This one will leave a mark as well. Some key bits:
The New York Times has seized on a madman's act of wanton violence as an excuse to instigate a witch hunt against those it regards as its domestic foes. "Instigate" is not too strong a word here: As we noted yesterday, one of the first to point an accusatory finger at the Tea Party movement and Sarah Palin was the Times's star columnist, Paul Krugman. Less than two hours after the news of the shooting broke, he opined on the Times website: "We don't have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was."
This was speculative fantasy, irresponsible but perhaps forgivable had Krugman walked it back when the facts proved contrary to his prejudices. He did not. His Monday column evinced the same damn-the-facts attitude as the editorial did.
In the column, Krugman blames the massacre on "eliminationist rhetoric," which he defines as "suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary." He rightly asserts that "there isn't any place" for such rhetoric. But he falsely asserts that it is "coming, overwhelmingly, from the right."
Krugman's assertion that such rhetoric comes "overwhelmingly from the right" is at best wilfully ignorant. National Review's Jay Nordlinger runs down some examples on the left:
Even before [George W.] Bush was elected president, the kill-Bush talk and imagery started. When Governor Bush was delivering his 2000 convention speech, Craig Kilborn, a CBS talk-show host, showed him on the screen with the words "SNIPERS WANTED." Six years later, Bill Maher, the comedian-pundit, was having a conversation with John Kerry. He asked the senator what he had gotten his wife for her birthday. Kerry answered that he had taken her to Vermont. Maher said, "You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone." (New Hampshire is an early primary state, of course.) Kerry said, "Or I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone." (This is the same Kerry who joked in 1988, "Somebody told me the other day that the Secret Service has orders that if George Bush is shot, they're to shoot Quayle.") Also in 2006, the New York comptroller, Alan Hevesi, spoke to graduating students at Queens College. He said that his fellow Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer, would "put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."
One example Nordlinger misses: Just this past October, then-Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania told the Times-Tribune of Scranton: "That [Rick] Scott down there that's running for governor of Florida. Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him." Kanjorski was defeated for re-election the following month, but he turns up today on the op-ed page of--oh, yes--the New York Times:
The House speaker, John Boehner, spoke for everyone who has been in Congress when he said that an attack against one of us is an attack against all who serve. It is also an attack against all Americans.
Does that include Gov. Rick Scott, Mr. Kanjorski?
Left-wing eliminationist rhetoric has occasionally made its way into the very pages of the Times. Here are the jaunty opening paragraphs of a news story dated Dec. 26, 1995:
As the Rev. Al Sharpton strode through Harlem toward Sylvia's restaurant and a meeting with the boxing promoter Don King last week, the greetings of passers-by followed him down Lenox Avenue.
"Hey, Reverend Al, you going to kill Giuliani?" one man shouted, in a joking reference to the latest confrontation between Mr. Sharpton and the Mayor. Mr. Sharpton waved silently and walked on.
"Giuliani," he said, "is the best press agent I ever had."
The next paragraph puts this eliminationist rhetoric into context:
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and others have accused Mr. Sharpton of using racially charged language that contributed to the emotional pitch of a dispute between a Jewish clothing store owner and the black owner of a record shop. They have suggested he had a responsibility to defuse the tensions that rose until a gunman set Freddy's clothing store afire Dec. 8, killing himself and seven others.
(As an aside, it is no credit to our colleagues at Fox News Channel that Sharpton is a frequent guest on their programs.)
Another bit of eliminationist rhetoric appeared as the lead sentence of an article on the Times op-ed page in December 2009: "A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy." The author: Paul Krugman.
A March 2010 profile of Krugman in The New Yorker featured this related detail:
Once Obama won the primary, Krugman supported him. Obviously, any Democrat was better than John McCain.
"I was nervous until they finally called it on Election Night," Krugman says. "We had an Election Night party at our house, thirty or forty people."
"The econ department, the finance department, the Woodrow Wilson school," [Robin] Wells [Krugman's wife] says. "They were all very nervous, so they were grateful we were having the party, because they didn't want to be alone. We had two or three TVs set up and we had a little portable outside fire pit and we let people throw in an effigy or whatever they wanted to get rid of for the past eight years."
"One of our Italian colleagues threw in an effigy of Berlusconi."
Burning an effigy, like burning an American flag, is constitutionally protected symbolic speech. It is also about as eliminationist as speech can get, short of a true threat or incitement. To Krugman, it is a fun party activity. It is shockingly hypocritical for such a man to deliver a pious lecture about the dangers of eliminationist rhetoric.