2011年1月16日日曜日

血の中傷と銃規制

ペイリンの政治生命が終了しそうだ。
アリゾナ銃乱射事件で、ペイリンは、標的となる議員を示し、扇動した
と批判された。批判に対するコメントに「血の中傷」と言う過激な単語
を引用したことで、火に油を注ぐことになった。
さらに、襲撃された民主党議員がユダヤ系だったことで、さらに加速。
米国で、伝統的な差別用語引用の話題はよく聞くが、公的な場で差別用語
を引用したのは、教養不足のペイリンらしい。
共和党幹部は、純粋な共和党支持者から人気がなく、動画の確認もしな
かったことから類推するとペイリンに助け船を出す気は無いようだ。
ペイリンは自身が招いた騒動に、自身で解決する必要があり、対応次第
では政治生命が終了する。
と思っていたが、最近は、マスメディアを批判するマスメディアも出て
きて、大統領選キャンペーンの始まりを意味するようだ。気が早いと言う
か、民主党支持派は、それだけ危機感があると言うこと。

アリゾナ銃乱射事件の影響で、有名な全米ライフル協会に加盟する多くの
共和党議員らが特定範囲での銃規制法案を提出しており、規制を変更する
可能性もある。

ペイリン扇動批判は、中間選挙の敗北の反動のようで、政治的意図がよく
現れている。マスメディア、テレビ、映画等で毎日に垂れ流される犯罪現場、
犯罪手法等は、犯罪を誘発すると言われながら、放置していたし、犯罪の
現実性を追求することを売りにするゲームもある。ペイリンを批判する
のであれば、ハリウッドやゲーム製作会社等の多くの民主党の支持者も
批判されるべきだろう。
オバマは、「戦いで敵がナイフを使うなら、私達は銃を使う」と演説した
ことがあり、「テロリストとの対話」と公約しながら、矛盾している。

言論の自由はとても難しい。
批判されすぎて、日本のテレビ番組のように、ニュースや水戸黄門しか
視聴率が取れなくなる将来になるかもしれない。

エルサレム起源宗教は、内紛も多いし、異教徒に攻撃的だといつも思う。

ペイリンの教養不足
エジプト 教会テロ


Obama appeals for civility at memorial service honoring Arizona shooting victims


Sarah Palin slams"blood libel" after Ariz. tragedy full video


Sarah Palin 'Blood Libel' Controversy


Is Sarah Palin's Political Career Over?


Tucson Murders: Misguided Sarah Palin Accuses Mainstream Press Of The Same


Palin: Journalists Incite Hatred After Shooting


Dissecting Sarah Palin's Response To Violent Gun Rhetoric Accusations


Spokane, North Idaho Politicians React To Arizona Shootings KXLY


---Palin correct in use of ‘blood libel' phrase---
Chico Buller, Sun Prairie
Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 5:30 am
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/opinion/mailbag/article_39840a36-1f97-11e0-843e-001cc4c002e0.html

Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel" seems to have sparked rebuttals based solely on parsing her speech rather than offering an opposing viewpoint. She used the phrase properly and in the correct context.

I also am disgusted when liberals pounce on a tragedy as an excuse to offer a stilted point of view. The ownership of firearms is legal and an enumerated right, and shaking your fist at the world will not change that.

Every time a troubled individual misuses a firearm, the naysayers creep out of the woodwork to smear millions of law-abiding citizens who also find this criminal conduct reprehensible. In that regard, using the term "blood libel" as a stalking horse to press an agenda is the proper label for this tactic.

As for strident behavior, why must conservatives be vilified in opposing discourse? Are liberal arguments so weak that they can only be spouted with verbal card tricks?


---The True Meaning of ‘Blood Libel’---
By Ronald Florence
Published January 14, 2011.
http://www.forward.com/articles/134694/

Amid the fierce and often partisan debate sparked by Sarah Palin’s use of the words “blood libel,” one thing is clear: The phrase has become increasingly detached from its historical context. For centuries, the phrase “the blood libel” - with the definite article - has been used to signify a unique false accusation against a specific group: the spurious and heinous charge that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood to make matzo for Passover. But now, as Alan Dershowitz, never one to shy away from a dispute, noted in defending Palin’s remark, the term “has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse.”

His assessment may be correct, but that in itself is regrettable. In applying the phrase loosely, we discount and trivialize the long history - close to a millennium - of the blood libel as a staple of anti-Semitic propaganda. Is there another instance in history of an ethnic or religious group maligned for so many centuries by an accusation so ludicrous, absurd and hateful?

Many of us first encountered the bizarre accusation in high school or college English, reading Chaucer’s “The Prioress’s Tale” about the murder of a Christian boy named Hugh. Chaucer was reporting on a real event: In 1155, 19 Jews in Lincoln, England, were hanged without trial for the alleged murder. Eleven years earlier there had been a similar accusation in Norwich.

The accusations were propagated across the English Channel - probably in the sermons of itinerant preachers and Franciscan friars - reappearing in Blois, France, where in 1171 between 31 and 35 Jews were burned to death for the alleged murder of a Christian child. From France the accusations spread to Eastern Europe and greater Russia, erupting periodically over a wide geographic area in a remarkably similar format, usually in communities where there had been some friction between the Christian majority and a Jewish minority. The pattern of the accusations was consistent, as though a script had been passed from one community to the next; the “trials” of the accused Jews seemed choreographed.

The accusations were frequently suffused with pseudo-scriptural imagery. The alleged victim was usually a pre-pubescent Christian boy who as a virgin would possess (and represent) the purity of Jesus and whose suffering would mirror Christ’s suffering. Many of the stories claimed that the victim or victims had been mutilated with prick marks on the penis as well as puncture wounds through which the blood was supposedly drained; the marks were often attributed to thorns. The perversion of the crown of thorns and the penis - the latter the organ of Christ’s sensual nature that, according to Christian theology, had been overcome in his sacrifice - added to the revulsion toward the alleged crime.

