Scarborough on ‘Irresponsible’ Gun Rhetoric: Shouldn’t Sarah Palin ‘Apologize?’
January 10, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)—If you play with fire, you get burned. Sarah Palin got burned and now she is crying foul and playing the victim. The former half-term governor is being pelted with withering criticism, for her continued use of irresponsible violent imagery and incendiary rhetoric, in the wake of the Tucson rampage that left six people dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) fighting for her life after being shot in the head by a madman. Before the November mid-term elections Palin targeted Giffords with a bullsyeye crosshairs map, and she called on her supporters to “don’t retreat, instead – RELOAD!” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough would like to see right-wing leaders such as Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who both use eliminationist rhetoric, to take this opportunity to apologize to the public for their irresponsible behavior.
Scarborough made his remarks during Monday’s Morning Joe program, while discussing the Tucson rampage with MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan. He acknowledged that Palin, Bachmann and teapartiers engaging in incendiary public discourse can’t be directly blamed for the actions of 22-year-old shooter Jared Lee Loughner, a mentally unstable man, but at the same time they should apologize for their contribution to the toxic political environment, instead of playing defense.
SCARBOROUGH: So Pat, is this not a time for people, like Sarah Palin, who have used violent imagery – she just has. I know some of my conservative friends and family members won’t like that reality. Or, Michele Bachmann, who said she wants Minnesotans armed and dangerous. Isn’t this an opportune time for them to apologize -– not saying that it led to anything — but just saying that they’ve been irresponsible in their rhetoric and they’re going to be more careful moving forward? […]
I am just saying though, I mean, God, you’ve worked for two presidents. Would you not be in there if you were working for Sarah Palin right now, saying, go out and say it had nothing to do with this shooting, but you understand that it was irresponsible, and you’re going to be more careful moving forward. Wouldn’t you give her that advice if you were her aide?
BUCHANAN: Well, I certainly would. I would give everybody the advice to tone down the rhetoric and get away from military and the armed metaphors and things that a lot of us have used in campaigns, especially at a time like this. You know, I sure would Joe.
After Rep. Giffords was shot on Saturday, Palin removed the controversial crosshairs map from her website, but it remains on her Facebook page. A Palin aide, Rebecca Mansour, tried to run interference for Palin, ridiculously claiming that Palin had no idea that the map targeting Democrats with rifle crosshairs would be viewed as using violent gun imagery.
“We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights,” she told right-wing talk radio host Tammy Bruce. Mansour agreed with Bruce’s suggestion that the bullseyes are “surveyor’s symbols.”
“She said that the graphic was contracted out to a professional. They approved it quickly without thinking about it. “We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent,” she said. Rather, she said, that it was simply “crosshairs that you would see on a map.”
There is “nothing irresponsible about our graphic,” she added…
Of course, Mansour’s ham-handed defense of her boss is ridiculous. Palin herself described the crosshairs map using gun imagery: “Don’t retreat, instead – RELOAD!” And when criticized months ago for using such violent gun imagery, Palin doubled down, blaming the “lamestream media” for manufacturing a “ginned-up controversy.”
She continued to use the phrase, “Don’t retreat, instead – RELOAD!” in her political discourse. And after the November elections, she called the crosshair targets on her Twitter page bullseyes, writing “remember months ago ‘bullseye’ icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats?”
Further, in an appearance on MSNBC at the time, Giffords objected to Palin’s “target map” using gun imagery to target Democrats.
Palin had plenty of opportunities months ago, to clear up any false impressions about her crosshairs map, but she didn’t.
As the Slate’s Dave Weigal, says of Mansour’s explanations, “This is deeply stupid.”
Weigal adds, “Throughout 2010, when Palin was criticized for the target map, she either didn’t respond or mocked the “lamestream media” for interpreting her gun metaphors as calls for violence. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, for example, she got big applause when she said “Don’t retreat, reload — and that is not a call for violence!”
In keeping with her victimization mentality, Palin emailed Fox News colleague and conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck, saying in part according to Beck, “I hate violence,” Palin wrote back. “I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this.”
Beck read the email exchange on his radio show today in defense of Palin. The hate talker, was apparently commiserating with Palin over “feeling the same heat” in the wake of the Tucson shooting.
“Sarah, as you know, peace is always the answer. I know you are feeling the same heat, if not much more on this,” Beck wrote.
Beck expressed concern about Palin’s safety, and urged her to hire the same Los Angeles-based security firm that he uses.
“But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down,” added Beck.
Palin should just take Joe Scarborough’s advice, apologize and refrain from using incendiary violent gun imagery in her future political discourse, instead of playing the victim.
But her response so far to the national criticism, fair or unfair, is to double down. This is not the behavior expected from a woman who considers herself presidential material.
Photo Source: Wikimedia/Therealbs2002/Creative Commons Attribution.