It’s hard to know whether over the top political rhetoric has any causal impact on any particular turn of events. But I think it’s common sense that a violent attack on a member of congress should cause some reflection about the desirability of exercising some kind of restraint. And I’m glad to see that at least one Republican elected official agrees:
A senior Republican senator, speaking anonymously in order to freely discuss the tragedy, told POLITICO that the Giffords shooting should be taken as a “cautionary tale” by Republicans.
“There is a need for some reflection here — what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”
The vast majority of tea party activists, this senator said, ought not be impugned.
“They’re talking about things most mainstream Americans are talking about, like spending and debt,” the Republican said, before adding that politicians of all stripes need to emphasize in the coming days that “tone matters.”
So I agree with all of that. But how stunning is it that the Senator in question felt he had to remain anonymous to make this fairly anodyne observation?