If any public figure influenced Loughner, my money's on Bill Maher.
After the monstrous shooting in Arizona last week, surely we can all agree that we've got to pass Obama's agenda immediately and stop using metaphors.
At least I think that's what the mainstream media are trying to tell me.
Liberals instantly leapt on the sickening massacre at a Tucson political event over the weekend to accuse tea partiers, Sarah Palin and all conservatives who talk out loud of being complicit in murder by inspiring the shooter, Jared Loughner.
Of course, to make their case, they first must demonstrate:
(a) Right-wingers have called for violence against anyone, especially conservative, pro-Second Amendment Democratic congresswomen;
(b) Loughner was listening to them; and
(c) Loughner was influenced by them.
They've proved none of this. In fact, it's nearly the opposite.
Needless to say, no conservative has called for violence against anyone. Nor has any conservative engaged in any "rhetoric" that was likely to lead to violence. Every putative example of "violent rhetoric" these squeamish liberals produce keeps being matched by an identical example from the Democrats.
Sarah Palin, for example, had a chart of congressional districts being targeted by Republicans. So did the Democratic Leadership Committee. Indeed, Democratic consultant Bob Beckel went on Fox News and said he invented the bull's-eye maps.
Similarly, every time liberals produce an example of military lingo from a Republican -- "we're going to target this district" -- Republicans produce five more from the Democrats.
President "whose asses to kick" Obama predicted "hand-to-hand combat" with his political opponents and has made such remarks as "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" -- making Obama the first American president to advocate gun fights since Andrew Jackson.
These are figures of speech known as "metaphors." (Do liberals know where we got the word "campaign"?)
It's not that both sides did something wrong; neither side did anything wrong. The drama queens need to settle down.
The winner of the most cretinous statement of 2011 -- and the list is now closed, so please hold your submissions -- is MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who on Monday night recalled Palin's statement, "We're not retreating, we're reloading," and said, I quote, "THAT'S not a metaphor."
Really, Chris? If that's not a metaphor, who did she shoot?
By blaming a mass killing on figures of speech, liberals sound as crazy as Loughner with his complaints about people's grammar. Maybe in lieu of dropping all metaphors, liberals should demand we ban metonyms so that tragedies like this will never happen again.
As for Loughner being influenced by tea partiers, Fox News and talk radio -- oops, another dead-end. According to all available evidence, Loughner is a liberal.
Every friend of Loughner who has characterized his politics has described him as liberal. Not one called him a conservative.
One friend says Loughner never listened to talk radio or watched the TV news. Throw in "never read books" and you have the dictionary definition of a liberal. Being completely uninformed is precisely how most liberals stay liberal.
According to voluminous Twitter postings on Saturday by one of Loughner's friends since high school, Caitie Parker, he was "left wing," "a political radical" "quite liberal" and "a pot head."
If any public figure influenced this guy, my money's on Bill Maher.
But liberals have been so determined to exploit this tragedy to geld conservatives, they have told calculated lies about Loughner's politics.
In the most bald-faced lie I have ever read in The New York Times -- which is saying something -- that paper implied Loughner is a pro-life zealot. This is the precise opposite of the truth.
Only because numerous other news outlets, including ABC News and The Associated Press, reported the exact same shocking incident in much greater detail -- and with direct quotes -- do we know that the Times' rendition was complete bunk.
ABC News reported: "One Pima Community College student, who had a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would often act 'wildly inappropriate.'
"'One day (Loughner) started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby,' classmate Don Coorough told ABC News, referring to a discussion about abortions. 'The rest of us were looking at him in shock ... I thought this young man was troubled.'
"Another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled the incident as well.
"'A girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomber,' Ali said."
Here's the Times' version: "After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a 'terrorist for killing the baby.'"
So that's how the Times transformed Loughner from a sicko laughing about a dead fetus to a deadly earnest pro-life fanatic. (Never believe a news story written by Eric Lipton, Charlie Savage or Scott Shane of The New York Times -- or for simplicity, anything in the Times.)
I wouldn't have mentioned Loughner's far-left world view immediately after a tragedy like this, but now that liberals have opened the door by blaming Loughner's politics, they better brace themselves.
And when I say "brace themselves," I don't mean they need to actually strap themselves into a brace. That's a metaphor, Chris.