Some UK Common Sense About Tucson – From The Telegraph’s Toby Harnden

Personally, I’d be more reassured by a sheriff who concentrated on facts rather than over-heated, sweeping generalisations.

Thus Toby Harnden, of the UK Daily Telegraph demonstrates the art of the cold, disdainful put down that does more to cut the pompous self importance of blowhard Sheriff Dupnik down to size than the acres of of angry denunciations across the right blogosphere. It certainly needed to be done because Dupnik’s fevered speculation about the right being behind the attack on Congresswoman Giffords did more to raise the temperature of this topic outside the USA than anything else.

We have a fairly low opinion of our own British politicians and journalists and we assume that their US counterparts are bottom feeders of the same ilk. But when Dupnik appeared on our screens with his infamous vitriol statement people sat up and took notice because they assumed that your local sheriff would be, like our own chief constables, an unelected career police officer with no public political affiliation. Although such officers clearly have their own political views any outward manifestation of party political bias would mean instant dismissal from the supervising police authority. Initially our own media treated Dupnik as such a official, assuming that he was speaking from a position of strict political neutrality

Harnden took great pains to puncture this particular balloon

Even the local sheriff (a Democrat) has been getting in on the act.

The headline for Harnden’s piece says it all

The unseemly rush to blame Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Republicans for murder in Arizona

He has obviously been trawling the right blogosphere (unusually for a UK hack) and picked up on the hypocrisy of the serpentine Markos Moulitsas who tweeted vicious hate rants about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party while at the same time quietly removing an attack piece against Giffords on his own site.

As he points out if you did happen to be a foaming at the mouth redneck militiaman constantly looking out for black helicopters and searching to vent your spleen on a politician who embodied everything you hated then the lady outside the Tucson supermarket would have been very low on your list.

Giffords herself doesn’t quite fit the likely victim of an enraged Right-winger. She is a Blue Dog Democrat, a deficit hawk and voted to lift the ban on guns in DC and voted against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. On Thursday, she took part in the reading of the Constitution in the House, reading aloud the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion, speech and peaceful assembly.
She’s certainly not the “progressive” that Hanoi Jane tweeted about and provoked as much anger on the Left as on the Right for her political stances. Just the other day, a blogger at DailyKos said that Giffords was “dead to me” for failing to back Pelosi.

I have not always seen eye to eye with Toby Harnden over Governor Palin in some of my C4P posts and no doubt in the future will have cause to criticise him once more but he deserves much respect for his calm and well reasoned reporting of this terrible tragedy.

This is a time for sombre reflection and a calming (rather than an escalation) of rhetoric. Sadly, however, some see it as another opportunity to score political points and vilify those they hate.

Read the rest of his piece here – and then look at his post on Christina Green’s father. This man whose beloved little girl was gunned down in the Giffords attack shows up the Krugmans and Dupniks for the opportunistic political vultures they really are.

Thank you, Mr Harnden, for introducing an element of reason and common sense into this fevered debate.

cross posted at The Aged P

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