Shooting rampage won't stifle political rhetoric

(An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated that George W. Bush would have won the 2000 election under any recount scenario.)

Ignore the talk of a partisan cooling-off period following the shooting in Arizona.

Political division has become too big a business and too clear a pathway to power for any truce to last.

To use a Sarah Palin analogy, liberals and conservatives already have begun to reload.

It's not surprising Palin once again is a lightning rod.

Her critics foolishly tried to link her use of gun analogies and gun imagery to this tragedy. Her language and use of gun sights to target congressional districts were unfortunate but certainly not the reason why a madman did what he did. Ultimately, the charge that it did only will increase Palin's cachet among followers.

It only will increase the divide.

And sadly enough, division works.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin made the idiotic claim that Obama "palled around with terrorists.'' A strategist for John McCain told the New York Daily News, "It's a dangerous road, but we have no choice. If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we're going to lose."

When all else fails, go with division.

And now the premium on winning is such that this type of rhetoric and vitriol has become a 24/7 phenomenon, particularly with round-the-clock political coverage.

Just like the video game Grand Theft Auto desensitizes children to violence, I fear this desensitizes a lot of viewers to tolerance.

Differences of opinion no longer are just that.

They must be the result of evil intent, or moral failure or dark forces.

Liberals can't accept that George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000. And so he stole the election with brother Jeb's help, even though an extensive analysis by major media outlets indicate he would have won under several Florida recount scenarios.

The Iraq war he started wasn't a tragic miscalculation, an intelligence failure, or just the mother of all screw-ups.

It had to be that Bush deliberately lied.

Attacks against Obama have been even more shrill. He can't be just another Democratic president pursuing the same liberal agenda pursued by so many Democrats before him.

He has to be the most radical president in history, a dangerous socialist, perhaps even a Muslim, maybe even a foreign-born pawn of George Soros sent here to turn the U.S. into either France or an Islamic state.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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