc. etc. etc.

    I’m always cautious when I hear we are entering a new era or reached a new level or whatever the case may be. Uh, nope.

      1. But Mike: Here, for what good it’ll do is this:

        The person who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), a federal judge and 18 other people Saturday may or may not have had a coherent political philosophy or a rational motive. But his actions still come after a campaign season rife with gun imagery and borderline violent rhetoric.

        There is, of course, Sarah Palin’s map in which targeted districts were marked by crosshairs (spun as “surveyor’s symbols” by Palin aides), but there was much, much more over the 2010 campaign:

        Target Practice
        Robert Lowry, a Republican challenger to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL), stopped by a local Republican event in October. The event was at a gun range, and Lowry shot at a human-shaped target that had Wasserman Schulz’s initials written next to it. He later said it was a “mistake.”

        Wasserman Schulz, who defeated Lowry, remembered that incident on Hardball Monday evening.

        “Those kinds of actions, words and statements can lead people who are unbalanced to potentially engage and carry out that violence,” she said. “It’s out of line and we’ve got to dial it back.”

        Machine Gun Social
        Dean Allen, a conservative candidate for state office in South Carolina threw a “machine gun social” in September, drawing 500 people for the chance to win a $700 AK-47 semiautomatic rifle. All attendees got to shoot 20 rounds from a machine gun of their choice. (He didn’t win.)

        Armed and Fiscally Responsible
        Pamela Gorman, a conservative in a crowded Republican primary field in Arizona’s third district, got some much-needed publicity with a web ad that showed a montage of her shooting different kinds of guns. She also blasted out press releases with titles like: “Armed and Fiscally Responsible.” She lost to Ben Quayle, who went on to win the general election and was sworn in last week.

        Quayle himself put out a dramatic primary ad that got a lot of attention, in which he spoke directly into the camera, “Barack Obama is the worst president in history. … Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.”

        Shooting With The Candidate
        Giffords’ own opponent, Republican Jesse Kelly, had a gun-themed fund-raiser in June in which supporters could come and shoot an M-16 rifle with Kelly. It was promoted thusly: Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

        Our Nation Was Founded On Violence
        Stephen Broden, a Republican challenger to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), in late October said that violent revolution is “on the table.”

        “We have a constitutional remedy here and the Framers says if that don’t work, revolution,” he said. “If the government is not producing the results or has become destructive to the ends of our liberties, we have a right to get rid of that government and to get rid of it by any means necessary.”

        “Our nation was founded on violence,” Broden said. He lost the race.

        Take No Prisoners
        Dale Peterson, Republican candidate for agricultural commissioner of Alabama, ran an ad in May which he posed with a rifle and declared, “I’ll name names and take no prisoners.” He lost the primary.

        Gather Your Armies
        A month later, Rick Barber (R-AL) drew attention to his Congressional campaign with a TV ad in which he and “the Founding Fathers” discussed the current tax code. At the end of the ad, in which the cameras zoom in on colonial-era pistols several times, one of the Founders says, “Gather your armies.” He also lost his primary.

        Cleaning My Guns
        About a year ago, Richard Behney, a tea partier from Indiana running for former Sen. Evan Bayh’s seat, told a group of Second Amendment activists that they didn’t have to resort to armed insurrection — “yet.”

        “We can get new faces in. Whether it’s my face or not, I pray to God that I see new faces. And if we don’t see new faces, I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too. But I know none of us want to go that far yet, and we can do it with our vote,” he said.

        Second Amendment Remedies
        Erstwhile Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) found herself in June defending comments she had made six months earlier about the Second Amendment.

        “People are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out,” she said.

        “I was speaking broadly,” she said later, noting that she had since changed her phrasing to “defeat Harry Reid.”

        Armed And Dangerous
        This example is a little older, but it’s notable that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is one of the few to win her race after repeated references to guns and violence.

