Posted Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011, at 8:35 AM
Five days after the Tucson shootings, and five days after she started getting pilloried for a "target map" of candidates that Gabrielle Giffords, Sarah Palin responds . It's a well-crafted statement, complete with a phrase meant to pop out at the lamestream media:
If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
The final part of that bolded part is most interesting to me. Not "blood libel" -- that's a phrase Glenn Reynolds and other conservative/libertarian pundits had been using since Sunday or thereabouts. It's the other part, that the coverage of Palin served "to incite the very hatred and violence" that liberal pundits were condemning. She doesn't say it, but I assume Palin got angry or hateful e-mails, and possibly some death threats, in the wake of the shooting. The Palin narrative was dying down yesterday -- I think the Stranger 's cover marked the end of it -- but she gives it a few thousand more pages by implying that the liberals who went after her were inciting violence.
There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those "calm days" when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government.
Palin was never going to say "sorry, I was over the top when I talked about retreating and reloading," but that's how I read this -- she's no angel, this is not an ideal world. I'd be very surprised if we hear "don't retreat, reload" on the campaign trail again (whether Palin runs or whether she merely campaigns for people).
UPDATE: IowaHawk points me to a video rundown of Twitter hate against Palin.