Miles Grant never wastes an opportunity to exploit a tragedy

I’ve been in politics for a long time now, and it takes a lot to get my dander up.  You can call me names all day long, attack my politics, make fun of how I look, question my intelligence, and you’ll generally get little more than a chuckle from me. It takes a lot to make me mad.  Well, Miles Grant has won one of the rarest awards in Northern Virginia politics.  He can actually claim to have honestly pissed me off.

I have railed against using tragedies to push one’s political agenda for a while.  From calling out Blue Virginia and Not Larry Sabato for trying to link the West Virginia coal mine disaster to Virginia and Ken Cuccinelli, to those who continue to try and exploit the Virginia Tech tragedy to push a gun control agenda, I have long argued that it is inappropriate and wrong to take a tragic event and spin it in such a way as to gain some kind of political advantage out of it.  This isn’t something only Democrats do, and I’m equally critical of Republicans who would use 9/11, the underwear bomber or other tragedies and near tragedies to push an unrelated or semi-related agenda. It’s just wrong.

So when I saw Miles Grant – one of the most prolific of bloggers on Blue Virginia, the author of his own blog, and a communications professional with a major environmental group here in DC – making multiple tweets about the tragedy in Arizona that generally pointed fingers at Republicans and our policy positions, I called him out on it.

And he proceeded to call me a “dick,” claim I was just repeating cliches, and to “shut up” if I have “nothing important to say.”

I had something important to say, and I said it: it’s high time that Miles Grant stop trying to exploit major tragedies for political gain, like he did the Gulf Oil Spill.  It’s high time that everyone – Republican and Democrat – stop trying to exploit major tragedies for political gain.  There is no excuse for anyone turning these kinds of events into springboards for policy or political changes.  We are still just learning all of the facts about what happened in Arizona, learning about all of the victims, and mourning those we have lost and those we have almost lost.  The time for determining what should change because of this is far into the future.  Now is not that time.

Unless you’re Miles Grant, whose behavior seems to demonstrate his agreement with Rahm Emmanuel that no crisis should ever go to waste.

Here are a few of Miles’ tweets tonight:

“Remembering how @TomPerriello was targeted by Tea Party violence: http://ow.ly/3Avbx

“Much as I want to say I hope some good will come out of Giffords assassination … Gulf oil disaster changed nothing in DC.”

“Boehner’s statement seems hollow given his overheated “Hell no!” speech against #hcr vote that Giffords was vilified for.”

“Remember all those Dems who used violent gun-based rhetoric in the 2010 elections?”

“Why is it legal to make a gun that can shoot up to 18 people without pausing to reload?”

“Are we really supposed to be impressed by all these Republicans, silent in face of calls to violence, now condemning actual violence?#p2

“Regardless Loughner’s motivation, clearly our national response must be to keep guns cheaper & easier to get than mental health care.”

At that point, I’d had enough.  After unfollowing him, I called him out on what he was saying. His response:

“@DeltaXi65 Do you have something to say or are you just poking anyone upset about what happened today? Dick.”

When I told him that my point was that he was using the tragedy to push his agenda, and hadn’t expressed any condolences to the victims and their families, had barely said anything positive all day, and hadn’t even acknowledged that there were other victims, he responded with:

“That’s what I figured. You should really come up with some thoughts of your own some day.”

Pathetic.

For the record, my first of the day came around 1:45, when I heard on WTOP that Rep. Giffords had been shot: “Absolutely unbelievable what happened to Congresswoman Giffords. Our prayers go out to her family and the families of staff nembers hurt.”

I’m sick of it.  I am sick of the mindless political exploitation of tragedy by people whose concept of compassion is to use tragedy to push a political agenda.  Who cannot even bring themselves to even express sadness for what has happened and to call for sympathy and grief for the victims.  Who, when called out on their callousness, choose to resort to name calling and deflection rather than pausing and wondering if perhaps maybe they may be wrong.  I wish I could say that Grant is the only one out there who has acted this way today, but I know he hasn’t.

