The Tea Party Express, one of the movement's largest national groups, blasted out an email plea Monday afternoon asking their supporters to send money to defend them from liberals who are allegedly "assigning blame" to them and Sarah Palin for the shootings in Arizona over the weekend.
"It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs," the email read, according to Talking Points Memo. "Well guess what: to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong! Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail."
In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, numerous politicians -- Democrat and Republican -- called for less "vitriolic" political rhetoric. Some pointed to Sarah Palin's list of 20 targeted legislators, which included Gabrielle Giffords' district as a target behind crosshairs, as evidence of the increasingly violent tone of the public debate.
The Tea Party Express letter continued:
"We have nothing to do with this awful, tragic event in Arizona. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the victims and families of this massacre," the Tea Party letter continued. "We ask you to please stand with the Tea Party Express and show your support for our efforts" with a contribution."
Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips also addressed the incident this weekend, calling Loughner "a leftist lunatic" and urging his members to "push back harder" against liberal attacks.
Full text of the email, via TPM:
This weekend we all were horrified to hear the news of the violent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others in Arizona.
One thing that surprised us was how many in the news media and liberal political figures and organizations immediately launched into an attack on the tea party movement - assigning blame for the shooting to our grass roots, Constitutionalist movement in general, and Gov. Sarah Palin in particular.
Friends, this is outrageous.
It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit, and they used deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs.
You know what the truth is? The truth is that the shooter, Jared Loughner is the one responsible for this atrocity. But liberals are trying to place the blame on society for embracing the tea party movement.
We here at the Tea Party Express find that disgusting and revolting.
This isn't a new concept for liberals. Let us harken back to the words of Ronald Reagan when he called out the Left for similar behavior in years past:
"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
- Ronald Reagan
If Jared Loughner does have a definable political ideology it is that of a far Left anarchist. Loughner is a mentally disturbed young man who sought his ideological fulfillment from the Communist Manifesto - hardly the Bible of the Tea Party movement. He posted videos of flag burning on his YouTube channel - again, antics more consistent with Blame America First liberals, not the tea party movement.
In fact, Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date all the way back to 2007 when he confronted her with a question he had, and received an answer he found unacceptable. You read that right - Loughner's interactions with Congresswoman Giffords date back to 2007 - well before the tea party movement had even been launched.
This was all an effort to try and demean us and diminish support for the tea party movement, since the Left could not beat us at the ballot box. Sadly way too many people in the media cooperated with this smear campaign.
The media didn't tell you that the left-wing website, DailyKos, had targeted Congresswoman Giffords, putting a BULLSEYE on her, did they? But that's just what happened.
Instead they tried to blame Gov. Sarah Palin. Friends, their hypocrisy and double standards are appalling.
This kind of media bias is a large part of why our tea party movement exists - because the voices of We The People have not been represented fairly by the news media, and listened to by our elected officials.
Well guess what: to those liberals in the news media and on the political Left who think you can silence us, you are wrong! Your efforts to try and smear us and shut us up will fail.
We have nothing to do with this awful, tragic event in Arizona. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and the victims and families of this massacre.
But we will still fight just as passionately for this country we love, and the vision of our Founding Fathers as outlined by the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
We're taking our country back through the ballot box and in the public square - through peaceful means. And we will prevail, because our ideas and ideals are stronger than the scare/smear/defame tactics of the leftists we face.
We ask you to please stand with the Tea Party Express and show your support for our efforts.
You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express - CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE.