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Gunning for Palin

I never thought I'd say this, but I have a bit of sympathy for Sarah Palin, who is being accused of fomenting violence because of a graphic on her Facebook page showing 20 vulnerable Democratic House districts in cross-hairs. The districts are represented by Democrats who voted for "Obamacare."

TPM notes darkly that  "Palin's call follows several incidents of violence against Democrats who voted for the healthcare bill." Democratic National Chairman Tim Kaine said: "Sarah Palin has invoked healthcare 'death panels' and has now placed gun sights on 20 members of Congress who supported reform."

Hmm. Gun metaphors are part of politics, from "targeted districts" to "under fire" to "took a shot at the presidency." For all her demagoguery and ditziness, Palin isn't inciting anyone to violence. The vandalism and vile epithets that have been aimed at some supporters of healthcare reform ought to be condemned, but it's a reach to attribute them to Palin and other loose-tongued Republicans, just as it was unfair to blame the civil rights movement for the Watts riots or Palestinian nationalists for acts of terror.

Nothing is so seductive for political partisans as the temptation to paint your opponents as violent nuts. But Democrats would be wise not to link threats and acts of vandalism to Republicans. It's not only unfair; it sets you up for the day when some of your own supporters go rogue

--Michael McGough


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So by your logic, if the DNC or a liberal organization put a mug of Palin (and her family?) on a t-shirt in the cross-hairs of a sniper gun with a caption of say, "target rogue statesmen 2012", that would be perfectly within the limits of political use of gun metaphors, right? That is, of course, complete nonsense and it should shock any and all that you can "metaphorically" advocate targeting people and pretend that isn't inciting violence when those same targets then actually receive threats to them and their families. What do the faxes of the images of nooses to black congresspeople constitute in your opinion -- a "hung out to dry" metaphor? Please. Republicans and tea-baggers should attend anger management therapy but at the very least we must unwaveringly insist they conduct themselves in respectful and non-intimidating ways. Palin should be ashamed of herself (but that would require some degree of self awareness, something she is completely bereft of). God forbid one of the congresspersons she has targeted actually gets shot. We're dealing with more than rhetorically loaded guns in this country right now.


Fact: If a Democrat had created an election ad that put the White house in cross-hairs when Bush was president that person would have been arrested.

How is this different?


Sarah Palin is a disgrace to the human race.

andrew nelson

uhhhmmm... for all you righteously indignant republicans commenting...

do a quick google search on "liberal democrats target seats".

I get 151,000 hits.

thomas mc

Today the Tea Party has been revealed to be the American version of Al Qaeda, and Sarah Palin is its Osama bin Laden.

Hopefully, the Dept. of Homeland Security will be waterboarding her soon in Gitmo!

Jose Awesome

You are completely, absolutely wrong on this one.

Just what the hell did you think was going to happen after the GOP spent a year demonizing the President, talking about reeducation camps and death panels, and predicting Armageddon (to name just a few)? If you're still not convinced, how about you watch some footage of Tea Party protests, or just check out the comments on any FOX News article. With this as precedent, Palin (and you) are being utterly disingenuous when you characterize this as a mere "gun metaphor".


LAUGHING OUT LOUD at all you whiny, scared-to-death, cowardly Libs, once again keeping Sarah Palin in the headlines! She lives in your heads, rent-free! You are all scared to DEATH of her, and it is SO OBVIOUS by the way you carry on insulting her, slinging mud at her, trying to denigrate her, reaching...grasping...CLAWING for anything to stick!


This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys AND a lifetime supply of helium balloons! Can't WAIT 'til 2012, when your WORST NIGHTMARE comes true, and she becomes our next president! Libs will go absolutely APOPLECTIC! Heads will explode from coast to coast! Oh man, the next few years are going to be a laugh riot, watching YOU LIBS pee your pants at the mere mention of this woman!


Your opinion would likely change if it was your image in the cross-hairs. Of course Sarah Palin has a perfectly plausible denial, though your argument is quite invalid as she didn't use a gun metaphor as a figure of speach - she used, you know, actual cross-hairs.

Jason, DC

Michael, I see your point but I disagree. Had the far-right kept their vitriolic protests from morphing into threats and vandalism, I would say Palin would be fine using crosshairs. But because over the last week the conservative lunatics have become "lunatickier" and have employed behavior that verges on violent/illegal, I would chastise any politician who uses crosshairs to denote political enemies (especially with enemies who voted for legislation that stirred the passion of the lunatics in the first place).


MR. Michael McGough you have written a very true article and I commend you for that!!!.... The Left feels quilty for voting on a bill they DID NOT read and the bill is terrible for the American citizens and the economey .. so to throw the discussion off of the Democrats, they are making things up and the lame street media jumps whenever the LEFT whines. Sarah Palin has recently and has often spoken about being civil and avoiding violence. The media and the Democrats KNOW her words are metaphors and have been used quite often in the political world. "THE LAME STREET MEDIA NEEDS TO QUIT MAKING THINGS UP" !


