Sarah Palin has apparently been hiding behind her computer screen as it seems that her handlers have noted a correlation between her opening her mouth and her being pegged as a moron. The recent shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has shown, however, that the internet is not necessarily the insulation that Palin perhaps thought it was.
Do I blame Sarah Palin for …
… Gabby Giffords’ shooting at the hands of apparent nutjob Jared Loughner? No.
At the same time, however, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Giffords appeared on Palin’s website under a rifle crosshair. Although the targeting of Giffords was surely meant in terms of politics, not mass murder, Giffords herself raised concerns about potential repercussions to Palin’s dubious metaphor in an MSNBC interview that has been making the rounds since the shooting.
Still, is it fair for Palin to be under fire (no pun intended) for crass campaigning?
Ms. Palin’s close circle of advisers and supporters asserted that bringing her name up in connection with the Tucson shooting was unfair, and that she should be able to ignore it as liberals try to score political points or as the news media try to provoke controversy.
“I’m just waiting for the D.C. media to link Sarah Palin to birds, crabs and fish dropping dead around the planet because she has an outdoor reality show and enjoys hunting, because the two are about as connected,” said Nick Ayers, the departing executive director of the Republican Governors Association, who has at times given Ms. Palin advice. “Whether you love her or you don’t, no normal American thinks we should view this tragedy through the lens of her next political move, nor will they.”
But even some Republicans sympathetic to Ms. Palin suggested that she needed to find a more substantive and nuanced means of addressing the criticism to avert any risk to her political standing and to maintain control of her political narrative.
In other words, “The Annie Oakley thang’s getting old, Sarah … and saying things like, ‘Don’t retreat, reload’ does not look good given the current state of affairs.”
And realizing that she had to say something, Palin chose to make her statement through that paragon of fairness and equality Glenn Beck.
Under criticism that her political rhetoric had helped create a climate for political violence, Sarah Palin addressed the issue in trademark fashion: via e-mail to the conservative commentator Glenn Beck.
“Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence,” Ms. Palin wrote to Mr. Beck in an e-mail that he read Monday on his radio program.
Mr. Beck said he received the message over the weekend, when Ms. Palin and her aides were otherwise ignoring requests for comment about the Tucson shootings from members of the mainstream news media.
Yup, vintage Palin!
And it’s getting increasingly difficult for the Republican coterie to defend her, if right-wing golden boy Tim Pawlenty is any indication. (And to be completely fair to Palin, Pawlenty is widely thought to be her competition for the Republican nod in 2012.)
“There’s no indication at present that those cross hairs, Fox News, any particular commentator or show or set of remarks or person was a motivating factor in his thoughts,” Mr. Pawlenty said of Mr. Loughner.
When asked if he would have produced a similar map, Mr. Pawlenty said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”
There seems to be a basic belief among Republicans that Palin is going to have to cut the social networking snark if she wants to be taken seriously. I find Sarah Palin as deplorable as anyone does, and I think her Giffords crosshairs would never have become the issue that it has if she’d just come out and apologized (or at least expressed remorse) in a legitimate, honest, straightforward way.
But she didn’t … and people are noticing.
Ari Fleischer, who served as White House spokesman for President George W. Bush, said Ms. Palin had to address the shootings with more than a Facebook post, though he said he would advise her to wait a few days as the political dust settled.
“At a time like this,” Mr. Fleischer said, “what the nation wants more than anything else is for people to rise above the nonsense and the politics and to be gracious. There’s nothing like letting people see your heart, your emotion. Facebook and Twitter don’t convey emotion.”
So why is it that Sarah Palin can’t have the basic human decency to openly and vehemently denounce this despicable violence in more than a cutesy social networking status update or a letter to Glenn Beck?
I cannot understand how anyone can support this woman …