Palin takes the shootin' spotlight

As American mourns yet another appalling shooting, Sarah Palin shoots from the lip - again - reconfirming she would be incapable of presiding over a presidential podium.

It is almost laughable watching American politicians scramble to work out whether their increasingly violent rhetoric lies beneath the tragic Tucson shootings.

To others around the world it seems like the inevitable combination of really nasty politics and almost unfettered access to firearms. One plus one and so on. There is no way that a campaign which involved talk of ‘reloading’ instead of ‘retreating’, which featured people at Tea Party rallies with guns strapped to their legs, and which had certain Democratic states in the cross-hairs of a rifle is not ugly and violent politics. What other meaning could be attributed to cross-hairs? Love bombs perhaps?

Add to this political background yet another alleged killer who friends are now saying strayed from the social mainstream some time ago and voila! Violent action to match violent rhetoric.

And who would be in the middle of this and making herself the story. Why, surprise surprise, the failed vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin of course.

While America mourns an appalling incident which has all the hallmarks of an attempted political assassination, Palin was forced to remove her cross-hairs campaign strategy from her website, and went public with condolences for those who died and those who were injured, and she let the nation know she and Todd and the kids were praying for peace and justice. Blah blah blah.

But obviously she did not garner enough attention with that.

When a gal with a gun is cornered, she shoots apparently.

When that gal has little understanding of the sensitivities of others she shoots without thinking and in so doing Ms Palin has again shown a tendency to be foolish rather than presidential.

She’s shouted out that those who linked her campaign strategy with the Tucson shootings were committing “blood libel”. A very dramatic accusation and one that has blown up in her face for the very reason that it is linked to outrageous anti-semitic accusations of centuries ago.

Blood libel refers to the times when Christians tortured and killed Jews for allegedly making their traditional matzoh bread with the blood of children. They didn’t, but the term lives on because of its importance in a phase of Jewish persecution.

Palin seems oblivious to the heritage of her accusation, which is even more damning given the believed target of the Tucson shooting, Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, is a Jew.

For Palin to accuse her critics of committing ‘blood libel’ against her is ridiculous.

It may however serve another purpose dear to the hearts of the Republican hierarchy.

She’s been riding a political high over the past few months, what with her outdoor adventure programme ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ and the success of those she anointed in the mid-term elections.

But she has become a clear worry to the mainstream Republican wing, as they know they will never regain power if she is their Presidential candidate. Her Tea Party movement could also tear apart the party and thereby strengthen the Democrats by default.

She is for non-Tea Partiers like a train wreck, in that she is impossible to not watch, and it would be a fair bet that many – late night talk show hosts in particular – would love her to be the next US President just to see what happens.

That would be funny were it not so serious for us all.

And so, while America mourns yet another shooting disaster, and victims fight for their lives, Sarah Palin’s ridiculous defiance is exposed.

We will never know why she couldn’t just have said that perhaps using gun-toting language and symbols was perhaps inappropriate, and that she regrets any possibility that someone could have read her the wrong way. As Bill Clinton said the actions of politicians are out there for the hinged and the unhinged alike. Surely it is up to politicians – particularly those who want to run a country – to have the nous to realize their huntin’ shootin’ fightin’ BS can be interpreted literally and really has no place in politics.

There’s a federal investigation underway to determine the background and thinking of the alleged shooter.

There should also be a reality check for American politicians in which they literally take stock of the barrel and of how precarious life will continue to be in a country that idolizes the gun. The gun lobby slogan is that guns don’t kill. Get real.