Honestly, after having taken the time to write this post out, I don’t think I’m angry at Miles anymore.  I more saddened by him, and sad for him.  It must be difficult to go through life with no ability to empathize with your fellow man – to only see the political opportunities you can create out of tragedy, rather than seeing the tragedy itself.  There were a lot of victims today – many, many more than the handful we know about.  I can’t help but want to see them remembered, prayed for and mourned first, letting the harder task of deciding what to do to stop this kind of thing from happening in the future remain for another day.

There is no excuse for the kind of behavior I saw from Miles Grant and others today.

  • Agreed across the board. That they get a free pass on it is ridiculous.

    So goes the mainstream media.

  • Linda

    Sadly Brian, I fear your words fall on deaf ears, on both sides of the argument. This is nothing new, as you yourself pointed out. I look at them with pity. That they can’t see past their own agenda is heartbreaking.

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  • Reid greenmun

    Gotta love how this is now the TEA Party’s fault.

    Pathetic.

  • William Bailey

    FYI: a nut with a gun killed six people… IMO: All R, D or Tea should all shut up and stop being a “dick.” This is a crime and you all are doing exactly what you blame others for doing. Stop and give it a break.

    Thank you…

  • Pointing out that violent rhetoric & easy access to weapons of mass killing breeds violence? BEYOND THE PALE! The violent rhetoric & easy access to weapons of mass killing itself? Well, that’s okay.

  • Miles, you accused me earlier of not having an original idea and that I should come up with some ideas of my own some day.

    Way to completely plagiarize Markos Moulitsas:

    “markos Markos Moulitsas –
    Pointing out that violent rhetoric breeds violence? BEYOND THE PALE! The violent rhetoric itself? Well, that’s okay.”

    Keep digging, Miles.

  • Great investigative work copying that from my twitter feed (I RTed him yesterday). Again, you have no ideas and are just here to whine like you always do. I didn’t support banning you from Blue Virginia but god is it nice not having to read stuff like this every day about how those big bad Democrats are being so mean to you.

  • Scott

    Take the tampon out Miles. This is about the victims and families that were killed and hurt now, not some opportunistic shot to scream your beliefs.

  • Who is whining? I’m just pointing out that you’re a reprehensible human being. You use other people’s words as your own, you can’t even bring yourself to express sympathy with the victims, and when you get called on it, you resort to name calling.

    It’s really sad. I would call it unprofessional, but then again, you’ve never really demonstrated any kind of maturity in your ramblings at all.

    It’s unfortunate that you’re not taking the tack that Lowell is taking on this whole tragedy. While I know he’s no fan of mine and the feeling is mutual, at the very least he’s been, on the whole, respectful and understanding of what’s happened.

    And I’m kind of surprised that you’d be so willing to support censorship, but given your immaturity, I probably shouldn’t be surprised at all.

  • Miles has the first amendment right to speak his mind. As does Brian.

    The irony here is that Rep. Giffords read that very amendment on Thursday – the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to redress grievances with their government.

    This blatant attack on our common rights of the people is because of a deluded and sick man; not because of our existing laws. And, we cannot run the risk of continuing to slip towards less freedom because of the insanity of others to exploit that freedom.

    Calling Miles out because of his political opportunism was right for Brian to do. For far too long the politics following a tragedy has been to allow that sort of opportunism to go unchecked immediately…and by the time someone speaks up, it’s too late.

    Kudos Brian.

  • Steve T.

    We all must pray for Rep. Giffords and the 18 other victims of this senseless attack.

    It is inhuman that anyone could try to gain soome political advantage or engage on some partisan attack over this. This wacko liked the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kempf alike; he clearly had no coherent political philosophy.

    This is one of those test markers that tell you if you are just too much of a tunnel-vision partisan. How about we all just be human and pray for the victims and their families.

    Come on guys, we’re Americans. We’re better than this.

  • @ Brian- Agree. And it gets worse:
    http://biggovernment.com/wthuston/2011/01/09/unbelievable-democrat-group-using-giffords-shooting-for-fundraiser/

    I don’t recall the GOP ever doing something so outrageous.

  • aznew

    @Karen M. Hurd — did you click through? That is not a fundraising appeal. It is a letter asking readers to share thoughts. If nothing else, you would think people would know that when it comes to Brietbart, you need to verify.

    Yes, there are fund-raising buttons to the right of the letter, but even a cursory look at the website would have revealed that those buttons are on every single one of the website’s pages (there is a technical term for it, but I don;t know what it is when there are common elements to every page on a website).

