Michael Kinsley: Hey, Let’s Blame the Right Some More

posted at 1:50 pm on January 18, 2011 by John Sexton

Writing today at Politico, Michael Kinsley says the right is escaping the blame it deserves for the Arizona shootings:

The vast right-wing conspiracy has played President Barack Obama like a violin…In just a few days, it has become the height of political incorrectness to suggest there might be any connection between the voices on right-wing talk radio and the voices in Jared Lee Loughner’s head.

He’s right about the shift in approach. In fact, just today Time magazine has a piece on Loughner which contains the following arresting statement:

[S]aying Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck caused Loughner’s actions is, to put it charitably, completely idiotic.

Kinsley disagrees. He sees a theme to Loughner’s ideology which deserves more media attention:

Well, let’s see. The dominant theme of Loughner’s ravings was suspicion of the government. He apparently didn’t believe in paper money and thought only gold has value. He believed the government was responsible for Sept. 11. And so on. This is not a random collection of nutty opinions. There is a theme to it, and it is not simply that the guy was crazy…

So wherever could Loughner have gotten his paranoid contempt for government? Who told him that the government was this hulking, all-powerful “other” determined to control and ruin his life? Official answer: He’s crazy! What more do you need to know?

This would be a stronger argument if there wasn’t fairly convincing, even overwhelming, evidence that Loughner is indeed “crazy.” And if he genuinely is mentally ill, then his paranoia didn’t have to come from anywhere.

But as I noted this morning, there is solid evidence (both testimonial and circumstantial) that Loughner’s ideology came not from the right but from the left. His distrust of government, obsession with monetary systems, even his atheism and trutherism are all major themes of the film series Zeitgeist. Loughner’s best friend is on record saying that Jared was obsessed with the ideas in these films.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but here’s how the NY Times described the movement surrounding these films in 2009:

In his goatee and mustache and tieless in a brown suit, Mr. Joseph had been lecturing for nearly 90 minutes on the unsustainable nature of the money-based economy — on cyclical consumption, planned obsolescence, corporate malfeasance and piles of poisonous waste. “It’s time that we wake up,” he intoned, speaking solemnly through a wireless clip-on mike. “The doomsday scenario, the big contraction, might be happening right now. The system of monetary exchange is — in the face of advancing technology — completely obsolete.”…

“The mission of the movement is the application of the scientific method for social change,” Mr. Joseph announced by way of introduction. The evening, which began at 7 with a two-hour critique of monetary economics, became by midnight a utopian presentation of a money-free and computer-driven vision of the future, a wholesale reimagination of civilization, as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his “Imagine” days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life.

Sound right-wing to you?

Does Kinsley want us to overlook the actual source of Loughner’s ideology in order to focus on the talk radio Loughner never listened to? That makes even less sense than not discussing it at all. I suppose a more charitable read is that Kinsley is simply unaware of the Zeitgeist connection. But ten days on, it’s well past time for Kinsley and others to get the facts before hitting the keyboard.


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[S]aying Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck caused Loughner’s actions is, to put it charitably, completely idiotic.

Kinsley disagrees. He sees a theme to Loughner’s ideology which deserves more media attention:

Conclusion: Kinsley is an idiot.

angryed on January 18, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Dat po po chikin

darwin-t on January 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

1. You are going off Politico? Why?
2. Kindsley has been known to flip flop according to his idealology…. money and guns.

Is Allah off today?

upinak on January 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Yeesh, we had BDS, then SPDS now TPDS. Talk about crazy, membership of the far left should come with a complimentary psychiatrist.

WitchDoctor on January 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Why hasn’t Al Gore been charged has an accomplice in the James Lee shootings? Lee said his inspiration was Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

darwin on January 18, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Another putz on display

cmsinaz on January 18, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I don’t listen to anybody that should wear a bib when they’re talking.

