Apparently, Sarah Palin Now Thinks Heated Political Rhetoric Can Lead To Violence

In the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Sarah Palin reacted quite angrily to the suggestion that her political rhetoric contributed somehow to the tragedy:

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

Palin also said:

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Palin was  singing a different tune, though, when she appeared on Fox News Channel earlier this week:

During an appearance Thursday night on Sean Hannity’s TV show, Sarah Palin had a warning about the protests going on against the bill just signed by Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) to curtail public employee unions — saying that unions should “tone down the rhetoric” against the bill, because it will result in people getting hurt.

Hannity and Palin discussed the death threat delivered to the Republican state Senators, which the state is currently investigating. Hannity said: And as soon as cuts start being made, we see there the violent rhetoric, the threats, this reaction. Do you think we’re gonna see a lot of more of this? In other words, is this the beginning of things to come?”

“Well, these union bosses that are acting like thugs, as they are leading some of their good union members down a road that will ultimately result in, unfortunately, somebody getting hurt,” Palin said, “if you believe the death threats that are being received by those who just happen to support amending some collective bargaining privileges of state unions. Well, it is these unions bosses’ responsibility to turn down the rhetoric and start getting truth out there, so that nobody gets hurt.”

So, which is it? Is strong political rhetoric part of America’s great political traditions, or is it the first step to violence? Or am I just being naive to expect intellectual consistency here?

Video:

FILED UNDER: Politicians, Quick Takes, Sarah Palin, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Smooth Jazz says:

    “So, which is it? Is strong political rhetoric part of America’s great political traditions, or is it the first step to violence? Or am I just being naive to expect intellectual consistency here?”

    I understand your xenophia and obsession with Gov Palin requires you to get a post up everytime she breathes, but what’s your point here really?? All sides are guilty of heated rhetoric and her pointing out the hypocrisy of the Labor supporter Libs in WIS is reasonable. The ratio of the number of posts from you versus the other posters here is like 1000 to 1 across the board. Man, you have a severe case of Palin Derangement Syndrome that is, regrettably, beyond help at this point.

  2. John Malkovich says:
  3. John Malkovich says:

    Jazz,

    What’s odd is that not even the KOS idiots here at OTB bother with these immature threads anymore.

    So much for the excuse of internet traffic.

  4. anjin-san says:

    > Or am I just being naive to expect intellectual consistency here?

    Yes. Palin is guided by a well worn principle of the modern conservative. The expedience of the moment…

  5. jwest says:

    1, A graphics company working for Palin used a symbol to convey that a district was “targeted”.

    2. Insane leftists send unambiguous, direct death threats to state senators.

    Doug believes the two are the same.

    (sigh)

  6. john personna says:

    Boy, given that even handed and complete history from jwest, how could we disagree?

    (Or, knowing how much jwest had to f’ with history to get that 1-2, how could we feel anything but sadness.)

  7. Tlaloc says:

    1, A graphics company working for Palin used a symbol to convey that a district was “targeted”.

    2. Insane leftists send unambiguous, direct death threats to state senators.

    Doug believes the two are the same.

    Leading republican figures with audiences of millions use violent rhetoric with regards to the left. Some deranged few people (maybe one) person sends death threats to GOP state senators in WI. In addition the last few years have had dozens of incidents of right wing violence against the left and I think maybe 2 incidents going the other way?

  8. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Since when does death threats constitute “heated political rhetoric”?

  9. Contracts says:

    Xenophobia?

  10. Tano says:

    Smooth Jazz,

    You are the most boring commenter on this site, with your rabid Mataconis Derangement Syndrome. At least when Doug posts about Palin, it is always some new issue that she has brought to our attention. Your comments about Doug are never new – the same old nonsense over and over again. Could you spare us, please?

  11. Eric Florack says:

    the last time governor Palin spoke on the subject, suggesting that he did political rhetoric does not directly lead to violence, You objected. So now when she uses your position as a basis, you still object. Why do I get the feeling that anything the woman says and I do mean anything constitutes a target for you?