        In March 2009, she said on a radio show: “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”

        A month later, she explained what she meant: “I want my people in Minnesota to be the most educated people. I want them to be armed with knowledge, so they can be dangerous to the policies of the left.”

        We Hunt Democrats
        Another one from 2009: Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) told Politico that he hunts Democrats. Asked about the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, he said, “We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition.”

        Ballots & Bullets
        New Rep. Allen West (R-FL) almost hired a Florida talk-radio host, Joyce Kaufman, as his chief of staff. But Kaufman withdrew after media coverage of some of her more fiery statements, such as:

        “I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave a Second Amendment,” she told a tea party crowd last summer. “And if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”

        Dead Aim
        And let’s not forget the Democrats. When Joe Manchin was running for senator from West Virginia back in October, he released an ad in which he shoots the climate change bill with a rifle.

        “I’ll take dead aim at the cap-and-trade bill, because it’s bad for West Virginia,” he said. Manchin won and was sworn in last week. In the wake of the Giffords shooting, he released a statement defending the ad.

        “I have never targeted an individual, and I never would,” he said. “The act of a deranged madman who commits a horrific act should not and cannot be confused with a metaphor about a piece of legislation.”

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        Now reporting back.

        Read the whole report, long on qualifiers such as could, might, may, seem etc. — short on specifics.

        Where there were specifics, it was to para military groups who oppose government, minorities, corporations and overseas jobs — hardly positions of conservatives.

        Maybe conservatives should link every eco terrorist act and WTO violent demonstration to liberals.

        Herein lies the danger of demogogeury, as practiced by the left.

        Let’s just lump everyone who has guns in with the conservatives in order to paint them as crazies.

        As I recall, conservatives support legal immigration (The WSJ being more a proponent of flat out ammnesty for illegals), free trade with other countries and welcome lower paid, lower skilled jobs departing for other countries (a sign of a more advanced economy).

        In addition, most conservatives support lower taxes or, even more fair, a flat tax.

        But feel free to distort the positons of most conservatives for your own cheap political ambitions. Fortunately, most American see through this ploy.

        By the way, I’m waiting for an enlightened, peaceful and reasonable liberal to respond to the hate photos I put up of George Bush, which curiously no once has denounced or commented on.

        But, carry on.

      3. This just in from Kevin Drum:

        Quote of the Day: No, Both Sides Aren’t Equally Guilty

        — By Kevin Drum
        | Tue Jan. 11, 2011 9:21 AM PST

        From George Packer, who notes (correctly) that he called out the left for its ugly rhetoric in the runup to the Iraq War, on where today’s ugly rhetoric mostly comes from:

        In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

        This is too obviously true to need much defense. I don’t really blame conservatives for being upset at liberals trying pin the blame for the Giffords shooting on them, but the furious defensiveness of their counterattack says all that needs to be said about how uncomfortable they are with their own recent history. The big difference between right and left, as I and others have noted repeatedly, isn’t just in the amount of violent rhetoric, but its source. On the liberal side, it only occasionally comes from movement leaders. On the right, it regularly does. It comes from opinion leaders, political leaders, and media leaders, and the more heated they get, the more popular they get. As David Corn says, “Republicans have institutionalized their side’s craziness.” This is the big difference between the two sides, and the right could really stand to engage in a wee bit of soul searching over this.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      My intended tone here is discouraged rather than snarky:

      When the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is said to lack credibility on the issue of violence and radical threats…when one of the world’s most accomplished financiers is said to have no credibility when it comes to the financial implications of tax policy…when scientific consensus on global warming is said to be lacking when no scientific body of national or international standing has dissented that global warming is happening and most of the increase is generated by human activity…when the widely respected non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is breezily dismissed on budget projections (re: tax cuts, health reform, etc.)…I sometimes wonder if we can ever realistically hope to find much common ground and collectively govern sanely.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:


        Check out the book I referenced. I think it addresses your concerns. The source of the information is not the defining issue. It’s the evidence, the methodology and the statistical validity that counts.

