Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blow Back

This episode of the Unarmed and Dangerous begins with a quote from New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow:

Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: “words have consequences.” And now, the right’s rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost.

The dots were too close and the temptation to connect them too strong. The target was a Democratic congresswoman. There was the map of her district in the cross hairs. There were her own prescient worries about overheated rhetoric. Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.

When liberals from the New York Times turn on a tactic from the Left, you know it's got some serious problems. Yet the press is still regularly churning out prose implicating so-called overheated rhetoric for the shootings in Tucson.

Here are some more examples of people who have been utilizing the absolutely fabricated tale of Michele Bachmann calling for violence when she said people should acquire information to get "armed and dangerous" about global warming legislation. Or, as Mr. Blow would call them, the giddy, punch-drunk, overly excited left looking to start a politically inspired witch hunt.

First, an unsigned editorial from the Bangor Daily News. The voice of the institution, no less!

When a rising star in the Republican Party, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, tells her adherents to be “armed and dangerous,” violence is not a surprise.

“For someone who’s deranged, to hear people say that if the ballot box doesn’t work, it’s time for bullets … it’s frightening,” said Sandy Maisel, a political scientist at Colby College.

No pussy-footing around about indirect causes or climates of hate. They get right to the point in Bangor, don't they? If only their point was rooted in reality! Then their directness might be considered admirable.

Next, from the Albany Times-Union, Rex Smith:

Mind you, there ought to be some soul-searching among people who condone the sort of stuff you hear from, say, Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who urged constituents to be "armed and dangerous" in the fight against energy legislation, which she said might require a revolution "if we're not going to lose our country."

Oh, come now. For a member of Congress to talk of armed revolution because of a policy difference over an energy bill is nothing short of shameful.

Far more shameful is a journalist recycling damaging fabrications in his column without even a hint of fact checking or due diligence. Plus he knits together, Frankenstein-style, several disparate quotes or her interview to create one whopper of a narrative. Oh, come now!

Next, excerpts from a column in the Reno Gazette-Journal by Corey Farley:

... I believe Angle, Bachmann and Palin bear some responsibility here. So do the late Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, George H.W. Bush (for the Willie Horton commercials), Glenn Beck, new Florida Congressman Allen West, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and every other pundit and politician who's lied, exaggerated or fabricated facts or created imaginary monsters -- death panels! Where's the birth certificate?! -- to inject fear and hatred into politics. They didn't commit the crime, but they helped, deliberately, to create the environment in which the crime was conceivable. (...)

An elected official urges Americans to be "armed and dangerous," as Bachmann did, and one of them picks up a gun and shoots 20 people? No connection there. A blubbering TV host invokes fears of racism, Nazis and socialism, shows himself carrying a gun, then blames his critics for linking him to violence? Fifty-seven percent of us nod, smile uneasily and say, "Yeah, that must be it"?

Until now, I haven't been afraid of the loons. Extremists, by definition, are extreme: Eventually they do things that turn society away from them. But if this isn't that thing, what will it take?

In addition to Bachmann, he's basically indicting the entire Republican party for the last few decades as responsible for the shootings. Included in the ranks of the complicit is Lee Atwater, who died nearly 20 years ago. This may be the most brazen attempt at using this tragedy for political opportunism yet seen.

Until now! Believe it or not, the woman Michele Bachmann soundly defeated in the 2010 election is on the besmirchment bandwagon. A report from Roll Call on the latest antics from Tarryl Clark:

In an e-mail titled “Stopping the Hate,” Clark called for unifying rhetoric following the weekend shootings in Arizona.

“Instead of calling on us to be ‘armed and dangerous’ or to ‘reload’, and instead of name-calling and conspiracy theories, elected leaders ought to be bringing people together to solve the major challenges we face,” Clark wrote. “They ought to bring out the best in all of us by inspiring us to see the world as it can be, not as it is today.”

Clark’s e-mail doesn’t name Bachmann, but the reference to the Republican was clear.

Talking about “nefarious” activities in Washington in March 2009, Bachmann told a radio show, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of this energy tax because we need to fight back. ... We the people are going to have to fight back hard if we are not going to lose our country.”

Due to the wisdom of the voters in Minnesota's 6th district, Tarryl Clark is now out of a job, at least one in government. So why is she sending out mass emails to supporters and the press?

Clark finished her time in the state Senate earlier this month and has been talking to local leaders about job creation and bringing people together, she said. Another election could be in her future.

“I absolutely believe I’m not done with public life,” she told Roll Call.

It's faith-based public service! Don't stop believin' Tarryl. But I will say it's bad form to start the 2012 campaign based on the foundation of a lie. She'll need something more substantial than that if she's to overcome the majority of voters who have already found her wanting.