Sarah is getting a bad rap, and most of America and the decent politicians know it. The Democrats are trying to throw us off track from discussing this TERRIBLE bill they just passed. .. Also the video of the Tea Party people is one of very calm everyday citizens and there IS NO Video footage of any wrong doing by the Tea Party crowd towards the Democrats as they pranced in front of them. ---- And Sarah Palin has often written and said on TV, (Just this year several times) that she does NOT condone any violence. The media and the Democrats are twisting this all around because the Media and the Democrats did not let the American people know in advance all the bad stuff in this healthcare bill.


BRAVO for writing this article!! I also saw Paul Begala on CNN tonight saying this is stupid- He himself had a show called Crosshairs using the same symbol. Was he inciting violence along with CNN? Using the term releading is metaphorical and I'm glad you listed the other terms that are used in political speak. We also say battleground states so are we really going to battle literaly? NO! Sarah Palin has been on the real end of hate- examples her church lit on fire and the phone lines cut during the 2008 campaign, Sandra Bernhardt did a "comedy skit" saying she wanted her to be gang raped in NYC, David Leterman's junk, Kathy Griffin saying she wanted to push her down the stairs, tomatoes thrown at her, her son made fun of, read any liberal blog about her and you will see-in fact I already read someone stating on here that she should be waterboarded. It's all projection! I want the liberals to tell their supporters to stop doing it to her not the other way around!


The "crosshair" images on the states of Democratic lawmakers pushed by Team Palin are consistent with her tweet on Tuesday after the reform bill was passed: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" I believe that these kinds of comments further inflame unbalanced people.


mr. mcgough: i say you're d-e-a-d wrong! you're either a repugnicant shill, a bagger, or work for an insurance company. hate speech has no place in this country. in fact, it's against the law. "ought to be condemned"??? you dance around the issue. maybe because you identify with ms. apawlin. you're everybody-does-it-so-it's-ok rationalization is rash and ill considered. also it's completely false. you spew lies as cavalierly as the person you admire. i say you're a poser and closet repugnicant. talk straight for once. s. apawlin tried this tactic during her failed vp bid, and was allowed to get off lightly with an insincere apology. she shows no remorse, in that she stubbornly refuses to act in a responsible manner, as any adult should - especially one with so much media exposure. there appears to be too many gullible people that don't apply enough critical thinking to her hate speech. this cheerleader should be taken to court.


There is a difference between saying a district has been targeted and drawing gunsight crosshairs on it. Or take Palin's twitter comment on the health care bill passing: "Don't retreat. Instead, reload."

Yeah, there is no possible way that could be taken as incitement of violence.

Sure, you can say that she was just speaking metaphorically... advising the GOP faithful to regroup and continue their efforts. And that would be a crock. Because it pretends her comments and the graphic occur in a vacuum. It pretends we hadn't ALREADY seen overflowing waves of hatred and irrational behavior. It pretends members of congress hadn't already been confronted by angry mobs shouting bigoted epithets. It pretends a right wing nut hadn't recently shot up the holocaust memorial citing much of the same idiotic rhetoric you can hear from Limbaugh, Beck, and yes Palin.

Either the woman is a complete moron or she damn well knows how such words will be taken by the lunatic fringe who adore her.


One more thing I hope the media talks about Eric Cantor getting threats and a BULLET through his campaign buildings window on the 24 7 cycle of the media but they won't and if so very little because they have an agenda! The only reason Cantor came out to talk about it is because the left runs to the media and Obama sends out fundraising requests using it and Cantor just called it like we all see it-for political gain. Instead this stuff should all be dealt with by the police not playing politics with it. Really though I soooooo wish Palin would make public all the threats her and her family has recieved. I bet it would blow away all the others combined. Matter of fact she was hung in effigy right in this papers backyard!


Sarah Palin has Congress in the crosshairs. Literally. Considering her inflammatory rhetoric and the questionable stability of some of her fans, is it wise to use such imagery?


Good Lord, what nonsense. What kind of bubble do you have to be in to miss the rising tide of conservative vigilante violence? Crosshair symbols have no place in a political ad during a time when conservatives are being urged by their hate-radio heroes to "eliminate" the progressive "cancer" from America. It's amazing that this even has to be said. What has America become?

It's clear. The evidence is all around us. Conservatism is a serious mental disorder, and should be classified and treated as such.


@Courtney, you said: "One more thing I hope the media talks about Eric Cantor getting threats and a BULLET through his campaign buildings window on the 24 7 cycle of the media but they won't and if so very little because they have an agenda!"

