The right tones down its rhetoric. NOT.

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“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted, we’re in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize that there are consequences to that action.” –- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

I noted the other day that too many liberals, myself included, wrongly jumped to the conclusion that Jared Loughner was probably a right-wing nut, even though, as I wrote, “it was a reasonable conclusion, considering the hysterical, violence-tinged noises heard from the right’s fringes,” especially in Arizona. It’s pretty obvious at this point that Loughner is simply someone, as one of his teachers put it, “whose brains are scrambled,” but the categorization of the right’s rhetoric as nasty and often violence-tinged, is still very, very valid.

Consider reactions to Pres. Obama’s speech last night. As expected, Obama spoke at a gathering in Tucson in which he called for more civility in America’s public discourse. Today, as I fully expected, right-wing blogs are filled with hate for Obama, all those godless liberals and, for good measure, those who don’t think Sarah Palin is a goddess.

The RedState site’s piece on the speech, by the usually zealous Erick Erickson, was relatively restrained — until it veered into a weird fantasy about some “Media Matters reader who even now is dreaming” of killing Sarah Palin. In RedState’s comments section, you’ll find nothing but the usual angry bitching, and even a complaint or two that since “Giffords is not dead,” there shouldn’t have been such an “over the top” event, and that, in any case, she doesn’t deserve the kind of praise Obama gave her. On the FoxNation site, the story about Obama’s speech pleading for more civility was headlined “Obama Distances Himself From Loons on the Left.”

And that follows yesterday’s defensive attack by Palin on those who dared think the gun crosshairs on her map might be provocative — a speech in which she blundered into using the term “blood libel,” associated since the Middle Ages with anti-Semitism. Palin can’t help it, though, she was just repeating a phrase she’d picked up from one of her favorite ventriloquists, the Wall Street Journal.

I’m still waiting to see if anyone — anyone at all — on the right will even acknowledge that there may be just a teensy problem with their movement’s pissed-off-at-the-modern-world, spittle-spraying rhetoric. I don’t’ think I need to wait any longer for the answer, though, if today’s reactions are any indication. As we’ve said before, self-awareness hasn’t exactly been one of the right’s strong suits.

Take, for example, our old friend Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), of “terrorist anchor babies” fame, who said yesterday that he thought the government could be withholding information about the Arizona shootings because Jared Loughner is a Marxist who might upset Obama’s political plans.

Or how about Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries, who said that if Giffords was so concerned about violent rhetoric, then it’s her fault she was shot because she “had no security whatsoever.” Oh well, so much for the right dialing down its rhetoric. To quote Joni Mitchell out of context, “Guess that was just a dream some of us had.”

Tucson Tea Party honcho Trent Humphries
  • Tucson Tea Party honcho Trent Humphries

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