There are many ways to transcribe political philosophies into graphical form. I am rather fond of the dual-axis model, as illustrated and explained here. On the other hand, there’s a large delegation of the left thinks that second axis is kind of redundant; there’s a simple left-right continuum, with “left” being synonymous with ‘liberal” and “good,” and “right” meaning “conservative” and “evil.”
And then there’s a third model. This is the one demonstrated by the Tucson shooter and his political beliefs. It’s another one-axis model, with one end of the line tagged “tangerine” and the other “gleemfarb.” The axis of crazy intersects with the conventional models entirely randomly — if ever.
I recently got into a bit of a row with this particular liberal twit at another site who went through the Tucson shooter’s political positions, and played Procrustes with them — slicing and dicing them to fit into his left/right models. And, as expected, it took a healthy dose of dishonesty.
The site’s moderators removed the twit’s portions of the discussion, so I’m having to reconstruct it from my quoting him and memory. Here’s what the guy said about the shooter’s politics, and how he was such a “right-winger.”
Gun nut. Anti-government. Anti-immigrant. Pro gold standard. Targeted and shot a Democrat. 9/11 Truther. Anti-abortion.
“Gun nut?” He owned, apparently, a single gun. He didn’t collect them, talk about them, brag about them.
“Anti-government.” Conservatives are anti-big government. Another term for “anti-government” is “anarchist,” and they tend to be on the left.
“Anti-immigrant?” He was concerned about “stupid” and “ignorant” people, and worried that immigrants would add to that pool.
“Pro gold standard?” He thought that changing our financial base would fix things. He was also heavily in favor of a marijuana standard. Which, I guess, would have saved him a lot of time, as he is a major pothead. If he could get a job where he was paid in pot, he wouldn’t have to track down a dealer and trade his money for drugs.
“Targeted and shot a Democrat.” A Democrat he used to admire, then found a reason to despise her and hate her over three years, until he finally shot her.
“9/11 Truther.” Like Michael Moore, he believed that the Bush administration (which, I feel I need to remind folks, was Republican) either engineered the attacks or, at least, knew about them in advance and let them go on.
“Anti-abortion.” At first, I thought that it was just an exaggeration — he’d gone for shock value in a discussion that touched on abortion, and you shouldn’t extract a conclusion from a single data point. But then ABC did a bit more digging, and — as Ann Coulter noted — the shooter’s comment was hardly the sort of thing you’d expect a true anti-abortion opponent:
In the most bald-faced lie I have ever read in The New York Times —
which is saying something — that paper implied Loughner is a pro-life
zealot. This is the precise opposite of the truth.
Only because numerous other news outlets, including ABC News
and The Associated Press, reported the exact same shocking incident in
much greater detail — and with direct quotes — do we know that the
Times’ rendition was complete bunk.
ABC News reported: “One Pima Community College student, who had
a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would
often act ‘wildly inappropriate.’
“‘One day (Loughner) started making comments about terrorism
and laughing about killing the baby,’ classmate Don Coorough told ABC
News, referring to a discussion about abortions. ‘The rest of us were
looking at him in shock … I thought this young man was troubled.’
“Another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled the incident as well.
“‘A girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very
emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a
bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomber,’ Ali said.”
Here’s the Times’ version: “After another student read a poem
about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a
‘terrorist for killing the baby.'”
So that’s how the Times transformed Loughner from a sicko
laughing about a dead fetus to a deadly earnest pro-life fanatic. (Never
believe a news story written by Eric Lipton, Charlie Savage or Scott
Shane of The New York Times — or for simplicity, anything in the
If you’re wondering what that sort of thing might look like, and a glimpse into another form of sick insanity, check here.
So, just where did the Tucson’s shooter’s politics fit on the axis? I’d put him on the “gleemfarb” end of the spectrum, but with a lot of elements of the “tangerine” mixed in. And his involvement with “left” or “right” was entirely random and coincidental.
Which makes those like my adversary at the other site nothing more than a crass political opportunist of a rather ghoulish bent. And a loathsome human being.
The Tucson shooter is not a crazed right-winger. He is not a crazed left-winger. He is crazy. The only reason to try to shove him over to one side or the other is to exploit this atrocity for pure political gain.
And we can never forget just who did that, and to what lengths they went to in that quest.
My first nomination: take very careful note of which Democrats attend the next Yearly Kos/Netroots Nation event. In the past, it’s drawn many big Democrats, including seven of the eight leading candidates for president at the 2007 event. It’s still very closely tied to Daily Kos, whose founder and leader tweeted “Sarah Palin — Mission Accomplished!” immediately after the shooting, and has refused to back away from that since.
Their words are anchors. And we should never help them take those chains from around their necks. Not until they retract and apologize for them.