  18. Newt says:

    If someone has DIRECT KNOWLEDGE of Jared Loughner’s exposure to SPECIFIC MESSAGES that prompted his actions, let him/her come forth.

    Otherwise shut your pie hole.

  19. john sherman says:

    Anybody who wants examples of violent gun oriented campaign material can go over to talking points memo and get a list: 12 Republicans, 1 Democrat, so I guess both sides do it–sort of. The good news is that most of the candidates lost.

    A point Brian originally brought up, but which then got lost is the fund raising angle. It’s easier to raise funds if you’re soliciting money to stave off the apocalypse. Imagine two fund raising letters: (1) “In any European democracy both I and my opponent would be considered center rightists, but I would be slightly further to the right. You’ll probably agree with me 51% of the time, while you’ll only agree with my opponent 49% of the time. Could you please contribute a little bit?” (2)”My opponent is a marxist-socialist-communist-fascist-nazi-monarchist-anarchist who is out to destroy the world. If he is elected he’ll tax you to death to give luxury cars made in Korea to illegal drug dealing immigrants; giant cyborgs will pillage your neighborhood and sodomize your pets. To save the world I need your money.” What’s going to move the chumps to Paypal?

    Much the same is true of the media; Robert Reich has a story about being on a gasbag show and being told by the director during a break that he had to appear angrier. The director claimed that only anger would grab channel surfers. I have a terrible fear that NPR has pretty much used up the quotient of people in the country who want long form journalism on a variety of subjects and relying on people who actual know what they’re talking about delivered unhysterically by reporters with some expertise.

    1. Let me go out on a limb here and say that if whipping up anti-government anger, peppering jeremiads with metaphors about armed insurrection and legitimizing militia-like resistance to routine government authority wasn’t a money maker for the likes of Fox, most of talk radio … and the Republican party, they’d drop it today. Anger provokes an “influence building” response from a certain slice of the population. When you legitimize anger with associations to the Constitution and the Bible, their is neither crime or sin to resistance.

  20. Mike Kennedy says:

    Those who are interested in serious debate about what might or might not be able to be proven statistically with any certainty would be well advised to pick up the book:

    “Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers From The Media, Politicians And Activists,” written by Joel Best, professor and chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland.

    His follow up book several years ago is “More Damned Lies and Statistics.”

    It is a well researched book on how much work is really involved in defining a social problem and then counting statsitically to validate the problem.

    Among those misdiagnosed:

    Child abuse cases

    Numbers of homeless

    Crime statistics

    Hate Crimes


    AIDS, as well as a number of others.

    As he writes:

    The media wants to report facts but numbers of individual incidents often look like facts so they tend to report those instead. As Scott Adams, the Dilbert creator said:

    “Reporters are faced with the daily choice of painstakingly researching stories or writing whatever people tell them. Both pay the same.”

    We all sometimes think we have the facts when we have nothing more than anecdotal information at best.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Darn it all, I was just preparing to quote my Guy Who Wrote A Book, Joel Better, to counter All Statistics I Disagree With.

      But then you had to trump me with Joel Best! How can I possibly top Best? That guy is smarter than EVERYONE.

  21. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, I guess junk science only matters to liberals when it suits them.

    Trying to take statisically valid methods of defining problems and applying them is of no consequence.

    Par for the course. BTW, Best is not “my guy.” Citing academics, who liberals used to prize, now doesn’t count if it doesn’t fit their world view.

    Go figure.

  22. Danny Bredahl says:

    First of all, I find blaming the rhetoric of the talking heads for the AZ shooting a bridge too far. I can’t blame Back and Limbaugh anymore than I can blame actions movies and video games. You can’t draw a general conclusion off the act of one person who may or may not be mentally ill.