Perhaps by now you have read the full, true story about Cantor's phantom bullet hole - or perhaps you haven't, since the truth is unlikely to be reported on Fox "News" or by the right-wing radio gasbags.


The bullet hole in question was caused by a gun being fired randomly upward, coming back down at a sharp angle, and hitting a window on the first floor of a two-story building. Cantor's offices are on the second floor.

Cantor's statement is a complete and total lie (how typical for a conservative). The bullet was not intended for him or anyone else, had nothing to do with his office, and randomly hit a window of someone ELSE's office.

There is not a shred of truth in Cantor's ridiculous allegation, and yet here you are on this website repeating the lie as if it were true. Courtney honey, THIS is what's wrong with America today. It's YOU. (And slimeballs like Cantor.)

John Morgan

I find Palin's entry using the cross hairs of a gun to show where Democrats are vulnerable to be offense, even unChristian. After living long enough to see the deaths of others by guns, I am both saddened and shocked but not surprised by the shallowness of her little map.


Very good commentary. I actually do support Mrs. Palin but I mostly support having a fair dialogue in our country. I was that more people would take your fair stance, for a change.

John Carpenter

Anyone who reads this as a call to violence has serious issues. It's just that simple.

These people (those so obsessed with Palin they could hear her read the Gettysburg Address and interpret it as Mein Kampf) are as emotionally unstable as those who saw "Avatar" and became seriously depressed.

The bottom line? When the L.A. Times feels some pity for attacks against Palin you know someone has crossed the line. How amusing it's a guy called Weiner that's leading the charge.

Janet Wells

The claims that the Dems voted for the bill without reading it are totally unsubstantiated. The Reps used as a talking point the fact that the bill is 2700 pages and too long to read or understand. Pardon me, but most bills of major importance are equally as long. Does that mean the Reps cannot read the bills they vote on? Are their reading skills that weak? I, along with several of my colleagues, read the entire bill, and it didn't take days. For a person accustomed to reading the law, this is not hard at all.

I would urge everyone to read and understand the bill before they spout off about its contents. Otherwise they are just spreading rumors. While we are at it, it would be very helpful if everyone would read the US Constitution again. Much of the debate highlights a lack of understanding of the Constitution and our well-established laws. We need to get back to civil debate based on the facts.

Jose Awesome

"The bottom line? When the L.A. Times feels some pity for attacks against Palin you know someone has crossed the line. "

All right, so using that logic, I can say that when Elizabeth Hasselbeck feels that Sarah Palin's crosshairs are "despicable", then you know she's crossed the line.



Man Michael McGough,

talking about missing the point, or missing your target.

Its not what Palin has done by itself in a vacum, but what she has done in this current environment. Which is adding to the fuel.

The current environment is that not just Palin but alot of GOP lawmakers are dangerously inciting violence.

Had Palin done this 2 years ago during the 2008 election, sure Michael McGough you would be absolutely right.

But to do it at a time when there has already been high emotion about healtcare from the TEA BAGGERS that follow her, when the TEA BAGGERS feel justified in spitting on a Congressman, when the TEA BAGGERS feel justified in calling another Congressman the *N word. Need I go on?

And for Palin to add fuel to the fire is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous.

This is so ugly and so Un-American. It's sickening.


This guy sounds like a domestic violence defense attorney.

Cantor should have joined Democrats and spoke out against the domestic violence. Instead he fanned the flames and blamed Democrats.

Turns out no one shot a bullet at his office.

Thomas K. Rooney

Palin reminds me of a Dragon with many heads When one is cut off another one sprouts in its place, The last time was in Nov, The next time will be when she tries to run for President. America has slayed the dragon before and I see no problem doing it again, If she happens to run this will be the final end and she can return to wherever dragons go? Maybe a cave in Alaska?


Give me a break! Palin is in it for herself, she has no sense...

well, I think I will leave that as it is.

But, she has no true care for anything but her self and her inflammatory rhetoric is not new.

Thomas K. Rooney

I wish to add that my blast of Palin is pure politics I have no hate for Sarah this is from a person who is concerned for his country and the damage a Palin could do! Sarah Palin is not now or in her case will never be ready to be President, No matter how many Tea party's are held Our great union has rejected her in the past and will hopefully do so in the future!

HC Brando

OverTheCoastline has a point about Sarah Palin living in Democrats' heads (although you have to wonder about the maturity, if not the sanity, of someone who writes "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!" in a post).

The woman isn't even last year's joke. She's strictly 2008. She's an attention junkie, and there are too many enablers out there. Ignore her and she'll seem merely pathetic and eventually disappear.

Joe Cruz

Michael, I could not agree with you more. It is unresponsible to accuse Sarah Palin of encouraging violence. Not only is it reaching, but it is downright untruthful.