  12. John Malkovich says:

    Tano,

    You are the most boring commenter on this site, with your rabid Palin Derangement Syndrome. When Doug posts about Palin, it is always the same issue. Your comments about coservatives are never new – the same old nonsense over and over again. Could you spare us, please?

  13. John Malkovich says:

    http://www.prozac.com

    (OK, you can delete this post now)

  14. tom p says:

    the last time governor Palin spoke on the subject, suggesting that he did political rhetoric does not directly lead to violence, You objected. So now when she uses your position as a basis, you still object.

    ERIK (or should I say “Bit-head”???)(I get so confused) The last time Semi-Gov Palin spoke on the subject, Doug M AGREED with her that violence was NOT connected to rhetoric.

    Get your facts straight before you shove your penis in your mouith

  15. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Smooth Jazz, You are the most boring commenter on this site, with your rabid Mataconis Derangement Syndrome. At least when Doug posts about Palin, it is always some new issue that she has brought to our attention. Your comments about Doug are never new – the same old nonsense over and over again. Could you spare us, please?”

    Whoppee, Isn’t that just terrific – A far left whack job criticizes my response to Doug’s typical anti Palin blather – Isn’t that original. This blog and this poster has some kind of psychotic attachment to a female politician he continually claims is irrevelant and you don’t think that’s odd and bizarre. I think you’re drinking to much of that KOS “Kook Aid”.

  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    Xenophobia?

    A Xenomorph is a large sneeky alien creature that has acid for blood and lays it’s offspring in you chest via your mouth via a nasty spiderish crab like critter with a powerful tail.Fear them!

  17. NJfan says:

    First time posting for me and I totally agree with this article, Sarah Palin is a hypocrite and a known liar…hehehe….see some Palin panty sniffers here defending their idiot idol.

  18. John Malkovich says:

    First time posting for me and I totally disagree with this article, Barack Hussein is a hypocrite and a known liar…hehehe….see some Obama panty sniffers here defending their idiot idol.

  19. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Jazz, What’s odd is that not even the KOS idiots here at OTB bother with these immature threads anymore. So much for the excuse of internet traffic.”

    Great point. I used to think the guy would hive up Palin posts to drive traffic since his posts on her would generate a lot of comments, especially from the far left Palin Haters that flock to his threads. But now I’m not so sure. I’m increasingly convinced that this guy has a bizarre, psychotic attachment to the former Alaska Gov that even mundane comments she makes warrants posts from him that criticizes her in some weird way. Indeed, he seems to have it in for Rep women politicians especially Gov Palin.

    Notice how he runs the same picture of her every time he posts – With her holding her hands out as if she’s asking a question or doesn’t know something. I guess that is his way of saying she is stupid (ie by using the same picture to front each of his hit job posts). I found it odd that he would be the only one here posting about her 2 – 3 times a day, but didn’t really think much of it until I notied him using the same picture of her each time. That’s when I knew it went from simple criticism for someone you don’t agree with or like to a bizarre obsession that is difficult to explain.

  20. wr says:

    If Eric could shove his penis in his mouth, I can’t imagine he’d waste his time posting on blogs. And I assume that would go for every man here, right or left.

  21. wr says:

    Smoovie – Are you really so dim you’ve never noticed that this blog tends to repeat the same pictures for entries on the same subject? Have you never noticed that little piggy bank whenever they’re talking about money?

    Oh, wait, I know the answer…

  22. G.A.the Friendly Troll says:

    Back to the penis on the brain thing again guys? Why don’t you people worry about your penises instead of every one else’s? Same goes for everyone else’s mouth!

  23. anjin-san says:

    > Why do I get the feeling that anything the woman says and I do mean anything constitutes a target for you?

    Sort of like anything, and I do mean anything Obama says constitutes a target for you? Damn. Maybe you just are stupid.

