Tea Party Group Blames 'Leftist' for Giffords Shooting

More

Showing no sign of tamping down on divisive political rhetoric in the wake of the shooting of 20 people that left six dead in Tuscon Saturday, the Tea Party Nation group e-mailed its members Sunday warning them they would be called upon to fight leftists in the days ahead and defend their movement.

TPN founder Judson Phillips, in an article linked off the e-mail "The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the left's attack on the Tea Party movement," described the shooter as "a leftist lunatic" and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik as a "leftist sheriff" who "was one of the first to start in on the liberal attack." Phillips urged tea party supporters to blame liberals for the attack on centrist Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was shot through the head and is now fighting for her life, as a means of defending the tea party movement's recent electoral gains.

"The hard left is going to try and silence the Tea Party movement by blaming us for this," he wrote. Clinton used the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to "blame conservative talk radio, especially Rush Limbaugh" and "The tactic worked then, backing conservatives off and possibly helping to ensure a second Clinton term."

"The left is coming and will hit us hard on this. We need to push back harder with the simple truth. The shooter was a liberal lunatic. Emphasis on both words," he wrote.

The Tea Party Nation is the sponsor of the Tea Party Convention at which former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker in February 2010. "America is ready for another revolution!" Palin told the assembled at the conference, to standing ovations.

Other tea party groups took a less combative tone. Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said Saturday her group was "shocked and saddened" by the "terrible tragedy."

"These heinous crimes have no place in America, and they are especially grievous when committed against our elected officials. Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas," Kremer said in a statement published by the New York Times. "An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process. We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In