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Don’t Cheer, Tuscon

January 14th, 2011

Conservatives, in the wake of their inappropriately violent references and the more recent Palin “blood libel” fiasco, seeking some kind of handle on the Tucson shooting that will allow them to attack Democrats successfully, tried to pull a Paul Wellstone: they tried to claim that the memorial event presided over by Obama–widely recognized as not just appropriate but excellent–was turned into a political campaign rally. In particular, they criticized t-shirts being given to members of the crowd, and reacted in disgust to the fact that people cheered. These points, they insinuate, show that liberals are politicizing the event, trying to gain from it. The term they seem to have settle upon is “pep rally,” but overall, are blasting the event from every conceivable angle.

The reality was quite different–a president getting a stricken community back on its feet:

Asked if the mood was appropriate, Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, a Republican, didn’t hesitate: “Oh yes. Yes! If there was one thing that was appropriate, it was cheering. I’ve been in the hospital, and the people that are healing, they want to hear people cheer.” …

Obama himself gave the crowd reason to cheer, when he departed from his prepared text to announce that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) had opened her eyes for the first time since the shooting, just hours before. “She knows we are here, she knows we love her, and she knows we are rooting for her,” he said.

They cheered for Daniel Hernandez, the intern who many credit for saving Giffords’ life who also happens to be a junior at the university here. Hernandez, 20, later delivered a speech of his own in which he dubbed “e pluribus unum” — “out of many one” — the credo of the night.

They cheered for prominent native Arizonans in the crowd who have made much of themselves, from former Gov. Janet Napolitano to 2008 presidential nominee John McCain to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

And, perhaps most markedly, they cheered for the members of their community both living and dead who were unknown until this week. Among those who received the warmest applause were the first responders who rushed to the parking lot of the Safeway where Giffords “Congress in your Corner” event ended in tragedy, the medical team from this university’s medical center that saved 10 lives and Giffords’ slain staffer Gabriel Zimmerman.

Yes, how dare they cheer. That bastard Obama.

Additionally, it appears that the university where the event was held–not Obama, Democrats, or liberals–was responsible for the t-shirts, which simply read, “Together We Thrive: Tucson & America.” Which, of course, is an incredibly left-wing political–even possibly communist–sentiment, as we all know. People seeing such shirts will instantly think to vote Democrat in the next election. Right.

Can conservatives do even one thing in the wake of this tragedy that doesn’t make them look like complete idiots, knowing hypocrites, or unbelievably callous partisans?

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