Conservative pundits and bloggers searched frantically on Tuesday for any one person (or problem) on which to pin the blame for the chaos and violence this week in Baltimore.
As Fox News host Shepard Smith chided his colleagues Monday afternoon, it’s useless to point fingers while the situation on the ground is still unfolding. That didn’t stop some from trying to find fault with Baltimore’s mayor, President Obama, or the parents of the city’s disadvantaged youth.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
It took little more than two days for the right to make the city’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, into a scapegoat for the looting and burning that rocked Baltimore’s streets.
Bloggers and pundits focused on one comment Rawlings-Blake made in a Saturday news conference, after violent individuals stirred up trouble in the city’s Inner Harbor neighborhood: “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that.” Conservative talk radio king Rush Limbaugh went as far in his response to the mayor as to invoke the 2012 Benghazi terror attack.
“Baltimore, like our ambassador in Libya, was left unprotected and undefended,” he said. “Those who wished to destroy were given space to do it ‘on balance.’”
Real estate mogul and perennial presidential hopeful Donald Trump faulted both Rawlings-Blake and President Barack Obama for what he said was ineffective leadership that allowed violence to spread through the city. Conservative news blogger Matt Drudge tweeted a similar sentiment:
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) April 28, 2015
Fox News’ resident psychologist and race-hustler Dr. Keith Ablow, who has long warned that Obama sees America as its own biggest threat, also participated in the blame game. In an appearance on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Ablow said the violent demonstrators had a “lack of respect” for the nation’s founding principles.
“If you want to change things, you work within the system, that is the way it has always been,” Ablow said. “If you want to tear down the system, you might be taking your cues, by the way, from a president who has given the appearance that there is every justification for any level of anger at our country because we’re such despicable people.”
Joe Walsh, the former Illinois Republican congressman and current talk radio host, pointed the finger Tuesday at Democrats, who he said “have purposely turned blacks into uneducated government slaves.”
That sentiment rippled through the conservative blogosphere. At National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson asked: “When will the Left be held to account for the brutality in Baltimore — brutality for which it bears a measure of responsibility on both sides?”
“There aren’t any Republicans out there cheering on the looters, and there aren’t any Republicans exercising real political power over the police or other municipal institutions in Baltimore,” he observed.
John Nolte at Breitbart News made virtually the same argument, describing the tumultuous atmosphere as “Democrat infighting.”
“The thugs using the suspicious death of Freddie Gray (at the hands of a Democrat-led police department) to justify the looting that updates their home entertainment systems, are Democrats protesting Democrat leaders and Democrat policies in a Democrat-run city,” he wrote. “Poverty has nothing to do with it.”
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol even suggested the GOP seize the opportunity to make the violence in Baltimore into a 2016 campaign issue:
Winning GOP message: Against anarchy & chaos, at home & abroad. Cheney-Giuliani 2016 probably too much to hope for…But if not them, who?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 28, 2015
Rev. Al Sharpton
“The Five” co-host Eric Bolling asked Monday where the nation’s civil rights leaders were as the situation in Baltimore deteriorated. Even as fellow Fox News host Shepard Smith protested that they should be paying attention to the situation on the ground, Bolling pressed the issue.
“It might be a nice idea, nice timing for one of the higher profile civil rights leaders who tend to come in after the fact and say look how bad things are with the police officers but if they come in right now and say, hey, let’s call for peace and have some calm here,” he suggested. Soon after, Bolling directly asked “Where’s Al Sharpton?”
Former GOP Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial candidate E.W. Jackson also weighed in on Sharpton’s planned two-day march in Baltimore.
“The good people in Baltimore need to stand up and tell these folks you don’t represent us, Al Sharpton, you don’t represent us, we will solve our own problems working together with our elected leadership,” Jackson said Tuesday on “Fox and Friends.”
Presidential contender and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday that the violence in Baltimore could be traced back to a breakdown in family structure and the looters’ lack of fathers — which he insisted wasn’t a “racial thing.”
The same theory was bandied about Monday on Fox News, where both “The Five” co-host Greg Gutfeld and pop psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, separately, asked the same question: “where are the parents?” (McGraw actually praised a mother who was captured on video striking a young man reported to be her son for participating in the violence).
Conservative darling Dr. Ben Carson, a former pediatric neurosurgeon and Baltimore resident, also directed his concern at the city’s parents.
“I urge parents, grandparents and guardians to please take control of your children and do not allow them to be exposed to the dangers of uncontrolled agitators on the streets,” he said in a statement to the Daily Caller.