    IMHO, it is a little unseemly, but maybe it is not a simple matter for them to pull the buttons off the page — I don;t really know. But this mischaracterizes the clearly stated purpose of the letter.

    I don’t want to get sucked into the debate here — my thought are up at Blue Virginia — but I did want to correct the factual record.

  • Brian Schoeneman

    Aznew, please get sucked into the debate over here, because most of us can’t debate with you over at Blue Virginia.

    Your post earlier represents exactly the same kind of mindset that Miles demonstrates here. You say that the shooter’s ideology is irrelevant, then accuse him of Tea Party tendencies, then argue that because some people use inflammatory rhetoric, all of us who are right of center are to blame. You are all over the place, and you are wrong.

    Revolutionary rhetoric has been around for a long time. Was it not the spiritual founder of the Democratic party who said that the tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots? A quick look at the incendiary and violent rhetoric during the Civil War – all coming from Democrats – shows that what some Tea Party candidates have been saying is peanuts. That rhetoric almost cost a Republican Senator his life when he was savagely beaten on the floor of the Senate by a Democratic Congressman.

    More recently, yesterday, in fact, you had Harry Reid characterizing Eric Cantor as a “bomb thrower.” Our political language is heavily saturated with fighting and war style rhetoric, on both sides of the aisle. Here’s a DCCC bulls-eye target map: http://www.postonpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/dccc-target-map.jpg

    Yes, some on the right go to far, and they are condemned for it. Most of us condemned Catherine Crabill’s idiotic comments about the bullet box. And I recently chastised Lowell Feld for his desire to drop Bob Marshall in the middle of the Amazon and let him find his way home – a clear death sentence for a 70 year old man.

    There is no clear evidence that conservative rhetoric, even the revolutionary kind, had anything to do with what happened yesterday. I am no fan of that style of rhetoric and don’t use it myself, but I am not going to sit back and let what happened yesterday be blamed on how a few ineloquent speakers choose to express themselves. Words alone have never killed anyone.

    You all who want to spin this into some way to attack those on the right with whom you disagree need to back off and recognize that that discussion is completely divorced from the one we should be having right now – and that discussion needs to be about the sorry state of mental health access in America, a problem in which both parties bear the blame.

    Please don’t hide in your Blue Virginia echo chamber where people like Miles Grant control who has a right to speak. Debate us here.

  • Aznew, if ever there were a time to seek a renewal of friendships from across the aisle this is it. As long as you people and I mean all of you who choose to fight over your differences, the country will continue to deteriorate and the next generation will have an even tougher time building a brighter future.
    Look what you people are doing to yourselves.. you are giving al quaida and others who hate our way of life and our liberty the tools they need to take us down.. infighting.. Americans turned against each other is a tactical success for those who hate all of us because we are American.

    Brian, this post is a new low for Bearing Drift and you as well. The common foundation we need to build cross party support in the GA and beyond is decaying fast.. why drop to the level of Blue Virginia? And yes I wish they would raise the bar too.. There are plenty of people who blog at both sites who see this and know that better communication exists somewhere.

  • William Bailey

    Schoeneman: There is nothing to debate. Fact: six people were shot to death and fourteen more are wounded. It is a crime and debating it seems so much like a crying/whine, placing blame on uninvolved R,D or Tea folks or/and simply playing politics at the cost of others.

    Sometimes in life, each of us have to act like adults… Yesterday and today would be a nice day to try it.

    Say a pray for those involved and ignore the dumb sh*ts of the world who try to play politics with somebody’s death. IMO: nothing else need be said.

  • Turbo, I have built my career – both blogging and my professional career – on an ability to bridge the partisan divide and work with folks on both sides of the aisle. I am the last person that needs to be lectured on a willingness to work with folks on the other side.

    I am not infighting. I am not criticizing Miles because he’s a Democrat or because I disagree with him. I did not respond to Aznew the way I did because I want to score political points. Partisanship doesn’t matter to me here. What matters to me is that I am tired of both sides trying to exploit tragedies for political gain.

    What happened yesterday is already devolving into a debate about inflammatory rhetoric when there is still no evidence that such rhetoric ever had any kind of impact on Loughner. I want it to stop.

