Gifford’s office had dealt with threats of violence before, over the issue that gets the Randian Regressive Tea Party’s Colonial breeches in a bunch more than any other: health care reform.
Defenders of the Tea Party have distanced themselves from the Loughner shooting in an argument that can best be summed up with the four word sentence:
Loughner was crazy.
Anyone who has visited Loughner’s YouTube page and tried to parse his senseless syllogisms will come to the same conclusion. However, watching the Tea Party faithful circle the wagons to distance the hateful rhetoric they have been spewing with increasing volume these past several years from the act of a gunman who sought out an elected official that Sarah Palin had placed her crosshairs on is an exercise that brings to mind the proverbial phrase, popularized by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, Hoist with their own Petard.
Or is it?
Shakespeare’s meaning embodies an ironic justice wherein the creator of a weapon is then defeated by said weapon.
The question that should be part of the ongoing debate about the vitriol now endemic of right wing punditry and politics is this: does the right wing benefit politically from an environment where hate, fear, and violent rhetoric occasionally spills over into actual violence?
The clear answer is yes.
I am not suggesting any actual link between a right wing political organization and Jared Lee Loughner. No evidence at this stage in the game has surfaced to suggest anything of the sort.
However, when Jesse Kelly, the Tea Partier who ran against Giffords in 2010, held a gun-themed fundraiser and advertised it with an ad that said read "Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office, shoot a fully automatic M-16 with Jesse Kelly" do you think that high level Right wing political strategists were wincing or cheering behind closed doors as they analyzed the political expediency of a candidate for Congress in a State with some of the most lax gun laws in the world whipping up his followers by placing the words “remove Giffords from office” and “shoot a fully automatic M-16” in the same sentence?
When grown men stating showing up at town hall meetings attended by the President of the Unites States with signs that read, “We came Unarmed, this time!” Was that a plus or a minus in the political momentum that lead to the Republicans taking back seats in the midterm election?
Or how about when someone actually did show up to a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that the President of the United States was speaking at with a handgun strapped to his leg to leg while carrying a sign referencing the Thomas Jefferson quote I spoke of earlier. That man with the gun held a sign that read, “It is time to water the tree of liberty.”
Finally, with this as a backdrop, and responding to the justified criticism of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin upped the ante with her famous call to arms: “Commonsense Conservatives and lovers of America: Don't retreat, Instead -- RELOAD!"
Again, do you think Republican strategists – in their private thoughts and meetings, thought all of this a poor strategy?
The answer clearly, is no.
Add all of these things up, and it leads to an environment that benefits the political aspirations of the far right wing lunatic fringe in this country. Evidence of this can be seen in the 2010 election, and further evidence will be found as the right wing pundits and behind the scenes strategists dance the delicate dance of fanning the flames of fear and hatred behind the scenes, while distancing themselves from real life political assassinations in public.