Out-of-context snippets from the Talmud were introduced as “proofs” of the charges and evidence of a supposed conspiracy of rabbis who allegedly instigated and perpetuated the practice. The accused, usually leaders of the Jewish community, were tortured until they confessed. The coerced “confessions” were then used to implicate other Jews, and the convicted Jews were executed or incarcerated. The few who survived torture and incarceration might recant their coerced testimony in calmer times, but many died in the prolonged judicial proceedings or never recovered from the physical and psychological tortures. Their families suffered the deprivation of heads of households and the continuing opprobrium of the false charges.

The Enlightenment and the French Revolution brought a decline in the blood libel accusations in Europe, but 1840 saw accusations against the Jews of Damascus and Rhodes from the Christian communities there, and the re-emergence of these barbarous charges revealed the depth of anti-Semitism in surprising places: The Times of London, without questioning their authenticity or veracity, quoted bizarre sources that supposedly proved the Damascus and Rhodes accusations; the French government refused to take a position against their consul in Damascus who was prosecuting the accused Jews; and the British consul there aided the prosecution.

The charges also fueled the lurid anti-Semitic tracts of Edouard Drumont and Henri Desportes and later became a staple in Der Sturmer and Nazi propaganda posters. As late as 1913 in Kiev, a Jew named Mendel Belies was tried for an alleged ritual murder. When the Nazis took Paris, they ransacked the national archives in search of archival materials to bolster their ritual murder propaganda.

The Holocaust did not put an end to the blood libel. Egyptian and Syrian television series have included ritual murder accusations against the Jews, and in 1983 the Syrian minister of defense, General Mustafa Tlass, wrote “Matzo of Zion,” a haphazard collection of alleged revelations that claims to prove the truth of the blood libel accusations as “the historical reality of Zionist racism.” His book is regularly available in bookstores and museum shops in Damascus and Cairo alongside “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Like the term Holocaust, the phrase blood libel deserves to be retained in its original meaning. When these words are casually tossed out as a countercharge to criticism of heated political rhetoric, we risk losing our collective memory of the extremes of hatred, degradation and perversion the term represents in its original meaning.


---Sarah Palin Is Right About 'Blood Libel'---
JANUARY 14, 2011
By SHMULEY BOTEACH
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703583404576079823067585318.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder

The term "blood libel"-which Sarah Palin invoked this week to describe the suggestions by journalists and politicians that conservative figures like herself are responsible for last weekend's shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz.-is fraught with perilous meaning in Jewish history.

The term connotes the earliest accusations that Jews killed Jesus and enthusiastically embraced responsibility for his murder, telling Pontius Pilate, "His blood be upon us and our children" (Matthew 27:25). Thus was born the legend of Jewish bloodlust and of Hebrew ritual use of Christian blood for sacramental purposes. The term was later used more specifically to describe accusations against Jews-primarily in Europe-of sacrificing kidnapped Christian children to use their blood in the baking of Passover matzos.

The Benedictine monk Thomas of Monmouth is generally credited with having popularized the blood libel in his "Life of the Martyr William from Norwich," written in 1173 about a young boy who was found stabbed to death. Thomas quoted a servant woman who said she witnessed Jews lacerating the boy's head with thorns, crucifying him, and piercing his side. While William was canonized, the Jews of Norwich fared less well. On Feb. 6, 1190, they were all found slaughtered in their homes, save those who escaped to the local tower and committed mass suicide.

Despite the strong association of the term with collective Jewish guilt and concomitant slaughter, Sarah Palin has every right to use it. The expression may be used whenever an amorphous mass is collectively accused of being murderers or accessories to murder.

The abominable element of the blood libel is not that it was used to accuse Jews, but that it was used to accuse innocent Jews-their innocence, rather than their Jewishness, being the operative point. Had the Jews been guilty of any of these heinous acts, the charge would not have been a libel.

Jews did not kill Jesus. As the Roman historian Tacitus makes clear, he was murdered by Pontius Pilate, whose reign of terror in ancient Judea was so excessive, even by Roman standards, that (according to the Roman-Jewish chronicler Josephus) Rome recalled him in the year 36 due to his sadistic practices. King Herod Agrippa I, writing to the Emperor Caligula, noted Pilate's "acts of violence, plunderings . . . and continual murder of persons untried and uncondemned, and his never-ending, endless, and unbelievable cruelties, gratuitous and most grievous inhumanity."

Murder is humanity's most severe sin, and it is trivialized when an innocent party is accused of the crime-especially when that party is a collective too numerous to be defended individually. If Jews have learned anything in their long history, it is that a false indictment of murder against any group threatens every group. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Indeed, the belief that the concept of blood libel applies only to Jews is itself a form of reverse discrimination that should be dismissed.

Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder, as the Hebrew Bible condemns accusations of collective guilt against Jew and non-Jew alike. "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him" (Ezekiel 18).

How unfortunate that some have chosen to compound a national tragedy by politicizing the murder of six innocent lives and the attempted assassination of a congresswoman.

To be sure, America should embrace civil political discourse for its own sake, and no political faction should engage in demonizing rhetoric. But promoting this high principle by simultaneously violating it and engaging in a blood libel against innocent parties is both irresponsible and immoral.


---【アリゾナ銃乱射事件】保守派のペイリン氏が反論「批判はでっちあげ」---
2011.1.13 19:39
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/110113/amr1101131941007-n1.htm

 【トゥーソン(米アリゾナ州)=犬塚陽介】2008年の米大統領選で共和党副大統領候補だったサラ・ペイリン前アラスカ州知事が12日、アリゾナ州トゥーソンの銃乱射事件に関するビデオ声明を出し、「ジャーナリストや評論家は、憎しみや暴力をあおる『血の中傷』をでっち上げるべきではない」と主張。ペイリン氏らの過激な言動が事件を誘因したとの批判に真っ向から反論した。
 ペイリン氏は保守系草の根運動「ティーパーティー(茶会)」に大きな影響力を持っており、昨年11月の中間選挙では複数の民主党候補を“標的”に指定。狙い打ちする選挙区に銃の照準マークを付ける地図を公表しており、銃乱射事件で重体になったギフォーズ下院議員も含まれていた。
 選挙戦でも茶会支持者を「撤退してはならない。代わりに弾丸をつめろ」と鼓舞しており、こうした言動がリベラル派の批判の対象となっていた。ペイリン氏は「弾丸をつめろ」の真意は「投票を意味していた」と釈明している。
 もっとも実行犯のロフナー容疑者は精神面での問題を指摘されており、ペイリン氏の政治活動と事件を安易に関連づけるべきではないとの見解は保守派以外にも強い。
 一方で、ペイリン氏がビデオ映像で使った「血の中傷」との言葉は、ユダヤ人が儀式のためにキリスト教徒の子供を殺害したとの中世の迷信で、ユダヤ人迫害の口実に利用された。ユダヤ系団体はこの発言に激しく反発、波紋が広がっている。

