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Archive for Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rhetorical truce may be short-lived

January 15, 2011

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The Tucson shootings were a tragedy in every respect.

First, the shooter obviously was sick, and it is difficult to understand why someone did not only spot his behavior but also take action. This, in itself, is a puzzle.

There is no way to adequately express the tragedy and consequences of the loss of lives, totally innocent individuals.

Within hours of the shooting, the finger-pointing started with so-called knowledgeable observers and pundits claiming conservative talk radio commentators and even Sarah Palin were responsible for creating the shooter’s anger.

In addition to a federal judge being killed, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords survived being shot in the head and now is showing almost unbelievable progress although doctors warn she still is in critical condition and faces a long and tough recovery.

This part of the overall story — the fight by Rep. Giffords — provides one small opportunity for hope and inspiration in an overall tragic and deadly incident.

Next came the memorial service where President Obama delivered a fine message urging Americans to honor those slain and injured by the shootings by becoming better people and talking with one another “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”

But after the five days of mourning, finger-pointing, trying to figure out what caused the young man to do what he did, the injection of partisan political rhetoric into the national question of why this happened and messages from the president and other political leaders, what is likely to happen?

Hopefully, there will be an easing of the bitter, hurtful and angry attacks on individuals, whether they are directed at President Obama and those who favor his political agenda or those in the Obama camp blaming former President George Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin for the angry mood that permeates the country today.

There may be an armistice or truce, for a period, but it’s likely the political war will resume fairly soon.

Democrats were shocked at what happened in the recent midterm elections, the loss of their majority in the U.S. House, their shrinking hold on the Senate, the loss of many governorships, larger GOP majorities in state legislatures and the falling favorable poll numbers for the president. They will do almost anything to stop this erosion of public support that could lead to Obama being a one-term president.

Republicans have been invigorated by their November 2010 gains and now are intent on renewing and strengthening their efforts to continue this massive political shift in November 2012, only 22 months away.

Through numerous polls, the public has shown it is disappointed, confused or mad about many “changes” Obama has pressed through Congress. Obama had campaigned on openness, transparency and bipartisanship, but there have been few examples of such actions during his first two years in office.

Democratic attacks on Bush 43 have been constant since he moved into the Oval Office and continue today. They have been mean-spirited, personal, crude and hateful.

Likewise, the conservative radio talk show people have been tough on Obama, but perhaps have not been as personal in their attacks as have those in the Democratic camp in their 10-year rant against Bush.

One of the major factors that triggered much of the dislike or mistrust of Obama was his many grand-sounding and welcome pledges to make substantial and meaningful changes in the way Washington does business and how the business of the White House would be conducted.

The only change that really has taken place is in the way he jammed legislation down the throats of Congress and the public, increased the national debt, used executive actions and increased government’s role in private business. There has been very little transparency, openness and bipartisanship.

With the election only 22 months away, there’s a good chance Obama will change his raw, bare-knuckled political approach in an effort to soften his image and look like a president reaching out to work with the GOP. How long this approach will last is questionable.

Republicans are sure to call attention to the “changes” initiated by Obama and question whether they have been good or bad for the country. Unemployment numbers are likely to remain high, and forecasts call for even greater numbers of home foreclosures. They will say the economic situation is worse today than it was when Obama moved into the White House and that he has not fulfilled the pledges he made during his first presidential campaign.

How will the Tucson shooting affect the next 22 months of desperate Democratic efforts to bounce back from the 2010 elections? And how will the GOP structure its efforts to oust Obama and gain numbers in the House and Senate?

How will Democrats try to counter the tea party efforts? How long will Democrats use their hatred of Bush as a means to energize their campaign workers and contributors?

Neither those in the Republican nor Democratic trenches want to be portrayed as breaking any truce that may have come about due to the Tucson shootings, but, chances are, hard-hitting attacks will emerge within a short time.

It’s a massive political war with huge stakes on the outcome. The verbal bullets are bound to start flying sometime soon as memories and nice-sounding pledges begin to fade.

Comments

seeker_of_truth 3 years, 3 months ago

Seems Dolph has his moderators in full protection mode. Never seen so many deletions for TOS ever for a single editorial. Maybe Dolph should figure out why so many were outraged at his wisdom.

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meggers 3 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Simons,

Your headline should not be phrased as a foregone conclusion. Perhaps our politics AND our media should be as good as Christina imagined them.

