Clyburn: Reading the Constitution provoked murder spree in Tucson, or something; Update: Referring to Birther outburst?

posted at 2:55 pm on January 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In the race to see which politico makes the biggest ass out of himself over the shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, we can report that so far the frontrunners appear to be Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina and former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, both Democrats.  In a rambling interview on the radio with Ed Schultz, Clyburn complains about people attempting to “delegitimize the President” and suggested that the reading of the Constitution in Congress last week had something to do with the shooting.  Real Clear Politics has the audio [see update II]:

“All [of] this stuff taking place in the Chambers the other day, when the Constitution was being read — all that stuff is uncalled for,” Rep. Clyburn (D-SC) told the Ed Schultz radio program.

Clyburn says there may be a “direct link” between Sharron Angle’s “Second Amendment remedies” comment and the reading of the Constitution with the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords over the weekend.

Of course, no one has ever heard the Constitution without committing a murder spree, so obviously Clyburn is on the right track here.  As far as “All that stuff about delegitimizing the President of the United States, that was uncalled for,” one may wonder whether Clyburn was as particular about that in 2001 as he is in 2011.  Wonder no longer:

The November election points to serious problems in our voting process in America.  We consider ourselves the premiere democracy in the world and expect other nations to emulate our example.  Our government sends officials overseas to “monitor” elections to insure their veracity.  And yet, the 2000 election in America will go down in history as one so rife with errors that the true outcome will remain forever in question.

Unfortunately for Clyburn, Kerrey is making a strong run for the championship himself, as RCP again captures.  Kerrey says that the perp was “mentally ill and deeply troubled,” and therefore Kerrey said he would demur from making too much of his political beliefs — right after Kerrey announces that the attack was motivated by the upcoming vote to repeal ObamaCare.  Click the image to watch the clip from today’s Imus show:

Tomorrow they were going to vote to repeal this health care bill — and it’s not going to go anywhere in the Senate — it’s one of the reasons that this guy was angry and pretty obvious that he is, at least from me, where I sit that he’s mentally ill and deeply troubled.  I wouldn’t make too much of whatever his political views are.

Aaaaaaaand Kerrey knows that … how?  Does Kerrey have any evidence — any at all — that Loughner supported or opposed ObamaCare?  Or that he gave a tinker’s damn about Congressional procedure or symbolic votes?  No, but then again, Kerrey seems to have based his viewpoint on the same source that the media has used to claim that Loughner’s attack came from “heated rhetoric,” which is the collective nether regions of those who pine for attention.

Let’s hope that Clyburn and Kerrey remain the frontrunners for this prize, and that future contenders think twice before qualifying for the award.

Update: Clyburn is from South Carolina, not North Carolina.  My apologies for the error.

Update II: Radley Balko of Reason says on Twitter that Clyburn was talking about the Birther outburst during the reading of the Constitution and not the Constitution itself.  The audio clip at RCP doesn’t have Clyburn mentioning that, but that intent makes some sense in the context of what Clyburn said.  It’s still a stupid thing to say — claiming that a Birther outburst caused Loughner to commit mass murder and attempt to kill Giffords is every bit as absurd as claiming that a crosshair on a political website did it — but it’s important to get Clyburn’s intent correct.


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