---【アリゾナ銃乱射】政治的対立の克服を オバマ氏が追悼式で演説 瀕死の議員「目を開けた」と明かす---
2011.1.13 12:37
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/110113/amr1101131239003-n1.htm

 【トゥーソン(米アリゾナ州)=犬塚陽介】オバマ米大統領は12日、アリゾナ州トゥーソンで開かれた銃乱射事件の追悼式典で演説し、事件を機に再燃する保守派とリベラル派の政治的対立を念頭に「われわれを分断する力よりも、一つに結び付ける力の方が強いと信じている」と結束を呼びかけた。大統領が事件後、トゥーソンを訪れるのは初めて。
 大統領は演説で、何が事件の引き金となったのかを正確に把握するのは難しいとした上で、事件から教訓を得るための議論が「政治的な得点稼ぎ」になってはならないと強調した。
 さらに、集会に参加して凶弾に倒れた9歳の少女のためにも「この国は期待に応えねばならない」と述べ、政治的な対立を乗り越えるよう重ねて訴えた。
 保守的な政治風土で知られるアリゾナ州では、不法移民対策法の施行や医療保険制度改革をめぐって保守派とリベラル派が激しく対立。米国に潜在化する「分断と憎悪」の象徴として取り上げられることも少なくない。
 追悼式典には約1万3千人が集まり、さらに約1万3千人が隣接する競技場で大統領の演説に聞き入るなど、多くの市民が犠牲者の死を悼んだ。
 事件は今月8日、民主党のガブリエル・ギフォーズ下院議員(40)が開いていた地元市民との対話集会で発生。殺人罪などで逮捕、訴追されたジャレッド・ロフナー容疑者(22)が銃を乱射し、少女や連邦判事ら6人が死亡した。
 ギフォーズ議員も頭部を撃たれ、重体が続いているが、オバマ大統領は演説で、ギフォーズ議員が初めて目を開けたことを明らかにした。


---Sarah Palin's effort to defuse controversy backfires with 'blood libel' comment---
By Karen Tumulty and Peter Wallsten
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 12:00 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/12/AR2011011206366.html

The presidential-quality stagecraft was there: an American flag over Sarah Palin's left shoulder and another over her heart. So was the rhetorical polish, with its invocations of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, God and Ronald Reagan.

And after four days of near silence, the timing guaranteed that Palin would be written into the story line of President Obama's visit to comfort grief-stricken Tucson after a massacre there.

But if the statement that Palin put out Wednesday was designed to tamp down the criticism of her incendiary style of politics, it turned out to have the opposite effect.

Within minutes of the video and its accompanying Facebook post going viral on the Internet, all of that was subsumed by a new furor over Palin's choice of two words to describe her critics in the media: "blood libel."

Her choice of that provocative phrase underscored the challenge and the contradiction that confront the Republican former Alaska governor as she undertakes a new strategy to retool her image and elevate her stature in preparation for a possible presidential run in 2012.

A presidential campaign would pit Palin's ambition against her impulses and test her ability to expand her reach beyond the narrow slice of the population that rallies behind her.

Palin has often invited controversy and helped to shape the national debate by using words as blunt instruments - such as her memorable accusation that Obama has made a practice of "palling around with terrorists" and her contention that his health-care law would include "death panels. " It has been a hallmark of her rise and source of her political star power.

Her statement Wednesday brought yet another visceral response, though this time, it was one Palin did not necessarily intend or expect.

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," Palin said in the video. "That is reprehensible."

Blood libel - a phrase that other conservatives have also used in recent days - was her way of decrying liberal critics who had tried to draw a connection between Palin's campaign rhetoric and the Tucson shootings.

But it also has a specific, ugly historical context. Blood libel is the centuries-old anti-Semitic myth that Jews use the blood of Christian children for rituals such as baking unleavened bread during Passover. It was used to justify persecution of Jews.

Her choice of words immediately overshadowed the point she was trying to make.

"Her blessing is also her problem: When the spotlight comes easily, you don't get to make unforced errors," said Noam Neusner, who was a speechwriter and Jewish community outreach adviser to former president George W. Bush.

Palin drew swift, fierce condemnation from liberals and some Jewish groups.

"A particularly heinous term," said David A. Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council. It had additional resonance because the apparent target of the Tucson attacks was a Jewish congresswoman.

But the defense of her was also vehement, and from some unexpected sources.

Liberal Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz told the blog biggovernment.com that blood libel has taken on "broad metaphorical meaning" and said there was "nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations."

Although Palin has often been at the center of political storms over the two-and-a-half years since she emerged on the national scene, her allies say the onslaught she has faced since the Tucson shootings has shaken her like none before.

Palin officials confirmed a report by ABC News that Palin has received an unprecedented number of death threats since Saturday's shootings and has been in conversations with security officials about the matter. They declined to provide further details.

Much of the criticism has centered on a map that Palin put on her Web site during the 2010 elections, which used cross-hair symbols to depict the districts of 20 congressional Democrats she had targeted for defeat. One of those was a Tucson shooting victim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), who had said at the time that Palin's map was an invitation to violence.

However, as more facts emerged about the shooting suspect, Jared Loughner, it grew increasingly apparent that the demons that drove him had little, if any, connection to partisan politics.

