Conrad Black: Tucson and the Failure of the Political Class

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom and Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full.]

A very mild-mannered and civilized friend remarked to me today that if he encountered anyone else on the Fifth and Park Avenue social circuit who blamed the Tucson shootings on the Tea Party, he would resort to violence. The stampede to blame this terrible incident on a political movement that appears to represent more people than the traditional Republican and Democratic parties is horrifying, though perhaps not surprising. The attempt of Paul Krugman (New York Times, January 10) to blame this shooting on what one saw “just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies” in the 2008 election campaign is the lowest and deepest excavation on public taste the Times has conducted since the 1985 headline about President Reagan’s planned visit to Bitburg, Germany: “Reagan Likens Nazi War Dead to Concentration Camp Victims.” (It need hardly be emphasized that Mr. Reagan did nothing of the kind.)...

Not since the liberal establishment tried to blame the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the far right, which necessitated a trashing of the theory that the (disgruntled Communist) Oswald acted alone and a rapprochement with the Oliver Stone exegesis — that it was a vast conspiracy of thousands on the right from Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover, to the Texas oil establishment, and down into the bowels of the Dallas Police Department — has an act of violence provoked such a fiercely partisan and utterly fatuous rush to judgment. This is a much more malignant version, from a much less exalted source, of the Nixon-Agnew effort in the midterm elections of 1970 to blame mob violence, and particularly the throwing of rocks at Nixon’s car in San Jose near the end of the campaign, on the Democratic establishment — accusing them of pandering to those “who hold a peace placard in one hand and a bomb or a brick in the other.”...

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Arnold Shcherban - 1/16/2011

One who believes in supernatural powers (as practically all Tea Party zealots do) or the one who believes in reason and science (as Bill Maher)?

Michael Noble - 1/14/2011

The reaction by Paul Krugman and Bill Maher and Dupnik and others was so bizarre, and so destined to backlash that one is left with two choices. Either they are so insanely partisan or the stunt was contrived like a chess match.
Perhaps Krugman or Dupnick are sufficiently visionary and both predicted that vitriol would rise to the level that Mr. Obama could ride into Tucson on his "white charger" and sooth the common ground with rhetoric and leave as the conquering hero.
This would not be the first application of reverse psychology.

Or maybe they are just fools and ideologues.

For Maher, the answer is too easy. Just a simple bomb-throwing fool inspired only to create anger.