I get your comments via e-mail, so I'm aware of what you're saying. So, to respond to Chuckwagon Boy, who forwards this link from writer Michael Tanner in National Review, I would say this: yes, I don't have any issue with Michael Tanner's take on the matter. He does an excellent job of identifying some of the worst offenders in recent days:
Already, some are using this tragedy to try to delegitimize opinions that they disagree with. Paul Krugman, for example, has somehow managed to tie the shooting to opposition to the health-care bill. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) took a similar tack, noting that the bill to repeal Obamacare is called the Repeal the Job-Killing Healthcare Law Act. “I’m not suggesting that the name of that one piece of legislation somehow led to the horror of this weekend — but is it really necessary to put the word ‘killing’ in the title of a major piece of legislation?” Pingree wrote in The Huffington Post. Writing in Slate, liberal columnist Jacob Weisberg blames the killings on “anti-government” ideology, drawing a straight line from believing that some government actions are “illegitimate” to murder.
Krugman in particular has been particularly disgraceful and there's no incivility in calling him out for it. And I have no trouble with Tanner's countervailing examples:
I believe that President Obama is deeply, profoundly mistaken in most of his policies. But that doesn’t mean that he loves this country any less than I do. The stimulus, the excessive spending, the health-care bill are bad policy, but Obama is not trying to destroy our economy, as Rush Limbaugh has suggested. Nor is the president a racist with a “deep-seated hatred of white people,” as Glenn Beck once said. (To his credit, Beck later retracted the remarks).
It is possible to be wrong without being evil.
Likewise, toleration of “birthers” and those who claim the president is a secret Muslim serves no worthwhile purpose. If we believe in the merits of our argument, let’s make it on its merits — without invective, personal attacks, or impugning the motives of our opponents.
The birther thing is a bit of a straw man (the first time I heard of Orly Taitz is when a portside commenter brought her to my attention), but otherwise I think Tanner is correct.
Yes, we should be civil. But as always, I (and everyone else) must reserve the right to call out people who aren't being civil in their arguments. There's been a lot of damage done in the last few days by the likes of Krugman, Weisberg, Chris Matthews and others. It will be interesting to see if they climb down or double down.