Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sarah Palin's Target Shot

This is a vile and hideous thing: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head point-blank at a public appearance in Arizona. She and six others were killed. Giffords was one of the names listed on the "target map" Sarah Palin's PAC put out last March. No way of knowing yet if the two events are connected; either way, Palin should have "refudiated" the map's message from the moment it was first released; will she at least have the decency to repudiate it now?

Assassination is never the answer, dammit. When I saw the horrific news about Giffords, I'd originally gone online intending to blog about yesterday's news that a package addressed to Janet Napolitano ignited in Washington DC. As head of the DHS, Napolitano is personally responsible for every atrocity committed by any TSA agent -- but the way to solve the TSA problem is not through assassination, damn it. And damn you, whoever sent that package. And especially damn the gunman in Arizona who murdered Congresswoman Giffords.

What the hell is happening to my country?

EDIT: It's maybe 20 minutes later, and the news just said Giffords is in surgery. So she is not dead after all; I have no idea what her chances are, but of course hope the surgeons can bring about as full a recovery as possible.

SECONDARY EDIT: Still no word on the shooter's stated motivation, but even if he outright said "I did it for the glory of Sarah," I highly doubt Palin literally wants the 20 Democrats on her target list to be shot and killed; she's simply too goddamned dumb to understand why such imagery goes beyond the pale. Palin's dangerous the way a very small child is dangerous: not from ill intent, but utter cluelessness.

Lord knows I'm not above using emotive imagery rather than cool logic to discuss politics -- in my last anti-TSA column I linked to a photo of a TSA agent on his knees feeling a traveler's crotch, then invited a hypothetical agent to "sniff my crotch like the dog that you are." So fine, yeah, I'll compare my political opponents to animals ... but "crotch-sniffing dog," while undeniably insulting (as was my intent), doesn't have the implied threat of, say, "cockroach deserving of extermination." In a years-ago blog post here I discussed the difference between saying "I wish Fred Phelps would drop dead" versus "I wish someone would kill Fred Phelps." I'm fine with the former, not with the latter, and the problem with Palin is that she so often uses the latter mode of speaking, not even because she really believes it, but because she's too goddamned stupid to realize why she shouldn't.

TERTIARY EDIT, 8:15 pm: So it appears the man who shot Congresswoman Giffords and killed five other people -- including a little girl only nine years old -- is a rambling loon whose motivation for the shooting only makes sense to people who also know which part of Catcher in the Rye includes the message "go kill John Lennon."

With luck, Giffords will not only live, but make a full recovery. But a little piece of our democracy just died; for all the problems facing our country -- yes, and outright corruption and criminality, too -- our elected officials should well fear losing their jobs in an election, or even impeachment. Our bureaucrats should fear getting fired, with loss of all pensions and benefits. None of these people should ever fear for their lives, only their livelihoods in politics, and while I hope Giffords makes a full recovery, I also hope this leads to a toning down of the violent, vitriolic tone that's been paralyzing politics too long.

15 Comments:

Anonymous No said...

Wouldn't it be just as easy to blame this on Van Jones and his ongoing call for violent revolution.

Or Francis Piven who also has made recent speeches looking forward to revolution.

Keith Olberman blames the rhetoric of Glenn Beck, despite the fact that Beck has repeatedly said violence is not the answer. Beck has pointed out that violence is exactly the reaction that the radical progressives want.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Anonymous commenter, it appears the gunman's insanity had little-if-anything to do with Palin's "target list." Still, when discussing political opponents, a wise person (as opposed to that twit Palin) takes care to avoid the appearance of murderous impropriety: despite all the vociferous anti-TSA things I've written here, for the Guardian or for any other publication, if some nut goes on a killing spree against TSA agents, you can go through my archives with a fine-toothed comb and not find anything that sound remotely like "Yo, readers, those TSA agents damn well deserve to die." (I have said multiple times that TSA agents deserve to lose their jobs, but I've written nothing about them that sounds remotely like incitement to violence.)

For all that I despise the likes of Janet Napolitano et al, I know better than to, for example, print a list of the names of all TSA bureaucrats I loathe, complete with little gunsights over their addresses. I'll call for my fellow American to boycott flying until the TSA vanishes, but I won't tell them, as Palin told her followers, "Don't retreat -- reload!"

As I said in my second edit yesterday: it's not that your gal Palin actually wants those 20 Dems on the "target list" to be killed; it's just that Palin is/was too stupid, and too thoughtless, to ever ask herself questions like "Is there any way my heavy use of gunshot/target imagery could later bite me in the ass?"

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shameful! Certainly you are aware the Democrats have used similar maps with targets pasted over the districts they were "targeting". Shame on you or anyone who blindly uises these kind of events for their ruthless political gain. Shameful!!!