Your words do nothing to further that goal.

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Bushloather1 3 years, 3 months ago

Imagine there's no Heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today

Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one

-John Lennon

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

bicker: to engage in petulant or peevish argument; wrangle. post: a message that is sent to a newsgroup.... text that is placed on a web site. removal: the act of removing. en masse: in a mass; all together; as a group.

;-)

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

In other news: "...Apparently, Eric Fuller wanted the news to be able to write an honest headline with both “Tea Party” and “death threat” in it.

After a solid week of diligent effort, our friends in the liberal media finally got what they wanted: a mentally unbalanced man, clearly influenced by uncivil rhetoric regarding the Tea Party, lashed out at a political opponent. Unfortunately for them, it was their rhetoric. The target of the death threat was someone they unfairly maligned. Will our moral, ethical, and intellectual superiors in the media accept responsibility?

Just kidding. This MSM kangaroo court hasn’t worked out the way they’d hoped, so it’s time to bury the story. You were useful for a day or so, Eric Fuller, but now you’ve imperiled the narrative. You’re no longer of any value to them, so you’ll find that you do bear responsibility for your own actions after all. You’re on your own..."

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/16/theres-more-evidence-that-the-liberal-media-influenced-eric-fuller-than-there-is-that-palin-influenced-jared-loughner/#ixzz1BEvkBWPE

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beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

I do find it interesting what Roger Ailes, president of FoxNews had to say on this subject: “I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually,” Mr. Ailes said. “You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.” http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/ailes-to-fox-anchors-tone-it-down/?scp=5&sq=call%20for%20civility%20foxnews&st=cse

By claiming "I hope the other side does that," is he openly admitting what we already know, which is that FoxNews takes sides in presenting the news? Instead of toning down a side, why don't news channels just commit to giving the news?

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thuja 3 years, 3 months ago

It is obviously everything that we think that is getting us into so much trouble, eh?

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Kathy Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

Whatever happened to your respect for a disabled vet? I am shocked that you would wish this on one of our unsung heroes.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Since the current regime moved into 1600 Penn Ave., Cindy Sheehan seems to no longer be the darling of the MSM. Perhaps they'll give Eric Fuller the absolute moral authority card and designate him the national scold. Next December he can camp in a ditch outside the vacation compound of Dear Leader. Won't that be jolly fun?

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Kathy Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

No, I bleieve he was speaking of the "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude such as yours.

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Kathy Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

Dr. Walt Menniger weighs in on the similarities of today's vitriolic political rhetoric and the climate of the 60's - a good read for those who take seriously the affect one's actions have on others. http://cjonline.com/news/2011-01-15/menninger-rhetoric-revives-68-flashback

'"Menninger said Kansas isn’t immune to the political rhetoric, polarization and "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude that led up to the Arizona shootings.

"We will see it in this state," he said. "We'll see some people with lifestyle issues and because they have a majority they think they can force these values on the whole society."'

:

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Bushloather1 3 years, 3 months ago

Darn, I missed it. I thought watching football more important. Seems to be a lot censoring. Maybe it would've been best to censor the Dolph editorial in the first place?

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

"Likewise, the conservative radio talk show people have been tough on Obama, but perhaps have not been as personal in their attacks..." What you mean Glenn Beck's attack on Malia Obama wasn't "personal"?

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Agnostick 3 years, 3 months ago

Whew! Glad I saved the "complete web page" when I did...

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Jonathan Kealing 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's try this again without the incessant bickering with each other.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 3 months ago

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

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75x55 3 years, 3 months ago

My, my, my - we sure have some unbalanced people in this little village of ours.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm not sure of those links are accessible by others as I think about it???

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

Civility schmivility. The left is only NOW calling for civil discourse because they're losing. For 2 to 4 years, this was not the case. They were arrogant, brazen and obnoxious. Well, they still are but I mean REALLY arrogant, brazen and obnoxious.

May God Bless.

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kernal 3 years, 3 months ago

I've been thinking about this every since the day the Tucson shootings took place. The rhetorical bs is not just the Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, et al, but also those of us who comment on-line. Whether it be commenters on LJW, Fox, CNN or Huffington Post , there seems to be more cyber-bullying, threats, anger and misinformed statements than real dialogue.

