James Taranto, who not only writes a column for the Wall Street Journal but also edits its opinion website, rightfully became the most hated man on Twitter yesterday afternoon for questioning whether former congresswoman Gabby Giffords could have possibly written the New York Times Op-Ed she published last week shortly after a gun control bill died in the Senate, considering how injured she remains after getting shot in the head two years ago.
Here’s Taranto parsing the forensics of her column-writing abilities on an NRA radio show Friday, caught by Media Matters’ Timothy Johnson yesterday:
TARANTO: One fascinating thing about this is this piece was published no later than 9:03 PM on Wednesday evening, because that’s when it first appears on the New York Times’ Twitter feed. The last Senate vote on amendments to the gun bill was a bit after 6 [PM]. Giffords appeared at the White House at 5:35 [PM] when we saw that enraged rant by the president. The Manchin-Toomey [background check] provision was the first vote. That was at 4:04 PM. So if you read this piece it’s presented as a cry from the heart, as Giffords’ personal reaction as somebody who’s been wounded by gun violence to the betrayal of these Senators. So we are supposed to believe that somehow in less than five hours a woman who has severe impairments of her motor and speech functions was able to produce 900 publishable words and put in an appearance in the White House in the course of it. So I think that’s a little bit odd.
Ironically, in a column Thursday, Taranto wagged his finger at Giffords for practicing “incivility and unreason.”
But it’s not just Taranto. From Sen. Rand Paul to small-time radio hosts, gun rights absolutists seem eager to dismiss gun violence victims and condemn them for daring to speak out.
The National Review’s Kevin Williamson criticized Giffords in a particularly ugly way, saying, “It should be noted that being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions.” A Washington Times editorial said that Obama was “exploit[ing] the grief” of the Newtown families by “using them at every opportunity as props to make a political argument.” Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro likewise decried Obama for “exploitation of victims of violence using guns.” Another conservative blogger accused Giffords of “emotional bullying.”
Ben Shapiro, the editor-at-large wunderkind at Breitbart.com, guest-hosted for the Hugh Hewitt radio show on the day of the Chuck Hagel’s confirmation as defense secretary in late February. The Hagel news really tipped the teeter-totter for Shapiro, burning a few more cards out of a deck that was already missing several face cards. This video distills eight minutes from the three hour program, eight minutes of prime frustration, projection, hectoring, complaining, accusation and moral posturing, all delivered in Shapiro’s rapid-fire nasal whine.
Shapiro suggested that Hamas was “handing out candy in Gaza” to celebrate the Hagel nomination, bluntly tried to smear Hagel as “an open anti-Semitic guy,” a “defense secretary for Islamists,” an “anti-Semite” who is “the worst nominee…in American history” and, for good measure, bleated that Obama is a “jerk,” “bully” and “morally deficient human being” who has “come out of the closet” in terms of pretending to care about people. Meanwhile, in Shapiro’s world, “Mitt Romney…is legitimately one of the most honorable men, maybe the most honorable man, ever to run for high office in this country” and Noam Chomsky “is not really Jewish,” is “Jewish in name only.” He simultaneously accuses everyone but the man in the mirror of being “whiny” and doing “smear jobs.”
In the middle of the tirade, Shapiro’s self-awareness bloats to the point where he can ask “How can (Obama) possibly say this with a straight face?” and to end with this: “Democrats, they live in a world of unreality. They live in magic unicorn land…They don’t deal with reality. It’s up to us to deal with reality.”
Shapiro’s high-energy angst, his fevered finger-pointing at “moral deficiency” and other faults of those who “don’t deal with reality” is eerily reminiscent of the long line of disgraced fire-and-brimstone evangelists, from Jimmy Swaggart romping with prostitutes to Ted Haggard doing meth with his gay masseuse, who work so hard to hide the fact that they are guilty of all the sins they preach against. How long until Shapiro cracks?
