Following the tragedy in Tucson, the leftist media has been pushing the meme that "toxic rhetoric" in politics needs to be toned down. I (dis)respectfully disagree. Conservatives will not be silenced by radicals who would love nothing more than for opposition to be muzzled to allow the Left to continue their march to socialism, unabated and uninterrupted.
During my morning pass through Twitter, I caught two key pieces on this topic from the American Spectator. In "Defending Toxic Rhetoric", Justin Paulette catches the point:
Those insisting that right-wing rhetoric is to blame for this, or future, atrocities have two goals: to generally disparage conservatives and to silence political opposition to liberal policies. The former is the typical politicking customary to baser characters in every party. The second, however, bears on a fundamental aspect of American democracy: free speech.
Now those who disagree will predictably and amusingly trot out the tired "yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater" argument to oppose the free speech point. Paulette hits this type of objection head on:
Certainly, speech has boundaries. The first boundary is legal. Words inciting violence or panic are excepted from First Amendment protections. But assertions that conservatives have engaged in such solicitations are absurd -- as evidenced by the dearth of examples accompanying accusations by Krugman et al. Even Democrat Paul Kanjorski's recent public suggestion that we stand the Republican candidate for Governor of Florida "against a wall and shoot him" doesn't reach the level of criminality. Again, Republicans have never uttered such invectives.
The second boundary is political. Political parties bear some responsibility to enforce rhetorical limits internally. For example, Democrats might have condemned any of the hundreds of liberal protestors holding various "Kill/Shoot/Hang Bush" posters at leftist demonstration across the country for eight years. Republicans have never had occasion to reprimand conservatives for such consistent depths of depravity.
If there was truly a need to "enforce rhetorical limits", believe me - it would have been done. Conservatives have been consistently more self-aware about such things than the Left, despite ludicrous claims and implications that folks like Cornell Belcher and Greg Sargent have been pushing, implying that the Right obviously uses more inflammatory rhetoric than the Left. After the shootings, the immediate response from the Right was to pray for the victims. The immediate response from prominent Leftists was to blame the Right, in particular, Sarah Palin. They saw a golden opportunity to take the heat off of their policies and push the GOP's plans to roll back the damage Obama has done. (And when Palin had the audacity to defend herself, they doubled down and accused her of overreacting - she should have just stood by and taken it)
One thing you did not - and will not - hear from the Right is a call to silence the Left, despite the repulsive actions of Moulitsas, et. al. We do not need governmental intervention. What we DO need, and what we WILL do, is to defeat the Left, and to do that we must dial UP the rhetoric.
There is too much at stake right now for the Right to cower in the corner, fearful that we'll be accused of being big meanies. There is no room for the weak. The GOP won the House in 2010 and almost pulled even in the Senate. The target for 2012 is complete, utter domination of both sides of the Hill and a takeover of the White House (and yes, I used the word "target" and will continue to do so). Immediately in our cross-hairs is Obamacare. It must be killed... It must die. It must disappear from the planet, to be replaced by free-market, conservative solutions.
In another AmSpec piece, David Catron makes a similar point to that of Paulette:
No one should have been surprised by the spectacle of Democrat officials braying on television about "people in the radio business" or wondering in print if the crime was inspired by "a conservative politician publishing a map with a bullseye." Moreover, the goal of this cynical behavior is all too obvious. Having lost much of the legitimate power they wielded before November 2, the Democrats hope to use this tragedy as a means of gaining psychological sway over the GOP and using that ascendancy to cow the new House majority into compromising on its agenda.
Unsurprisingly, the immediate target of the Democrats is the effort to repeal Obamacare:
Barely 24 hours after Jared Loughner's bloody rampage, Democrat Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) used the shooting as a pretext for demanding that House Republicans change the title of their ObamaCare repeal bill. Invoking the name of wounded congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in an article for the Huffington Post, Pingree allowed that she has no idea what motivated Loughner: "We don't know if was politics -- aimed at Gabby's courageous stands on health care and immigration." Yet somehow she knows what will prevent such atrocities in the future: "What really matters is that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. And the first thing we can do is to crank down the rhetoric a few notches."
Shocked? I thought not. In the wake of the shooting, the agenda of the Dems is obvious - they are counting on GOP leadership to knuckle under for fear of public outcry to "soften the tone". Catron states:
None of this is really about the name of the repeal bill or the dangers of "vitriolic rhetoric," of course. It's all about finding some way -- any way -- to take some steam out of the repeal effort. The Democrats desperately want to preserve ObamaCare, and they hope a "more civil dialogue" will slow down Republican momentum on the health care issue. For confirmation of that reality, consider the words of the New Republic's Jonathan Cohn: "I genuinely hope Republicans do alter their rhetoric … if they do change, I suspect they'll find their cause loses at least a little bit of its urgency and maybe quite a lot." Will the GOP fall for it? Their history is not encouraging, and John Boehner's office has been making some disturbingly gullible noises: "House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman said yesterday the Ohio Republican's priority is to keep the discourse steady and civil."
"Disturbingly gullible" is exactly right. Now is NOT the time to dial it down. It is time to turn it UP. Public opinion is decidedly against Obamacare, and we must strike now. Do not back down. Turn it up to 11. Raise the volume. Use every opportunity to continue to remind the American people why they kicked the Left out of the House and (almost) the Senate. This is NOT the time to lose a sense of urgency. We must take down the Leftists, and the place to do it is on the floor of the House and Senate and in the ballot box at each and every election between now and November, 2012. We cannot succumb to Democrat tactics:
The Republicans will certainly be less aggressive in their rhetoric. The Democrats will, in turn, see this as weakness and attempt to exploit the gesture, just as they have exploited Tucson. They will brand as "vitriolic" every floor speech in favor of repeal and repeatedly demand that the GOP water down its agenda.
No. Speaker Boehner must stand his ground, gag the Democrats and prevent this from happening. Now is the time to speak out loud and long against the Democrats and their anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-freedom agenda. Turn it up. All the way up. Don't get violent, get vocal. Raise your voice to drown out the Left and fight them. Figuratively.
To conclude and further ratchet up the rhetoric, I present you with a modernized message borrowed from Winston Churchill:
The Left knows that they will have to break us in this effort or lose the war. If we can stand up to them, all Americans may be free and life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, ... including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if a conservative America lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour!”