10:09 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Anonymous, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican; I'm a libertarian who has the courage to put my actual name next to what I write. (You might want to try it sometime.) And if ever a Republican gets shot, you're damned right I'll castigate any dimbulb Democrat who, in retrospect, appeared to call for such violence.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"appearered to call for such violence"! Are you kidding? Putting survey markers (not targets or gun sights) on a map of districts you want to defeat in an election is "appearing to call for such violence"??? Are you kidding?? Have you even seen the long list of Democrats who called for actual violence?

THE "TONE" OF THE COUNTRY IS SET FROM THE "TOP"!!!

“Don’t you think we’re not keeping score, brother” – Chairman Obama

“Bring it on”- Obama Regime to The American People.

“Get ready for hand-to-hand combat with your fellow Americans” – Obama

“I want all Americans to get in each others faces! – Obama

“You bring a knife to a fight pal, we’ll bring a gun” – Obama

"Republicans are our enemies"--Obama

10:11 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Second anonymous person: Palin then should've kept her target list up on her Facebook page, or at least offered some explanation why she took it down. Instead, she took it down, has said nothing about it, and clearly hopes this whole matter goes away. If she made some public statement "refudiating" the horrible crime, but kept the target list up and included an explanation about the importance of free speech and the first amendment, and how she refuses to let violent lunatics dictate public discourse in the US, I could grudgingly respect that. But she didn't stick to her guns (for all that she loves to shoot them off in other contexts). Your gal is a coward. I stand behind everything I've ever written and published under my own name. Palin lacks the courage to do the same.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

or at least offered some explanation why she took it down.

I read that one of her spokeswomen said it was taken down because the elections were over. I don't think for a moment that Palin lacks the courage to "stand behind" what she said - what I think is that she is proceeding very cautiously. Perhaps she doesn't know the best thing to say, and so, with more wisdom than many give her credit for, or upon sound legal and political advice,has chosen to remain silent for the most part. I'd say it was a smart move - I've read comments already calling for lawsuits. BTW, the infamous gunsights were placed on a map of congressional districts.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Lawsuits are of course bullshit, but pulling down the map still accomplishes nothing after it's already been copied all over the Internet (as indeed happened when it first came out).

5:49 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

but pulling down the map still accomplishes nothing after it's already been copied all over the Internet (as indeed happened when it first came out).

I disagree. Sure, there is no way she and her people can pretend the map never existed, and I don't think they are fools enough to think they could - but taking it down might be ascribed to a sense of common decency, as well as to avoid the appearance of callousness. Not only could that be important both politically and legally, it might even be sincere - difficult to know.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

"Common decency" is precluded by her apparent pretense nothing happened. If, in retrospect, she decided she didn't want her name associated with the map after all, then say so. Palin probably doesn't understand this -- given that she can't even answer the question "Which newspapers do you, personally, read," she's obviously not very bright -- but: everyone makes mistakes, everyone says things which in retrospect they wish they didn't -- and if you admit it and apologize, you can still be worthy of respect. But just pulling it, pretending it never happened and hoping it will all blow over when that clearly isn't going to happen is simply pathetic.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Another thing to consider, Smartass: she's a politician. It's one thing for entertainers to use overheated rhetoric -- I include talk-show hosts and op-ed writers as "entertainers" here -- but politicians are supposed to be a little more refined. A couple months ago I wrote a blog post openly speculating about the homosexual masturbatory fantasies of an anti-gay bigot politico. I can get away with that shit because I'm just a private citizen who neither has nor seeks political power, but much of what I write here -- while appropriate for a blogger -- would be wildly inappropriate for a politician.

Of course, if you ask me to name a book or magazine or newspaper that I personally read, I could handle that question even if I were drunk, stoned and drifting off to sleep. Palin was unable to handle it sober and with prep time. In other words, I'm not a stupid goddamned idiot and she is. And I don't need to frantically delete blog archives when bad things happen to my political opponents, either. For all the vociferous things I've written about people like Giffords who voted for healthcare reform, how many of those things did I need to delete last weekend? Zero. None. Zilch.

Sad when a foul-mouthed ex-stripper has a better sense of decorum than the would-be goddamned president of the US.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

"Common decency" is precluded by her apparent pretense nothing happened. If, in retrospect, she decided she didn't want her name associated with the map after all, then say so.

She didn't pretend that "nothing happened" - she has expressed her sympathies and condolences publicly.

And what makes you think she doesn't want her name associated with that map? Because she neither defended nor disavowed her campaign rhetoric or literature? I've already speculated on several reasons why she might have been unwilling to do that, besides "common decency." By common decency I mean the reluctance to figuratively kick someone when they're already down: How many of Teddy Kennedy's political enemies, do you suppose, made a point of mentioning to his widow what an asshole they thought he was? Their silence didn't mean they had changed their opinions of him.