On the video, Palin appeared more subdued than usual - drawn and older-looking, her eyes noticeably red.

"I've spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance," she said.

The tragedy in Tucson occurred as the former governor was diving into domestic and foreign policy issues in an effort to build a more substantive political identity. The strategy, in which Palin intends to step up her involvement in public policy debates and embark on overseas trips to nations such as Israel, is in its early stages.

Last month, she toured earthquake-ravaged Haiti with Franklin Graham, who runs a charity there, and whose father, evangelist Billy Graham, has been the counselor of presidents since Harry Truman.

Aides framed her new approach as a direct response to critics, particularly some Republicans, who in recent months have dismissed her as a celebrity and questioned her intellectual heft.

Palin's team, a small and discreet circle of advisers who have gained her trust, knows that she has a long way to go. They say she has been speaking out for months on substantive issues but has received little credit from Washington-based journalists and the Republican establishment.

Palin has been working to brand herself a "tea party hawk," meaning she supports shrinking government but argues against cuts at the Pentagon. In a time of economic turmoil and anger at Wall Street, she set out to promote free markets but criticizes big corporations that sought political power to tilt the playing field in their favor.

As an early experiment, when Palin delivered an address in Phoenix late last year on monetary policy, her team leaked excerpts to the conservative National Review. Her comments - criticizing a Federal Reserve bond-buying program intended to stimulate the economy - drew widespread attention, putting her in the middle of a complex policy debate. It also prompted some GOP strategists to recognize that even the lofty Fed could be a populist political issue.

Her Wednesday statement was another opportunity to demonstrate her seriousness and speak to those beyond her enthusiastic base. Instead, with two words, she wound up back in a familiar place.

"Whatever explanation she could give to use such a loaded term, the truth is she shouldn't have," Neusner said. "She doesn't have to turn the other cheek; she was, in fact, maligned in a gross and unfair way. But she could have said everything she said without that phrase.

"When people are trying to be leaders," he added, "they need to attract supporters, not repel them."

Staff writers William Wan and Dan Balz contributed to this report.


---ペイリン氏が批判に反論 アリゾナの銃乱射事件---
2011/01/13 09:48
http://www.47news.jp/CN/201101/CN2011011301000194.html

 【ワシントン共同】2008年の米大統領選で共和党副大統領候補だったサラ・ペイリン前アラスカ州知事は12日、ビデオ映像による声明を出し、アリゾナ州の銃乱射事件は「一人の悪人」の犯行によって引き起こされた惨事だと強調、ペイリン氏ら保守派の過激な主張が事件を引き起こしたとする批判に反論した。
 昨年11月の中間選挙前に、草の根保守派運動「ティーパーティー(茶会)」の顔でもあるペイリン氏は、頭に銃弾を受け重体が続いているガブリエル・ギフォーズ民主党下院議員を「落選させたい重点候補」の一人に挙げていた。選挙区に銃の照準マークを付けた地図を発表したことなどが、事件の下地になったのではないかとの非難が出ていた。


---Sharron Angle: 'Irresponsible' to blame Tea Party---
Jan 12, 2011 11:35 AM
By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/01/tea-party-gabrielle-giffords-shooting-fallout-/1

Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle is condemning what she calls "finger-pointing" at the small-government movement in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting.
Angle, a former Republican nominee for Senate, said in a statement that it is "irresponsible" to blame her, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement for the Arizona shooting rampage that killed six people and left Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, fighting for her life.

"Expanding the context of the attack to blame and to infringe upon the people's constitutional liberties is both dangerous and ignorant," Angle said.

During a heated race for a U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, Angle had advocated "Second Amendment remedies."

Angle, who lost to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, said "finger-pointing towards political figures is an audience-rating game."

Angle, a former Nevada legislator, won the Senate GOP nomination with the help of Tea Party supporters. She was one of several high-profile candidates backed by Palin, who today accused the news media with "blood libel" for focusing on political rhetoric since the Giffords shooting.


---【アリゾナ銃乱射】政治家の近くで銃持つな! 共和党議員が規制法案提出へ---
2011.1.12 11:05
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/110112/amr1101121107004-n1.htm

 米下院国土安全保障委員会のキング委員長(共和党)は11日、アリゾナ州トゥーソンで対話集会を開いていた女性下院議員らに男が銃を乱射し6人が死亡した事件を受け、政治家の近くで銃を所持することを禁じる銃規制法案を近く提出すると発表した。
 正副大統領や議員、閣僚などが出席する行事開催場所から約300メートル以内で銃を持っていた場合は連邦法上の犯罪とみなす内容を想定しており、要人の保護だけでなく、政治家と有権者による対話集会などを守ることにもつながるとしている。
 銃規制に消極的な共和党に所属する議員が、規制法案提出の方針を示すのは異例。
 米国では保守派を中心に、銃規制は憲法修正第2条が認める武器保有の権利を侵害するとして反対論が根強く、法案提出後の審議は難航する可能性もある。(共同)


---Palin Criticizes Manufacturers of 'Blood Libel' as Proponents of Speech Limits Cite Sharron Angle
Published January 12, 2011
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/11/democrats-single-sharron-angle-calling-limits-speech/

Sarah Palin made a call to conscience Wednesday for those who would manufacture "a blood libel" for last weekend's Arizona shooting, saying "acts of monstrous brutality ... begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively" with Americans exercising their constitutional freedoms.

The former Republican vice-presidential candidate, the target of many pontificators ascribing motive to gunman Jared Lee Loughner, charged in the Tucson attack that killed six and injured 14 others, had been silent since shortly after the Saturday shooting when she issued a two-line statement offering her prayers for the families and victims.

But Palin's name -- and those of others, including Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle -- had been central in the early accusations over what spurred the shooting. Liberal media pundits assigned blame by citing Palin's political action committee's website, which showed crosshairs on districts that it was targeting in the November midterm, including the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the believed target of the gunman who was wounded in the shooting.

Others said Angle's comments on the campaign trail also incited violence. The debate about heated political rhetoric ratcheted up so quickly and vigorously -- even before Loughner had been identified as the alleged shooter -- some Democratic lawmakers called for curbs on free speech.

