Remember Jared Loughner? His favorite book was the Communist Manifesto. He hated George W. Bush so much he got angry at the mere sight of him. He was a fan of “a radical leftist punk band whose music focuses on themes of corporate greed, U.S. foreign policy and opposition to war,” and a friend described him as “left wing, quite liberal.” So, naturally, the L.A. Times declared that his ideology “was rooted in the far right.” And Sarah Palin was blamed, because of a map that had nothing to do with the shooting, whatsoever.
A wrong turn was taken in the Jared Loughner case. Loughner was a lunatic, so deranged that it remained doubtful for a long time whether he would even be competent to stand trial. There is no reason to think that his killing spree was politically motivated, and to the extent that he had a (crazy) political outlook, it was leftist; he listed The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books.
Shortly after November's electoral defeat for the Democrats, pollster Mark Penn appeared on Chris Matthews's TV show and remarked that what President Obama needed to reconnect with the American people was another Oklahoma City bombing. To judge from the reaction to Saturday's tragic shootings in Arizona, many on the left (and in the press) agree, and for a while hoped that Jared Lee Loughner's killing spree might fill the bill. With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's words, a "climate of hate." -Glenn Reynolds
Democrat, Hate, Character, Smears, Teaparty
Even a year after the shooting, Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was willing to cite the shooting as proof that politicians need to “tone things down, particularly in light of” the Tucson shooting. “I hesitate to place blame, but I have noticed it take a very precipitous turn towards edginess and lack of civility with the growth of the Tea Party movement,” she said.
Liberal, Narrative, Oops
A classmate of the man accused of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords this morning describes him as “left wing” and a “pot head” in a series of posts on Twitter this afternoon.
Liberal, Narrative, Oops
Conservatives looking to label Loughner as liberal have also pointed to Tweets from one apparent former friend who wrote he had once been "very liberal" and added, "he was leftwing when I knew him in hs & college, 3 years ago. So he may have changed, who knows." Ultimately, it seems illegitimate to tie Loughner to the mainstream right or mainstream left, as his beliefs were well within the realm of the fringe. Indeed, Loughner appears to have simply been a disturbed individual who lacked a coherent political philosophy other than a deep-seated anti-government sentiment.
Liberal, Narrative, Oops, Smears
From reading through page after page of Jared Lee Loughner’s rantings, I see no evidence that he has changed from the left winger that he was in 2007. Indeed, less than six months ago, he was calling the Iraq and Afghan Wars “war crimes” under the Geneva Convention. My hope in exploring Loughner’s politics is to take the political argument off the table, not to turn it around. Unfortunately, I think that the likeliest way to get some people to back off their hateful and inflammatory rhetoric — blaming people who are not at fault — is if the people doing the finger pointing begin to realize that Loughner was more probably a mentally deranged left winger than a mentally deranged right winger. In either event, the derangement, not his political orientation, is the proximate and ultimate cause of his mass murders. -Jim Lindgren
Liberal, Hate, Character, Brilliance, Narrative, Oops, Smears
There has been a great effort this week to come to grips with the American left's reaction to the Tucson shooting. Paul Krugman of the New York Times and its editorial page, George Packer of the New Yorker, E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek and others, in varying degrees, have linked the murders to the intensity of opposition to the policies and presidency of Barack Obama. As Mr. Krugman asked in his Monday commentary: "Were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?"
Liberal, Narrative, Oops
Daily Kos puts "bulls eye" on Gabrielle Giffords in June 2008
Liberal, Hate, Character, Press, Smears
Gabrielle Giffords shooting reignites row over rightwing rhetoric in US
Sarah Palin at centre of storm over political vitriol after spree leaves six dead and congresswoman in critical condition
Liberal, Hate, Character, Smears, Hollywood
Jane Fonda has blamed Saturday's tragic shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, on former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, and the Tea Party movement.
Liberal, Brilliance, Oops, Press, Smears
That Giffords was targeted by a tea partier was an easy assumption to make considering her historical clashes with the movement. A moderate Democrat, she had been vilified by some conservatives for her opposition to her state's aggressive crackdown on illegal immigrants and for her support for the health-care overhaul. -Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post
Liberal, Hate, Smears
Here is what Sarah Palin said on the Facebook page where she depicted Gabrielle Giffords in the cross hairs of a rifle scope: "Don't retreat! Instead - RELOAD!"
Liberal, Hate, Brilliance, Oops, Press, Smears
Fitzsimmons: I must tell you, as a columnist who's covered politics in this state, it was inevitable from my perspective. Savidge: Why do you say that? Fitzsimmons: Because the right in Arizona, and I'm speaking very broadly, has been stoking the fire of heated anger and rage successfully in this state. And, you know, it's just stunning when you consider Congresswoman Giffords's positions on the issues. She is a centrist. She is a moderate. And I don't know who the shooter is--have no idea who the shooter is--but what could possibly motivate an individual to be enraged against, or to take down, a moderate centrist? To me that just paints a picture of how off the mark the politics of this state have grown.
Liberal, Hate, Character, Brilliance, Oops, Smears
She read the First Amendment on the House floor — including the guarantee of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” — and then flew home to Arizona to put those words into practice. But when Gabrielle Giffords tried to meet with her constituents in a Tucson parking lot on Saturday, she came face to face with an environment wholly at odds with that constitutional ideal, and she nearly paid for it with her life.
Hypocrisy, Liberal, Hate, Incitement, Character
By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. -Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman
Liberal, Hate, Character, Brilliance, Narrative, Oops, Smears, Demagoguery
When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen? Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. -Paul Krugman