    However, you can address the question as to whether or not hateful, populist speech was injected into the American discourse in 2009. And nobody did it better than Christopher Hitchens in a Vanity Fair article about a month back:


    It’s kind of an eerie read considering last weekend’s events and resulting uproar. Again, I’m not blaming Republicans or Tea Party for what happened in AZ unless something comes out that changes my thinking. But I think the Hitchens article does a pretty good job of pointing out the cesspool of populist garbage that was out there this past year and the potential danger it could present to our society going forward.

      1. Goddam Wolcott is so good. He should be declared a menace to freedom and targeted for elimination.

        Love this one … “one of its frequent contributors is a ranter named Robin of Berkeley, who presents herself as psychotherapist and political leper trapped behind the enemy lines of liberalism, where conservatives have to blink at each other in Morse code for fear of being overheard and tongue-lashed by radical lesbians, and not in a good way.”

  23. Mike Kennedy says:

    Very good article by Hitchens. I can now somewhat understand why I’ve never watched, heard nor seen Glen Beck, other than what I’ve read liberals say about him.

  24. Mike Kennedy says:

    True. This group is trying to raise money, but not much different than the left using this as a naked political opportunity by trying to tie a murderer to the “right wing.”

    I think it is glaringly apparent who is using this for political gain — not necessarily monetary but in every other respect. This is the same left that couldn’t resist politicizing the Wellstone funeral.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      One overwrought friend of Wellstone “politicized” the memorial. And the right seized that moment and doubled down on it.

      1. Mike Thomas says:


        The whole memorial was a planned rally from the start. The booing, the jeering, the cheering, the cries for a unifiied electorate going to vote for the 74 year old Walter Mondale….yes it played into the right wing pundits hands pretty easily, but at the fault of the event organizers and the stations who put in on the air.
        And despite popular urban legend, the memorial did not “win” the election for Norm Coleman. The polls were tight and i would challenge someone to cite a link to a non partisan poll that had Wellstone ahead outside the margin of error.
        The Wellstone memorial, like Kennedy mentions is another example of making opportunity out of crisis.

  25. Mike Kennedy says:

    So, rhetoric is dangerous?

    “A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a state of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” — Known Right Wing Nutter President George Washington.

    “When government fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Known Right Wing Nut Thomas Jefferson

    “Today, we need a nation of minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life.” Known Right Wing Fanatic John F. Kennedy.

    “There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress.” Known Conservative Crazy Mark Twain.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      God, but this sort of cherry-picking is nauseating. Kennedy wasn’t pitting one group against another to win a primary. He wasn’t demonizing government even as he pursued a career in it. He wasn’t scapegoating the disadvantaged to placate the powerful.

      He was attempting to unify the nation and calling for individual sacrifice from ALL its citizens to face their shared challenges. He wasn’t literally inciting people to bring guns to political events to intimidate their fellow citizens and elected officials. He was using the Minutemen and their willingness to set aside their personal ambitions and fortunes for a larger effort, the creation of an independent democratic republic. Kennedy was calling for a similar effort to further that republic, not tear it down to further personal fortunes and narrow grievances.

      Stop doing this.

      “The dimensions of out problems overwhelm the imagination. At home millions are unemployed and the growth of our economy has come to a virtual halt. Abroad, we are faced with powerful and unrelenting pressure which threaten freedom in every corner of the globe, and with military power so formidable that it menaces the physical survival of our own nation.

      “To meet these problems will require the efforts not only of our leaders or of the Democratic Party–but the combined efforts of all of our people.; No one has a right to feel that, having entrusted the tasks of government to new leaders in Washington, he can continue to pursue his private comforts unconcerned with American’s challenges and dangers. For, if freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.

      “In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of American, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.

      “It is this effort and concern which makes up the New Frontier. And it is this effort and concern which will determine the success or failure not only with Administration, but of our nation itself.”

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Well, well, Jim. So it bothers you that all of a quote isn’t included from one of my examples, but it apparently doesn’t bother you that your party is trying to tie an entire party to a tragedy based on zero evidence. Go figure.

        The left’s strategy doesn’t appear to be working, though, with most Americans too smart to fall for such cynical and despicable political opportunism.