Patrick S on January 18, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Well, we’ve gone from BOOOSH back to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. What a bunch of loons. Can these people dress themselves?

search4truth on January 18, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Kinsley is not getting any less idiotic as he ages.

pedestrian on January 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Kinlsey looks like he’s working on his Dr.No mojo. I think this new look is perfect…

for radio.

ncjetsfan on January 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I guess Kinsley is pleased with that free t-shirt he got last Wednesday night.

Knucklehead on January 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Michael Kinsley: Hey, Let’s Blame the Right LIE Some More

FIFY

Chip on January 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Does Kinsley want us to overlook the actual source of Loughner’s ideology in order to focus on the talk radio Loughner never listened to? That makes even less sense than not discussing it at all.

It’s all about narrative.

the_nile on January 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

He believed the government was responsible for Sept. 11.

Which was AND IS, a leftist talking point because, as they say “Bush used it as a rallying point to go to war in Iraq.”

The other points, “cash doesn’t work” seems more akin to an attack on capitalism rather than a supporting argument of right-wing ideology.

To wit, Kinsley’s entire argument is “He hates everything George Bush stood for, ergo, he’s a right-winger. Because Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck came out against Bush too”.

Which is a curious statement to make given what the left thought of Bush at the time (and still do).

Skywise on January 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Why do the medias tactics resemble the tactics of the Soviet Union?

darwin on January 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Moo Poo Cow Chip….

this has got to hurt their credibility in view of the evidence to the contrary… but, like Michelle’s recent piece @ Townhall… if they repeat the lie long and often enough… it becomes the truth in their eyes….

CynicalOptimist on January 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

But ten days on, it’s well past time for Kinsley and others to get the facts before hitting the keyboard.

When did facts ever matter to the Oppressive-Left?

Chip on January 18, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Are we just going to hear from every liberal tampon every thread?

I saw Meghan McCain on Maddow last night and she was more vapid than usual as she now has bangs (it’s in). Did Glenn Beck and that gang do anything on this this morning? Prime pickings I tell you.

Marcus on January 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Even more remarkably, in the past week, the question of whether a carefully planned assassination attempt on a member of the United States Congress might have had anything to do with politics has been mocked into oblivion. Well, let’s see. The dominant theme of Loughner’s ravings was suspicion of the government. He apparently didn’t believe in paper money and thought only gold has value. He believed the government was responsible for Sept. 11. And so on. This is not a random collection of nutty opinions.

It’s not random; but it’s not rightist, either. 9/11 trutherism is more prevalent on the left than the right.

No one is suggesting that one of those voices in the assassin’s head was John Boehner’s cigarette growl or that Loughner had even heard of Sarah Palin when he started saying nutty, paranoid things.

Actually, plenty of people did suggest precisely that about Sarah Palin, before it was publicly established that his stalking of the Congresswoman long predated Palin’s “crosshairs” map.

The suggestion, finally, is that the right is largely responsible for a political atmosphere in which extreme thoughts are more likely to take root and flower.

And this suggestion is wrong. Have you read any Paul Krugman columns or watched any Michael Moore films over the last decade?

The search for a political source for Loughner’s criminality would have had more credibility if people actually bothered to examine the evidence before jumping to conclusions. But Kinsley offers a case study in many people’s unwillingness to do that.

Chuckles3 on January 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Politico’s editor in an interview with Hugh Hewitt yesterday.

“in the same way that Michael Kinsley, who argues on our pages from the left, would never say that he’s a doctrinaire liberal.”

aquaviva on January 18, 2011 at 2:04 PM

While there are some defenders of the right on the Politico comment thread for this article, I didn’t see anyone bringing up Zeitgeist yet. It may very well be that knowledge of this connection hasn’t yet made the mainstream. And the media is not helping.

mcg on January 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Kinsley is not entirely sane.

greggriffith on January 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM

When Hugh Hewitt in an interview asked editor John Harris of Politico to prove that Politico had not acquired a left tilt citing their use of Joe Scarborough as the conservative mouthpiece, Harris said, “Oh, sure, Joe goes off the conservative reservation at times. But look, we’ve got Michael Kinsley on the left and he’s certainly not a dependable left ideologue.”
.
Oh really. First time I’ve learned that. The fact is Kinsley is a left hack. He is like Scarborough in one regard: his IQ is dipping as he goes along. That’s what ideology and the dinner circuit do to you.

