Writing in these pages last February, I noted the irony of a complaint by some on the left, most notably Paul Krugman, about the allegedly incendiary rhetoric of the right when the complaint itself took the form of an accusation that those whom it condemned for rhetorical intemperance were accessories to murder. On that occasion, there was no evidence that the murderer, one Jared Loughner, had any coherent political views at all, but because his target was apparently the Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whom he grievously wounded, his obscure animus was opportunistically understood to reflect the partisan spirit of every Republican, most notably Sarah Palin, who had ever expressed him– or herself in terms of violent or military metaphors—and, for good measure, every one who hadn’t but who might at one time or another have had a good word to say for Governor Palin. That the media took up the cry against such...


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