In August 2009, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members attacked and beat Kenneth Gladney, a black man who was distributing Gadsden (“Don’t Tread On Me”) flags at a congressional town hall meeting near St. Louis.
Also in August, 2009, posters began showing up at political rallies showing Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache. Major media outlets including CNN and NBC, and minor media outlets such as MSNBC, immediately accused Tea Party members of “extremism,”, “racism” and “hatred.” The posters, however, were products of the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee, named for their leader, a communist, radical anti-Semite, and seven-time candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the United States.
In September 2009, a pro-Obamacare activist at a MoveOn.org rally bit off the fingertip of a 65-year old man.
In June 2010, in Greensboro, N.C., Tea Party activist Nathan Tabor was sucker-punched in the face by a local Democrat while Tea Partiers were protesting aspects of the “financial reform bill.”
In March 2010, Congressional Black Caucus member John Lewis made a claim, quickly parroted by an eager-to-help mass media, that the “N-word” was shouted at black members of Congress during a march up the U.S. Capitol steps as the Democrats hammed it up for the camera during the passage of ObamaCare. Rep. Lewis also claimed he was spat upon. Given that there were probably more smart phones and video cameras per square foot at that event than any other political event of recent years, one would expect evidence of those claims’ veracity to surface. However, despite a $100,000 challenge by Andrew Breitbart (offering to donate that much to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could prove those things happened), no evidence of racial slurs or flying saliva has ever come to light.
It is within this context of too-recent-to-forget history that the American Left, both the radical Left such as participants on the DailyKos website and the “mainstream” Left such as major media outlets and the elected Sheriff of Pima County, Ariz., have immediately concluded that the deranged shooter of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords represents nothing more than the latest example of conservative extremism.
Never mind that Jared Lee Loughner’s web presence show his favorite books include “The Communist Manifesto” and “Mein Kampf,” two of the most important pieces of extreme-Left writing in history. (The Left only seems to notice that Loughner mentioned “We the Living,” Ayn Rand’s first novel — and hardly a call to action along the lines of “Atlas Shrugged” or even “The Fountainhead” — among his reading list.
Never mind that Loughner’s YouTube page evidences a young man distinctly separated from reality, with a fixation on “conscience dreaming” and his interest in “informing literate dreamers about a new currency.” He also created a short video of a flow chart and text in which he exclaimed “I’m able to control every belief and religion by being the mind controller!” In addition to his own home-made videos (of text on a screen), Loughner linked to one “Favorite” video, an extremely boring seven minutes concluding with a black-robed and masked terrorist burning an American flag.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen lots of American flag burnings at Tea Party events. Or maybe not. (But don’t forget, the people who conclude that the actions of a lunatic prove that the Tea Party inspires violence are the same people who conclude that record cold winters are proof of global warming.)
Particularly troubling is the role of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in the rush to condemn by implication the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck, among others. One would expect a law enforcement officer to require a shred of evidence before attributing the actions of a maniac to the most influential grass-roots political movement in generations. In a Saturday press conference following the massacre in Tucson, Dupnik offered this:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government — the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.”
However, the Arizona Star reports in a story called “Dupnik: Suspect is mentally unstable“: “Dupnik said the suspected shooter has made death threats before and been contacted by law-enforcement officers. The threats weren’t against Giffords, Dupnik said.”
Dupnik is an elected Democrat, and one must give him some rhetorical leeway since Rep. Giffords is a close personal friend of his and since he has had to deal with the murder of a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl among others. But in case you might think that Dupnik would back off his divisive, inappropriate comments upon learning of Loughner’s history, think again. In a Sunday interview, Dupnik opined that, “One party is trying to block the attempts of another party to make this a better country.”
One can find dozens of examples of theoretically respectable media outlets jumping on the bash-the-Tea Party bandwagon, such as the Politico‘s Ben Smith who said that “the argument that the political right . . . is culpable for the Tucson massacre, even if by indirect association, seemed to be validated by” Sheriff Dupnik. They’re all following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton who, in 1995, blamed Tim McVeigh’s bombing in Oklahoma City on conservative talk radio. Clinton did have some political success, particularly in swinging independent voters toward Democrats, with his gambit, and the left is trying to repeat that success on the back of another killer.
Beyond the “mainstream” media, there are also the left fringe kooks, such as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas who tweeted (yes, that’s a verb now) “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin” following the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Another unrespectable leftist, Jane Fonda, tweeted that Sarah Palin “holds responsibility [for the shooting]. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party.”
To the extent that Tea Party rhetoric inspires violence, it seems almost exclusively to be the Left and big unions who feel violently inspired when Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck or the hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens who attend Tea Party events express disapproval with the big-government dystopia that the Leftists long for and which they thought was their inevitable destination following the election of a president whose lifelong strongest influences were men of the radical, violent, hateful Left. It’s no wonder that Tea Party members have been far more — perhaps infinitely more — likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators. And nothing about Jared Lee Loughner changes that.