MaxMBJ on January 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Kinsley is not entirely sane.

greggriffith on January 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Heh, you could say that about most of the Left.

Chip on January 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

In just a few days, it has become

the height of political incorrectness

to suggest there might be any connection between the voices on right-wing talk radio and the voices in Jared Lee Loughner’s head.

No, it’s the height of recklessness and stupidity to advance such an illogical, evidence free libel of millions of Americans. Hell, Loughner didn’t even listen to talk radio, but Kinsley and his ilk will still twist themselves into pretzels of idiocy to advance this nonsensical meme’.

Dead enders like Kinsley just can’t face the fact that this latest attempt to criminalize political speech has fallen flat. But this should serve as a caution that these tyrants will do and say anything on any pretense to portray their opponents as enemies of the state.

RadClown on January 18, 2011 at 2:08 PM

@aquaviva

Yes, you have the exact quote. Excellent.

MaxMBJ on January 18, 2011 at 2:08 PM

What, this tired old annoying gadfly is STILL around?!!!!

I though Kinsley went into obscurity eons ago!

pilamaye on January 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Who told him that the government was this hulking, all-powerful “other” determined to control and ruin his life?

Here’s a quiz: Who started that whole idea?

a. Rush Limbaugh
b. Santa
c. The very loud, left-wing protestors, writers and thinkers of Kinsley’s own Baby Boomer generation

albo on January 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Turd.

CynicalOptimist on January 18, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Yet another chicken shamelessly abused.

John the Libertarian on January 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Ever since that lefty dude bit the finger off of an elderly gent….I have this overwhelming need to bite lady finger cookies.

I blame the left for that.

Ever since the alleged media conspired with Democrats, lied, skewed, misrepresented, and showed their true leanings… I have this need to lie, skew, and misrepresent.

I blame the left.

Ever since Obama’s elections, I’ve lied about, or embellished my life stories, to the point, I’m now the long lost Princess Anastasia.

I blame the left.

See how absurd this gets, liberals?

Nah. Probably not. Idiots.

capejasmine on January 18, 2011 at 2:14 PM

What could be more pathetic than a beta male’s ire? Michael, we laugh in your face.

horatio on January 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I thought Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens was taken off TV. How’d he get back on?

SeniorD on January 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Conclusion: Kinsley is an idiot.

angryed on January 18, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Ditto……

chai on January 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Seems Bush’s government was repeatedly spoken of as: illegitimate.

CWforFreedom on January 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM

The chicken is finished and Kinsey’s moving on to the cow

thebrokenrattle on January 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM

As my father would say, Kinsley is a “little weed of a man.”

yubley on January 18, 2011 at 2:18 PM

The chicken is finished and Kinsey’s moving on to the cow

thebrokenrattle on January 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM

PETA should get involved here somewhere.

Chip on January 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I guess Kinsley is still blaming the Beatles and Helter Skelter for the Manson murders.

Does he also blames Hollywood and Taxi Driver for the Reagan Assassination attempt or J.D. Salinger for the murder of John Lennon?

That would would make some, but very little sense, since the perpetrators in those cases at least made specific reference to those works as inspiration.

RadClown on January 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Beta Male with a goatee. Pathetic.

Hummer53 on January 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Why yes, yes he does want us to ignore the truth and stick with his theory.

Cindy Munford on January 18, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Politico dredged up this little worm, Kinsley? Good grief, if that’s the best they can do… pffft.

petefrt on January 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Kinsley scores his headline.

