Last night, Obama said this in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Giffords:
And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.
And this is what Michelle Malkin said:
Shall we ban the phrases and images “target,” “bulls-eye,” “train your sights on,” “in the cross hairs,” and “gunning for” from the English language and all political ads now?
And this is what Jonah Goldberg at the National Review said (with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek):
Alas, I cannot think of what to call this cessation in militaristic discourse, since none dare call it a “truce” or a “ceasefire.”
Obviously Malkin and Goldberg can’t possibly imagine using anything other than violent language and imagery when describing people they don’t agree with politically. To ask them to do that is “nuts”! How would they get by? How would they express their hatred for people on the other side of the aisle? Why would anyone want to campaign for office if they feel like it is socially unacceptable to put cross hairs over the name of your opponent? What is America without the right to do that without having to face any criticism? Why can’t things just be like they were in the olden days, the better days? What direction is this nation heading in? Why must Obama have compassion? WHY? My brain hurts.
Joe Guzzardi, in an act of conflation and hyperbole, suggested that “the goal of Dupnik, Mills and others who have weighed in over the weekend,” asking for politicians and pundits to cease using violent language to refer to political opponents is to restrict the First Amendment. Criticism doesn’t restrict the first amendment.
And over at RedState.com, they said:
Having failed to hang direct responsibility about our neck — an action very accurately described by Sarah Palin as “blood libel” — they moved on to Phase II which is “everyone needs to watch what they say… especially you wingnuts who are violent and since the left doesn’t say violent stuff so we’re okay.” This, too, has wilted under even the cursory scrutiny it was given by the press. Over the past decade the calls for the assassination of President Bush, the trashing of ROTC offices, the incitement of troops to mutiny, the daily scurrilous calls for violence by websites like DailyKos and by the now happily defunct Air America were part and parcel of what passes for speech on the left. That nothing happened is due more to the lack of manliness (with the exception of Amanda Marcotte) and ambition on the part of the left than any reticence to actually engage in violent acts.