    That would elevate the debate, not debase it.

  • William, I heard you the first time. You, however, aren’t listening. My point isn’t about what happened yesterday. My point is about people who are using what happened yesterday, the crime you point out, to advance a political agenda.

    I have said plenty of prayers for everyone involved, including the shooter. But I don’t want to ignore those who are trying to make political hay out of it because if we are silent, they will be the only ones talking and the only ones being heard. And that’s wrong.

  • William Bailey

    Brian: LISTEN… You ignore them and they gain zero headway. Respond, feed in to the issue and YOU become THEM.

    My point: No need for anyone’s poltical points in this situation. Stay above the fray… There is a time and a place for everything but this isn’t the time, place or subject for any points. I’m done.

    JMO

  • aznew

    Brian – I think you mischaracterize what I said at Blue Virginia. I did not accuse the shooter of being a Tea Partier. What I said was, “Early evidence does suggest that there was some Tea Party-like philosophy/Libertarian political aspect to the shooter, it is, at this point, somewhat obscure.” I was referring to the general anti-government/conspiracy tone of the guy’s you tube posts, and I think it was a fair characterization.

    You state I then “argue that because some people use inflammatory rhetoric, all of us who are right of center are to blame.”

    In fact, what I wrote about GOP/Conservative rhetoric and the shooting was, “I am not saying there is a direct cause and effect here. I am not saying that any responsible Republican or Conservative actually advocates specific violent acts like this.”

    What’s more, I very specifically did not level any blame at this blog or any other commentator. The issue, as I see it, is not comments on blogs. I don;t even think the Glenn Becks or Rush Limbaughs of the world are the real problem. At the end of the day, they are entertainers. They are the cost of a free society.

    Rather, I singled out ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS and MAJOR GOP CANDIDATES for elected positions as regularly using violent rhetoric and imagery as a means of achieving political goals and creating an environment in which the shooting of public officials with whom we disagree becomes a legitimate act of political expression. I in no way said that Conservatives were to blame for this act. The shooter is the responsible party — pure and simple, but if you don’t think that the rhetoric used by GOP leaders doesn’t create an environment in which sick minds like this find legitimacy and support for their deranged acts, well, I don’t think you’re being realistic.

    You write, “Revolutionary rhetoric has been around for a long time,” and then cite a quote from TJ. That is all well and good. Revolution is certainly justified in some circumstances. The Revolution that gave birth to the United States was justified because the political process did not provide the citizenry with any other means to achieve their political goals.

    But in a relatively free democracy like the United States, where free speech is a cherished right and elections are by and large fair and legitimate, violence is never an acceptable recourse just because you didn’t get your way, and responsible leaders in this country should never suggest that it is.

    But GOP leaders do this all the time.

    But Sharon Angle did. Cathrine Crabill did. Sarah Palin (“Don’t retreat … reload”) did. Michelle Bachman (“I want citizens armed and dangerous”) did. Is it really that surprising that some people would act on it.

    But it goes deeper than that. Large swaths of the Conservative movement in this country demonize the President as not American, as a socialist and as someone who aspires to constrict our personal liberty. None of this is true. But, again, these kinds of arguments go toward justifying violent resistance, as opposed to robust political debate, as a justifiable option.

  • Scott

    Aznew,

    No type of rhetoric justifies violent actions like we saw yesterday. There will be a time and place for constructive dialogue from both sides about many issues pertaining to this.

    Even Lowell Feld has taken a much more even-handed approach to this than you. I advise you do the same.

  • Steve T.

    This is absurd.

    Allow me to summarize Aznew’s rant: “no, you guys didn’t pull the trigger but, really, you’re responsible for this anyway”.

    Slimy.

    I could quote you many instances of Dems using inflammatory language in uncivil discourse. Here in Spotsy, Dem Hap Connors called Republicans “fascists”, “trained monkeys”, “Shiites”, and worse. Our beloved local paper called our GOP candidates “abortionists”.

    Ultimately, here’s what this comes down to:

    Over the past 2 years Dems have been rightly called socialists for the extreme leftism they pushed thru Congress. This made them unhappy, especially when they found out last Nov that the American public agreed with that assessment. So now they want to call someone else extremist.

