A new CBS news poll shows that nearly six in ten Americans don't think the political tone had anything to do with the Tucson shooting:
Overall, 57 percent of respondents said the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting, compared to 32 percent who felt it did. Republicans were more likely to feel the two were unrelated -- 69 percent said rhetoric was not to blame; 19 percent said it played a part. Democrats were more split on the issue -- 49 percent saw no connection; 42 percent said there was.
When even a plurality of Democrats don't think harsh rhetoric had anything to do with the shooting, it's clear that liberals' desperate attempts to pin this attack on conservatives have been failing. This is largely a result of the fact that a) there has been no evidence to support such a link and b) conservatives did a good job pushing back against the left-wing effort to exploit this tragedy.
Dave Weigel notes that this will likely cause Republicans to moderate their rhetoric in the near term, and I agree with him. But I think it's silly to make hay out of the fact that Republicans' repeal bill is called, the "Repeal of the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." To the extent that there will be a moderation in tone -- and I think this applies to both parties -- it will more apply to the way lawmakers refer to each other or suggest anything that can suggest a call to violence (i.e., Democrats referring to Republicans as "terrorists" and "hostage takers" or Republicans calling Obama a socialist in the context of talking about how we may be on the verge of a revolution). But I imagine harsh attacks on policies themselves will still be fair game, even in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
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