Opportunism Lost

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Our editorial on the massacre says that it is “being milked for political advantage by ghoulish opportunists on the Left.” The headline refers to the Left’s campaign as “cynical.” I fully agreed with the editorial the first time I read it, and still mostly agree with it. The anonymous “veteran Democratic operative” who told Politico that the White House should “deftly pin this on the tea partiers” is an example of someone exploiting the atrocity for political gain. But I suspect that most liberals are entirely sincere in associating conservatism with the Tuscon shootings in particular and the threat of violence in general. This is what they genuinely think about American conservatism, and conservatives.

To the extent it is a political strategy, though, I do not believe it will work. Most people do not hold this view of conservatives, and this incident does not really give them a reason to start.