The former governor of Alaska, as if to prove herself not a quitter, refuses to, shall we say, "refudiate" her own characterization of the "liberal media" attribution of the Tucson amoklauf to right-wing incitement as a "blood libel." Noting,as others have, that other commentators had used the term days before she had, with the same emphasis, without the same shitstorm of criticism, she feels unfairly singled out. While the criticism she received from Jewish groups last week looks at first glance like a knee-jerk of political correctness or a territorial growl of paradoxical ownership of unhappy history, Palin prefers to see it as personal first and partisan second, the product of people determined to find fault with anything she says or does.
Let the process continue. While I defended Palin against the frankly stupid outrage directed at her "blood libel" comments -- no group can own history so completely that they can forbid its use as metaphor -- her latest outburst confirms that she doesn't understand the real damage she's suffered this month. However much you want to legitimately deplore liberals' impulsive labelling of the Tucson shooter as a right-wing hater, if you're a Republican or a Tea Partier it's a temptation you should have resisted. The facts so far are proving the liberals wrong. Had the right left well enough alone, Democrats and their auxiliaries might have ended up legitimately shamed before the public. Instead, Republicans' persecution complex -- arguably the subconscious context of all the "blood libel" rhetoric -- compelled them to protest so loudly that their own outrage over the actual shootings seemed muted by comparison. Since 8 January Republicans' righteous indignation at the "blood libel" has made them seem like narcissist whiners, more concerned for their own reputations than for the victims of Tucson. Worse, they can't help sounding as if they think a greater crime was perpetrated against them by liberals than by the shooter against his targets. Probably without thinking about it much, liberals set a trap for their enemies, who jumped into it with all the nimble grace of the Incredible Hulk. Every new protest of innocence is a rhetorical shovel with which Republicans dig themselves deeper into the pit.