David Frum takes Sarah Palin to task for not being more public in her reaction to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, not being sufficiently empathetic, and not grasping the scope (no pun intended) of the accusations against her, What Palin Needed To Say After Giffords’ Shooting:
“Palin failed to appreciate the question being posed to her. That question was not: “Are you culpable for the shooting?” The question was: “Having put this unfortunate image on the record, can you respond to the shooting in a way that demonstrates your larger humanity? And possibly also your potential to serve as leader of the entire nation?””
Frum complains that Palin’s expression of condolences was not enough. Here is Palin’s statement released soon after the shooting:
“My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”
Frum criticizes Palin for not doing more, and for the fact that Palin supporters have defended her against the blood libel that she was responsible for the shooting:
“Instead, her rapid response operation has focused on pounding home the message that Palin is innocent, that she has been unfairly maligned by hostile critics. Which in this case happened to be a perfectly credible message. And also perfectly inadequate. Palin’s post-shooting message was about Palin, not about Giffords. It was defensive, not inspiring. And it was petty at a moment when Palin had been handed perhaps her last clear chance to show herself presidentially magnanimous.”
Why shouldn’t innocence be a complete defense when you are dealing with people spreading lies?
The lie is and always has been that there is a connection between the electoral map — which used completely common terminology and graphics — and the shooting. There is no evidence that Loughner saw the map, or even was motivated by the politics of the day.
The attack on Palin has been a complete non-sequituir in which two completely unconnected facts are used to reach a political conclusion.
Frum wants Palin to play on a the field drawn by vicious liars who never will be satisfied with any response from Palin. Any of the responses Frum suggests, such as going to Giffords’ office to lay flowers, would have ignited even more dishonest fury from the left-blogosphere and mainstream media.
Palin has acted appropriately in expressing condolences, and in not further making the story about her. Frum has his sights (no pun intended) set on the wrong person. Frum should be going after the liars, not the innocent.