In a Facebook posting issued Wednesday morning, Palin lamented the "irresponsible statements" of those casting blame on political figures.

"If you don't like a person's vision for the country, you're free to debate that vision. If you don't like their ideas, you're free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible," Palin said.

She added that claims that the political rhetoric is somehow more heated today than ever before seem unfounded, noting that "back in those 'calm days'" of the Republic, political differences were occasionally settled with "dueling pistols."

Palin was immediately criticized for the statements, including her use of the term "blood libel," which historically has referred to the Medieval effort to try to demonize Jews by falsely accusing them of murdering Christians to use their blood in ritual.

"You know, Sarah Palin just can't seem to get it, on any front. I think she's an attractive person, she is articulate," Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., reportedly told the Bill Press radio show. "But I think intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here."

But Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Palin's use of the term "blood libel," saying it "has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse.

"There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term," he told BigGovernment.com.

As Palin decried the exploitation of the Arizona shooting, some lawmakers said federal regulations are needed to stop heated speech.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on Monday referenced a comment by Angle in calling for a change in the nation's political dialogue -- by will or by law.

"'Don't retreat, reload.' Someone in Nevada saying we may need to use Second Amendment remedies. There's only one way to read this," Slaughter said.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., told Fox News that Angle "talked about people rising up and taking over the government by force, using their guns. She was very explicit."

Sherman said that even if language used by Angle and her supporters hadn't incited the shootings in Arizona, eventually it will lead to violence.

"I'm saying if you have a heart attack, stop smoking, not because nicotine may or may not have caused your last heart attack, you'll never know, but it's going to cause the next one," Sherman said. "And if we continue to bring into the mainstream and treat as civil those who call for violence and disruption and assassination and revolution and insurrection, then whether that caused what happened in Tucson or not, it will cause the next tragedy."

Angle defended herself in a statement released late Tuesday.

"Expanding the context of the attack to blame and to infringe upon the people's constitutional liberties is both dangerous and ignorant. The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger," Angle said.

"Finger-pointing toward political figures is an audience-rating game and contradicts the facts as they are known," Angle added. "I have consistently called for reasonable political dialogue on policy issues to encourage civil political education and debate. Inappropriately attributing blame of a singular tragedy to achieve a political agenda is contrary to civil discourse, and is a media ploy to which I refuse to belong."

In the wake of the shooting, the National Hispanic Media Coalition used the incident to reiterate its call for the FCC to update its definitions of hate speech in media. It also asked the FCC to "examine the extent and effects of hate speech in media, and non-regulatory options for counteracting the violence that extreme rhetoric breeds."

Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., said he has no knowledge about what motivated Loughner to attack Giffords and the others, but he still wants legislation that bans the use of certain imagery when talking about congressional targets.

"I want to eliminate what may have been," Brady told Fox News. "I'm not a psychologist ... All I'm saying is you can't put a bull's eye or a crosshair on a member of Congress."

And on Tuesday, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., was quoted in the Oregon Statesman-Journal saying he blamed conservative media personalities like Fox News' Glenn Beck and radio host Rush Limbaugh.

"I hold them personally responsible. I don't know how they can sleep at night after this," Schrader said.

Loughner, the accused gunman with no discernible connection to American political discourse, has not stated why he allegedly shot 20 people in the assault at a Tucson Safeway grocery store. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the community college student who had been suspended last October had frequented gaming websites seeking answers to questions about why he couldn't find a job or get a girlfriend.

More than a decade ago, lawmakers like Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., warned that violence in movies and video games could cause violence in life. But graphic imagery and heated rhetoric moved to the political theater long before that.

Several recent examples have been offered from both sides of the aisle, including President Obama's quoting from the film "The Untouchables" in which appears the statement, "If they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun."

And even before movie references, crosshairs and bull's eyes, "battlefields" were drawn across campaign and policy landscapes. President Lyndon Johnson's State of the Union speech called for a figurative "War on Poverty," a precursor to the Reagan administration's equally figurative "War on Drugs."

Slaughter said that while she's not up to speed on current regulations, the Federal Communications Commission should work to sanction broadcasts that could incite people to violence.

"No one owns the airwaves," Slaughter said. "They are owned by the people."

If lawmakers were to seek remedies to quiet distasteful discussion, the so-called Fairness Doctrine is at the top of lists inspiring supporters and alarming opponents.

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., told National Public Radio said he "came up in a time that the Fairness Doctrine did not allow media outlets to say things about a candidate or a person in public office without giving that person equal time to respond. And I really believe that everybody needs to take a look at where we are pushing things, and may need to take a serious step back and evaluate what's going on here."

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said any effort to "use the Arizona tragedy as an excuse to criminalize conservative thought through the FCC" will "backfire magnificently."

"The country is learning that a) there was no conservative 'hate' speech that inspired this killer, and b) that this monster wasn't even a conservative! In the face of those realities, any attempt to tar Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, or any other conservative leader as responsible in any way will be met with outrage by the American people. If they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun -- as they say," Bozell said.

And not every politician may be on board with a hasty turn to bottling up dissenting voices. Delivering a speech Tuesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said media have the power to inspire, motivate and inform. "But they also have the power to inflame and incite. The seething rhetoric has gone too far."

However, Leahy added, "In a free society, the society that we Americans must always want our country to be, the government should not and must not restrain free expression."

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., also suggested Tuesday in a speech at the Center for American Progress that the blame game has no winner.

"The big question wasn't whose rhetoric was right or wrong, but whether our political conversation was worthy of the confidence and trust of the American people," he said.