BobMbx on January 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Wishcasting. Liberals think if they keep wishing for a connection between Loughner and the political Right, it will appear.

rockmom on January 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

If there was ever any doubt where the true hate mongers lie,he is a living,breathing one way sign pointing the direction. There is no reason for his rantings other than to drum up hate for those with views opposing his.

oldernwiser on January 18, 2011 at 2:24 PM

Evidently their pollsters say this is a winning issue and to stay on it. Darn Republicans won’t fight back.

huckleberryfriend on January 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Hey, Kinsley: 1995 called and said you left your relevance back there.

Mr. D on January 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

PETA should get involved here somewhere.

Chip on January 18, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Peaple Eating Tasty Animals!

upinak on January 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Evidently their pollsters say this is a winning issue and to stay on it. Darn Republicans won’t fight back.

huckleberryfriend on January 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

They are just trying to hold on to their base…that is all.

CWforFreedom on January 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

There’s another shooting going down in LA right now for the left to exploit.

Denverslim on January 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The obvious solution is to ban films.

burt on January 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

There’s another shooting going down in LA right now for the left to exploit.

Denverslim on January 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM

5..4..3..2…BLM..your on!

Electrongod on January 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I take it, bringing up some’s desire to torture and cut off body parts of Michele Bachmann & Sarah Palin to make into some sort of necklace, wouldn’t go over well with this particular piece of leftist trash?

MNHawk on January 18, 2011 at 2:38 PM

“And they’ve done a pretty good job of messing with the heads of the liberal media as well.”
-M. Kinsley

This is progress! It used to be that journalists claimed that they had some sort of impartiality; at least Kinsley (as he flings around idiot accusations about the “right-wing conspiracy) has gone so far as to admit that the media has a political agenda… that’s about all of this article (or Kinsley) one has to read to pretty much get a grip on the rest of it. Ex ungue leonem

morganfrost on January 18, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Denverslim:
Where is the shooting? I hear lots of sirens but that’s pretty normal for downtown…

LASue on January 18, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Where is the shooting? I hear lots of sirens but that’s pretty normal for downtown…

LASue on January 18, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Gardena CA…high school

Electrongod on January 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM

LASUE– Gardena Senior high

CWforFreedom on January 18, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Where is the shooting? I hear lots of sirens but that’s pretty normal for downtown…
LASue on January 18, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Gardenia High School. 3 shot. The gunman is a 14-15 year old black male <—– racist. May or may not be in custody.

Denverslim on January 18, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Who is stupid enough to pay that idiot?

ultracon on January 18, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Has anyone else read this rant by Morning Joe?

My eyelashes burned right the hell off the flames were so high. He completely mischaracterizes a Michelle Bachman quote – she said armed and dangerous with information and facts. What an ass this man is … Kinsley, too.

BrideOfRove on January 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Hey Michael! Do all those black helicopters flying over your house at night keep you awake?

Someone who bears a close resemblance to Heinrich Himmler should stay away from extremist talk. Weren’t you listening when your Obamassiah spoke last week?

GarandFan on January 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM

“Maybe if I say it, it’ll stick,” -M. Kinsley.

Has anyone ever recorded Kinsley blinking? Ever? Just once?

Akzed on January 18, 2011 at 3:29 PM

I guess Kinsley is still blaming the Beatles and Helter Skelter for the Manson murders. RadClown on January 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

I blame Yoko.

Akzed on January 18, 2011 at 3:30 PM

It’s very simple on what the left is doing. They are just following what Obama’s mentor, Saul Alinsky, dictated in “Rules for Radicals”. He said the greatest weapon that can be used against his/their enemies is RIDICULE. As they respond, use their defense against them. Without he hatred of racism and class warfare, liberals would be not be relevant. They have been exploiting hatred for decades.

volsense on January 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

This shrieking ninny needs Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

SurferDoc on January 18, 2011 at 3:33 PM

My local radio station just reported on the school shooting. According to the school, the kid brought the gun in his backpack, dropped the backpack, and the gun went off accidentally. How does a gun get dropped once, and manage to kill 3 people?

capejasmine on January 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

John regularly blogs at Verum Serum. It’s worth following.

alwaysfiredup on January 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Kinsley is a bug-eyed Nazi. I can’t stand the sight of him.

