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  • Let's Avoid Political Games Over Arizona Shooting

    The horrid shootings and killings in Tucson demonstrate the always-unpredictable nature of mayhem. It’s worsened by the sadly predictable efforts of Washington interests to twist every tragedy into an excuse to restrict our freedoms or to bash their political adversaries. As a former Member of Congress whose life was threatened, I know the issues first-hand. A man went to prison for threatening to kill and dismember me. Local police beefed-up their patrols around my home during that time. And from representing Oklahoma City, I’m aghast that spin doctors are already encouraging President Obama to use this tragedy as his “Oklahoma City moment.”

    The attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and others is not a failure of civil discourse. What it demonstrates instead is the risk of being accessible to the public—but that is a necessary aspect of serving in Congress in a free society. Greater attention to security is proper, but it should not restrict citizens from frequent face time with Members of Congress, nor suppress robust debates.

    Those who believe in “never letting a crisis go to waste” are unjustified and shameless in trying to point fingers at groups like the Tea Party movement. But if the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, some see it as a reason to bash the Tea Party and to restrict both our First and Second Amendment rights. The gun control lobby is already making its typical arguments, ignoring that Rep. Giffords describes herself on her campaign website as “a longtime gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment.”

    Then there are articles publicly advising Obama of how to speak at funerals in Arizona, and headlines such as “Barack Obama’s Oklahoma City Moment.” Victims are still in the hospital and mortuaries, yet political spin doctors are suggesting how Obama can ride the Arizona shooting back into political popularity.

    As Howard Fineman suggests at Huffington Post:

    As was the case with Clinton, Obama may be able to remind voters of what they like best about him: his sensible demeanor. Amid the din and ferocity of our political culture, he respectfully keeps his voice down, his emotions in check and his mind open.

    That is the pitch, at least. The trick is to make it without seeming to be trying to make it. He will, after all, be speaking at a funeral.

    It’s true -as I experienced first-hand – that President Bill Clinton benefited from his sincere displays of compassion regarding the Oklahoma City bombing. I was with him at the memorial service we held; I don’t question the authenticity of his words and conduct there. The timing indeed coincided with the start of his political rebound that led to what had seemed to be an unlikely second term. But the real reason was changes in Clinton’s agenda (including an eventual signing of welfare reform), not because of his commendable compassion.

    It’s tawdry to suggest that President Obama should now seek political gain from public displays of empathy. Unfortunately, it’s also typical Washington, just one more thing Americans don’t like about today’s politics.

    Former Congressman Ernest Istook is now a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Let's Avoid Political Games Over Arizona Shooting

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      What we need is an analysis of all assassins in America over the last 230 +/- years. You will find nearly all have had liberal/Marxist background or believed in things only left wingers believe in.

      Conservatives believe in the constitution and the rule of law. We believe in freedom of speech and the exchange of ideas. We also believe in the idea that one day the federal government will be honest and I see the Tea Party and true conservatives (not RINOS) as being people working hard within the confines of the constitution and the law to make it happen. If we want to change something, we do it within the confines of the existing law. Never has a conservative talked about revolution – only the fanatical. I have never heard a conservative talks show host talk about nothing other than exposing federal government corruption and what steps within legal bounds to fix that corruption.

      When this stuff is used, it works every time. To suggest otherwise means you want to shut down the opposition in any way possible.

    2. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    3. Bill says:

      Let the Congress Honor the Congress Woman Giffords by pushing her initiatives: Cutting Congressional Pay by 5% and securing the Border with the National Guard.

      The shooter didnt like her ideas so lets look at them more throughly.

      Cutting the pay of Congressional reps and Senate would set the example for our population to show the leaders are going to take the same medicine the general population is experiencing,

      Also, securing the border is needed to prevent drug trafficing as well as illegal workers coming to the USA. Our borders are open to drug trafficing as well as the potential from terrorist.

      Yes we should look at the Congresswoman's ideas.

    4. Robert Hempel, Tampa says:

      The far left is using the tragedy in Arizona as another crisis to convey their politics to the American public. The New York Times published an opinion story putting the blame directly on those on the right, by naming, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Bill O’Reilly. The far left has used this tactic in the past and it did not work. (Bill Clinton, Oklahoma City bombing) It will not work today because those supporting this type of political strategy simply do not understand the American People!

