Sarah Palin isn’t reloading

[Globe and Mail, Canada]

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Die Zeit, Germany

Sarah Palin Is No Longer 'Reloading'


"What's the correct tone to take when defending yourself against accusations of being partly responsible for the Tucson attack? One wrong word could have unforeseen consequences. Palin's not accustomed to that. Her future hangs in the balance."


By Christoph von Marschall



Translated By Stephanie Martin


January 11, 2010


Germany - Die Zeit - Original Article (German)

Jared Lee Loughner: In his mug shot, the 22-year-old certainly appears to relish the role of psychopathic killer.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Assessing the political fallout from the shooting in Arizona, Jan. 9, 00:02:18RealVideo

Only a very small number of people still believe that Sarah Palin bears any responsibility for the shootings in Tucson. But she knows: right now, a single wrong word could end her career.


Sarah Palin is used to setting the tone when discussing the issues. Whether friend or foe, she’s impossible to ignore. However, for three days now, the 46-year-old Republican and the role she may have played in the tragedy that has touched the nation have been the topic of discussion. And yet she hasn't been able to sound the attack in the way she’s become accustomed. What's the correct tone to take when defending yourself against accusations of being partly responsible for the Tucson attack? One wrong word could have unforeseen consequences. She’s not accustomed to that. Her future hangs in the balance, starting with a possible presidential candidacy in 2012. These are the kind of unexpected and unplanned moments that, in the American consciousness, are deciding factors in whether a person has the makings of a leader - a true leader.  


Palin conducted the campaign for the 2010 congressional elections with symbols and words from the language of hunting and war. She declared her opponents to be “targets” and selected 20 Democratic constituencies to be marked with crosshairs, among them Gabrielle Giffords.’ When the Democrats voted for health reform, Giffords among them, Palin called on her followers: “Don't retreat - RELOAD! Don't retreat, RELOAD!” This inspired them and mobilized them to vote. For commentators on the right, she was a heroine, equipped with a sure-fire recipe for electoral victory.


Since the Tucson shootings, these slogans are being viewed in a different light. Did this militaristic language incite the perpetrator to shoot Democrat Giffords?


For three days, the question of a causal relationship between Palin and the Tucson shootings has been intensely debated by the American public, and the question has now been answered with a clear “no.” If the shooter had emerged as a follower of the radical Tea Party movement or of Palin, she would have been finished. But investigators haven't found a single piece of evidence to prove that Jared Loughner was influenced by the former Alaska governor's rhetoric. Instead they submitted evidence showing that the shooter was a mentally deranged individual perpetrator who wasn't motivated by party affiliation. As a result, only a minority on the left of the political spectrum clings to the accusation that Palin is partially responsible for the shootings because of her choice of language.   



However, it’s too early for the uncrowned queen of right-wing conservatives to heave a final sigh of relief - and she knows it. For days she’s been weighing her words and treading carefully. She’s removed the cards with the crosshairs from her Web site. Is she actually retreating, rather than reloading? If so, she would be showing a new side of herself.


For those who hope to rise to the top in U.S. politics, sooner or later they will be confronted with such a turning point. What was previously a reliable asset suddenly becomes a burden. Barack Obama’s decision to join a Black church in Chicago, which served as a bridge to White Americans, helped him win converts - until his competitors put his pastor’s sermons under a microscope. America was shocked by their contents. The future U.S. president liberated himself from the burden by delivering a speech on the complex relationship between skin color and religion, which is still considered a masterpiece. 


Sarah Palin is attempting to do something similar. Immediately after the shooting, she expressed sympathy for the victims and their families on her Facebook page, and since then has acted unusually defensive. She has left her defense to other Republicans. On Monday, her friend Glenn Beck, a talk show host with millions of fans on the right-wing Fox TV, read a message from Palin. “I hate violence, I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. Thanks for all you do to send the message of truth and love and God as the answer.”




El País, Spain: Tea Party 'Endangers Health' of American Democracy

Estadão, Brazil: The Massacre in Arizona: Will America Ever Learn?

News, Switzerland: The Day Hope Was Shot, in America and Europe

Der Spiegel, Germany: Blaming Sarah Palin for Tucson Attack is 'Wrong'

Rheinische Post, Germany: America's 'Intellectual Instigators' of Hatred

Berliner Morgenpost: Mutual Respect: What U.S. Owes Itself, World

Polityka, Poland: America in Anger's Clutches

Salzburger Nachrichten, Austria: Massacre in Tucson: 'A Sad Day for U.S.

Guardian, U.K.: Arizona Shootings: Left, Right at Odds Over Effects of Toxic Politics

TLZ, Germany: America's Hate-Filled Rhetoric 'Unworthy of a Democratic Nation'

Telegraph, U.K.: Will Obama Stand Up to Left's Exploitation of National Tragedy?

Guardian, U.K.: Shooting of Giffords Highlights 'Man-Up' Culture in U.S. Politics


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Palin isn't the only one from whom America expects more than hesitation and tactics. On Wednesday, Barack Obama is flying to Tucson for the funeral service [video above]. The nation is turning to the president for direction: on the human aspects of the tragedy, on gun rights and on the tone of political debate - and not just expressions of sympathy and calls for moderation. The White House says he's preparing his speech, but that he won't deliver it until Gifford's fate is clearer.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US January 13, 10:39pm]


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