Friday, January 14, 2011

Honesty Be Damned!

Now that the whole “blame the tea party and Sarah Palin” effort has been thoroughly discredited and lip service has been paid to the “let’s tone down the political rhetoric and all play nice” idea, it’s time to consider some truly salient issues raised by the massacre in Tucson.
My print column is up.

In the meantime, left-winger Joe Conason comes late to the liberal effort to blame his conservative enemies for the "toxic environment" that encourages the "crazies" to act violently.

There is still no evidence that Jared Loughner acted out of any conservative political motive. All the evidence points to a lone madman in the grips of mental illness. The effort to slander and put blood on the hands of Palin, Beck and Limbaugh, has been repudiated, even by a fair number of liberals.

But rabidly partisan progressives like Conason are counting on a strategy of telling a lie often and long enough that it becomes accepted as common knowledge. Such behavior does not detract from the poisonous atmosphere they claim is so dangerous and that they pretend to be so concerned about.

When Conason's fellow liberal Jonathan Chait found that intellectual honesty required him to defend Sarah Palin from the smears being hurled at her, he was chided by one of his readers:
Good lord, Jon! Who cares if it's intellectually dishonest to attack her and pin this on her... If you're trying to argue that this won't work, then you're wrong... Most Americans will buy these attacks on Palin, by the way, regardless of the facts. Why? Because they don't like her."
That's Conason's strategy, in a nutshell. Honesty be damned.

On Wednesday night, President Obama avoided such partisan lies and attacks. He counseled against them, and in so doing rose to the occasion for which he went to Arizona; to mourn the dead, pray for the wounded and grieve with their families. Too many people in the crowed treated the occasion like a pep rally, whooping and cheering at inappropriate times. But that wasn't the President's fault. His speech was dignified, moving, statesman-like and honest.

The next night, liberal rabble rousers, like Chris Matthews, were at it again. After pretending to be outraged and disgusted by Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel" the night before, he explicitly refused to guided by the decency expressed by the man who once put "a thrill up his leg."

He's got his job to do, Matthews told Pat Buchanan, and I've got mine.

Apparently, he sees his job to be the same as Joe Conason, Paul Krugman, and Chait's reader, fire up the base, use the tragedy to score partisan political points, and to hell with reason, fairness, decency and the truth.

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