  26. Jim Leinfelder says:

    No, Mike, not using the entire speech isn’t what bothers me. It was your dishonest use of it to, as usual, like Procrustes and his bed, hack the actual intent and meaning out if it just to get it to fit neatly into your statically symmetrical worldview.

  27. Mike Kennedy says:

    But again, you don’t mind your party distorting an entire tragedy for political benefit. Correct?

    I’d say my error of omission pales in comparison, though I must confess I didn’t read the entire speech. At least I admit it. Something I don’t expect to see from anyone on the left any time soon.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Actually, I’d say they’re trying to say quit acting like such rabid, garment rending, teeth-gnashing loons. Quit ransacking our dead leaders’ speeches and writings to cynically quote them SO far out of context that their own words completely misrepresent and contradict their original intent and meaning. Quit pandering to our violent proclivities. Quit winking at the practice of toting weapons to political events to intimidate the other people attending and the political leaders speaking. Grow up!

      I think that’s what’s burbling up to the surface in the wake of what happened in Tuscon. Many of us already felt quite strongly along these very lines without something horrific like the massacre in Tuscon touching off an explosion of dudgeon. The wounded congresswoman, for example, she expressed these very sentiments BEFORE she was shot.

      All these points were entirely valid BEFORE Tuscon, and they’re valid in its wake. It’s bad for America. Stop it.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Oh, to be lectured by you, Jim. Now that is priceless.

        Fringe groups saying hateful things is only wrong when it is the far right doing it in your narrow view of the world.

        Where was your considerable mouth for eight years of calling for killing Bush and Cheney?

        Quit your artificial and fake pontificating.

        The far left is morally bankrupt and a majority of the country realizes it — with only 20 percent even wanting to associate with it.

        I considered — for a minute — taking the same position you and other far lefties do here — my ideology — right or wrong, but then realized I couldn’t live with myself. It comes easier for some than others, I guess.

        And no, you are wrong on the original intent. The Founders had a deep, abiding fear of a centralized government and the powers it could have if not monitored.

        No matter how much you may wish that to be edited out of history, it won’t be.

      2. PM says:


        i have to correct one of your points–the Founders advocated the adoption of the US constitution (Federalists) because they felt that there was a NEED for a strong central government–which the Constitution created. The Articles of Confederation were weak. They felt that the US would not survive without a strong central government.

        Yes, they did not want an all powerful government, yes, they wanted checks and balances, yes, they sought to divide government both functionally (legislative, judicial, executive) and hierarchically (localities, states, federal), but they felt that there was an absolute necessity for a strong, unifying central government, and that is what they created. Without it, there would not be a United States today, and that was their deep abiding fear–that the US would cease to exist, pulled apart by centrifugal/localized/regional forces.

        And that fear was almost realized during the Civil War.

        And the continued emphasis on states rights and the delegitimation of government by the right is an absolute perversion of the concerns of the Founders both of this country and of the concerns of the Founders of the Republican Party.

      3. Mike Kennedy says:


        You’re quite right — a majority felt a need for a strong central government……….but just strong enough; thus, the so called balance of power and the Bill of Rights, to keep the central government from trampling on the rights of the people.

        On a totally different note, perhaps we can start a new debate.

        The news came out yesterday a new James Bond movie will be back in the works. It looked like the Bond series was coming to an end. Now we have word a new movie is due out in 2012 with Daniel Craig back as 007.

        I know the purists are going to say no one does it better than Sean Connery, but I’ve come to really like Craig as the new Bond. Any votes for anyone else?

  28. Mike Kennedy says:

    That would presume that your party recognizes its Arpatian conduct in exploiting the tragedy (since you seem to be a fan of Greek mythology).

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      I don’t have any idea what Arpatian means. But I do think that people who are fixated on a direct causality between the massacre in Tuscon and the sorry state of politics in this country taking rather a narrow view of things.

