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Gunning for Palin

March 25, 2010 | 11:23 am

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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