The Left’s assault on the Right backfired so badly that some liberal commentators rode to the Right’s defense.
“Conservatives are furious that the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords is being pinned on them. Their indignation is justified,” wrote Jonathan Chait, senior editor of The New Republic. “This was not a right-wing militia member taking apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric about watering the tree of liberty too seriously. It was a random act.”
Calling this a “sickening ritual of guilt by association,” The Daily Beast
’s Howard Kurtz
wrote that Palin’s “use of the crosshairs was dumb.” However, he concluded, “This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life.”
Slate editor-at-large Jack Shafer wrote that Jared Loughner appeared not to have been “incited by anything except the gas music from Jupiter playing inside his head.” Shafer continued: “Asking us forever to hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.”
The American people quickly dismissed this smear. A January 9-10 CBS News survey of 673 adults found that only 32 percent believed that “harsh political rhetoric” had “anything to do with the Arizona shootings;” 57 percent disagreed. Even among Democrats, 42 percent blamed rhetoric; 49 percent disagreed. (Margin of error: +/- 4 percent.)
Thus, the Left’s dramatic, breathless fantasy — wheeled out literally as this calamity’s victims were being wheeled around hospitals and morgues — unraveled almost as soon as the Left raveled it.
When left-wing voices accuse right-wingers of racism or, even worse, inciting mass murder, they should try to deploy two or perhaps even three bullet points (if one still may say that) of supportive evidence. If they choose, yet again, to go off half-cocked (forgive the firearms imagery), they will make total fools of themselves, yet again.
Krugman and company demand civil discourse while perpetrating the supreme incivility of accusing the Right of triggering mass murder while presenting nary an electron of evidence to confirm that claim.
Next time the Left lacks the facts to prove deadly serious charges against the Right, they should do America a favor and leave the homicide card unplayed.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.