“Based on what I know, this is a criminal defendant who was in some ways motivated by his own political views, who had a particular animus toward the congresswoman,” Clinton said. “And I think when you cross the line from expressing opinions that are of conflicting differences in our political environment into taking action, that’s violent action, that’s a hallmark of extremism, whether it comes from the right, the left, from al Qaeda, from anarchists, whoever it is. That is a form of extremism. So yes, I think that when you’re a criminal who is in some way pursuing criminal activity connected to — however bizarre and poorly thought through — your political views, that’s a form of extremism.”
By this definition, Hinckley was a political extremist too. Reagan was, after all, a political figure, and Hinckley certainly did have a “particular animus” towards him. I’m not sure what she means by Loughner’s “political views,” though: Supposedly, he developed his grudge against Giffords because she couldn’t answer a question he asked her about language, which makes him more of a, shall we say, linguistic extremist. But “linguistic extremism” doesn’t help the Democrats’ narrative, so here’s the Smartest Woman in the World slyly giving the left’s “right-wing hate” storyline a boost while being very careful not to imply anything too concrete about Loughner’s actual motivations. This is a nice example, in fact, of what I wrote about yesterday vis-a-vis her husband and Dick Morris strategizing to blame Republicans for Oklahoma City by tossing out subtle, indirect suggestions of culpability and letting the public connect the dots itself. That’s what Hillary’s doing here — Loughner’s an extremist, he was motivated by his own special brand of “politics,” he had certain opinions that conflicted with the opinions of others, wink wink. All of that’s arguably true depending upon how you define the terms, which is where the dot-connecting comes in. Fill in the blanks, America.
Her other goal, per her comments about Loughner in Abu Dhabi the other day, is to reassure the “international community” that America has its own terrorists too. That’s of a piece with the left’s traditional approach to foreign policy, that whatever one might think of American exceptionalism, it’s bad form and actually counterproductive to go around reminding other nations of it. Said Hillary of Loughner to her audience in the UAE, “We have the same kinds of problems.” Except, of course, we don’t: If, for example, Pakistan’s biggest worry was untreated schizophrenics opening fire outside supermarkets, geopolitics on the subcontinent would look very, very different. As it is, when one of their politicians gets shot for defending blasphemers of Islam, the assassin is roundly applauded. But see, “we have the same problems.”
Exit question: Is there such a thing as a homicidal lunatic who isn’t “extreme”?