Monday, January 10, 2011

Sanity And Boehner Rising

You want sensible reactions to Saturday's tragedy? Two out of three ain't bad. From this morning's New York Times:

“I don’t understand how anybody can be held responsible for somebody who is completely mentally unstable like this,” an adviser to Ms. Palin, Rebecca Mansour, said in an interview with a conservative radio host, Tammy Bruce. Responding to accusatory messages on the Web, Ms. Mansour added: “People actually accuse Governor Palin of this. It’s appalling — appalling. I can’t actually express how disgusting that is.”

Ms. Mansour said that the cross hairs, in fact, were not meant to be an allusion to guns, and agreed with her interviewer’s reference to them as “surveyors symbols.”
Two problems with that. First, it's almost impossible to believe that they weren't intended as cross hairs. Mansour helps neither Palin nor the country by claiming otherwise. Second, "disgusting"? She may think that, but playing the victim when the only victims were in Tucson is, again, poor form. Palin must find a way to adjust her public posture. She can acknowledge the reality of an unfortunate situation -- the correlation between recent events and her frontier rhetoric and choice of graphics -- without taking any personal responsibility. If she doesn't, I don't see how she avoids becoming a marginal figure in U.S. politics.

Meanwhile, at the White House:
Mr. Obama was considering delivering a speech about the greater context surrounding the shooting, but advisers said it was premature to do so until Ms. Giffords’s condition stabilized and more became known about the gunman’s motives.
Sounds just right, especially in the light of the comments by a Clinton administration veteran:
“The only way you gain political advantage is by doing absolutely nothing to take advantage — and not have a lot of people backgrounding about how clever your political strategy is,” said Michael D. McCurry, who was Mr. Clinton’s press secretary at the time of the Oklahoma bombing.
This is a situation where political advantage and the moral high ground may well coincide, not only for Obama but the GOP. Regardless of what we learn about the suspect, in fewer than 48 hours it's become a commonplace to say that we have to restore some civility to our political and media conversation. But the only way to do that is just do it. Scapegoating Palin or anyone else for Tucson is an escalation in the political wars. So is the Palin camp's own harsh, defensive rhetoric.

One Republican who has gotten it right is the speaker of the House, John Boehner. He's done so, as far as I can tell, because of the quality of his heart, which has been much derided recently. We could do worse than having his tear-stained face as the new face of responsible conservative leadership.


Ed Cimler said...

The shootings in Arizona were a tragedy, but to assign blame to Sarah Palin is ludicrous. Cross hairs are commonly used to denote close scrutiny. Palin no more advocates shooting people than does the liberal news show that uses the same symbol.

MK said...

Sarah Palin's problem is her crybaby rhetoric (common also on Roger Ailes's FoxNews) which tries to delegitimatize anyone who is not GOP. She comes across a a bully girl who can't cope with living in a democracy (I'm convinced the dumb "real Americans" by Palin rhetoric cost McCain some votes in 2008). She exemplifies the type of right winger who is clueless how cowardly the image she projects is, and how any gun or crosshair rhetoric just amplifies the cowardice.

Totally unaware of how she comes across. Given the right's Limbaugh scared big bully image, so different from the age of Reagan (yep, I voted for him twice), the last thing she or any bully should ever use is a crosshair symbol. Especially when you have people out there such as Stephen Ducat writing books such as The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity. No need to feed that anxious masculinity thing but she doesn't get that. (Fox's wide eyed scared looking blonde anchors don't help, either.) Conservatives need to stay out from the gun stroking images, lest they feed the Ducat's of the world who are waiting to pounce on them and laugh at perceived manhood issues.

It's just a weak era for the right at the moment, I think a younger generation of conservatives won't come across as so gun cluthcingly needy. The problem isn't with conservative principles, it's with the people who exemplify it on Fox on talk radio at the moment. Palin is right up there with them, sadly for cons.