      Why can’t the New York Times understand the blame falls directly on the insane individual who had already displayed plenty of signs of being insane? Loughner (gunman) still managed to carry out an assassination attempt on a U.S. Congress woman and killed 5 innocent Americans? Loughner prayed to a skull on an altar in his backyard. Does that sound like a God-fearing Christian Tea Party member? The New York Times is following the playbook of using any crisis to move forward their political agenda and fortunately it never works. Why? Because the American people are not as ignorant as they seem to believe. To the New York Times, politics did not play a role in this madman’s murderous conduct and those you irresponsibly name in your story will not to be judged as accessories as you portray them. Please continue to pray for the recovery of Congresswoman Giffords and the families of the innocent victims of this madman’s psychotic hate!

    5. Winghunter says:

      When you're forced to defend yourself after every single incident from: psychotic, openly and self-confessed traitors; whose false-pride motto is 'the ends justifies the means' then, they provide no choice.

      This despicable behavior is who they are and they show no signs of sanity and they relish in that.

      No, they've already pushed us far beyond what our Founding Fathers would have stood for and it's time they finally paid the consequences of their actions.

    6. Marlene Henderson Sa says:

      In the Tucson tragedy one little girl will dance no more and other good people will no longer BE, for one derande mind! and others, in positions of public notorietey chose to use this to create hatred and devisiveness in our country for their anti-American purposes. As one of the Administrations own uttered during our financial debacle exposure — " Never let a good crisis go to Waste" sick, sick, sick !

    7. D J Filak says:

      Where was security? Why was this person allowed to break line in an aggressive manner, without being confronted by law enforcement? Because they were Not there! If they had been there this would not have gone down like it did. What happened could have been prevented with a few uniformed officers around for safety sake, but Dupnik can only blame AZ gun laws, a poor excuse for a law enforcement official.

    8. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      Restricting guns will only make sure the criminals have guns and we don't. Peole who cannot buy guns find a way to get them, how come there are so many convicted ex-cons that carry?? I f someone wants to kill someone they will find a way, if not a gun, a bomb, a huge rock, a knife, rope, there are many ways and a deranged person will find a way. From what I am hearing this person believed he would be killed during this, so he could have been commiting suicide by cop as well, for one thing he sure has shown signs of a paranoid schizafrinic, this was not a political inspired act, Shame on all those who are making it such, they are only encouraging others to act irrationally as well.

    9. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Perhaps former Congressman Istook has good reason to tread lightly by using the word "tawdry" when suggesting Obama may be using this Arizona shooting for political gain. Well most Americans, who managed to survive the first 2 years of Obama's stint in the White House, don't feel so generous. Obama has used every mishap and/or tragedy since he first left the street of Chicago for his

      political gain. Just yesterday, the contrived photo-opt of the "moment of silence"

      was for political gain. His teleprompter induced speech at the Arizona services will be for "political gain". Everything he does or says is to futher his plan to

      distroy this nation through political gains.

      The left complains at the "civil discourse" from the right. They're damn right!

      We recognize what the left is attempting to do to our American way of life. We understand just what Obama is and his ideology of socialism and communism.

      Over and over again we have rejected Obama's attempts to "transform" this nation into his socialist utopia. Yes, we conservatives are mad. We are not going to sit on our hands, keep our mouths shut, and watch Obama and his lackeys on the left destroy our country.

    10. Sarah says:

      Seems to me the sheriff of the district where the gun was purchased is ultimately responsible. The gunman was known to be trouble and with mental problems and was still allowed to purchase a gun.

    11. SFJD says:

      It's horrible to see an unmitigated tragedy like this transformed into a political tool: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2011/01/11/the-misi

    12. Richard ,Philadelphi says:

      This is a real tragedy in Az.This is a not a political assassination attempt.This was done by a real nut case,he would have used a different method if there were no guns to be had.What kind of gun did Timothy McVeigh use?

