From Glenn Reynolds (a/k/a Instapundit) in the Wall Street Journal (links added):
Shortly after November's electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn appeared on Chris Matthews's TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday's tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree might fill the bill.See also Slate's Jack Shafer ("I've listened to, read--and even written!--attacks on government without reaching for my gun."); Assistant Village Idiot ("If such martial or combative statements have any effect on inciting actual violence, it is lost in the sea of what people read or hear from other sources that they intentionally seek out, not that pop onto their TV screen when they were just minding their own business."). Agreed--"only murderers are responsible for murder." And see Philip Klein in the American Spectator comparing the New York Times--then and now.
With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate."
The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors--"lock and load"--and talked about "targeting" opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's district on a list of congressional districts "bullseyed" for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this--or even harsher language like Mr. Obama's famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"--it's just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.
There's a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn't derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.
Erica Jong Tells Italians Obama Loss 'Will Spark the Second American Civil War. Blood Will Run in the Streets'
(via readers Doug J., Warren)