Media Matters has a Who’s Who of the conservatives who will be appearing and/or speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Committee conference. Below is a sampling of the participants and why they should live in infamy, and why conservatism is in deep deep trouble:
Ann Coulter, Conservative Author
Coulter: Bill Clinton “Was A Very Good Rapist.” During an interview with the New York Observer, Coulter responded to the question, “What should we remember about Bill Clinton?” by saying, “Well, he was a very good rapist. I think that should not be forgotten.” [Media Matters, 1/12/05]
Coulter Attacked 9/11 Widows. In her book Godless, Coulter wrote of the women left widowed by the 9/11 attacks: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.” In a subsequent interview, she referred to the 9/11 widows as “cruel.” [Media Matters, 6/8/06, 7/14/06]
At 2007 CPAC, Coulter Referred To John Edwards As A “Faggot.” During CPAC in 2007, Coulter said she couldn’t “really talk about” former Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards because “you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’ ” [Media Matters, 6/28/07]
Ben Shapiro, Breitbart.com Editor-At-Large
Shapiro Started Baseless Rumor That Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Received Money From Non-Existent “Friends Of Hamas.” Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro cited “Senate sources” to claim that then-nominee for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may have received money from a group called “Friends of Hamas.” It was later revealed that “Friends of Hamas” does not exist, but Shapiro refused to retract his claim. [Media Matters, 2/20/13]
Shapiro: “Arabs Like To Bomb Crap And Live In Open Sewage.” Shapiro tweeted about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, writing: “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #settlementsrock.” [Twitter, 9/27/10, via Media Matters]
Dinesh D’Souza, Conservative Author
D’Souza Has Pushed Baseless Theory That Obama Espouses “Anti-Colonial,” “Third-World Anti-American” Worldview. In his book and his movie, D’Souza pushed the baseless theory that Obama adheres to a “failed Third-World collectivism” that is “anti-American.” In a Forbes article, D’Souza claimed that Obama endorses an “anticolonial ideology” that motivates him to “work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West.” [Media Matters, 9/13/10, 10/4/10, 8/27/12]
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I am dumber for having read or listened to some of these comments. Think of what will happen to the attendees
Breitbart News Editor at Large Ben Shapiro has some groundbreaking insight on why Republicans lost the election last year:
Breitbart News Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro is out with an innovative and pioneering game plan for Republicans: attack Democrats. Shapiro spoke to Pat Robertson today on the 700 Club where he maintained that Republicans lost the last election because they didn’t try to demonize President Obama, who “painted Mitt Romney as the worst guy since Stalin.”
That’s right, according to Shapiro, Republicans were simply too afraid to criticize Obama during the campaign.
And here’s the money quote (and I advise you to make sure there is no food or liquid in your mouth, because it could very well end up on your computer screen and/or keyboard):
He said that unlike conservatives, liberals “don’t have facts or evidence to back their positions.”
You heard the man. Conservatives like him have as many facts as the day is long to back up charges that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took money from a group called “Friends of Hamas,” or that Paul Krugman filed for bankruptcy, as his site so defty scooped “the liberal media” on.
And here’s another money quote:
You can’t argue policy with people who are uncivil. Civility is like the Geneva Conventions - once you step out of uniform, it no longer applies. Republicans need to do as President Obama suggested: they need to “punch back twice as hard.” When they are called racist, the proper response is not, “Oh well, I have black friends.” That’s a silly response. The actual response should be, “No, you are racist for boiling racism down to anything with which you disagree. What that does is it demeans racism. It makes racism into something that means nothing. And that’s something Republicans need to do on a more regular basis.
So then Shapiro’s forefather, the late Andrew Breitbart, demeaned racism when he accused Shirley Sherrod of that by posting a video of her seemingly admitting to discriminating against a white farmer when the full video showed her explaining the opposite…yes? Or Shapiro himself is a racist because he has demeaned racism by calling Sherrod’s husband, Charles, a racist in the post-edited-video-fiasco spin because of the Sherrod’s involvement in a class action lawsuit against the USDA (Pigford)? (Tommy Christopher debunked that notion here).
Hat tip - Right Wing Watch
LGF reader Gus posted this about the Pigford v. Glickman case back in 2011.
Only days after “Friends of Hamas” went the way of ACORN and Shirley Sherrod (no correction, no retraction, and definitely no apology from Breitbart.com), Ben Shapiro was invited to appear on Megyn Kelly’s America Live on Fox “News” to discuss Bob Woodward’s comments on the sequester…as if he had some sort of gravitas:
A couple more appearances like this (I bet the next one will be on Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel”) and the whole “Friends of Hamas” affair will be scrubbed from the memory of the American Right.
Kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if you think about it.