The Empire Strikes Back

Along with many others, I have suggested that in the wake of James Hodgkinson’s rampage, Democrats should look in the mirror and consider whether the insane climate of hate they have fomented over the last seven months contributed to the overtly political crime committed by one of their fervent supporters. Despite the Democrats’ prior attempts to blame the actions of crazed leftists like Jared Loughner, who listed The Communist Manifesto among his favorite books, on Republicans, they take umbrage at the idea that their calls for “Resistance” might have gone too far. The Associated Press reports: “Dems bridle as some in GOP blame shooting on the left.”

As a top Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, lay in critical condition at a local hospital Thursday, some Republicans on the far right suggested that vitriolic rhetoric on the left could be to blame for the attack that put him there.

The “far right”? I guess they mean people like me. But note how the AP immediately tries to isolate and discredit the idea that the Democrats’ actions may have had something to do with their follower’s attack on Republican Congressmen. (“Are they Democrats or Republicans?”)

“How dare they say such a thing? How dare they?” retorted Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, pointing to a year of venomous attacks by Republicans including President Donald Trump.

Anyone who thinks we have just undergone a year of “venomous attacks” by Republicans is living in an alternative universe. But hold that thought for now.

“The center of America is disappearing, and the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left,” GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa said over Twitter.

Republican Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania rose on the House floor to issue a call to “replace the hateful rhetoric and resistance with respect,” a comment seemingly aimed at an anti-Trump “Resist” movement.

Those are mild comments; milder than I would make. It is fair to say that violence has been incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left, who every evening on television call President Trump a Nazi, a fascist, a racist, a misogynist and a traitor; who denounce him in similar terms in every entertainment awards show; who were calling for his impeachment before he was inaugurated; who condone rioters who, wearing black masks, smash store windows with bricks and assault Republicans; who make it impossible for a conservative to give a speech on a college campus; who say, every day, that Republicans are trying to make everyone sick and destroy the planet; who display the president’s severed head as a trophy and enact his assassination in Central Park; and so on ad infinitum.

But the Democrats are in no mood to look in the mirror:

“The comments made by my Republican colleagues are outrageous,” declared Pelosi, the Democratic leader from California.

Ms. Pelosi is not given to introspection. On the other hand, she thinks she may have found the real culprit: Donald Trump.

Pelosi and other Democrats charged that Trump himself bears responsibility for the virulent state of political discourse — and some said for Wednesday’s attack as well, given his embrace of aggressive rhetoric on the campaign trail and the outbreaks of violence at some of his rallies.

There is a difference between “aggressive rhetoric” and severed heads and bricks through windows during an inauguration. And why were there “outbreaks of violence” at some of Trump’s campaign rallies? Because Democratic Party operatives paid provocateurs to disrupt the rallies in hopes of starting fights.

Next, the AP turns to Democrat James Clyburn, who is best known for lying about a Tea Party rally. Clyburn claimed that he had been barraged with racial insults, when many videos of the incident showed his claims to be false, and despite a substantial cash bounty, no one was ever able to come up with the slightest evidence that Clyburn’s smear was true.

“I think that the president contributed to this significantly,” said Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat. Clyburn charged that Trump “is allowed to hide behind political correctness to say all kinds of things about people, and I’m a little bit sick and tired of people saying anything they want to say about anyone they want to say it about.”

I am not sure I can parse Clyburn’s critique, but I think it is sufficient to say that someone who falsely alleged that he was subjected to racist epithets is no position to complain about “people saying anything they want to say.” If Clyburn had any decency, he would retire quietly from public life.

Remember Mark Sanford? The South Carolina politician, once spoken of as possible presidential timber, crashed and burned in an epic scandal years ago, but recovered sufficiently to win a House seat. Sanford knows how to get good press: bash his fellow Republicans.

At least one Republican shared the view that Trump bore some responsibility for the shootings.

“I would argue that the president is at least — is partially — again, not in any way totally but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed,” said South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford in an interview on MSNBC.

When does the primary campaign start?

The AP tries to help us understand the Democratic Party’s point of view:

Democrats remain deeply upset about Trump’s win and by his presidency, and frustrated over how to channel the energies of a restive and angry base. Convinced that Trump and his Republican allies are largely to blame for the nation’s acrimonious political discourse, many bridle over any suggestion to the contrary.

They can bridle all they want, but when has a Republican proudly displayed the severed, bloody head of Nancy Pelosi? Or Chuck Schumer? Or Barack Obama? When have Republicans thrown bricks through store windows or assaulted Democrats on the street? When have Republicans rioted to prevent Democrats from speaking on college campuses? When have Republicans accused Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer of treason? When have Republicans sent provocateurs into Democratic presidential rallies to start fights? When have Republicans urged “Resistance” against a Democratic president who they claim is a Nazi?

What do the Democrats mean by “Resistance”? Obviously, they mean to evoke the resistance against Nazi Germany by the French and others. Seriously? Are they completely demented? Perhaps they are. But the French Resistance, the Norwegian Resistance, et al., didn’t rely on pamphlets and op-eds. They used firearms. Is it really a surprise that one avid Democrat took up arms to Resist on his party’s behalf? And how likely is it that more Democrats will Resist with firearms?

There is more to the AP story, but it isn’t worth much more attention. There is this:

For their part, some Republicans seem taken aback by an intensity on the left that threatens to overwhelm them in the 2018 midterm elections. Tired of being in a defensive crouch as Trump comes under attack from Democrats and the media for breeching political norms, some jumped at the opportunity to turn the tables and contend that Democrats, too, are part of the problem.

Got that? Black-masked rioters throwing rocks through bank windows and college rioters assaulting conservative speakers and students constitute “intensity on the left.” The Republicans, meanwhile, are just concerned about re-election, and are “jumping at the opportunity” to “turn the tables” and “contend that the Democrats, too”–too!!–“are part of the problem.”

The Associated Press, having set forth the position of the Democratic Party, retires for the evening, but will be back to do battle on behalf of liberalism tomorrow.

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