George Will explores “The charlatans’ response to the Tucson tragedy:”
On Sept. 6, 1901, President William McKinley, who had survived the battle of Antietam, was shaking hands at a Buffalo exposition when Leon Czolgosz approached, a handkerchief wrapped around his right hand, concealing a gun. Czolgosz, an anarchist, fired two shots. Czolgosz (“I killed the president because he was the enemy of the good people – the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime.”) was executed, not explained.
Now we have explainers. They came into vogue with the murder of President Kennedy. They explained why the “real” culprit was not a self-described Marxist who had moved to Moscow, then returned to support Castro. No, the culprit was a “climate of hate” in conservative Dallas, the “paranoid style” of American (conservative) politics, or some other national sickness resulting from insufficient liberalism.
Last year, New York Times columnist Charles Blow explained that “the optics must be irritating” to conservatives: Barack Obama is black, Nancy Pelosi is female, Rep. Barney Frank is gay, Rep. Anthony Weiner (an unimportant Democrat, listed to serve Blow’s purposes) is Jewish. “It’s enough,” Blow said, “to make a good old boy go crazy.” The Times, which after the Tucson shooting said that “many on the right” are guilty of “demonizing” people and of exploiting “arguments of division,” apparently was comfortable with Blow’s insinuation that conservatives are misogynistic, homophobic, racist anti-Semites.
On Sunday, the Times explained Tucson: “It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But . . .” The “directly” is priceless.
Three days before Tucson, Howard Dean explained that the Tea Party movement is “the last gasp of the generation that has trouble with diversity.” Rising to the challenge of lowering his reputation and the tone of public discourse, Dean smeared Tea Partyers as racists: They oppose Obama’s agenda, Obama is African American, ergo . . .
Let us hope that Dean is the last gasp of the generation of liberals whose default position in any argument is to indict opponents as racists. This McCarthyism of the left – devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data – is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas. It expresses limitless contempt for the American people, who have reciprocated by reducing liberalism to its current characteristics of electoral weakness and bad sociology.
Note the cartoon an editor at the Post chose to highlight to the right of Will’s column. (Click to enlarge):
Update: The cartoonist who drew the above cartoon run by the Washington Post doubles down when questioned: “Danziger: Tea Party ‘Ultimately to Blame’ for Tucson Shootings.”