Perhaps part of the solution is for all on-line news sites to do away with the commenters section. If someone has something to say they feel is really important, they can write letters to the editors, as people have in the past, or blog. Or, just do away with the anonymity.

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sunny 3 years, 3 months ago

Poor, Poor, Leftwingers...Keep loving your 'community organizer'.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Bushloather1 3 years, 3 months ago

That is right Mr. Simons, "don't retreat, reload!", "take your country back" because " you're either with us or against us". Your editorials are obviously inspired by " intelligence on loan from God".

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Agnostick 3 years, 3 months ago

Anything resembling a truce would ultimately be bad for Mr. Simons' bottom line. Animosity creates interest... which translates into page hits... which translates into ad revenue.

Newspapers can't have a "crawl" at the bottom of the screen, so they let flashy editorials do the job.

Ho hum.

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BornAgainAmerican 3 years, 3 months ago

Excellent commentary from Mr. Simons. He has captured the situation in words that very accurately describe our present political dilemma and environment. Thank you Mr. Simons.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

This writer wishes that "that writer" of the Saturday column would explain where the transparency is regarding ownership of city property. Hey, Mr. Simons,get those reporters out to find out who the real owners are of downtown parking lots and for that matter every other piece of city property, real estate or otherwise. We need transparency in Lawrence. Forget Tuscon, we got bigger problems in this community.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Olympics 3 years, 3 months ago

Scott, thanks for breaking down this editorial.

And Junior Dolph:

"The only change that really has taken place is in the way he jammed legislation down the throats of Congress and the public, increased the national debt, used executive actions and increased government’s role in private business. There has been very little transparency, openness and bipartisanship."

This paragraph demonstrates your complete lack of credibility. Want to play compare and contrast the legislative activities of the last couple of presidents? You can't do it with a straight face.

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beatrice 3 years, 3 months ago

When the first remarks were made about the incivility in our national debates, of people on radio and television who are paid to stir the pot, I don't believe it was linked to just one side. Palin, however, is a high profile figure who did have a map with crosshairs on it, which included Giffords's district. That is a coincidence that makes the map worth discussing. Crosshairs on a map of someone who has been shot isn't just a forget about it moment. Democrats have done similar things and been just as stupid, but apparently none have the high profile of Palin. Remember, of her own choosing she is no longer a governor, she is a national figure. She has set herself up that way, and she gets greater attention because of it.

"Likewise, the conservative radio talk show people have been tough on Obama, but perhaps have not been as personal in their attacks as have those in the Democratic camp in their 10-year rant against Bush."

I would argue that it is at least as ugly as the rants against Bush. Since even before he took office, Obama has been attacked. It is personal to call someone a Socialist, to inaccurately describe his legislation as creating "death panels," to question his faith and/or religion, to claim he isn't even American or carry or broadcast images of him with a Hitler mustache. These are personal. You can't celebrate a congressman yelling "You lie!" from the House floor without it being personal.

Admit that both sides are equally responsible for personal attacks. Otherwise, any attacks against the new House speaker can be justified by comparing to the personal attacks made against the last speaker of the House. Will that make us better as a nation?

If we are to take anything away from this call for greater civility in our national discussions, we can't try to say one side only is the victim. Both sides have done similar things. We should think, "Have I made personal attacks against someone just because they have a different political view?" If the answer is yes, as it is with me, then try to change that. Too many of us are guilty. Time to quit pointing fingers at people pointing fingers and just look within. I'm trying to think, "Can I be better to others?" For me, that answer is a simple "yes."

As far as the general claim here that the Democrats are apparently attempting to use this for political gain, that is just off base and doesn't really warrant a response.

For a change, can we begin to discuss policies without defending or attacking a party? There is nothing wrong with calls for civility, as long as the loudest call is to look within.

