Politics & Policy

Blame Palin

The ten most inane comments connecting Sarah Palin to the Tucson shooting.

In the week since the Arizona shootings, much of the media’s commentary exemplified Palin Derangement Syndrome. It became a joke: On Twitter, one of the most popular “hashtags” was #blamePalin, which was used to, well, blame Palin for TV-show cancellations, malfunctioning toilets, and bad restaurant service.

Unfortunately, for all the joking of the Twitterati, liberals were serious. Here’s a list of the top ten most inane comments connecting Palin to the shootings.

#ad#10. Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall responded to Palin’s video message by writing, “Today has been set aside to honor the victims of the Tucson massacre. And Sarah Palin has apparently decided she’s one of them.” Not mentioned was the fact that the Left had previously castigated Palin for refusing to address her “role” in the shootings.

9. Nuanced thinking isn’t the forte of at least one New York Daily News headline writer; the paper published a column titled, “Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ blood is on Sarah Palin’s hands after putting cross hair over district.” The columnist, Michael Daly, pontificated that “Palin would no doubt say that she was only speaking in metaphor, that she only meant her followers should work to unseat Giffords and 19 other Democrats who had roused her ire by voting for health care. But anyone with any sense at all knows that violent language can incite actual violence, that metaphor can incite murder. At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.”

8. Jane Fonda took her grievances to Twitter. “Progressive Arizona Rep Gabrelle Giffords is shot. In her ads, Sarah Palin had her targeted in a gun site. Inciting to violence,” tweeted Fonda. “@SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party,” she later tweeted.

7. Keith Olbermann, whose show used to feature “Worst Person in the World” segments and still features other displays of incivility, decided that Palin needed to repent. “If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bullseye targets on 20 Representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics,” railed Olbermann. “She must be repudiated by the members of her own party, and if they fail to do so, each one of them must be judged to have silently defended this tactic that today proved so awfully foretelling, and they must in turn be dismissed by the responsible members of their own party.”

6. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D., Ariz.) told Mother Jones that “both Gabby and I were targeted in the [Palin] apparatus in that cycle [saying] these people are ‘enemies,’” adding that “the Palin express better look at their tone and their tenor.”

5. Pima County sheriff Clarence Dupnik agreed that it wasn’t just Sarah Palin at fault — Sharron Angle had contributed, too. “When you have people like Sharron Angle in Las Vegas running against Harry Reid making outrageous statements such as, ‘We may need to resort to taking the Second Amendment into certain cases,’” Dupnik told Fox News, “and for people like Sarah Palin to say, ‘We have people like Gabby Giffords in our cross hairs,’ I think those statements are totally irresponsible and they’re not without consequences, and I think we may be seeing the fruit of it here.”

#page#4. In response to Palin’s video speech, MSNBC host Larry O’Donnell made this cheap dig: “Palin leveled a cold-eyed outrage at ‘people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.’ Palin’s self-defense seems aimed at [Giffords]. On Saturday, [Giffords] fell into the crosshairs of a gun that sent a 22-cent bullet into the back of her head exiting over her left eye. She is therefore unable to respond to Sarah Palin tonight.”

3. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was one of the first prominent pundits to jump on the blame-Palin bandwagon. “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was,” blogged Krugman the afternoon of the shooting. “[Giffords has] been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list.”

#ad#2. For liberal radio host Thom Hartmann, Palin is on par with Osama bin Laden. “Sarah Palin. She hasn’t come out of her cave up there in Alaska. Sarah bin Palin, should we call her? But she has issued a video!” he remarked. In case that hadn’t made his point, Hartmann continued to rail against Palin for being upset that she was accused of being responsible for Loughner’s actions: “Talk about making your head explode. . . . Sarah Palin is trying to conflate her being accused of this crime as being some kind of an incredible victim, as if for a thousand years, well, I mean, I don’t want to get into hyperbole here, but I just, I find this astounding.”

1. Almost immediately after the shooting, when virtually no details were known, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas tweeted, “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin,” with a link to Palin’s crosshairs map.

— Katrina Trinko is an NRO staff reporter.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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