I'm not saying that Palin's poor choice of metaphors led to the appalling violence in Tucson yesterday. Or that heated rhetoric has no place in place in political discourse...hell, if it weren't for outrage, I'd never write about politics.
But maybe...just maybe certain members of our political and chattering classes could take this moment to examine the appropriateness of...I dunno...phrases like "take 'em out" and "don't retreat, reload" in the context of spirited but peaceful political discourse. Not because what happened to Rep. Giffords makes it in poor taste, but because it always was.
UPDATE: Sullivan, of course, has lots to say on this subject. But this is especially good:
I don't disagree with the sentiment that we should not refrain from robust or colorful or exuberant rhetoric. But constant resort to violent imagery directed at specific and named human targets is not a sign of a lively discourse but of thuggishness. Metaphorically threatening specific people with violence, especially when condoned by established leaders of political parties (like a former vice-presidential candidate), takes rhetoric to a new level. No one is proposing any bans on speech. We are arguing that at this point in time, the rhetoric has become so inflamed and so martial and so violent that the very viability of a respectable, peaceful right is on the table.
That's not a partisan hack trying to score points for Team Blue. That's someone who--like me--wants a healthy, viable, non-batshit-crazy right in this country.