    Except it cheapens the deaths of the victims of this tragedy. Stop it already. This will blow up in your face spectacularly.

  • If you go to LP.org you will see two things. You will see the Libertarian Party’s condemnation of this shooting in an official statement and also a reference to the only oath you are required to take to be a member of the party.

    You don’t swear party loyalty. You don’t swear loyalty to any party candidate.

    Our only oath is to certify that you oppose the initiation of force (violence) to achieve political or social goals. You can see the oath also by going to “membership” and then “join”. I made that oath YEARS ago. This is not something new.

    Since we are such supporters of the 2nd amendment, and we do often find fault with various government actions/policies, I just wanted to make this very important distinction.

  • Aznew, the point is that NO Republican or Conservative, even folks like Catherine Crabill and the others you cited, is actually advocating violence against their opponents. If they were doing that, they’d be violating the law. That’s where the whole argument you’re making fails. Even Sarah Palin made it clear after her reload comments that she was speaking metaphorically and not literally.

    You can complain all you want about the things Angle said (she lost), or Crabill said (she lost) or Palin said (she lost) or Bachmann (who won – notice they are all women? Odd), but you’re ignoring the reason why they said what they said. These are folks, other than Bachmann, who were desperate for attention and for press. They ran losing campaigns. They were trying to get soundbites. Hyperbolic rhetoric gets on the news. That doesn’t mean they were exhorting their supporters to kill their opponents.

    And you’re also you’re ignoring the fact that you had Senator Manchin shooting a bullet from a high-powered rifle through the Cap and Trade bill in a campaign ad. There is a portion of the population that ads like that appeal to. And you don’t have masses of Democrats in West Virginia or Republicans in Alaska rising up and killing politicians left and right.

    I am not trying to say that both sides do it so its okay. What I’m saying is that both sides do it, so laying yesterday’s tragedy at the feet of elected government officials and major GOP candidates is wrong.

    Yesterday’s tragedy was a one off event, not a harbinger of something bigger to come. Loughner, by all accounts, appears mentally ill – not a rational individual acting on some kind of coherent political philosophy.

    No one – not even the most ardent Tea Partier – has argued that this government or President Obama is so illegitimate that it should be overthrown. No one is seriously advocating rebellion. No amount of rhetoric out there justifies violent resistance – that argument is just a partisan attempt to smear the other side.

    As I said before, words have never, alone, killed anyone. It takes a person to do that. The blame for what happened yesterdays lies at the feet of the shooter and him alone.

  • Kathy Mateer

    Brian, a lot of people are in mourning today and I agree with Bill Bailey on this one, “stay above the fray”. Maybe it is important for you to share your outrage of the many who are using this horrific tragedy for their own political limelight. It is a time for all of us to grieve as a nation, regardless of party. Pray, love, and come up with solutions so this won’t happen again or is at least harder to do. When the Kennedy’s were killed I don’t remember any news that political parties blamed each other. Neighbors came out of their doors, and cried together. I hope as a nation we haven’t become callous from what I have seen over the years, an exponential growth in violence, hate and intolerance towards each other.

  • Kathy, I’ve been one of those people. I took what happened yesterday pretty hard.

    I think it is important that those who want to use this tragedy to advance their political agenda find people willing to challenge them. If we don’t, they will flood the national dialogue – which is already happening – and this will become something it shouldn’t be…political.

  • Kathy Mateer

    What also is tragic to me as I have been in shock, keeping up with the moment by moment updates to try to make sense of insanity, is the shooter planned it, met with her in 2007, and it seems he had communistic leanings. His political philosophy was far more left leaning than U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, as she was a moderate Democrat. He thought her ignorant, in his own words, and obviously too moderate for him. A beautiful princess, born 9/11 and five other people are dead, families devastated and a country torn because of HIS political leanings.