UltimateBob on January 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Well it is Michael Kinsley afterall. The man who made his name on a show called “Crossfire”?

He wants to stop the “inflammatory” rhetoric?

Crossfire. Now what could that refer to?

There is simply no ability to look at themselves with any kind of distance.

It is truly amazing.

Although, Mickey Kaus did have a few interesting notes about who might actually benefit from “toning it down” now that Republicans are sharing power… triangulation helped Clinton but also got some important right wing stuff done, like welfare reform.

Be careful what you wish for Mr. Kinsley, your cherished single payer gets less likely everyday you insist Republicans talk softly while brandishing that big stick.

petunia on January 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM

capejasmine on January 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Yep, once again, it is worthwhile to wait for actual facts to come out… before placing blame.

petunia on January 18, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Let’s not forget that even the Times said that Loughner hated “Bush”

J_Crater on January 18, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Kinsley is seriously losing it. I actually thought he was a semi-serious, if liberal, journalist. But he’s completely beclowning himself for no apparent reason. Michael, it’s right there! Hates Bush, 9/11 Truther, Zeitgeist fixation, friends said he’s “liberal” and didn’t watch TV or listen to talk radio. What more do your need?

WarEagle01 on January 18, 2011 at 4:41 PM

I’m picturing Kinsley forcibly restrained like Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange, with his eyes wired open and a nurse putting eyedrops in them every 10 or 15 seconds, being forced to screen the complete Zeitgeist series so beloved by Jared Loughner.

We might then get a better article out of Kinsley than the above-linked pile of crap.

Edouard on January 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM

The only thing vast in all this is Kinsley’s ignorance.

ya2daup on January 18, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Political anklebiter.

profitsbeard on January 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM

Look, look, look at me, i spilled something on my
tie. Hurry, help me….what are you going to do about it?

falderal on January 18, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Is there any doubt that Kinsley spent his entire childhood getting his a$$ kicked? He looks like he would have been the little weasel who ratted everyone out to the teacher and then ran home to tell Mommy how everyone was mean to him. What a skeeve.

College Prof on January 18, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Let’s bring back Pat Buchanan just for one day to slap the crap out of the little worm Kinsley. That’s one of the few things that Patty-Buke is good for.

slickwillie2001 on January 18, 2011 at 8:35 PM

He is not deranged, although close. But, he is clearly an immoral person

proconstitution on January 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM

The left has been a big force against the force of shame in American society. Joseph should be shamed , or cens-u-red not cens-ored. Of course, I blame the free-flapping left in conflating these two ideas over decades–despite that they now want to use shame and censure in a way that fits their purposes–they will again decry it as “hateful” if it starts to work in a less than progressive fashion.

I think crazy or mislead set-up is a false dichotomy. Marijuana makes people more likely to be schizophrenic and more likely to be paranoid. The social factors that exposed Loughner to acceptance of weed are somewhere on the radar. So are paranoid constructions of Moore and Joseph. And I think that Moore’s speculation on why Bush couldn’t put down a storybook and it’s widespread acceptance bolstered the story that Joseph put together.

But above all I think it’s stupid to say anti-government sentiments makes one “right-wing”. Doesn’t it create more of an idea of polarization to not realize that there is overlap between the two wings? And not just in the center either–but in the Alex Jones/Lindon Larouche left and the libertarians on the “right”. Does it really help the national dialog to pigeonhole “anti-government” (in the form of a reduction of budget and responsibilities) sentiments as being on the right if we’ve got the whole “Imagine” crowd on the left?

I’d like a less rancorous dialog about politics–but I’d like a less stupid one, too. In the past couple of weeks the left has appeared recalcitrant about either.

Axeman on January 19, 2011 at 10:43 AM