  24. tom p says:

    Why don’t we all just let Bit-head reply to my my assertion???? that is, if he can remove his pen…. I mean foot, from his mouth…

  25. Terrye says:

    Well Doug, I am not a Palinista but there is a difference between strong rhetoric and honest to God death threats…people being harassed in their homes, people being mobbed, people requiring armed guards to get out of the building…and then there are the socalled demonstrators who are leaving chalk outlines with Walker’s name in them and threatening to use pipe bombs to blow stuff up while they take over the capitol in a mob scene. It was just the most over the top hysterical nonsense I have seen in years.

    And you know what? If the Tea Party had done half of this the left would be having a fit. But then the left are hypocrites.

  26. Tlaloc says:

    the last time governor Palin spoke on the subject, suggesting that he did political rhetoric does not directly lead to violence, You objected. So now when she uses your position as a basis, you still object.

    I think everyone here is very willing to say that death threats to GOP WI state senators are beyond the pale. That means there’s no inconsistency or hypocrisy on the left side, in both cases there is condemnation of violent rhetoric, while on the right there’s a clear (and irrational double standard) that excuses much more egregious behavior…by the right.

  27. Eric Florack says:

    I think everyone here is very willing to say that death threats to GOP WI state senators are beyond the pale.

    Then let them say so. So far I hear silence from those consistently attacking the right,

  28. wr says:

    Hey moron — Death threats are bad from right or left. Some idiot loser left death threats; we all condemn this cowardly, foolish, and destructive action. Now you.

  29. anjin-san says:

    Hey moron — Death threats are bad from right or left. Some idiot loser left death threats; we all condemn this cowardly, foolish, and destructive action. Now you.

    Could not have said it better. Anyone who sends death threats needs to face the full force of the law.

  30. anjin-san says:

    > honest to God death threats…people being harassed in their homes, people being mobbed, people requiring armed guards to get out of the building…and then there are the socalled demonstrators who are leaving chalk outlines with Walker’s name in them and threatening to use pipe bombs to blow stuff up while they take over the capitol in a mob scene.

    Can you substantiate any of this from credible sources? Keyword here is credible.

  31. Murray says:
  32. […] H/T: OTB […]

  33. G.A.the Friendly Troll says:
  34. Eric Florack says:

    Hey moron — Death threats are bad from right or left. Some idiot loser left death threats; we all condemn this cowardly, foolish, and destructive action. Now you.

    So where was this when such threats have been issued over the last several years against those on the right?

    You’ll forgive me if based on your previous behavior I don’t take you seriously

  35. Eric Florack says:

    Keyword here is credible.

    Did you just dare to utter the word ‘credible”? Experience to date suggests you have no clue as to the definition of that word.

    Irony overload.

  36. Jay Tea says:

    My prior comment got eaten by the spam filter, so instead of quoting the actual death threats, I’ll just link to Doug Ross’ compilation. And it’s worth noting that he predicted that these threats wouldn’t make the mainstream media — which the standard leftists here affirm.

    J.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Jay,

    So on the left, we have some far fringe nuts. They should be investigated and prosecuted if possible. On the right we have things like “second amendment remedies” coming from Senate candidates, and so on. The difference is noted. By rational people.

    I also note that your “proof” is a link to a partisan blog. Not very impressive.

  38. anjin-san says:

    Well, we have seen Palin embrace this core conservative principle, the expedience of the moment, more than once. No doubt we will see it again.

  39. wr says:

    Last night in a fit of pique I started a message with “hey moron.” That was far beneath the level of discourse this blog deserves and generates, and I apologize to all concerned, especially to whomever that comment was aimed.

  40. Jay Tea says:

    Lousy spam filter… just ate three versions of my intended comment.

    anjin, I just took ONE MINUTE and checked four of the threats that Ross cited, and confirmed each and every one. So much for your “if a source disagrees with me, it can be presumed to be lying” policy.