...I'm not a stupid goddamned idiot and she is.

Uh, no, she isn't...and neither are you,(however, you do seem to suffer from Palin Derangement Syndrome. :-) ) Do you really think someone gets as far in life as she has without being intelligent? She may or may not be all that well educated - her college history is nothing to brag about and she certainly doesn't seem to be what I'd call an intellectual - but no one I ever heard of accomplishes as much as she has both politically and financially without being one sharp cookie of some kind. A city councilwoman, a mayor, state governor, vice presidential candidate, a national political figure and spokeswoman, a best-selling author and a millionaire, not to mention a possible presidential candidate - all by age 46 or 47? Not "very bright"? Yeah, I should be so not very bright.

... given that she can't even answer the question "Which newspapers do you, personally, read," .........I could handle that question even if I were drunk, stoned and drifting off to sleep. Palin was unable to handle it sober and with prep time.

But she did answer the question and your observation about prep time is a key to why she answered as she did. According to an interview with her, which I read, she had already spent enough "prep" time with Katie Couric to develop a healthy resentment of the woman's condescending attitude. So she answered rather impatiently or frustratedly, "all of them." Maybe she felt that was all the answer the woman deserved. According to Palin she grew up with a school teacher in the house (her father,) so she was encouraged and accustomed to read books and other things from an early age and still does.

Sad when a foul-mouthed ex-stripper has a better sense of decorum than the would-be goddamned president of the US.

Oh, do you mean the would-be goddamned president of the US presently in power? ;-) Anonymous, further up this page gives a good idea of that con artist's "sense of decorum" and "refinement."
I get that you can't stand Palin, but come on - when have politicians in this country ever been "refined" during an election campaign? The rhetoric was way more over the top a hundred years or more ago - read some of the stuff written during Lincoln's presidential campaign - or Jackson's. Most politicians don't assume or resume their veneer of refinement until after they've won the election and can pretend they are somehow so superior to us lowly serfs who were born with dung between our toes.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

"Common decency" is precluded by her apparent pretense nothing happened. If, in retrospect, she decided she didn't want her name associated with the map after all, then say so.

She didn't pretend that "nothing happened" - she has expressed her sympathies and condolences publicly.

And what makes you think she doesn't want her name associated with that map? Because she neither defended nor disavowed her campaign rhetoric or literature? I've already speculated on several reasons why she might have been unwilling to do that, besides "common decency." By common decency I mean the reluctance to figuratively kick someone when they're already down: How many of Teddy Kennedy's political enemies, do you suppose, made a point of mentioning to his widow what an asshole they thought he was? Their silence didn't mean they had changed their opinions of him.

...I'm not a stupid goddamned idiot and she is.

Uh, no, she isn't...and neither are you,(however, you do seem to suffer from Palin Derangement Syndrome. :-) ) Do you really think someone gets as far in life as she has without being intelligent? She may or may not be all that well educated - her college history is nothing to brag about and she certainly doesn't seem to be what I'd call an intellectual - but no one I ever heard of accomplishes as much as she has both politically and financially without being one sharp cookie of some kind. A city councilwoman, a mayor, state governor, vice presidential candidate, a national political figure and spokeswoman, a best-selling author and a millionaire, not to mention a possible presidential candidate - all by age 46 or 47? Not "very bright"? Yeah, I should be so not very bright.

... given that she can't even answer the question "Which newspapers do you, personally, read," .........I could handle that question even if I were drunk, stoned and drifting off to sleep. Palin was unable to handle it sober and with prep time.

But she did answer the question and your observation about prep time is a key to why she answered as she did. According to an interview with her, which I read, she had already spent enough "prep" time with Katie Couric to develop a healthy resentment of the woman's condescending attitude. So she answered rather impatiently or frustratedly, "all of them." Maybe she felt that was all the answer the woman deserved. According to Palin she grew up with a school teacher in the house (her father,) so she was encouraged and accustomed to read books and other things from an early age and still does.

Sad when a foul-mouthed ex-stripper has a better sense of decorum than the would-be goddamned president of the US.

Oh, do you mean the would-be goddamned president of the US presently in power? ;-) Anonymous, further up this page gives a good idea of that con artist's "sense of decorum" and "refinement."
I get that you can't stand Palin, but come on - when have politicians in this country ever been "refined" during an election campaign? The rhetoric was way more over the top a hundred years or more ago - read some of the stuff written during Lincoln's presidential campaign - or Jackson's. Most politicians don't assume or resume their veneer of refinement until after they've won the election and can pretend they are somehow so superior to us lowly serfs who were born with dung between our toes.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous smartass said...

Shit! Sorry for the double post!

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the Target Corporation's logo incite you to open fire upon Target stores?

12:01 PM  

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