---米下院議員銃撃事件を生んだ土壌---
2011年1月12日 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/column/kenkyu/20110112-OYT8T00403.htm?from=navlc

調査研究本部主任研究員 飯山雅史
 米アリゾナ州のツーソンで起きた民主党下院議員の銃撃事件は、先鋭化する保守派とリベラル派のイデオロギー対決に、一つの危険信号を灯したとも言えるだろう。もちろん、これが政治的テロリズムだと考えているわけではない。逮捕されたジャレッド・ロフナー容疑者(22)は、何らかの精神的問題を抱えて大学からドロップアウトした青年と報道されており、その動機は、恐らくは精神病理学の分野で分析される問題となるだろう。けれども、米国のメディアは、急速に刺々しさを増してきた米国の政治文化の象徴として事件をとらえ、まるで戦場の対決のようなレトリックで非難しあってきた保守派とリベラル派の衝突の先に、暴力的な政治の時代が生まれる不安を指摘している。
 銃撃を受けたガブリエル・ギフォーズ下院議員(40)は、民主党の中でもブルードッグという中道的なグループに属している穏健派だ。しかし、彼女はオバマ政権の健康保険改革に賛成投票を行ったことでハラスメントを受けるようになり、昨年は地元事務所のガラスドアが、空気銃のようなもので破壊される事件もあった。中間選挙の時には、ティーパーティー運動の指導者的な立場にあった元共和党の副大統領候補、サラ・ペイリン氏から重点攻撃目標の20人の一人にリストアップされ、ペイリン氏の政治活動委員会が運営するウェブページでは、20人の選挙区に銃の照準を合わせた米国地図が掲載されていた。
 こうした戦場のレトリックは、ティーパーティー系候補が好んで使っていたもので、ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙などによれば、ネバダ州上院選に出たシャロン・アングル候補は「敵は国内にいる」とした上で、「憲法修正第2条を使った解決にならなければいいが」とまで言っていた。ちなみに修正第2条は民兵の維持と国民が武器を保有し携帯する権利を定めたものである。ティーパーティーは、宗主国英国の課税強化に反旗を翻して始まったアメリカ独立戦争が運動のモチーフとなっており、ジョージ・ワシントンに扮した男性が「挙兵の時だ」と宣言する選挙CMも登場していた。
 こうしたエキセントリックな攻撃が行われた背景には、オバマ大統領が実現した健康保険改革がある。アメリカの白人中間層の多くはすでに民間保険に加入しているため、膨大な税金によって支えられる新たな保険制度で救済されるのは、多くが黒人などのマイノリティーなのだ。このため、改革の実行は人種問題が絡むだけに感情的な反発を生み出すのである。改革反対運動では「オバマの計画は"白人奴隷"を生み出す」というようなプラカードも出て、黒人のオバマ大統領は「独裁者」「共産主義者」などと罵声を浴びせられた。
 容赦のない言葉の爆弾がテレビやインターネットで飛び交えば、それは一人歩きを始めてイデオロギー的な衝突をエスカレートさせていく。戦場のレトリックも「独裁者」呼ばわりも、当事者は効果の高いキャッチフレーズとして使っていただけだろうが、政治のムードが酸味をたっぷりと含んでいけば、テロリズムを英雄的な行為と考える異常者を生み出す土壌ともなっていく。宗教右派が台頭し文化戦争が始まったと言われたころには、人工妊娠中絶を行うクリニックに対する爆弾テロや、医師の暗殺事件などが相次いだ。テロリズムとは次元の違う問題だが、人種対立が激化した1960年代には全国で都市暴動が吹き荒れた。ぎすぎすしたイデオロギー対立が深まっている今の米国政治のムードは、再び暴力の時代を招きかねないのである。


---Sarah Palin's 'blood libel' comment overshadows a calibrated message---
By Karen Tumulty
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2011; 1:30 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2011/01/12/ST2011011202655.html?sid=ST2011011202655

Sarah Palin's statement Wednesday in response to the Tucson shootings, in which she has found herself at the center of a debate over civility in political discourse, was crafted as both a defense of her own actions and a strike against her critics - but reaction to the statement was dominated by a fresh controversy over her use of the phrase "blood libel."

With the exception of those words, the former Alaska governor's statement was remarkable for its careful calibration - replete with references to "the greatness of our country" and other rhetoric likely to resonate with her base. It was also notable that Palin, known for her often-controversial impromptu tweets, waited four days after the shootings and then released a professionally produced, polished seven-minute video in which she read from a script.

Palin spoke of the "enduring strength of our Republic," described the Constitution as a "sacred charter of liberty" and referred to the "genius" of the founding fathers. "America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week," she said. "We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy."

In Palin's version of events, her controversial actions represented common cause with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who a few days before being critically wounded in the mass shooting had read the First Amendment on the House floor.

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own," Palin said in the statement. "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election."

She went on to say: "Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

It is not at all clear that Palin intended to use the term "blood libel" in its full historical context. The phrase refers to a centuries-old anti-Semitic slander - the false charge that Jews use the blood of Christian children for rituals - that has been used as an excuse for persecution. The phrase was first used in connection with response to the Arizona shootings in an opinion piece in Monday's Wall Street Journal and has been picked up by others on the right.

While Palin did not explain her decision to use such historically fraught imagery, it would be recognized by religious voters, including the social conservatives who constitute such an important part of her following.

Palin has come under criticism because a map on her Web site during the midterm elections showed districts of congressional Democrats she had targeted for defeat marked with cross hairs. Giffords, whose district was one of those 20, had publicly complained that this was an invitation to violence.

There is no evidence at this point that the suspected gunman, Jared Loughner, was influenced by Palin or any other political figure.

Tim Crawford, the treasurer for Palin's political action committee, said Palin is "her own best spokesperson and she wanted to talk about this."

"The reason we did the video was we wanted the statement in total out there. We wanted the video to be seen in its entirety," he said.

Palin's statement comes as President Obama is headed to Tucson to speak at a service for the victims, and guarantees that her perspective will be part of the story line of the day.

With the exception of the phrase "blood libel," its careful timing and deliberate language also represent a departure from her previous attention-getting Facebook posts and tweets, many of which were reflexive spasms to even small criticisms.

On Thanksgiving, for instance, as most of the nation was still sleepily digesting turkey dinners, she issued an angry blast at the media. It was an apparent reaction to the fact that she herself had been ridiculed for a slip of the tongue in which she referred to North Korea as South Korea.