  • Jay D

    This entire dialogue appears to be a collective attempt to make sense out of a completely senseless act. Finding someone/thing to blame makes us feel safer? IMHO, we could ban all political speech (and guns) tomorrow and be no safer.
    This young man was a ticking time bomb, suspended for multiple run-ins with campus police & warned in a letter that a doctor’s note (stating his presence would not be “a danger to himself or others”) was required before he could return to campus. Obviously Pima Community College (and I suspect family, friends & teachers) suspected his potential to harm. Should we blame them?
    In the ’60s and ’70s the US Supreme Court expanded mental patients’ rights and severely restricted involuntary commitments. Today it’s next to impossible to hold a mentally ill person, without their consent, in a treatment center unless family & physician can prove: “there is SUBSTANTIAL likelihood the person will cause harm to themselves or others IN THE NEAR FUTURE.” Otherwise, after 72 hours of treatment (in most states), the patient walks.
    Angry SANE people do not kill innocents. Political speech is not our enemy. Columbine, Tech, U of Texas and now the Tucson massacre. Too many snuffed out lives to count … all killed by insane young people who should have been in a mental (rather than educational) institution.
    One discussion I would like to see is: How do we help (and protect) families, schools, communities and patients, when the patient refuses treatment, without reverting to pre-1960s standards?

  • aznew

    Brian – Not to belabor the point, but you state: “The point is that NO Republican or Conservative, even folks like Catherine Crabill and the others you cited, is actually advocating violence against their opponents. If they were doing that, they’d be violating the law. That’s where the whole argument you’re making fails.”

    But that is specifically an argument that I am not making. As I said in my post at Blue Virginia and above, “I am not saying there is a direct cause and effect here. I am not saying that any responsible Republican or Conservative actually advocates specific violent acts like this.”

    Seriously, can I make it any more clear?

    As for some of your other contentions/arguments:

    You state that the comments form Angle, Crabill, etc. were to gain attention. Maybe. Frankly, I don’t know them and have no idea what their motivation was in making these comments, and, I assume, neither do you. I can speculate on their motivations as well as you, but my speculation would be no more valid than yours, so why bother. I, rather, was talking about the cumulative effect of their comments on the political environment in which we all swim, regardless of their intentions.

    You also assert I “ignored” Joe Manchin firing a firing at Cap and Trade. I didn’t ignore it (actually, I didn’t think of it), but I also fail to see the relevance of it. True, it is a Democrat using violent imagery, but it is, again, imagery in furtherance of a genrally Conservative position against Cap and Trade, so beyond the fact that Manchin has a “D” after his name, I don’t see how this helps your case much.

    Next, you state my “laying yesterday’s tragedy at the feet of elected government officials and major GOP candidates is wrong.” Again, I dispute that I am doing that. I am talking about an atmosphere their rhetoric has created. I am specifically NOT laying the tragedy at their feet.

    You state: “Yesterday’s tragedy was a one off event, not a harbinger of something bigger to come.” I have no idea, but I am glad you do. Still, I said nothing about this as a being a harbinger. In any event, given your ability to divine the future, you and I should definitely head out to Charlestown sometime.

    You state: “Loughner, by all accounts, appears mentally ill – not a rational individual acting on some kind of coherent political philosophy.” As a lay person, I would agree with you about the mentally ill part, though I expect experts will eventually weigh in on that one. As for whether he was “rational,” again, I don;t know. That all said, however, I seriously doubt that he was “insane” as a legal matter (you’re either a lawyer or a law student, if I remember correctly, aren’t you). Here is his legal problem: His exercise of the 5th Amendment shortly after being taken into custody would seem to dispose suggest he knew what he did was wrong — otherwise, why clam up? Similarly, his Facebook post shortly before committing the act urging friends not to be upset with him would be further evidence of his awareness that what he was about to do was wrong.

    Soi, mentally ill? Sure. Insane? Probably not.

    As for whether he had a “coherent political philosophy,” I can;t speak to its coherence (heck, I don;t think you have a coherent political philosophy), but he clearly has a philosophy. FWIW, I suspect it is steeped in some obscure imagery we simply do’;t understand, but which will come to light soon enough. See this fascinating article, for example, from someone who knows more about these fringe philosophies that you or I:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-potok/who-is-jared-lee-loughner_b_806500.html

    Finally, you state: “No one – not even the most ardent Tea Partier – has argued that this government or President Obama is so illegitimate that it should be overthrown. No one is seriously advocating rebellion.”

