I’ll be sparingly live blogging the events in Tucson here. Please join in with your own thoughts in comments. Here is the event schedule if you haven’t already seen it. I’ve already noted the oddities in that program so I won’t belabor them at this point. Let’s see what transpires.
Update (7:06): I’m already a little creeped out by all the boisterous cheering.
Update (7:09): I’ve decided not to live blog this. I’ll write up some thoughts after the memorial’s conclusion.
Update (8:19): It’s ending with a moment of silence. President Obama spoke for about 34 minutes, and jumped right into the calls to restrict political speech, even though he admitted that political rhetoric had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. The entire spectacle has been repugnant and unpresidential, more resembling a pep rally or basketball sendoff than a memorial. I kept expecting people in the crowd to wave giant foam fingers or call for the hot dog vendor. This event provided no healing, only boisterous cheers drowning out what’s left of public decorum.
There was one good moment, when the heroes who saved Rep. Giffords’ life hugged her husband. But the rest was farcical, off note, inappropriate and grating.
Future politicos, please heed this advice. Never hold a memorial service in a university arena, and never give out T-shirts prior to the event. Those two choices set the tone for this entire spectacle. Some will excuse the bizarre atmosphere or blame it entirely on those in the audience to deflect attention from the president. But the president’s team had the final call on everything. They could have demanded a more suitable setting, and set a more appropriate tone. They didn’t. This gauche spectacle is the Obama administration’s fault. The tone of the event overshadowed whatever good words of comfort and honor were in his lengthy speech.