The point Josh makes is a clear one. A political assassination cannot be dismissed as non-political. And even if one argues, as I would, that Palin bears no direct responsibility at all for this act of violence and that the idea of her as an "accomplice" of some sort is offensive, it remains true that a) Palin specifically targeted this political opponent for "re-loading" within literal gun-sights, b) this was noticed at the time by the future victim as a dangerously violent provocation, c) Palin upped the ante when confronted with this criticism and refused to back down, and is even now apoplectic that this should be in any way about her. If your response to these set of facts is to deny that there is anything awry here, you are part of the problem, it seems to me.
There is no way to understand the politics of this without Palin. She has long been the leader of the movement that drapes itself in military garb, that marinates in violent rhetoric, that worships gun culture, that has particular ferocity in the state of Arizona, and that never ever apologizes for anything.
My hope is that this horrifying momentary conflation of politics, guns and mental illness will lead responsible figures on the right to eschew the path of Palin. I hope this ends the appeal of Palinism's primordial emotions and divisiveness. I hope it brings us back to a more responsible center-right that seeks dialogue rather than warfare. The signs among the hard core of the far right are not, alas, promising.
And so we wait for a Republican leader who is not a Palinite or in fear of them. And we wait.