Tea Party Express: Liberals Exploit Shooting

By Chris Good

Liberals have exploited the shooting in Arizona for their own benefit, according to one prominent Tea Party group, casting inappropriate blame on the movement in an attempt to silence it.

The Tea Party Express, one of the four most prominent national Tea Party groups, had this to say in an e-mail to supporters Monday afternoon (full e-mail at the end of this post):

One thing that surprised us [after the shooting] was how many in the news media and liberal political figures and organizations immediately launched into an attack on the tea party movement - assigning blame for the shooting to our grass roots, Constitutionalist movement in general, and Gov. Sarah Palin in particular.

Friends, this is outrageous. 

It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs.

You know what the truth is?  The truth is that the shooter, Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity.  But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.

We here at the Tea Party Express find that disgusting and revolting. ...

As the meaning of the Arizona shooting is parsed, the tea party movement has come in for a heavy share of the blame. As Joshua Green points out, the tea party movement has been a locus of anti-government anger and full of heated rhetoric, and, because of that, this shooting will influence the way media covers the movement going forward.

Because this shooting follows an angry and divisive political year -- and because Democratic lawmakers were threatened and Giffords's office was vandalized -- many people have concluded that the lesson here is to tone the talk down. Given the obvious foreshadowings of political violence, it's hard to blame people for reaching that conclusion. The tea party movement has been at the center of debate over violent rhetoric for some time now, so it makes sense that attention has turned to tea party groups in the post-shooting reflection.

The Tea Party Express, for its part, gained notoriety this past election cycle by identifying and sponsoring the Republican primary upsets in Nevada, Alaska, Utah, and Delaware, shaping the political year by propelling tea party candidates to primary victories and national prominence. It has put on four nationwide Tea Party bus tours, holding rallies in dozens of tour stops across the country.

It's not surprising that TPE defends Sarah Palin here. The group enjoys a good relationship with her: She's ridden on the Tea Party Express tour bus, she has spoken at TPE rallies free of charge, she appears responsible for TPE's backing of Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, and she lent her endorsement to Delware's Christine O'Donnell after TPE got involved.

Here's the full e-mail from the group, in which it fleshes out the argument:

This weekend we all were horrified to hear the news of the violent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Arizona.

One thing that surprised us was how many in the news media and liberal political figures and organizations immediately launched into an attack on the tea party movement - assigning blame for the shooting to our grass roots, Constitutionalist movement in general, and Gov. Sarah Palin in particular.

Friends, this is outrageous. 

It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs.

You know what the truth is?  The truth is that the shooter, Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity.  But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.

We here at the Tea Party Express find that disgusting and revolting.

This isn't a new concept for liberals.  Let us harken back to the words of Ronald Reagan when he called out the Left for similar behavior in years past:

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."

- Ronald Reagan

If Jared Loughner does have a definable political ideology it is that of a far Left anarchist.  Loughner is a mentally disturbed young man who sought his ideological fulfillment from the Communist Manifesto - hardly the Bible of the Tea Party movement. He posted videos of flag burning on his YouTube channel - again, antics more consistent with Blame America First liberals, not the tea party movement.

In fact, Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date all the way back to 2007 when he confronted her with a question he had, and received an answer he found unacceptable.  You read that right - Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date back to 2007 - well before the tea party movement had even been launched.

This was all an effort to try and demean us and diminish support for the tea party movement, since the Left could not beat us at the ballot box.  Sadly way too many people in the media cooperated with this smear campaign.

The media didn't tell you that the left-wing website, DailyKos, had targeted Congresswoman Giffords, putting a BULLSEYE on her, did they?  But that's just what happened.

Instead they tried to blame Gov. Sarah Palin.  Friends, their hypocrisy and double standards are appalling.

This kind of media bias is a large part of why our tea party movement exists - because the voices of We The People have not been represented fairly by the news media, and listened to by our elected officials.

Well guess what:  to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong!  Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail.

We have nothing to do with this awful, tragic event in Arizona.  Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the victims and families of this massacre.

But we will still fight just as passionately for this country we love, and the vision of our Founding Fathers as outlined by the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

We're taking our country back through the ballot box and in the public square - through peaceful means.  And we will prevail, because our ideas and ideals are stronger than the scare/smear/defame tactics of the leftists we face.

We ask you to please stand with the Tea Party Express and show your support for our efforts.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/01/tea-party-express-liberals-exploit-shooting/69267/