The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Wednesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” in her video message about the Tucson massacre:

I entirely endorse what [Alan] Dershowitz said. And remember, he’s a man who his entire life has defended Jews from Natan Sharansky to the Israel Defense Forces. And in fact, the Goldstone Report, which he correctly called a blood libel, was about Israel’s actions in Gaza, [and had] of course nothing to do with the historic allegation — the blood libel, the calumny against Jews in medieval times about the use of ritual blood in their ceremonies.

The fact is that even the ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, in expressing a mild rebuke to Palin for using this, admitted itself in its statement that “the term “blood libel” has become a part of the English parlance to refer to someone being falsely accused.”

But let’s step back for a second. Here we have a brilliant, intelligent, articulate, beautiful, wife, [step-] mother and congresswoman fighting for her life in a hospital in Tucson, and we’re having a national debate over whether the term “blood libel” can be used appropriately in a non-Jewish context? Have we completely lost our minds?

On Palin’s video message overall:

I found her speech unobjectionable, unremarkable, but unnecessary. Of course, anybody who’s attacked as she was has the right to defend herself in public.

However, it wasn’t as if others hadn’t counteracted the calumny about her and others being responsible in some way for the massacre in Tucson. By the time she had the video on her website, the debate was over. The left, which had launched these accusations, had been completely defeated, “refudiated,” if you like, and disgraced over this. There wasn’t a shred of evidence.

The battle was over. It was a rout so complete as to make Pickett’s Charge look like a draw.

And in fact there was one fact that came out today that … sealed it. It was a statement from a high school pal of Loughner, Zach Osler, who said “He [Loughner] did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left, he wasn’t on the right.” Case closed. It’s over.

And I think it was unnecessary, her speech, because she then re-injected herself into this and made herself the center of this, restarted the debate — and started a debate on the irrelevancy of the blood libel.

From Fox’s post-memorial service coverage.

On what will be the residual political effect of President Obama’s speech:

I wouldn’t underestimate how this is going to affect the perception of the president. We’re the only advanced democracy in which the head of government is also head of state. Everyone else separates them. And he’s been head of government, head of a party. He’s been in two years of extremely ideological debate … in the trenches.

He doesn’t often have a chance to act as head of state. And this was an example in which he speaks to the whole country. And I think he did it in a way that was extremely effective. …

We remember the speech in Oklahoma, which helped to turn around the Clinton fortunes, also speaking as head of state. Reagan’s speech after the shuttle disaster and the speech he gave on the D-Day anniversary. These are occasions where the president is head of state. And if he rises to it, it overcomes the ideological scars and wounds that a president has as head of government.

I think Obama did it extremely well. And I’m not sure it’s going to have a trivial effect on the way he’s perceived.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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