Was that a memorial service a or a pep rally?

Well, the cult members were out in full force tonight in Arizona. I was ashamed and disgusted by the spectacle that was called a memorial service.

President Obama's speech was fine, as always. He read the teleprompter with eloquence and did a fine chin in the air impersonation of Che Guevara, as usual. His words were appropriate for the most part and he rose above the political fray by making a point of chiding people that were playing the blame game.

My beef is not with Obama this time. It is his mindless minions in the crowd that draws my ire. Apparently the crowd was mainly composed of university students and from what I could gather they had already started tapping kegs for the wake.

This was more like an Arsenio Hall show than a memorial service. Catcalls, standing ovations, whistling and the whoop, whoop, whoop of the crowd dominated the night. What should have been a somber occasion for reflection turned into another Obama pep rally. It was as if these students had their guy up on stage and by God they weren't about to let a national tragedy get in the way of them having a good time and cheering on their messiah.

If these kids are our future then we are well and truly screwed.

Contributor Patricia McCarthy adds:

I've just watched the "memorial" service for those killed and wounded in Tucson. How are we to explain the lack of decorum and reverence displayed by that audience? Did those students forget that the families of the dead and wounded were in the room? Do they not understand the meaning of the word "murdered"? Is not everyone who watched horrified by the whistling, hooting cheerfulness of that crowd?

The audience turned what was to be a memorial into something between a campaign rally and a rock concert. They should all be ashamed of themselves. The event called for honor and quiet respect, not hooting and hollering for a celebrity. Perhaps it was the free t-shirts that set the tone.

Peter Wilson adds:

It has to be admitted, President Obama's simple words after the moment of silence on Monday, were appropriate, and last night in Tucson he gave a good speech.  Hard to express it better than the following:

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding.  In the words of Job, "when I looked for light, then came darkness."  Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. 

The President continued: "we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do."  Is he talking about Rush Limbaugh here?  I don't think so.  Perhaps I am hearing what I want to hear, but it sounds as much a criticism of Paul Krugman.  The New York Times' assessment seems accurate: President Obama "did not cast blame on Republicans or Democrats."

The President did address the topic of "uncivil" rhetoric, but as Rich Lowry at the Corner points out, he made "a crucial addition that wasn't in the prepared text" (in bold):

let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, (it did not), but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation...

In short, although Obama might have been acting from political calculation by not politicizing the event, he did not take the advice of some to use the event to accuse the Tea Party of inciting mass murder.

This did not stop Anne Kornblut et. al in the Washington Post (also picked up by the Boston Globe) from interpreting the President's words according to the template that divisive conservative speech creates a climate of hate, etc.  Obama "Decries Political Pettiness, incivility," reads today's front-page headline.  Kornblut writes:

Obama seized upon the mass shooting at a congresswoman's supermarket meet-and-greet to tackle directly the subject of the nation's harsh political dialogue.

After days (years) of the media criticizing the "harsh political dialogue" of talk radio and the Tea Party, it's clear that Ms. Kornblut wasn't thinking about her colleagues in the MSM.

A strange situation when conservatives defend Obama against the leftist media.

Richard N. Weltz adds:
Mr. Obama, as had been hoped for in many quarters, made a statesmanlike address to last evening's memorial in Tucson. "Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle," he said, in a clear effort to deflect the heated political atmosphere away from finger-pointing and name-calling.

But, leave it to the New York Times's editorialists to give a passing nod to the president's remark and immediately follow up by continuing to do just the opposite, as they wrote, "This page and many others have identified those voices and called on them to stop demonizing their political opponents."  The reference was clearly to Tea Party members, Sarah Palin, and other conservative spokesmen, whom the Times has, obviously, no intention of letting up on as culprits in the Tucson massacre, regardless of what Obama has pleaded against.

To rub salt in the wounds, as it were, the Times's news pages also snarked about Palin's exquisitely creative and accurate use of the "blood libel" metaphor for the Left's efforts to falsely accuse their enemies of causing bloodshed - exactly what the original blood libel falsely claimed about Jews over the centuries.

In a six-column article, the Times described Palin's eight-minute video defending herself from leftist attackers, who have been unmercifully on her back from just minutes after the gunman's attack:

As she sought to defend herself and seize control of a debate that has been boiling for days, Ms. Palin awakened a new controversy by invoking a phrase fraught with religious symbolism about the false accusation used by anti-Semites of Jews murdering Christian children.

And, just to add snarkiness to vitriol, the Times gratuitously remarked that, "It was unclear whether Ms. Palin was aware of the historical meaning of the phrase."

An accompanying piece by one Laurie Goodstein, (credentialed, of course, by her Jewish-sounding name), took pains to explain the origins of the phrase and complained that, "many Jewish commentators on Wednesday were surprised to hear Ms. Palin claim to be a victim of ‘blood libel'," The commentators were, naturally, unnamed, but the headline, "A Phrase With Roots in Anti-Semitism," was obviously selected for its unpleasant implications with respect to the former Alaska governor.

M. Catharine Evans adds:
The leadership capitalized on the nation's grief, turning what should have been a somber remembrance of murdered Americans into a political rally. From the start, the atmosphere resembled a collective exhibition of bizarrely inappropriate responses and paraphernalia.

There were signs and free taxpayer-funded t-shirts being handed out which read: Together We Thrive, Tucson and America. These are materials more suitable to a campaign speech, not a eulogy.

Sheriff Dupnik was seen high-fiving his supporters even though he amassed 51 pages of police reports on Jared Loughner, and didn't heed Janet Napolitano's advice to "say something" early enough to have avoided this catastrophe.

Raucous college students, seemingly unaware of what Gov. Jan Brewer was talking about, applauded after she stated, "We also lost Christine Taylor Green."

Eric Holder's presence on stage was odd considering he filed a law suit against Arizona when Governor Brewer tried to protect the borders by signing SB1070 into law.

The afterglow commentary from mainstream as well as conservative media added another macabre touch to the spectacle. The MSM is just following orders, but imagine waking up to talk radio icon Glenn Beck saying:

This is probably the best speech he has ever given, and with all sincerity, thank you, Mr. President, for becoming the president of the United States of America last night.  It was needed, and you accomplished the job, and you did it expertly. Thank you, Mr. President.

And Rich Truzpek from David Horowitz's Front Page Magazine wrote this:

Speaking in Tucson at the memorial event held to honor the victims of Saturday's shooting spree, the president rose to the challenge, avoiding any temptation to point fingers and score political points. Instead the president sounded positively presidential, delivering the kind of message that America's leaders are expected to deliver in troubled times...

The meaning of the memorial was lost on the Obama cheerleaders, but the occasion provided the president with a fresh outlook on 2012. The victims' families are probably still in shock, so hopefully they will forgive the unbefitting behavior of those around them.
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