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voevoda 3 years, 3 months ago

"Rhetorical truce may be short-lived." "...it's likely that the political war will resume fairly soon." How true, Mr. Simons; you resumed the political war yourself in the very next paragraph! There, you claimed that the Democrats "will do almost anything." And then soon after, you characterized the duly enacted (and quite limited) health insurance reform "jammed down the throats of Congress and the public," and accused President Obama of a "raw, bare-knuckled political approach." That kind of demonizing language is intended to exacerbate political rancor and inhibit civil discourse and compromise. And you falsely claimed that it was the Democrats who started the vituperation, expressing "hatred" for George W. Bush. That's patently untrue. In the 1990s, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, & Co. were already riling up the right with incendiary language and outright lies. Nasty political rhetoric goes back to ancient Greece. Even in the US, you should look at the rhetoric of the 19th century, particularly in the 1840s and 1850s, and ponder the result. In fact, Democrats didn't "hate" Bush; they thought him incompetent. And for good reason. It was his administration that transformed budget surpluses into huge government debt. It was his administration that enacted "homeland security" measures that increased government scrutiny and intrusion into the lives of the citizens. It was his administration that entered into the purposeless war in Iraq. It was his administration that permitted the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries. It was his administration that oversaw the transfer of wealth to the rich, away from the working poor and the middle class. It was his administration that eliminated key regulations of the financial markets, and it was under his administration that they collapsed. President Obama has had only two years to correct the errors of the previous eight, and then on top of that to enact "meaningful change." The Republican Party refused to help, even when his plans had originally been proposed by Republicans. Meanwhile, the ultra-right-wing pundits incessantly riled up their followers with incendiary rhetoric and outright lies, threatening not only Democrats but also moderate Republicans. If you truly want to keep "verbal bullets" from flying, Mr. Simons, I suggest that you start with more considered editing of your own words.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow! This was a grand-slam. I can't believe how much you and I think alike, Mr. Simons. It's almost as though you used my LTE and forum comments to construct much of your fine editorial. snicker

Seriously, good editorial. Hard-hitting, to the point, true. Democrats should be terribly ashamed of themselves. And the far-left, pfft, no hope there, but I'll keep trying to straighten you superstars out.

May God Bless.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Jeez, scottie, take a chill pill.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"One of the major factors that triggered much of the dislike or mistrust of Obama was his many grand-sounding and welcome pledges to make substantial and meaningful changes..."

So the distrust arose from his welcome pledges. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

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md 3 years, 3 months ago

Very, very, well said Dolph!

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"It’s a massive political war with huge stakes on the outcome. The verbal bullets are bound to start flying sometime soon as memories and nice-sounding pledges begin to fade."

Wow! Just "Wow!"

Even for Dolph this is an outrageous low.

In the message he chose to publish the weekend after the attempted assassination of a Congress woman he decided to use "bullets" imagery in his big payoff line.

Congratulations. The whole editorial to that point was typical Dolph partisan whining, but with this move he's neatly matched Sarah Palin levels of inappropriate self pity and damaging and careless rhetoric. Well done, sir, you've advanced the interests of your political party. Good for all to see, yet again, where your loyalties lie.

What kind of person uses "bullets" imagery in such an editorial today?

Yuck, I need a shower.

We all do after reading this.

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olddognewtrix 3 years, 3 months ago

A great thing about owning one's own daily newspaper--one can write shallow,biased editorials that contribute little to progress

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"One of the major factors that triggered much of the dislike or mistrust of Obama was his many grand-sounding and welcome pledges to make substantial and meaningful changes in the way Washington does business and how the business of the White House would be conducted."

Perhaps.

Another was the right wing campaign of disinformation orchestrated by a corporate captured and controlled media which worked to secure right wing gains in the midterms in order to preserve their middle class killing bush tax cuts.

Another was 30 years of right wing assault on public education and the creation of a citizenry too stupid to understand how those few able to purchase influence in Congress are stealing them blind. Or at least too stupid so far to rebel against the abuse.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"Likewise, the conservative radio talk show people have been tough on Obama, but perhaps have not been as personal in their attacks as have those in the Democratic camp in their 10-year rant against Bush."

"Perhaps." Indeed.

Why, I wonder, would any thinking person believe a single thing this editorial writer has to say after the whopper quoted above?

The usual sycophants, I suppose, will pledge their allegiance to the right wing talking point. How many normal citizens will allow such a lie to stand? It will be interesting to see how this discussion develops.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"Within hours of the shooting, the finger-pointing started with so-called knowledgeable observers and pundits claiming conservative talk radio commentators and even Sarah Palin were responsible for creating the shooter’s anger."

Not quite. Right wing hate radio propaganda and Sarah Palin were (accurately) decried for EXPLOITING the anger and INCITING dangerous behavior. I do not recall the more outrageous claim that the right wing acts created the shooter's anger.

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