"The one-word slip occurred yesterday during one of my seven back-to-back interviews wherein I was privileged to speak to the American public about the important, world-changing issues before us," Palin wrote. "If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck's radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime."

Those kinds of outbursts could destroy a presidential campaign, and stand as a stark contrast to the statement that Palin released Wednesday.

The new level of political professionalism to her approach - if that indeed is what this represents - also might not be merely a coincidence in its timing.

Republican operatives report that Palin has been calling around in recent weeks to seek advice not only on whether but how she should run for president in 2012. This statement might suggest she is not only seeking that counsel, but taking it as well.


---A Phrase With Roots in Anti-Semitism---
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: January 12, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/us/13bloodlibel.html?_r=1&ref=arizonashooting2011

The expression “blood libel,” used by Sarah Palin in her denunciation of pundits and journalists, has its origin in a charge against Jews that took hold in the Middle Ages in a period of rising anti-Semitism.

The first known accusation surfaced in 1144 in Norwich, England, when a boy named William, an apprentice to a tanner, was found dead in the woods.

The town was soon in an uproar, blaming Jews for his death. Rumors soon circulated that Jews had placed a crown of thorns on William and crucified him - an echo of the longstanding indictment that Jews had killed Christ.

In time, with further embroidering by those who advocated sainthood for William, the idea took hold that the Jews had used the blood of William and other boys to bake matzo, or unleavened bread, to eat in their Passover ceremony.

Despite its patent absurdity, the blood libel claim persisted like a virus for centuries and incited countless rounds of brutality against Jews in Europe. It is still invoked in anti-Semitic propaganda in Europe and the Arab world.

Given the origins of the term, many Jewish commentators on Wednesday were surprised to hear Ms. Palin claim to be a victim of “blood libel,” especially given that the intended target of the mass shootings in Arizona last weekend was Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is Jewish.


---過激化した米政治風土、米議員銃撃でペイリン陣営が矢面に---
2011年01月10日 15:39 発信地:ワシントンD.C./米国
http://www.afpbb.com/article/politics/2782044/6649627?utm_source=afpbb&utm_medium=topics&utm_campaign=txt_topics

 【1月10日 AFP】米アリゾナ(Arizona)州で8日起きた、民主党のガブリエル・ギフォーズ(Gabrielle Giffords)下院議員(40)ら20人が死傷した銃乱射事件をめぐり、政治風土の過激化が引き起こした事件だとする批判や反省の声が米国内で広がっている。
 保守・リベラルの立場を問わず、政治家もコメンテーターらもこぞってこの事件を取り上げ、背景に扇動的な保守派によってたきつけられた情熱があったのか、それとも錯乱した精神異常者による事件だったのか、激論が交わされている。

■標的に十字線――「ペイリン流政治」が批判の矢面に
 リベラル派は、サラ・ペイリン(Sarah Palin)元アラスカ(Alaska)州知事の選挙事務所が前年11月の中間選挙の際、接戦が予想される選挙区にライフルの「照準線」を記した米国地図をウェブ上で公開していたとして、非難している。ギフォーズ議員の選挙区にも「照準線」が合わせられていた。
 また、ペイリン氏の政治スローガン「Don't Retreat, Reload(撤退せずに再装填しろ)」も批判を浴びている。
「これらは、精神的に不安定な人びとが(銃の乱射などについて)容認される行動だと思いこみかねない、中毒性の表現だ」と、民主党上院ナンバー2のディック・ダービン(Dick Durbin)議員は米CNNテレビの番組「State of the Union」のインタビューに語った。
 これに対し、やはり同番組に出演した共和党のラマー・アレクサンダー(Lamar Alexander)下院議員(テネシー州選出)は、「まるでペイリン氏に責任があるかのような物言いだ」と反論。その上で、政治論議はもう少していねいな言葉で行われるべきだと論じた。「われわれは落ち着いて、トーンダウンして、相手にもその考え方にも敬意を払わなければならない。移民や税金、医療保険制度改革法などの難しい議題でもそうすべきだ。感情をあおるようなことはできるだけ避けよう」
 一方、ペイリン陣営で選挙運動にたずさわったレベッカ・マンソール(Rebecca Mansour)氏も、ラジオ番組に出演。「われわれは事件とは全く無関係だ。地図に十字線を入れるのはよくある手法で、照準器のつもりなんてこれっぽっちもなかった」と反論した。

■ギフォーズ氏、過去に何度も脅迫
 アリゾナ州は伝統的に保守党の地盤。同州南東部のギフォーズ氏の選挙区も前年の中間選挙で接戦区の1つとなったが、ギフォーズ氏が辛くも勝利し、3期目の議席を獲得した。
 ギフォーズ氏は、不法移民の取り締まりを強化するアリゾナ州移民法に強く反対していたほか、オバマ政権の医療保険改革法案に賛成票を投じたことで、保守派の草の根運動「ティーパーティー(茶会)」から標的とされていた。
 選挙期間中に何度も脅迫を受けただけでなく、医療保険改革法案が下院で採決された直後の2010年3月には、ギフォーズ氏の事務所のガラスドアが何者かに割られるという事件が発生。また、2009年8月にもギフォーズ氏の選挙集会に銃を持った男が入り込み、強制排除される事件があった。
 しかし、ギフォーズ氏は「わたしはグロック9mm(拳銃)を持っているし、撃つのもうまいのよ」と脅迫を取り合わなかったという。

■過激化した政治風土の「中毒症状」が背景か
 アリゾナ州の緩い銃規制に反対する民主党支持者のピマ(Pima)郡保安官、クラレンス・ダップニク(Clarence Dupnik)氏は、政治家に対する脅迫は珍しいことではないが、近年は敵意や被害妄想、政府への不信が高まっていると指摘する。「24時間365日、休みなく公衆をあおり続ければ、人々への影響は避けられない。まず感化されるのは情緒不安定な人々だ」
 こうした指摘に、事件の起きた地元トゥーソン(Tucson)でティーパーティー運動を立ち上げたアリソン・ミラー(Allyson Miller)氏は、ニュースサイトTPMの取材に「とんでもない事件だ」と関連を否定。反ティーパーティー派について「選挙と関連があるに違いないとの結論に飛びついている」と批判した。
 ただ、ギフォーズ氏と同じアリゾナ州選出の民主党のラウル・グリハルバ(Raul Grijalva)下院議員は、政治風土の中毒症状が長く続きすぎたことが、8日の銃撃事件の背景にあるとの見方を示している。同議員は、「この怪物を育てることに力を貸した人々は、冷静になって考え、こうした中毒症状が米国の政治制度を脅かしているのだということに気づいて欲しい」と呼びかけている。


