I don't really agree with the Doghouse Riley quote--that our debate is about how to remove the pieces of ggshell from our omlette... I think the debate resembles a woman's magazine devoted to telling you how to pick glass and blood out of your hair after you've been attacked by your husband.
To which we reply, first, that if I'd thought of something that good I would have used it, and you can send your stuff our way anytime. And, second, that we are taken out of context; that prissy little food fussiness which never addresses the source of the problem is what the Democrats have played at all these years; the Republicans, meanwhile, have been taking a cleaver to whatever was in their way, joint of beef or bowl of soup.
And before we go on: as the howling takes the argument further and further afield--one of the intended effects of howling--leave us note, and keep repeating, that when we speak of a poisoned public discourse we are speaking of the Republican rank and file reacting to what are clearly the modest and mainstream acts of democratically-elected officials as if the Fucking Hounds of Hell had been unleashed and placed under the telepathic direction of Zombie Karl Marx. This is not the political speech of The Chimperator, or Bush=Hitler, for the simple reason that 70-damn-percent of Republicans believe Obama's a socialist. And 60% think he's a Muslim. This is not an obscure point. It's just one that the punditocracy in this country--which deserves a helluva lot of blame--choses to ignore. There is such a thing as critical mass. There is a distinction between an angry, liquored-up mob usurping the national debate and a couple of undergrads with a free hour and Photoshop.
SQUALOR: Christ, this Brooks thing has been hanging around my desktop all week, like three-quarters of an awful sandwich you didn't throw away. This is Bobo aroused: passive aggressive, careless about facts, and in full defense of the Republican vote machine while simpering his "dislike" of Sarah Palin. (Just once, you know, just fucking once I'd like to see his dislike of some Republican who embarrasses him at weekend cocktail parties expressed as dislike.)
Mainstream news organizations linked the attack to an offensive target map issued by Sarah Palin’s political action committee. The Huffington Post erupted, with former Senator Gary Hart flatly stating that the killings were the result of angry political rhetoric. Keith Olbermann demanded a Palin repudiation and the founder of the Daily Kos wrote on Twitter: “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin.” Others argued that the killing was fostered by a political climate of hate.
These accusations — that political actors contributed to the murder of 6 people, including a 9-year-old girl — are extremely grave. They were made despite the fact that there was, and is, no evidence that Loughner was part of these movements or a consumer of their literature. They were made despite the fact that the link between political rhetoric and actual violence is extremely murky. They were vicious charges made by people who claimed to be criticizing viciousness.
Let us not even bother asking What mainstream news organizations "linked" the attack to Palin's map, rather than brought the thing to readers' attention; let's ignore the fact that Gary Hart was arguing that inflammatory rhetoric has consequences, not that it pulled the trigger, and that among them is its effect on "unstable" individuals; let's ignore Keith Olbermann and Markos Moulitsas altogether, since that's a tradition around here almost as old as praeteritio.
Wait. On second thought, let's do consider what Hart said on the day of the shooting: "Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric." How does that differ from what's said in a thousand pulpits every Sunday in this country by self-appointed spokesmen for God? If "the gravity of the charges", if "viscousness in the pursuit of viscousness"gives such offense, and tars people so unfairly, where's all the complaints about that? And we're not talking about the comments of someone in the hours after a tragic event that made a lot of people very goddam angry, Mr. Brooks; we're talking about a stock in trade. Any event to which a readymade moral opprobrium can be attached it will be attached. Every sordid event in the tabloid press is proof of the Apocalypse, and the Liberal cabal working to tax it. Every Gay Pride parade is Babylon come to Murrica Herself, and every gay man a walking compendium of psycho death germs (sent by God, by God!) which will shorten his life and that of everyone he ever fornicates with. How often was "What Homosexuals Do" read into the Congressional Record, Mr. Brooks?
And this, of course is but the tip of the iceberg; if you manage to ban the practice FOX News is gonna be showing dead air sixteen hours a day. Every Liberal in this country is Julius Rosenberg, and has been for sixty years. How often is "traitor" bandied about? How often has 9/11 been portrayed as the work of the Left, in spirit if not in deed? Your entire political worldview, Mr. Brooks (we've been trying to tell you this for years), is based on rococo elaborations of Dirty Pinko Bastards Are Poisoning Our Water Supply which were in full cracked filigree before you were born, only you're too lazy to look it up. We don't have a single fucking political issue in this country that isn't tainted like this, Mr. Brooks: terror, immigration, health care, the budget, and all of it by your side. For years. Because votes. Sure, occasionally someone like the comedy team of Falwell & Robertson catch some flack for saying Homos brought down the WTC. Who do they catch it from? Not you. The most this warrants from you is a little uncomfortable grimace which is supposed to indicate your principled moderation, but which in fact is a measure of how little you want to discuss it.
There's a libertoonian sense in our politics that all the insanity on the Right--which you economic "conservatives" imagine you control the way you control where the line forms at the bank--is just that; that it's not real, that it will go away or collapse under the weight of its own stupidity when the time comes, and hence need not be mentioned, lest attention be drawn. But "liberalism"--even the dishwater centrism of the President--must be subjected to rigid strictures of behavior, and ad hoc rules of Unintended Consequences, or it might break out into economic justice or something. This generation, this era, is too far gone to imagine creating an anodyne version. It's too late for you to denounce rash words spoken for political ends. And it's a joke that you do so only when it comes from anyone you're not aligned with, with, of course, the dash of "I don't like Sarah Palin" as pretend leavening. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with". That wasn't the Trailer Trash Half-Term Governor who embarrasses you so, Mr. Brooks. It was the Republican Saint. Talking about people squatting in a park. Go, as they say, fuck yourself.