Let's put aside, for now, the unhinged left's ongoing violent rhetoric and imagery against former President George W. Bush, Palin, conservative talkers and others on the right. Let's put aside that if certain rhetoric causes violence, then liberals' false depictions of Palin as advocating violence or their fraudulently smearing Rush Limbaugh as a racist based on manufactured stories could lead to violence. Finally, let's put aside that notorious liberal Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos, targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for defeat using the term "bull's-eye" and that another Daily Kos contributor wrote, "My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!"
Instead, let's focus on the left's accusation. It is patently ridiculous and puerile. No intellectually honest person believes that Sarah Palin had violence on her mind in using that imagery or that her words could be fairly construed to promote violence. More importantly, liberals know that neither Palin's "maps" nor rhetoric had anything to do with the mass murder. Therefore, it is irresponsible and incendiary for any of them to make this suggestion.
But they're going way beyond making the suggestion. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed Palin and Sharron Angle and refused to back down when confronted about having not a scintilla of proof to support his slander.
And no less a Democratic luminary than former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart wrote, "Gradually, over time, political rhetoric used by politicians and the media has become more inflammatory. ... Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. Those with a megaphone, whether provided by public office or a media outlet, have responsibilities. They cannot avoid the consequences of their blatant efforts to inflame, anger, and outrage."
"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric"? Is Hart completely oblivious to his rank hypocrisy? He had no proof that inflammatory rhetoric from anyone -- left, right or apolitical -- had anything to do with the shootings, yet with his own irresponsible rhetoric, he made a clear causal connection between conservative rhetoric and the murders. (He also made clear that he had right-wing rhetoric in mind: "in the name of the Constitution" and "patriotism.")
This wholesale absence of proof also didn't prevent New York Times columnist Paul Krugman from tying the shootings to a "climate of hate" created by Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, etc.
In all likelihood, this terribly sad and tragic event was not politically motivated at all, at least not by either particularly conservative or liberal ideas. What is political is the left's unconscionable scheme to exploit the tragedy for political gain by using it to demonize and silence opponents and intimidate them from effectively blocking Obama's radical agenda. Republican congressmen must respectfully push forward with the same intensity they've finally been exhibiting, unencumbered by the leftists' sordid efforts to paralyze them.