We should be done with the insulting stupidity of the Left’s “Climate of Hate” narrative now that President Obama told them to knock it off, right? In his speech last night, the President declared, “Let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy – it did not – but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.” The italicized part was included spontaneously by the President, to drive this point home. He also said that “what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.”
Of course, this call to civility came after the President’s allies spent four days loudly indicting conservatives as accessories to murder, a campaign that led to a frightening surge of death threats against one of their primary targets, Sarah Palin. It’s a little like coming home to find that one of your kids has beaten the other one to a pulp, and sternly instructing them both to knock off the roughhousing.
No matter how well-crafted the President’s admonition might have been, or how tardy its delivery, it still won’t work. The Left won’t stop this “Climate of Hate” crap. They can’t.
For one thing, they would look incredibly bad if they stopped now. The first blood libel blog post from Paul Krugman came Saturday night after the Giffords shooting, and was followed by full-length editorials from both Krugman and the Times board the next day. These editorials were not general “everyone should calm down” pleas for civil discourse. They specifically targeted conservatives and Republicans. As Krugman put it, “Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the Right.”
They can’t back away from such a double bet on aggressive dishonesty, at least not until the ever-shifting news cycle provides a way to do it surreptitiously. Indeed, the Times editorial from Thursday, following Obama’s speech, makes it clear they think he agrees with them, and his call for honest and civil debate was aimed entirely at the Right:
“It was important that Mr. Obama transcend the debate about whose partisanship has been excessive and whose words have sown the most division and dread. This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents. The president’s role in Tucson was to comfort and honor, and instill hope.”
Do you grasp what they’re saying? They think they were right about the Climate of Hate all along, and Obama was just giving the right-wing hatemongers a relaxing tongue bath in Tucson, to help them calm down. The Left will not drop the blood libel, because that isn’t what they heard Obama tell them to do last night. The New York Times may be bleeding subscribers, but they’re still enormously influential with the rest of the media. They’ll remember Obama’s speech the way the Times tells them to.
The Climate of Hate mutates instead of dying. The new action line is that merely responding to the slander of the Left is a hate crime. This is most notable in the response to Sarah Palin’s video message from Wednesday morning. A half-baked narrative of nebulous anti-Semitism was cobbled together over her use of the term “blood libel,” which led to the astonishing insult that she used the term as a “dog whistle” to the knuckle-dragging bigots of the Tea Party.
Even if Palin had avoided the phrase “blood libel,” she would have been excoriated for merely objecting to being accused of complicity in murder. By releasing her video, she “demonstrated that she has little interest – or capacity – in moving behind her band of grievance-based politics,” wrote Jonathan Martin in the Politico. You see, objecting to vicious and brutal slander, leveled at you by professional liars, is “grievance mongering.” Next thing you know, that dizzy snowbilly will start whining about the blizzard of death threats being made against her! Larry O’Donnell of MSNBC went as far as suggesting Palin’s video was meant as an insult to Gabrielle Giffords.
The blood libel also endures for the same reason liberals always fall back on charges of greed, racism, or similar paranoid fantasies: it’s all they’ve got. These people are deeply frightened by America’s decisive turn against them. They have no logical arguments left – the wreckage of their failure is strewn from coast to coast. The blood libel is a wail of desperation from a dying movement furiously trying to claw its way from the grave of history. They’re screeching at Middle America to ignore the devastating arguments against them, because the people making those arguments are evil.
For all of these reasons, the liberal attempt to smear conservatives with Jared Loughner is not going to stop. They’re going to try repeating it until it’s burned into the American psyche. When they realize it’s not working, their rage will be incandescent. The true “Climate of Hate” comes from the Left, and it will not dissipate.