I seem to remember some gay guys hanging Sarah in effigy for halloween and the left loved that... what, you forgot that? hmmmm
I seem to remember some arsonist going to Wasila Alaska and burning Sarah's church while there were women and children inside... hmmm forgot that one too?
I seem to remember a number of left wing dolts making worse comments about her and ... hmmmm... a lot of clapping and encouragement from the liberal dolts...

so f off to all you liberals, you whinney girlie men, you dolts who are HYPOCRITES

get ready to see the Congress and the Senate go Republican, thanks in great part to SARAH PALIN.... just like poking a stick in your eye....

I'm laughing at you now.


Many of d Right Wing, Tea P. supporters are not getting it right. This is TRUELY despicable no matter if u're dem, repub. or d Tea Party supporter. A honest person will apologise honestly, for offending the people.


While "I never thought [you'd] say this" either, it is nice to see an objective cherry pop up once in awhile amidst the pits. There was a day when the media was a watchdog without favor. That is long past, America knows it, and it discredits you.


I can never understand why people would admire a quiter. Go figure.


Did you know that when Sarah Palin was a child living in Skagway Alaska, her family would drive over the border to Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory for "free health" care"? I'm not criticizing Sarah... as Canadians we were grateful that we were able to help. Bottom line is the USA is the only developed country in the world that does not look after its citizens, until Obama came along. Its time to move on folks. There are more important issues that need to be fixed. Like reigning in your bankers and the Wall Street tycoons who drove your economy over the cliff and are the real criminals.

Richard Rider

Kucinich in Obama's crosshairs
Washington Post

Rahm Emanuel in the political cross hairs
By Ed Hornick, CNN

Bush in cross hairs for lapse of ban on assault weapons

Bush in the GOP Crosshairs: the White House Gets Hit with Friendly Fire
Arianna Huffington

And there are many more examples.

Richard Rider

Supporting the Troops? Senator Webb Puts Bush in the Cross-hairs
Atlantic Free Press-- Progressive Opinion

NOTE the included graphic of a surprised George Bush II about to be shot in the cross hairs. Did anyone go to jail for this? NO!

Should they have? OF COURSE not!!

And where was the progressive hue and cry about this incitement to violence? Uhhh......


It's really sad reading this comment especially from OVERTHECOAST. I don't care about Sarah Palin or self delusional speak. I care about the rule of law and the ability to live in peace. So if you think I am going to have nightmares come November; you need to think long term.
Nothing especially you last forever. Be well and look out for the crosshairs at your door.

Like the feeling? Eat it.


Oh good grief, what a bunch of whiny babies! Time to grow up.

President Obama, during the campaign, used the metaphor:

"“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. "

Should we then assume - as people have with Palin - childish hysterics, and make accusations that he was threatening to shoot McCain???

Are you people nuts? METAPHOR: 1. a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance.
2. something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

A METAPHOR knows no political distinctions. Both sides employ them, even our President.


You folks give Sarah Palin too much credit. There are lots of us Republicans out here waiting for their party to offer us more than John McCain and Sarah Palin....

Clotee Allochuku

It's pathetic that Sarah Palin has to resort to such agressive tactics to get her point over. Why use cross hairs to show which Democrats voted for Healthcare? Citizens of this country are victims of a hellish war between the Republicans and Democrats. It seems that the Democrats so far are ahead in the battle so now the Republicans are using every hoodlum act of outrageous disgust they can lift to hurl at Democrats. Didn't they learn anything from the past battle when President Obama won the presidency? Citizens do not want to see "anti" anything. We are sick of the insults and bad manners coming from both sides. Congress is actually getting paid to act like spoiled children on a school playground. They need to stop before they "throw the baby out with the bath water".

Bill Scherer

The symbols on the map of Gov. Palin's blog are NOT Rifle sights, or more accurately, the optical sights field of view/vision. Have another look at that map on Gov. Palin's blog. There are no scopes that produce a field of view that looks like the symbols on her map. May I suggest looking through the scope of your favorite rifle and then compare it to her symbols. You will notice the crosshairs of the real scope stay within the circle (body of the scope).


The Righteous Right talks about responsibility but never takes any. When Dr. Tiller was killed, Bill O'Reilly who used to call him "Tiller the Baby Killer" on national news (and did so often) refused to admit that he bore any responsibility for building a climate that encouraged assassination. Sarah Palin is the same. Using gun metaphors "political crosshairs" is quite different from what is going on now and those who say otherwise are either stupid, or disinguous, or both.


"But Democrats would be wise not to link threats and acts of vandalism to Republicans. It's not only unfair; it sets you up for the day when some of your own supporters go rogue"

Is that what Jared did? Go rogue?



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