The Backfire

When the latest leftist witch hunt backfires, even one of the New York Times columnists notices:

The American people know it, too. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday, 42 percent of those asked said that political rhetoric was not a factor at all in the shooting, 22 percent said that it was a minor factor and 20 percent said that it was a major factor. Furthermore, most agreed that focusing on conservative rhetoric as a link in the shooting was “not a legitimate point but mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad.” And nearly an equal number of people said that Republicans, the Tea Party and Democrats had all “gone too far in using inflammatory language” to criticize their opponents.

Great. So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats.

My wife and I have been able to drive to work together most of this week. She is a registered Democrat and has been for all of her (voting) life. I listen to NPR for the entire one hour drive to work (yeah, it’s a cross I bear). About Wednesday, when NPR was moaning, yet again, about the political rhetoric from the right causing the shootings in Arizona, she said something to the effect of, “Enough! The guy is a loon, political rhetoric has nothing to do with it.”

I think that is probably very close to the reaction of a lot of people, judging from the polling numbers.

I disagree with Charles Blow on many of his assertions in his column. (The toxicity of the left’s political rhetoric is much, much worse than most of what is coming from the right.) But I will credit him with admitting that the left did itself a huge disservice by trying to tar and feather Sarah Palin and the right over the acts of a madman.

There is an expression that someone I hired for a consultation used that fits here. He called the knee-jerk reactions that some in management have when a problem arises “going prompt tactical”. He explained that as a manager losing sight of the big picture and immediately getting down into the mud to do something that was strategically foolish. (It’s a good way to explain a lot of really bad decisions.)

Blow is honest enough to realize that the left’s going prompt tactical here was a really bad idea.

UPDATE: James Taranto.

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5 Responses to The Backfire

  1. huxley says:

    OTOH, the whole Tucson business did succeed in breaking the momentum of the new Republican Congress and gave Obama the chance to reburnish his peacemaker credentials.

    Overall I would score this round to the Democrats on points.

  2. Maggie says:

    Hey, Gaius –

    I tend to find when liberals/left generalize, “Both sides do it/are doing it/etc.” it’s usually an indication they have been caught dead to rights and are in ‘spread the wealth around’ mode … meaning they are trying to dilute their own guilt by conceding it and then deflecting attention to the other side as if expecting a mea culpa that they could use against them in the future (” Rightwinger X admitted they use violent rhetoric …”) … completely negating their previous admission of guilt and banking on the ADD public not recalling they (the left) ever admitted their guilt.

    I hope that makes some sense. It’s my observation, anyway.

    Welcome back. Missed ya here.


  3. Rich Horton says:

    My favorite thing now is how many on the left are now claiming they were only making a general point about heated rhetoric. They really have so little regard for the American people they actually believe we cannot remember what happened last weekend.

  4. Gaius says:

    Oh, yeah. They genuinely think the public is stupid and they are geniuses. Neither is correct. Especially the latter.

  5. Maggie says:

    Well, polling of the unwashed masses has us not buying the deflection of blame onto conservatives, talk radio, or some female hunter out of Alaska. But they just can’t seem to help themselves. Such stupid children. The fact is, even if people have never been to, say, a Tea Party rally they still believe in what the Tea Party is saying. I saw a report before the election that roughly 50+% of the Tea Party membership are “Independents”. Repubs and Dems seem to pull nearly equal in numbers. And as you expressed about your democrat wife, there are those democrats that are more ‘conservative’ in some things than they realize … and will not be easily lead in the next election by the ‘used car’ lines in order to get Obama a second term. I just saw something the other day that they are already looking to raise at least $1 billion to get him elected. The GOP hasn’t even seriously named anyone to contest him (and there are the mumblings over him being contested in a dem primary). It will be interesting. BTW, I’m not so sold on a Pres. Palin. I believe she would be better spent in a republican administration as Sec. of Energy or the Dept. of The Interior. The government land grab and refusal to tap into our own resources has been more than astounding. I would love for a very hard-nosed repub. POTUS to go into office and lift just about everything they can that this admin. has strapped onto this nation. I think the majority of the American people would want that too.

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