Alexander: Unlike Tea Partiers, Shooter Read Marx, Hitler, And Burned U.S. Flag


On CNN Sunday morning, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sought to deflect blame for yesterday’s attack in Arizona away from the Tea Party.

Twice, unsolicited, Alexander highlighted facts about the culprit that clash with tea party norms.

“What we know about this individual, for example, is that he was reading Karl Marx, and reading Hitler, and burning the American flag,” Alexander said. “That’s not the profile of a typical tea party member if that’s the inference that’s being made.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Across the Nation, Vigils Held for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords]He’s referring to this YouTube page, supposedly created by shooting suspect Jared Loughner, in which he lists the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf among his favorite books. (Alexander cherry picked from the full list: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.)

Alexander’s statements reflect the defensive crouch Republicans find themselves in after Saturday’s shooting. They came in response to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the same program, who criticized Sarah Palin’s violent rhetoric. Alexander said politicians and journalists should avoid drawing connections between the shooting and the broader political environment.

“In all of the talk about this, we have to be very careful about imputing the motives or the actions of a deranged individual to any particular group of Americans who have their own political beliefs,” he said.


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at