On his radio show today Rush Limbaugh claimed that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are innocent of spreading violent rhetoric that might have influenced Jared Loughner because, “I mean he never, probably never paid attention to Sarah Palin. All of his friends say he didn’t like things political.” That is the best defense of Palin that Limbaugh could come up with.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Limbaugh said, “What Mr. Loughner knows is he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on. He knows that a Democrat Party, the Democrat Party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows that if he just plays his cards right that he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America. The bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia of America, the mean spirited ness of America, so he sits around, he get reports.”
Limbaugh then launched into a defense of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, “He understands that. I mean he never, probably never paid attention to Sarah Palin. All of his friends say he didn’t like things political. This guy’s been on the Sherriff’s radar in Pina County since 2007. Long before Sarah Palin was nominated to run with McCain and long before there was a Tea Party. That smiling mug shot, this guy clearly understands that he is getting all the attention. This guy understands that he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure that he is not convicted of murder. He’s a victim. He’s deranged. He’s smiling. He’s snickering at every one of us in that mug shot.”
Limbaugh claims that Democrats are trying to get Loughner convicted a lesser charge, but I guess Rush doesn’t read The Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Loughner appeared Monday in federal court—his head shaved, shackled at the waist and dressed in a beige jail jumpsuit—to hear the government’s charges of murder and attempted murder against him.” By the way, those government charges of murder are federal charges. It’s the same federal government that a Democrat oversees from his position as president. In fact, reports are that Loughner is going to face the death penalty, so much for the Democratic Party trying to get Loughner a lesser conviction.
The truth is not a single Democrat, much less the Democratic Party has come out in support of Jared Loughner. When would the Democratic Party support a man who attempted to assassinate a Democratic member of Congress? This notion makes as much sense as Limbaugh’s defense of Palin and the Tea Party. The shooter may have been on the radar of the sheriff as early as 2007, but Limbaugh ignores the fact that violent right wing rhetoric could have pushed an unstable person towards violence.
The fact is that no one is directly blaming Sarah Palin or the Tea Party for the events of this past weekend. Through her actions and words during the 2010 midterm elections, Palin has become the face and the voice of right wing violent rhetoric. I have not heard it said by anyone that Palin or the Tea Party directly influenced the shooter. What Limbaugh is trying to do is ignore the adult discussion about the influence that extremist and violent political rhetoric can have on our society.
Of course, Rush Limbaugh does not want to have this discussion. The man behind the golden microphone has become extraordinarily wealthy by taking to the airwaves and spewing extremist rhetoric on a daily basis. Limbaugh tried to pull the typical conservative tactic of changing the discussion from being one about rhetoric to whether or not Palin and the Tea Party influenced Loughner. Limbaugh’s childish defense of Palin proves that he, she, and the rest of the right don’t have a leg to stand on, so all they can do is try to distract us from the topic of discussion as quickly as possible.