Monday, August 13, 2012

Target-rich Environments

Remember the months after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting? Remember all of the talk--mostly from the left--about getting rid of violent political rhetoric, the attempts by many to lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Sarah Palin for her cross-hair map?

Previously, I discussed the issue of "violent rhetoric" with reference to MediaMatters, how it called for an end to such rhetoric but continued to engage in the same. Typical hypocrisy, right? And I also noted how Wasserman-Schultz made a point of blaming the tea party for an increase in such language, though I also showed her claims to be completely false; such rhetoric has always been a feature of politics and always will.

Still, it's a talking point that the Left simply cannot let go. Here's a recent article at TPM listing various "transgressions" by Republicans and tea party folks in this regard. It quotes Kathleen Jamieson from the Annenberg Center (the people that run FactCheck.org) on the matter and draws the expected conclusion (my boldface):
“After the Gabby Giffords shooting,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at at the University of Pennsylvania, who studies campaign rhetoric. “The notion that you would use a bulls-eye or a gun in any way as a symbolism or an ad was marked as completely and totally inappropriate.” 
Jamieson said she is surprised to see examples of violent language re-emerging, especially given the risk that such language entails post-shooting. “I think it’s a politically inept choice,” she said. With gun imagery, for example, a candidate might appeal to partisans, but “at the cost of alienating moderates and independents and in particular alienating women.” 
As the nation as a whole embarks on the first election cycle since the shooting, the jury is still out on whether things have really changed. Either way, Jamieson said, “capacity right now of our news structure to magnify it and hence to normalize it is much greater than it ever was in the past.” Though both sides are guilty of using violent rhetoric, gun imagery is more common on the right, where the base strongly objects to gun regulations.
The article doesn't offer an evidence to prove the assertion, of course, just a series of examples, again culled wholly from the Right. But maybe it is true, maybe there is more from the Right. Of course, we have--as an example from the Left--President Obama and his "bring a knife to a gunfight" remark. Note how the good people at FactCheck attempt to excuse the statement. But regardless, one could say that was then--before Giffords--this is now.


With that in mind, I give you the new catch-phrase from the Lefy for describing the Romney and/or Ryan ticket: a "target-rich environment." The phrase was made famous by Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. To whit:
Maverick: This is what I call a target-rich environment.
Goose: You live your life between your legs, Mav.
Maverick: Goose, even you could get laid in a place like this.
Goose: Hell, I'd be happy to just find a girl that would talk dirty to me.
There are a lot of potential targets. The meaning is clear. And just as clear is military/combat derived nature of the term. One would think such terminology would be on the Left's No Fly list. Yet, here's Democrat strategist Bob Shrum from just a few hours ago:
But Ryan provides a target-rich environment that reaches far beyond seniors.
Here's someone named "Vinnie Vegas" from a few days ago at the DailyKos:
So, it doesn't matter who Mitt picks for Veep, he's going to get blown out. It's not like there are any choices out there that can help him anyway. You can easily attack the voting record of any of them, another target rich environment if you will.
Here's some mouth-breather at DU. Here's some other lefty blogger echoing the theme. Do a Google search for the term and see what you find. I predict steadily increasing usage of the term. And to be fair, it is also used by folks on the right...but they're not the ones bemoaning the "rise" in violent rhetoric.

Cheers, all.

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