    Plus the e-mail death threatener has been arrested.

    Your theory is about as worthless as… well, you.

    J.

  41. Tlaloc says:

    So to be clear then I absolutely and unequivocally think that death threats (or any threat of violence) against WI GOP senators is unacceptable, they should be investigated by law enforcement. The action shames the person making the threat. And, if acted on, those threats are monstrous deserving of serious jail time.

    Any questions about that at all?

    No? Good.

    Now do you have anything to say about all the hateful rhetoric and threats and ACTUAL VIOLENCE by the right towards the left? I’d love to hear it.

  42. Jay Tea says:

    Yeah, Tlaloc, I got something to say about it. The GOP sucks at it. They’re amateurs. If they’re not going to play the game like the pros (as in the unions and the hard left), then they need to stop even trying. It’s pathetic.

    Oh, and I’m hoping that the Tea Party movement is taking careful notes about what’s going on in Madison. A whole shitload of tactics just became fair game.

    J.

  43. wr says:

    Jay Tea — so you think it’s a bad thing that the bomb planted by right wing extremists at an MLK day parade didn’t go off and kill hundreds of people? Thanks for clarifying.

  44. Jay Tea says:

    Dunno where the hell you got that idea, wr. I’m glad they failed, glad they were arrested, and relieved they didn’t get the advice of Obama’s old mentor, Bill Ayers, on how to properly build bombs.

    J.

  45. anjin-san says:

    Jay,

    If you are going to rant about Bill Ayeres, you should really tattoo, “I am a moron” on your forehead so as to provide full disclosure. As a bonus, maybe all the “hard left” violent hippie leftists you seem to be terrified of will take pity on you and not beat you up. That will leave you free to spend more time watching fake Fox video of “union thugs” in WI, compete with palm trees.

  46. Jay Tea says:

    I kinda miss the hippies, anjin. Unlike the leftists running the show now, they actually were non-violent. And I read an article a while ago citing how the true ideological descendants of the hippies is the Tea Party. I squirmed a little, but the author made a halfway decent argument.

    And since you’re playing the “hey, look over there” game instead of continuing the earlier discussion about the death threats in Wisconsin, I’m presuming you’re admitting you were talking out of your ass when you so blithely (and blindly) dismissed them earlier. I suspected you weren’t man enough to admit you’d been caught being an idiot…

    J.

  47. anjin-san says:

    j.

    do you really count a few nutjobs making threats as some kind of great victory for yourself? you must have quite a life. Zels does that pretty much every day in here. Taloc summed it up above.

    Let’s examine what I said”

    > Can you substantiate any of this from credible sources? Keyword here is credible.

    How exactly is that idiotic? I asked for some cititations. Gee, dude, you really got me there. Did your exhaustive research reveal any actual violence committed by these “union thugs”? Beyond fake video on Fox?

    Go ahead and hang your hat on the actions of a few whack jobs that Democrats condemn. Put that together with Obama’s “57 states” comment and you may be on to something.

  48. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, the recognition that there are quite a few dangerous, violent whackjobs on the left — especially in positions of prominence, and are actually lauded for the deeds — is not a victory for the right, but it’s definitely a defeat for those on the left who insist that the right has a monopoly on such thugs.

    I didn’t bother citing sources, because you’d already shown you wouldn’t likely accept whatever I proffered. So I simply went to the Twitter accounts shown in Ross’s piece and found the comments there. The “you’re f’ing dead” comment by the Dem legislator was national news. You’re just annoyed because i saw your plan — to make me waste my time citing sources, then dismiss them out of hand for some specious reasons — and ignored it. I know you won’t argue in good faith, so I’m not going to waste my time playing along. The accuracy of Ross’ piece can be verified in seconds by anyone who knows what they’re doing — so I’ll give you five minutes apiece.