---【米銃乱射】アリゾナ州「分断と憎悪」の象徴 不法移民対策法で激しい対立---
2011.1.9 22:24
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/america/110109/amr1101092243012-n1.htm

 【ワシントン=犬塚陽介】米アリゾナ州トゥーソンで8日に発生した銃乱射事件は、民主党の下院議員を狙った暗殺未遂事件との見方も出ている。犯行の動機や背景の解明が待たれるが、同州は保守的な土壌で知られ、不法移民対策法や医療保険制度改革をめぐり、保守、リベラル両派が激しく対立。米国の潜在的な「分断と憎悪」の象徴として取り上げられることも少なくない。そうした構図を、今回の事件は改めてクローズアップさせている。
 米国では近年、レーガン大統領が銃撃された暗殺未遂事件(1981年)はあるが、現役の連邦議員が標的になった事例は乏しい。米紙ワシントン・ポストによると、78年に下院議員が射殺されたものの、滞在先の南米でのことだった。
 アリゾナ州では、米国で最も厳しいとされる不法移民対策法をめぐる保守、リベラル両派の対立の火種がくすぶる。医療保険制度改革でも意見が割れ、所得格差や人種問題に根ざした双方の嫌悪感が拡大し、治安の悪化が懸念されていた。
 同州ピーマ郡のクラレンス・デュプニク保安官は「アリゾナは偏見と頑迷な憎悪のメッカとなってしまった」と、事件には政治的な背景があるとの見方を示した。同州元上院議員のアルフレッド・グティエレズ氏も「怒りにあふれた人々と拳銃の組み合わせが、アリゾナを暴力へと誘っている」と懸念を表明した。
 ギフォーズ議員は不法移民対策に熱心な一方、医療保険制度改革法案を支持した。同法案に賛成票を投じた直後には、地元トゥーソンの同議員の事務所が荒らされている。
 彼女は来年に改選予定の連邦上院議員選、2014年の同州知事選の候補に取り沙汰され、「ホープ」として保守層の批判を一身に浴びている。昨年11月の中間選挙では、保守系草の根運動「ティーパーティー」(茶会)や、共和党のサラ・ペイリン前アラスカ州知事らの攻撃の的になった。
 一方、ロフナー容疑者は、インターネットの動画サイト「ユーチューブ」への投稿で、ギフォーズ議員の選挙区の住民について、識字率の低さに不満を示し、愚弄していたという。
 米共和党下院のカンター院内総務は、同党主導で12日に予定していた医療保険改革をつぶすための法案の本会議採決など、10日からの週の全審議を延期すると発表した。事件の影響は国政の場にも広がっている。


---ペイリン氏は人気4番手=共和党の次期大統領候補-米調査---
2010/12/29-17:12
http://www.jiji.com/jc/zc?k=201012/2010122900399

 【ワシントン時事】米CNNテレビは28日、2012年の次期大統領選の共和党有力4候補に対する党内支持率の調査結果を発表した。保守派に人気のペイリン前アラスカ州知事は、トップのハッカビー前アーカンソー州知事らに水をあけられ、最下位となった。
 調査は今月17~19日、共和党支持者470人を対象に、両氏にロムニー前マサチューセッツ州知事とギングリッジ元下院議長を加えた4人のそれぞれについて、同党の大統領候補として推すかどうかを尋ねる形で行われた。
 その結果、支持率はハッカビー氏(67%)、ロムニー氏(59%)、ギングリッジ氏(54%)、ペイリン氏(49%)の順となり、ペイリン氏だけ不支持(51%)が支持を上回った。
 08年12月に同様の調査を実施した際は、直前の大統領選に副大統領候補として臨んだペイリン氏が67%で首位だった。他の3氏の支持率はこの時とほぼ変わっておらず、ペイリン氏の人気低下が目立っている。


---Obama brings a gun to a knife fight---
June 14, 2008
http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0608/Obama_brings_a_gun_to_a_knife_fight.html

The McCain campaign and RNC are pouncing on another line from the Obama pool report:

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”

McCain and the RNC took on the comment in terms that will be very familiar to people who followed Clinton campaign statements last year:

“Barack Obama’s call for ‘new politics’ is officially over. In just 24 hours, Barack Obama attacked one of America’s pioneering women CEOs, rejected a series of joint bipartisan town halls, and said that if there’s a political knife fight, he’d bring a gun," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said, referring also to the Obama campaign's shot at Carly Fiorina's lavish pay package and role in layoffs at Hewlett-Packard.

“Why is Barack Obama so negative? In the last 24 hours, he’s completely abandoned his campaign’s call for ‘new politics,’ equating the election to a ‘brawl’ and promising to ‘bring a gun,' " said the RNC's Alex Conant.

Obama doesn't actually use the phrase "new politics" a lot, and this is a box that the Clinton campaign tried, and failed, to keep him in last year, when it emerged early that he was happy to throw punches, and even to start fistfights, sending, for instance, the first negative mail to hit in Iowa last fall.

Obama never paid much of a price for his willingness to go negative. He also, to be fair, never promised that he wouldn't attack, and indeed often promised to be tougher than past Democrats, and bragged of his Chicago training. He disavowed nasty character attacks, but then everybody disavows nasty character attacks.

What's left of course, is to speculate on what form of political change Obama promises: It's not some sort of disarmament; it's not any large deviation from traditional Democratic policy; it's more a vaguer - and harder to control, and deliver - promise to lead the country past the deep cultural divisions around race, religion and even Vietnam that have dominated national politics for decades.

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