    Are you kidding? Seriously, 30s second on Google turned up these to items:

    “Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

    In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising “is not the first option,” but it is “on the table.” ”

    Now, he was denounced by other Republicans in his district, but to say that this is too far for the Tea Party is just wrong.

    Then there was this NewsMax article from John Perry, who is identified as having served in two GOP presidential administrations:

    http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/pdf/newsmax-20090929-perry_coup.pdf

    Here is the nut graf: “There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.”

    Look, I understand that many Tea Party folk think this kind of talk of absurd, but lets not pretend that it doesn’t exist in significant amounts out there.

  • Kathy Mateer

    aznew, you used some real left wing sites but facts have to come out before judgment. He met with her, thought her ignorant, his favorite books were Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto. By the way, she is Jewish. The more that comes out the more we may want to be quiet, take it in the fullness of it and learn from it so it won’t repeat itself. Unfortunately, copy cats wanting their 15 minutes of infamy will surely come, typically someone who fits his profile, like Seung-Hui Cho.

    http://texasgopvote.com/arizona-shooting/murder-tragedy-arizona-congresswoman-gabrielle-giffords-shot-002328

  • Kathy Mateer

    Didn’t mean be quiet, meant be reflective but once you push the button you can’t edit. Been awhile since I posted and guess site has changed.

  • Kathy, your posts are among the best on this blog. JR, how bout that edit button..

  • Aznew, the quotes you’ve pulled out still make my point – none of those guys were saying that we should begin an armed revolution. They said it’s on the table. There are a lot of far fetched things that may be “on the table” – that doesn’t mean they are ever close to actually happening.

    The “atmosphere” as you call it exists, and it has existed for a while now. This is the first example of violence against an elected official, and there’s no evidence to connect any kind of right-wing rhetoric to this crime. Atmosphere doesn’t kill people – people do.

    We will all learn, eventually, why Loughner did what he did. Until then, trying to turn this into some kind of teachable moment is premature. And trying to argue that right-wing rhetoric is to blame is also premature.

    The fact that the guy invoked his 4th amendment right to remain silent doesn’t mean he’s sane. It means he knows how to listen and read (he was whining about literacy, after all). I don’t believe he is criminally insane, but he appears mentally ill. The two are completely different concepts.

    The fact that a Democrat was using the same violent imagery is relevant, as you specifically named political parties, not merely ideology, in your post.

    And how can you claim that you’re not laying this at their feet when you said “these GOP leaders and elected officials should not be surprised when citizens resort to violence against Democrats and Progressives.”

    It takes two to tango. Your statement “But the GOP, which has used and benefited from the use of violent rhetoric over the past two years, in explaining and furthering their political goals, and in reaching out to their supporters, ought to take a hard look at themselves and decide whether, in some manner and to some degree, they don’t bear some responsibility for the political culture in which an act like this would take place” can easily be pointed right back at your own party. If you want to complain about the political culture, I think both sides bear some responsibility for the level of partisanship.

    I mean, c’mon. You want to have your cake and eat it too – you say GOP elected officials are to blame in the comments on the article, then you pull back and say not all of them are. But then you say the leadership is, because they haven’t condemned in strongly enough. And you say it’s not enough to just say that violence is wrong – okay, what should they have done instead? What should Harry Reid have done to Joe Manchin for that ad? What should the President have done to him? Force him to resign?

    And what about this you said earlier: “What’s more, I very specifically did not level any blame at this blog or any other commentator” – did you not comment on your own post “It’s not just GOP elected leaders
    It is the GOP/Conservative community snd support network, including many Conservative bloggers.
    Here, for example, are the thoughts of one well known Consrvative blogger, some dipshit named Erik Erikson at RedState.com”

    Is that not blaming a commentator?

    You’ve got a guy in the comments over there referring to all Republicans as “dog shit” and I don’t see you or Lowell telling him he’s wrong or to stop with the poisonous rhetoric. All Lowell did was berate him for having a potty mouth.

    You say “Only one side, the GOP, has significant numbers of their elected public officials and candidates for public office using rhetoric like this on a regular basis.” And yet, you have only named ONE sitting member of the GOP who has used this kind of rhetoric, Michelle Bachmann. Who else? Everyone else you’ve quoted were candidates who lost.

