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Fighting words

On heated rhetoric and debt ceiling hypocrisy

Published: Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords returned to Washington, D.C. Monday, seven months after her tragic attack to cast her vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling. Her timing couldn't be better to unveil the absolutely relentless hypocrisy of left-wing media and politics.

The vicious attack on Giffords sparked a whirlwind of criticism over the violent rhetoric of the right in which the media castigated the tea party for its tone. Sarah Palin was criticized relentlessly over a map depicting crosshairs over vulnerable democrats, similar to the DNC's use of targets on Republicans. Most heinously, Giffords' attacker, Jared Loughner, was assumed by the media to be a right-wing nut job aligned with the tea party, of which only the nut job part was true.

A favorite of the left, Paul Krugman crooned in The New York Times, "you could see, just by watching the crowds at the McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again."

Democrat Senator Richard Durbin opined, "we live in a world of violent images and violent words," and went on to cite a Sarah Palin tweet, "don't retreat, reload."

ABC's Jane Cowan noted, "Political candidates, especially those aligned with the grassroots Tea Party movement, have increasingly invoked violent imagery."

It's hard to miss the irony when Giffords returned to the house, left-wingers and Democrats who refuse to use the term, "War on Terror," "terrorist," or "jihadist," to describe "enemy combatants," are using all those terms to describe the tea party congress members and their role in the debt ceiling debate.

Liberals lament the debt-ceiling compromise they think was manipulated by extremist "tea-hadists" though it gained more bipartisan support than Obamacare.

Joe Nocera of The New York Times in an article titled, Tea Party's War on America, complains, "You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them," and accusing tea party members of having "waged jihad."

Vice President Joe Biden sniped, "The tea party acted like terrorists."

Michael Lind penned an article for Salon titled, "The Tea Party, the debt ceiling, and white Southern extremism" which explains, "Today's Tea Party movement is merely the latest of a series of attacks on American democracy by the white Southern minority, which for more than two centuries has not hesitated to paralyze, sabotage or, in the case of the Civil War, destroy American democracy in order to get their way."

Let me be clear. I have nothing against heated rhetoric. When Americans talk about passionate issues from sports, to religion, to politics, people are bound to spout off and feelings are going to get hurt.

I am however against blatant hypocrisy. It unveils the political opportunism of liberals in the Giffords tragedy where they insisted right-wing rhetoric poisoned the atmosphere regardless of the facts. Now, seven months later, Giffords returned to Congress and there is not even a whisper about civility as these same opportunists call fellow Americans hostage takers and terrorists.

It's fine to believe that liberals are shrill mouth breathers or that tea party jihadists are trying to destroy America. We all have opinions. Just be consistent.

Heated rhetoric I can stand, hypocrisy, I cannot.


Taylor Wolken is a junior economics major and editor-in-chief of The Battalion.

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