      I’ve been grossed out by ring-wing rhetoric and conservative populist pandering for many years. I was disgusted with draft-evader Pat Buchanan’s “ride to the sound of the guns” crap in ’96.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Apatian is a name I came up with for a website named after Apate — the daughter of Nyx in Greek Mythology.

        She personified deceit, fraud and deception.

        I considered starting a website dedicated to the lies, distortions and half truths of the far left, but then overnight, I decided against it. There are tons of those already.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Oh, yeah, how did I miss THAT reference, a website you thought about creating but didn’t? I recommend you go with Procrustes’s Bed, it suits you much better, Mike.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      Uh, Jim. That was a joke — the website thing. Sorry it got by you………..no comment.

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll stay with the original idea (again, joke). It sounds better. It is perfectly apt for you and your party; and best of all, it involves a goddess, not some crusty old man.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      My pick for bombastic fool is Paul Krugman, who despite any lack of evidence, wants to blame a particular political view for the the violence — oh, let me guess, the right.

      As psychiatrist and columnist Dr. Krauthammer said last night, he’d be willing to provide therapy to reasonable people on the left who do this.

      “But Kruggy couldn’t afford my rates.”

      1. PM says:

        but at least YOUR bombastic fool has a a Nobel Prize!

        Nyah, nyah, nyah!!!!


      2. PM says:

        Your bombastic fool has a really good article out on the Euro, which i think is worth a read (even if you do not like his political commentary, this is the topic for which he won his Nobel, where he really is the expert).

  29. Mike Thomas says:

    No one had any comment on my above question. If the shooting in Arizona is the result or somehow connected to the angry rhetoric in this country, how do the mass shootings at Ford Hood connect?

    Was Ronald Reagan’s assasination attempt the result of the anti Reagan media?

    1. PM says:

      well, i do not agree with the premise that you pose (i do not think that the shooting is connected to the angry rhetoric), but your point above is, well, pointless. If they were connected, there would be no reason to assume that ALL shootings were connected, any more than there is ANY reason to believe that all shootings are the same. They are not. The only thing that would unite all shootings would be–they all require a gun.

      1. Mike Thomas says:

        @PM Ok, so we agree then that rhetori is not causing violent shootings. Then what is the point of discussion the last four days? Wouldn’t it make all this pointless?

      2. PM says:

        I think that the rhetoric is bad. period. full stop. it think that we would all be better off if this kind of angry rhetoric, which I think is coming more from the right than the left at this point in time (I think that it is pointless to discuss and debate “what might have beens” about the 1960’s or the 1860’s, none of which would have any impact or justification for the bad things happening now–reminds me of my kids at age 5 or 6 arguing about who is/was responsible–“well, he did it first…”).

        Frankly, things do not have to cause murders before we decide that they are bad and we should stop doing them.

        I think it is silly to try to assign blame for this attack–especially when there is so much we do not know. But that does not mean that this would not be a good time to cool down the rhetoric, regardless. that is what i would like

    2. Danny Bredahl says:

      I disagree with the premise that heated and violent rhetoric can’t be the cause of a violent act. The rhetoric didn’t have any role to play in the specific situations you point out. However, it can play a role. We have countless other examples, including the two Presidents I mentioned, where it did.

      And I still think we need to wait for all the facts to come out before drawing conclusions. Newt’s source is “a friend.” When I was 22, I wasn’t watching the news or listening to political talk radio either. Especially when I was with my friends. There was basketball to play, beer to be drank, KFAN was much more entertaining, and women who needed to have their dreams come true. I’m pretty sure most of my friends had no idea about my politics or thoughts on the potential of a Jesse Venture administration. That being said, I had also just graduated from college with a degree in political science and had friends working in DC on both sides of the aisle and could recite the talking points for both sides on almost every issue of the day.

      My point is that friends may not know everything about you. Most of mine didn’t know that I was the Como Golf Guy in the Commonwealth until I told them.

      I don’t think we’re quite at game, set, match….yet.