    I’m also not waiting for the Democrats to condemn this — that’s a BS challenge. The “silence equals consent” argument is a load of crap — if we demand people condemn every single thing said or done by their reputed allies, they’d have almost no time to do anything else. I just want them to stop celebrating it. Organizing For America — the former Obama campaign that uses the barackobama.com — has its fingerprints all over this, and that means that this was literally done in Obama’s name. As long as he lets them use his name, he’s morally responsible for everything they do.

    One final point — it’s “Ayers,” not “Ayeres.” Give the man who described himself as “guilty as sin” the credit he earned.

    J.

  49. wr says:

    Gosh, Jay Tea, maybe I got the idea you were endorsing right wing violence when you endorsed right wing violence:

    Tlaloc: Now do you have anything to say about all the hateful rhetoric and threats and ACTUAL VIOLENCE by the right towards the left? I’d love to hear it.

    Jay Tea: Yeah, Tlaloc, I got something to say about it. The GOP sucks at it. They’re amateurs. If they’re not going to play the game like the pros (as in the unions and the hard left), then they need to stop even trying. It’s pathetic.

    It’s one thing to blithely contradict everything you’ve said in the past on the assumption that no one else has access to Google. But to attempt it between messages on a thread is pretty silly.

  50. Jay Tea says:

    wr, let me introduce you to a little concept called “sarcasm.”

    You called on me to say “anything” about it. So I said the first thing that came to mind: that when right-wingers try to attempt the kind of thuggery the left uses on a routine basis, they usually fail.

    The last truly competent (and note that the term “competent” is not in any way an endorsement of an accomplishment, but an entirely judgment-free assessment of ability) right-wing extremist I can think of was Timothy McVeigh — and I cite him because he seems to be the left wing’s favorite example. If there was a more recent one, I presume they would cite that one. And that was almost 20 years ago. Note that McVeigh was, by best reports, practically a “lone wolf” — just him and two buddies. No great conspiracy there.

    I don’t play the “here’s someone on your side who said or did something awful; condemn it, or I’ll assume you support it” game. I’m against political violence, for a variety of reasons.

    Here’s one you’d never attribute to me, I’d wager: because if it comes down to open warfare between the left and the right, your side would lose. Because my side has far more guns, and far better skill at using them. And I prefer to think of leftists like you as my opponents — but still my fellow Americans. I’m very chary about using loaded terms like “enemy.”

    Just remember that: in a contest between one side armed with a sense of moral and intellectual superiority and one side armed with semi-automatic weapons, the smart money will NOT be on the former side. And carefully consider if you really want to “declare war” on the right — like they’re starting to do in Wisconsin.

    It will not end well for all concerned, but worse for you.

    J.

  51. anjin-san says:

    > Because my side has far more guns, and far better skill at using them.

    Well certainly not among our political leaders, as those on the right seem to often find ways to, ahem, avoid service. At any rate, your 21st century civil war fantasy is noted, with sadness, but not really surprise.

  52. Jay Tea says:

    Curses, foiled again! anjin finds the fatal logic in my argument — that the ONLY way an American can get proficient with weaponry is through military service! O, I am slain!

    Jesus H. Jumping Christ on a pogo stick, anjin — if the military wasn’t far more Republican than Democrat, why the hell did the 2000 Gore campaign do everything it could to disqualify military absentee ballots? One of their top lawyers even sent out a memo on how to most effectively challenge and disqualify them.

    And your “chickenhawk” BS argument falls apart with what is I’m sure one of your favorite examples — Dick Cheney never served, yet he’s quite familiar and comfortable with firearms. And I’m still waiting to be shown that “shooting a lawyer in the face” is such a bad thing…

    I mean, come on. If there was going to be a duel between Cheney and Bill Clinton, or Cheney and Obama, I know who I’d bet on…

    Even for you, anjin, that was a truly pathetic and pointless cheap shot. Did some DUmmy or Klueless Kossack hijack your name?

    J.