In his speech last week to an audience in Tucson after the terrible event there, President Obama said:
If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.
Presumably after a bit of soul-searching prompted by the president’s plea, rightwing talk show blowhard Rush Limbaugh responded by posting this graphic on his website, depicting shooter Jared Loughner surrounded by, I suppose, his alleged leftwing influences. (And no, you don’t have to be a fan of any of them to find the attempted connection utterly ridiculous and offensive.)
That’s right. After a week or so of assuring us (correctly) that the gunman was a mentally-disturbed man with no clear political motivation, the meme on the right has shifted. Sarah Palin picked up on the theme in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News (skillfully dissected by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show), calling Loughner “an apolitical or perhaps even left-leaning criminal.”
Palin went on to say with a smirk: “Those on the left, if it weren’t for double standards they’d have no standards.”
Now if we define “those on the left” roughly as those who vote Democratic in presidential elections, we would find that, plus or minus a few percentage points, they amount to about half the voting population. So Stewart proposed this as a campaign slogan for Palin if she runs in the next election:
As one who believes in the fundamental good sense of the majority of American people, I expected a negative public reaction to Palin’s post-Tucson performance. And I was right.
I do, however, admire her willingness to say what she really thinks, no matter how unpopular it makes her with the majority of Americans.
Unfortunately the performance this week of Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, whom I’ve admired, wasn’t any better. Cool it, Congressman.