So, in the past two days, we have seen Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid overtly lie about Mitt Romney’s taxes (even according to the Washington Post), and a Barack Obama-supporting PAC blaming the cancer death of a middle class white man’s wife on the Republican presidential nominee.
Where is the outrage?
In the hours, days, weeks and months following the January 8, 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the left went on speech-suppression overdrive. The left’s myopic focus on political dialogue deemed superheated seemed to know no bounds.
No More Cross-hairs. Two days after the shooting rampage, Pennsylvania Congressman Bob Brady–a Democrat–announced a plan to introduce legislation that would render use of symbols that appear to threaten members of Congress a federal crime. Brady, of course, was citing the advertisement used by Sarah Palin’s PAC which featured cross-hairs and “targeted” electoral districts.
The mere use of a bulls-eye or cross-hairs, it seems, was dangerously inappropriate.
“I want to protect our congresspeople in a way that they can’t put a crosshair on us and they can’t put a bulls-eye on us,” Brady told Fox News.
Reading the Constitution Can Incite Violence. In the week prior to the Giffords shooting, Republicans sponsored a public reading of the United States Constitution on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. On January 10, 2011, again in the aftermath of the shooting, South Carolina Democrat James Clyburn actually suggested that there was a “direct link” between the reading of the Constitution and the Tucson rampage.
“All of the stuff taking place in the chamber the other day when the Constitution was being read,” Rep. Clyburn, from just down the road here in the Palmetto State, told the Ed Schultz radio program, “all of that stuff is uncalled for.”
The Phrases “Job-Killing” and “Death Panels” are Dangerously Offensive. Also in the wake of the Giffords shooting–not to mention shortly after the left exposed themselves and their own vitriol by repeatedly blaming Palin for the rampage and, while simultaneously decrying the use of heated rhetoric, threatening Palin with death–the lefties at Think Progress suggested that the Republicans’ use of the phrases “death panels” and “job-killing” were indicative of the heated rhetoric that directly led to the Tucson tragedy.
The GOP has relied on the phrase “job killing” to frame the repeal effort as an economic endeavor that will help create American jobs and sustain the economy, but conservatives probably didn’t give much thought to the implications of the word “killing,” having relied on the rhetoric of ‘life and death’ so frequently throughout the health care reform debate. In fact, if it wasn’t for Saturday’s shooting, few people would have seriously considered the real meaning of the GOP’s words. In the aftermath of “death panels,” suggestions that the law may “cost you your life“, kill more people, and abort babies, the Republicans have downright numbed us all to their frequent use of death imagery as a tool to ferment political opposition. A quick look through the past 18 months or so reveals a stunning array of messages warning Americans that the Democrats’ signature legislation would lead to death.
In fact, four days earlier, Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein similarly deemed the use of the phrase “job-killing” by Republicans as reminiscent of McCarthy’s red-baiting, and said that using the phrase “poisoned the political well.” More from Pearlstein:
I wonder how Republicans and their media posse would like it if Democrats started referring to “genocidal” deregulation or the “murderous” repeal of health-care reform. Or if Republican economic policies were likened to the infamous neutron bomb – they kill the workers but leave their jobs intact.
The fact is, regulation that directly causes jobs to be shipped overseas directly kills jobs. The repeal of health-care reform merely deals with costs and access, and as nobody in this country will be denied access to health care if needed, it would not directly kill anybody.
There is a cause-and-effect relationship between taxation policy and joblessness. If, as a new business owner, it costs me too much to hire someone, I will not hire someone. Plain and simple. There is no such relationship between interfering with an insurer’s ability to measure risk and patient death; in fact, insofar as that repealing ObamaCare would actually increase access and reduce health insurance premiums, it would therefore have the opposite effect than Pearlstein suggests.
Don’t tell that to the Democrats, though. Have you seen the recent advertisement from Priorities USA PAC? No? Well, take a look — it directly links Mitt Romney to the death of a factory worker’s wife, due to his work at Bain Capital and the absence of ObamaCare. Take a look:
Incidentally, if they had a health savings account, perhaps things would have been different. If interstate competition were opened up and individuals permitted to engage in group purchases of health insurance separate from his employment, perhaps things would have been different. If there were an actual market for health-care costs, with the competition driving things downward instead of blanket government intervention causing things to increase, perhaps things would have been different.
Sadly, these were all legislative proposals set forth by Republicans and rejected summarily by Democrats in 2009 , at the same time as the Democrats tried to characterize the Republicans as the “party of no.” (See Health Care Reform, the GOP, and the Doctrine of Constructive Obstructionism here at AR.) And, sadly, things weren’t different. Sadly, the man in the commercial had to endure the death of his wife. Having watched as cancer has touched my family, I pray for him.
So that this entire nation may also move forward and find solutions rather than engage in political debate, more interested in pointing fingers, shifting blame, protecting power and compiling wealth than finding and effecting actual solutions, I pray for all of us.
I pray that America can see through the scare-mongering and hypocrisy peddled daily by the desperate left; to feign offense from something as innocuous as “targeted” electoral districts and “job-killing” regulations while simultaneously blaming a presidential candidate for the cancer that killed someone’s wife is utterly sickening. I likewise pray that America can see through the lies told by this nation’s most influential lawmakers; to base a claim that Mitt Romney has committed felony tax evasion on a purported anonymous caller while simultaneously refusing to release your own tax records and supporting the confirmation of Tim Geithner is disingenuous at best.
Thankfully, I believe that Americans have indeed had enough. The response to the Chick-Fil-A imbroglio showed that everyday Americans are manifesting a willingness to dispense with the posturing, with the spin, and with the endless erosion of rights in the name of shifting blame and feigning accountability.
If it worked with chicken, perhaps it’ll work with political speech.
Jeff Schreiber, the founder and managing editor of America’s Right, is a family law attorney in the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina. He is the owner of Lowcountry Divorce & Family Law, LLC, a solo law practice established in July 2012