by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The left’s insistence that every conservative personally “condemn” the actions of the mentally ill man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul has nothing to do with lowering the rhetorical temperature or averting violence, and everything to do with trying to compel Republicans to take responsibility for the incident.
Forget the ugly, transparent cynicism of partisans like Joe Scarborough or David Frum or Bill Kristol. Take The Washington Post, which ran a triple-bylined, reported piece headlined, “Attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband follows years of GOP demonizing her.” “Years of vilification,” contend the authors, have “culminated” in Pelosi’s husband being attacked with a hammer.
By “demonizing,” the Post means that Republicans run lots of political ads targeting perhaps the most powerful, partisan leader in the nation. Pelosi is demonized in the same manner Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis are demonized. Remember ads depicted Paul Ryan pushing grandmas off cliffs? Is it that kind of demonizing?
All three of the “reporters” involved in writing the Washington Post piece know full well that the person accused of attacking Pelosi with a hammer was mentally unstable, his brain, according to the mother of his children, addled by long-term drug use. This is a former pro-nudist activist, convinced that “he was Jesus for a year,” who lived in a bus on a semi-commune and has embraced conspiracy theories from the left and right.
Even if he wasn’t unstable, of course, it doesn’t mean the GOP has any responsibility to stop pointing out that Pelosi’s policy ideas are bad for the country. Do reporters, columnists, ad makers, or politicians consider the safety of Republicans before saying anything critical about them? I sure hope not. Because neither political discourse nor political reporting should be inhibited by the prospective actions of third-party nuts.