by Donald Douglas | January 15, 2011 11:22 am
The problem here isn’t really about “civility” or being nice, it’s about accuracy and not treating your audience like you respect them. — Matthew Yglesias
On January 8th Yglesias was among the very first progressives to allege Sarah Palin’s responsibility for the shooting in Tucson. And by now the one thing we know with crystal clarity is that Jared Loughner acted alone, without a shred of incitement from the alleged “heated rhetoric” of the political right. But read the whole thing. Yglesias writes that Americans tend “to dramatically overstate the ideological stakes in our political debates.” I have to disagree. And it’s kinda funny, but I had the same reaction today when reading Ronal Brownstein’s essay, “Apocalypse Always“:
In fact, the stakes in our political debates, though substantial, are rarely so large. The parties’ visions are distinct but not so disparate that they risk a rupture with American tradition. Each side operates along the continuum of debate over the proper balance between government and the private sector that has shaped American politics since Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. This isn’t arm-wrestling between Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek.
Now, unlike Yglesias, I respect Brownstein. But he’s wrong too. And not only that, there’s some confusion here between fundamental ideological programs and the rhetorical fervor in which those programs are expressed by the respective sides. The Obama-Democrat program is radical and, until the the election last November, was promising substantial structual change in American society. Yglesias, a fellow at George Soros’ Center for American Progress, is simply lying. Brownstein, a great and respected maintream political analyst, is simply uninformed. Folks might recall Mark Steyn’s majesterial essay from 2009, “Prime Minister Obama: Will European Statism Supplant the American Way?” (full essay available here). Some folks have been under no illusions.
But this is getting beside the point.
The fact is that folks like Matthew Yglesias have blood libeled Sarah Palin, conservatives, and the tea party, and no amount of “accuracy” has so far been able to shake loose the despicable death grip of political blame from the progressive left.
See James Taranto from earlier in the week, for example, “Violent Fantasy Goes Mainstream on the Left“:
There is no denying that “relentlessly hostile rhetoric” can be found on the right, and also on the left. (On the center, too, for that matter.) Opinions will vary as to where the problem is worst, and it is human nature to find fault with the other side more readily than with one’s own.
That said, it seems to us there is a very strong case to be made that the ugliest political rhetoric of the past 48 hours has been that coming from the side whose leading voices are attempting to make sense of a senseless crime by blaming their opponents for it.
Or perhaps we should say from the side that is attempting to exploit the crime in this manner.
Well, yes. Exploitation it is.
IMAGE CREDIT: iMaksim.
RELATED: “The Progressive Smear Machine Blames the Right – Again.”
CROSS-POSTED: “Accuracy, Civility, and the Violent Fantasies of the Progressive Left.”
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