    13. Juan Martinez says:

      This is so sad. There must be a way to prevent this tragedy from recurring. Is it true that the shooter's weapon had magazines, each holding more than 30 rounds in them? So he got 30 shots off before having to reload, and exposing himself to the 3 heroes that stopped him from killing more people? Can't Heritage, with all its smarts and resources, tell us a way our nation can protect itself from dangerous nut cases like this guy? I understand that the assault weapons ban under Clinton would have prevented the sale of the 30-round magazines used in this case, but the law expired in 2004 under President Bush, and there was no effort to renew it. Maybe we should take a look at this again — I really don't think the 2nd Amendment was intended to allow dangerous mentally ill people like Jared Lee Loughner to be able to shoot 20 people without reloading. There's got to be a way to fix this. Am I dreaming?

    14. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Where was Obama when oil platform workers were killed at the BP explosion? The workers and the LA community held a public sevice for those workers but Obama, the most compassionate stayed away. Why is it that when a congress person is a victim of a lunatic shooter, the whole nation goes into mourning and flags lowered? In CT, a doctor's home was invaded by criminals that brutalized and killed his family and set his house of fire. I didn't hear a pip-squeak and moral outrage from any of the politicians. Are the lives of those individuals less valuable? This is a country where "All men are created equal…".

      Sorry, the Congress person is a public servant and merits the same consideration as the rest of us and not the status of demi-god.

      Our Founding principles,if followed, would result in less confrontations and deaths for the federal Congress persons. The federal government by its design would be smaller, deal with the external matters and will not intrude in any aspect of the lives of the individuals. In our form of government, the local goverment (city or municipality) would be the most intrusive from personl point of view. This tragedy and many others of similar nature in the past, illustrates the greatest wisdom of the American founding. In the last hundred years, we have simply discarded those principles and we reaping the poisonous fruits of it.

    15. Mary Singleton says:

      It was not a memorial service that I care to revisit. In my estimation, the service should have been focused on the families and all of the people it affected. It is a real tradedy for them, not a political arena to be exploited by the Liberals.

      My prayer is that this demonstration by our president will not be in his favor for the coming presidential election.

    16. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Obama said it, it is our failure of Mental Health. I must point out that real Communists took over the APA and AMA, they suppressed competitive non German mental health here in the United States. It is in the abominable Health Care Bill to cover Mental Health, but it was crazy how the Left has done every possible thing to put crazy people out on the streets! We have seen a hundred years of really crazy stuff done in the name of Mental Health. But the bottom line is Spiritual! Your Mental Health is very much helped by Confession, Remorse, Communication, Study, Religion, Serving Others. We have had fake, unworkable Mental Health in this country for decades! What? Obama said something wonderful? I very much doubt that is what he meant. Not to waste a crisis, plug Mental Health (that is very dangerous and doesn't work!) And I guess that's what nausiates me the most, playing patty cake with evil.

    17. Juan Martinez says:

      We really need to use reason to guide our actions and our policies. To blame god or Satan or some kind of supernatural being for the tragedy in Tuscon is a disgrace, and let's humans and failed state policies from being held responsible. The community college that Loughner attended knew he was a potentially dangerous schizophrenia case. His parents almost surely did too. What services were available to have him institutionalized and placed where he could not endanger himself or others? Probably none. What rules were in place to prevent him from purchasing a Glock handgun, and a magazine that would hold 33 rounds? None. This is not a case where more prayer could have made a difference, or where god decided to let it happen as punishment for America allowing homosexuals, or other crazy nonesense like that — this is a case where humans made all the difference, and it could have been prevented. Let's focus on addressing mental health issues, and ensure that people displaying symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are able to get the help they need, and are not able to hurt others in society.

    18. Bobbie says:

      Sure is a way to fix it, Juan. Those in every area of gun purchasing has to be held accountable to their part and if not, reprimand will teach them. Civil law enforced guides our actions. Punishment for violators will help deter uncivil behavior. You can have all the laws and rules you can think of to socialize actions, but that's not freedom and it WILL NOT CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF ANY INDIVIDUAL! So, why take away from the law abiding when civil law failed to be enforced?

      Juan, you mentioned, "Can’t Heritage, with all its smarts and resources, tell us a way our nation can protect itself from dangerous nut cases like this guy?" Why put Heritage on the spot? This man chose the act of what he did on his own accord. Nobody can control that. He has mental problems where those responsible failed him. There are plenty more nut cases in this country, but there is nothing wrong with civil law, it just lacks qualified people to enforce. People have to remember who they are as individuals and be accountable to their own actions and report those actions that are violating civil law or rights. Hope this helps! God Bless!

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