Liberals may be making the wild stretch of blaming Sarah Palin for Saturday's shooting of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, but one of the Internet's most popular progressive activist sites targeted Giffords for electoral defeat in 2008 in much the same way as Palin's "cross-hairs" map did in 2010 — with Daily Kos founder and publisher Markos Moulitsas even using the term "bull's-eye."
On the day of the shooting, the Hillbuzz.org website reproduced screen grabs of Moulitsas' posting, noting that "Daily Kos targeted Gabrielle Giffords with a 'bulls eye' back in June of 2008."
Moulitsas was incensed at Giffords and 104 other House Democrats
he accused of having just "sold out the Constitution" by voting for amending and enhancing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The legislative revision retroactively protected telecommunications companies from being sued for facilitating government monitoring of suspected terrorists' phone calls and e-mails.
"Who to primary?" Moulitsas asked using his famous username "kos."
"Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week." According to Moulitsas, "This vote certainly puts a bull-s-eye on their district."
Beyond Giffords, the Daily Kos list of "bull's-eyed" Democrats included the top two members of the House Democratic leadership — then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland — as well as all but four of Giffords' fellow members of the moderate-to-conservative Blue Dog Coalition. The 105 Democrats who voted for the FISA amendments joined 188 House Republicans, with the measure passing 293-to-129.
Moulitsas promised in his posting that "the corrupt, the tone-deaf, and the reactionary within Democratic ranks will face the possibility of primary battles," warning that "the combined might of the Pelosis and Hoyers won't be enough to effect change."
Another Daily Kos contributor on Thursday — two days before Gifford was shot but one day after Giffords, along with 18 other House Democrats, voted against keeping Pelosi as Democratic leader — wrote a posting blasting Giffords entitled, "My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!"
"BoyBlue," who claimed he "worked like a dog" for Giffords as a state
representative in Arizona, fumed that "Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is dead to me now. I won't lift a finger, make one phone call, nor will I EVER vote for her in the future."
Daily Kos removed the posting from its site after the shooting. Still, Moulitsas is himself known for "hate" rhetoric that relies on violent imagery. Last year, he wrote a book on conservative activism with the title, "American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right."
In it, he states, "Fact is, progressives hate the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists precisely for the same reason we hate rabid conservatives at home: their fear of change. Their fascistic efforts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of society."
Moulitsas even accused conservatives of mass killing: "Everything Bush said about those radical jihadists could be said about our very own American Taliban — that they have 'sacrificed human life to serve their radical visions' (Iraq, for starters), and that 'by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism, and totalitarianism.'"
The "dangerous" language liberals are attacking Palin for using, by comparison, centers on a Twitter message in which she told supporters, "Don't retreat, RELOAD!"
The Hillbuzz site also reproduced a Democratic Party U.S. map using bull's-eye symbols to denote vulnerable states that were almost identical to the cross hairs denoting vulnerable congressional districts featured in the SarahPac U.S. map for which Palin is being criticized.
The Democratic map is entitled "Targeting Strategy" and features a captioned entitled "BEHIND ENEMY LINES." The bull's-eye symbols were placed on nine states that President George W. Bush narrowly won in 2004.
"Democrats use 'bull's-eye' targets extensively in their political graphics," the website noted. "This map shows states Democrats want targeted. Arizona, which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords represents, is surrounded by these targets." On the Palin map, three Arizona congressional districts featured targets.
SarahPac aide Rebecca Mansour told talk radio host Tammy Bruce, "we never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," describing the figure used for the target districts as "a surveyor's symbol." Mansour maintained there was "nothing irresponsible about our graphic," which she said an outside professional graphic designer produced.
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