    I mean, seriously. I don’t understand how you guys can look at yourselves in the mirror. The hypocrisy is blinding.

  • Reid greenmun

    Sigh.

    I suppose the ‘ole “Don’t let a crisis go to waste” is in full swing with some folks.

  • aznew

    Brian – If everything was all well, why did Palin remove the target imagery from her website in the aftermath of yesterday’s events? Why did her spokesperson come up with some cockamamie explanation that the rifle sights in her graphic were not rifle sights, but surveyors’ marks?

    Why did a Republican senator say, “There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now? What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”

    According to Politico, this Senator continued, “They’re talking about things most mainstream Americans are talking about, like spending and debt,” before adding that politicians of all stripes need to emphasize in the coming days that “tone matters.”

    “And the Republican Party in particular needs to reinforce that,” the senator said.

    Even more to the point, why on Earth would an United States Senator need to request anonymity from Politico in order to say this? What do you think he/she is afraid of?

    Oh, and BTW, I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I believe it is the 5th amendment that gives one the right to be forced to give incriminating testimony against themselves, not the 4th, which I believe applies to searches and seizures. My point was that one who exercises their 5th amendment right does so with the knowledge that what they did was incriminating (otherwise, how could they conclude their testimony would incriminate them), and they therefore knew the difference between right and wrong, which is the legal standard for an insanity defense.

    Also, why are you tagging me with the comments of some person who I don’t even know? They don;t speak for me, any more than some of the posts, above,from third parties speak for you.

    Last, but not least, you invited me on this thread to discuss the issue, and I’ve done so in good faith. I am always respectful when I post on this blog, so I don’t appreciate the name calling.

  • Aznew, she removed it because people like you instantly found a graphic she put on a website over a year ago and started accusing her of being complicit in the attempted murder of Rep. Giffords. That whole line of argument is ridiculous – we talk about targeting races and districts all the time. It doesn’t literally mean Palin wanted to see every one of those members of Congress dead. That’s nuts.

    I have no idea why whoever said what you quoted chose to remain anonymous. And since whoever said it didn’t want to attributed, we have no idea if that’s a legitimate quote or not. Giving you the benefit of the doubt that the quote is real, if the Senator was an establishment Republican who fears a Tea Party primary, it makes perfect sense for them to say what they’re saying – and, frankly, that’s a good reason for them not to say it on the record to, where they can’t be challenged if my guess is correct.

    Miranda vs. Arizona created the right to remain silent, based off of the 5th and 6th amendments. Sorry about the typo. Regardless, he has to be read his Miranda rights and he has to knowingly waive them – and generally that is done by giving them verbally and requiring the suspect to sign a written document waiving them. The fact that the shooter choose to shut up just means he was paying attention, not that he isn’t mentally unbalanced. The Supreme Court has been explicit that remaining silent is not an admission of guilt and it can’t be treated that way in a trial court.

    I’m not tagging you with the comments of someone you don’t know. I’m saying that only one person – not you and not Lowell – challenged that guy for what he was saying or told him his rhetoric was inflammatory. If you want to complain about the toxic environment hyperpartisan rhetoric creates, don’t you have some kind of obligation to call people out on it? Or does that only apply to Republicans?

    When did I call you names? I said you were acting hypocritically. That’s not name calling. That’s an adjective used to describe your behavior in that thread.

    You haven’t even tried to reconcile the multiple contradictions I pointed out above. Like I said, I don’t see how you can get spun up about Palin’s map when someone saying all Republicans are “dog shit” doesn’t even get a peep out of you. It’s THAT kind of rhetoric, not maps and ignorant statements from losing candidates, that is creating this poisonous atmosphere you seem to think has something to do with what happened in Arizona.

  • Enough already. A beautiful little girl, civic minded and learning about our free and open society, born on 9/11 is dead. Five other civic minded people are also dead. A U.S. Congresswoman lies in a coma. And Aznew and the left want to score political points.

    I’m shutting this thread down because I just don’t want to read I’m tired of reading Mr. Zimmerman’s obnoxious, odious rhetoric anymore. For once, I don’t think any more debate or dialog is going to help.

    But I re-opened the thread because I don’t want to be called a hypocrite. We welcome debate here – but I am clearly disgusted with this one.

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