It must be really frustrating being a liberal journalist and/or blogger today. Increasingly, they're seeing their chance to politically profit from the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords fade away.
First of all, after spending all that time and energy to plant the idea in the minds of the American people that Jared Lee Loughner was specifically instructed by Sarah Palin to pick up a gun and assassinate Gabrielle Giffords, the facts coming out simply refuse to cooperate. They even had the luck of Giffords' father and the County Sheriff point the finger at the Tea Party. But that hasn't worked out either.
So now what?
Well, from former Senator Bob Kerrey to the New York Times editorial page, the liberal hive mind seems to have decided on another approach; they're now grudgingly admitting that perhaps Sarah Palin did not personally arm and direct Loughner to go kill a Democratic Congressman ... but she's still responsible because Loughner would never have done what he did if he were influenced by the "political climate" she created by opposing Barack Obama's agenda i.e. ObamaCare.
Of course, they're not very eager to have anyone examine the premise of this argument, especially given that Loughner, without doubt a deeply deeply mentally disturbed human being, seems to have gotten negatively fixated on Giffords after meeting with her at a similar constituent event sometime in 2007 - well before Sarah Palin became a household name, well before the advent of the TEA Party.
What they do want is for everyone to accept that Loughner's actions have something to do with the "political climate" and thereafter use that acceptance to silence conservative opposition by ruling hitherto perfectly acceptable and effective political arguments as out-of-bounds - as contributing to a "climate" of violence. This is Paul Krugman with fingers crossed;
It's true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn't mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
Actually, Paul, of course it can, and of course it should.
Republican and conservative pundits and talking heads especially need to keep this mind before they go on television and nod along to something stupid because it sounds "reasonable"; Jared Loughner's attack had nothing to do with the "political climate" in Washington DC, nothing to do with Democrats, Republicans, partisanship, DADT, Healthcare, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, SB1070, etc.
Loughner was neither concerned nor influenced by any of those things.
The only thing influencing Loughner was the fact that he was marinating in his personal climate of crazy.
So, in the end, what does the tragedy in Tucson say about the state of American politics, the rhetoric, partisanship and civility in Washington DC?