Conservatives are circling their wagons around Sarah Palin and other incendiary figures on the right in the wake of Saturday’s shooting spree in Arizona. The latest is Weekly Standard editor, and Palinisto Bill Kristol, who said that Palin’s critics are practicing “McCarthyism.”
On C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” Monday morning, Kristol claimed there’s no evidence to suggest that shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner is an acolyte of Palin’s. “The attempt to exploit this tragedy is distasteful,” Kristol said.In the wake of the tragedy, partisans and law enforcement officials — including FBI Director Robert Mueller — have argued that a preponderance of hateful rhetoric can incite unstable people to commit acts of violence. Palin most famously created a target list of vulnerable Democrats, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and drew crosshairs over their districts on a map; the graphic was controversial at the time and, in the wake of the shooting, has gotten moreso. Her aide Rebecca Mansour now says those bullseyes were not intended to be gunsights — an explanation that defies credulity.
Yesterday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) perpetuated a growing conservative meme that Loughner has as much in common with radical conservatives as he does with radical leftists.
“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.”
[H/T: The Hill]