Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, sent a succinct message on his Twitter account: "Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin," linking to a blog post featuring the controversial map sent out by Palin's political action committee in March, marking the congressional districts carried by John McCain in the 2008 presidential election whose representatives had voted for President Barack Obama's health care plan. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, writing on his "Conscience of a Liberal" blog on the Times website, spelled it out further, writing:
We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She's been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she's a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that "the whole Tea Party" was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin's infamous "crosshairs" list.
AOL News contributor Michael Arceneaux added:
It could very well be coincidental that Giffords just happened to be one of the 20 House Democrats Sarah Palin placed on her "target list." But by using crosshair images to show each targeted politician's district and telling her supporters via Twitter, "Don't Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD!," she unnecessarily employed imagery and expressions that indirectly glorified violence.However, as the story continues to unfold, and information continues to come out about the suspected shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, the move to link Palin and the tea party to the Giffords shooting has been loudly criticized.
Writing in The Washington Post, columnist Marc Thiessen, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise institute, wrote:
What is really outrageous is how quickly so many jumped at the opportunity to politicize this tragic shooting -- blaming the Tea Party and conservative political rhetoric without a shred of evidence to back those claims.Howard Kurtz, the Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast, expressed similar sentiments, writing:
This isn't about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map; it's about a lone nutjob who doesn't value human life. It would be nice if we briefly put aside partisan differences and came together with sympathy and support for Gabby Giffords and the other victims, rather than opening rhetorical fire ourselves.Kurtz also points out that Palin's "crosshairs" map, while "dumb," was not out of character for U.S. political discourse, writing:
Let's be honest: Journalists often use military terminology in describing campaigns. We talk about the air war, the bombshells, targeting politicians, knocking them off, candidates returning fire or being out of ammunition. So we shouldn't act shocked when politicians do the same thing.By the same token, mention has been made of this map, circulated by the Democratic Leadership Committee in 2004, placing bulls-eye marks on states President George W. Bush won by single-digit margins in 2004.
As Loughner nears his court appearance today at 4 p.m. EST, he is being widely described as a disturbed individual. Reports name the "Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" among his favorite books. However, debate about the role of Palin and the tea party in the shooting is likely to continue.
What influence do you believe Sarah Palin and the tea party had on Loughner's actions? Leave your thoughts below.
More Surge Desk coverage on the Tucson, Ariz. shooting:
Jared Loughner Mugshot Released [PHOTO]
Judy Clarke, 'Unabomber' Lawyer, Will Represent Jared Lee Loughner
Jared Lee Loughner's Worldview a Conspiracy-Theorist Laundry List [VIDEO]
Poll: Was Sarah Palin's Crosshair Imagery Inappropriate?
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