  30. PM says:

    OK, BL and the rest of this crowd–this one is just about played out, i think.

    time to start a new debate.

    Here are some suggestions:

    Promises kept/abandoned by the R’s in the House?
    What should we be doing about mental health?
    Should the Vikes go for a quarterback high in the draft?
    dayton’s appointments and what they say about his priorities

    other suggestions?

    1. Minnesotan says:

      There was a previous suggestion on favorite Bond actor – Connery vs. the new guy Daniel Craig? I still like Connery, but Craig is my favorite of any version since Sean.

      The Vikes should go for a QB high in the draft, provided a good one is still available.

      Palin is chastising the media, and appears to feel no adjustment to the heated political rhetoric is necessary. Blaming the media seems to be her go-to strategy. Still zero proven connection between the heated political rhetoric and this tragedy – but it’s disheartening to see she won’t tone it down – if for no other reason than our political leaders could get more done if they disagreed like adults, not toddlers.

  31. Mike Kennedy says:

    Do you really think there will be a decent QB in the draft? And what are they going to do both about that position and a place to play next year?

    QBs are in such short supply. Average ones like Cutler in Chicago and Sanchez in New York aren’t going to win it for you.

    Also, what about no NFL next year? A $9 billion per year enterprise could come to a screeching halt.

    A friend of mine who played college ball doesn’t think it will happen — the NFL is the Golden Goose of sports in the U.S. (major league baseball is second with $7 billion in revenues) and basketball is a distant third (of course we’re talking team sports. NASCAR rakes in billions, too).

  32. Newt says:

    This revelation is freakin’ hilarious.!

    Krugman, Pelosi, Matthews are munching on shit right now, as are some of the liberal plebs in this thread.

    Next issue.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      That IS great news. Must warm your acrid heart of grizzle to know it. Now you can get right back to demonizing those with whom you disagree. Palin’s not missed a beat.

  33. This thing has spiraled off so far I almost forget what I wrote. But I think you’ll see that I said no one knows — which means both we don’t if violent rhetoric DID or DIDN’T influence a demonstrably unstable personality. I also said this guy Loughner is clearly nuts, which presents a whole other bag of influences, many non-linear. But the point I keep trying to return to is the capsulized conversation about over-the-top, violence-tinged rhetoric — whether it had an effect on Loughner, or not. Where is most of it coming from RIGHT NOW. The trolls here choose to defend it, if by ignoring it and/or shifting the conversation to an “attack” on them and Free Speech. Ain’t buyin’ that.

    1. Mike Thomas says:

      There is a difference between defending radio and TV commentators and minimizing their effect on the minds of their audience. There is this idea that everyone on the right is listening to Rush Limbaugh in some sort of throw back to a Orson Wells “War of the Worlds’ hysteria. Again can only speak for myself and people I know, but most in my circle that vote the right of center line are not booking hours listening to this stuff, nor am I defending it.
      The question at hand is does most violent rhetoric come from the right? If we are talking strictly cable and talk radio, perhaps. I agree, I don’t think it is a 50/50 split if we are talking AM talk stations, however if you look into the grand context of media the effect of the “talkers” is dilluted. I believe Jon Stewart boasted that he was able to get more people at this rally than Glen Beck’s…and his audience volume is nothing compared to the AM talkers. Any conversation on rhetoric has to include the web, countless influential cable stations (MTV), network news, and Hollywood.
      I do not simpify this argument by saying the “left does it too” – I don’t think that fire breathing dragon media does any good to any political discourse. However the theory loses credibility when Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, and the true Al Franken are not mentioned in the mix of angry unproductive rhetoric. Even the left’s annoited hero continues to call out Olbermann for what he is.

    1. PM says:

      Truly, Newt, it is at times like this that you remind me of a squabbling 6 year old who feels that he wins if he gets the last word in. How much longer are you going to play the “yes i did–no you didn’t” game?

      Do you really, personally, find that sort of logic convincing?

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