WASHINGTON -- Rush Limbaugh lashed out Monday at critics who linked the Tucson shootings to the confrontational, gun-themed rhetoric of conservatives such as Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
Limbaugh's talking points are a guide to the ways in which the political right -- from establishment Republicans in Washington to the Tea Party at the grassroots level -- will fight back against attempts to tie them to Jared Lee Loughner.
The political coverage of the Loughner story is "childish and immature," Limbaugh said, but apparently threatening enough for the top-rated talk show host to spend his entire show undermining it as best he could.
His very long list of points:
HEAVY METAL. "The guy listened to heavy metal, and some of that anarchist stuff. We're dealing with an insane individual."
DIDN'T WATCH FOX. "There is no evidence that he listened to talk radio. There is no evidence he listened to Fox News. There is no evidence that he saw Sarah Palin's Facebook page. No evidence he saw her lame website with the crosshairs."
BLAME THE PARENTS. "Where are the parents? Are they derelicts? He was so devoted to marijuana he wanted to make it the new U.S. currency. Did anyone try to institutionalize him?"
SHERIFF COVERING HIS OWN BUTT. "This kid sounds like he was very well known as a dangerous element around town. If there is a file somewhere about this kid in the sheriff's office," said Rush, and the sheriff had failed to act, then he would be partly responsible for the tragedy in Arizona on Saturday. "If he was so concerned about the Tea Party, where was security for this congresswoman's event on Saturday?"
DUPNIK IS A DEMOCRAT. "This Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, is an anti-conservative."
WHERE'S THE SAFETY NET? "Loughner is obviously deranged, so where's the left's safety net? Haven't we spent trillions of dollars to build a system to catch these disturbed people? Where is the evidence that their compassion works?"
THE OKLAHOMA CITY TEMPLATE. "Sad tragedies, where people die, are seen first as political opportunities by these people," Rush said. "The Republicans had nothing to do with the bombing at Oklahoma City, but it was seen as a political opportunity for Bill Clinton. This is now the same template."
CRIMINALIZING SPEECH. "They're shutting down any opposition and criminalizing it. They've had a plan filed away in a drawer to take away as many of our political freedoms as they can. The Democrats just lost an election, and now the only other thing they can try to do is silence the opposition."
HYPOCRITES ON VIOLENCE. It's not the right, Limbaugh said, but the left that glorifies criminal behavior and violent imagery. "'No, no,' they say, 'that's art!' Rap music? 'That's art!'"
DEMOCRATS ARE GHOULS. They privately are thankful for Tucson because "they think it advances their sick and perverted purposes." Mark Penn, who was Bill Clinton's polltaker, said -- before Tucson -- that "Obama needs his own Oklahoma City."
DEMOCRATS v. THE MAJORITY. By linking Loughner to the right, Limbaugh warned, Democrats are "taking aim at a majority of the people in the country. This is not 1988, or 1993, when the drive-by media had total control. I am not going to be silenced," he said, but now he has too many allies. "They're accusing a majority of Americans of being accomplices to murder."
A DIRECT DENIAL. "At no time has anybody ever called for violence," Limbaugh said. "We've never subtly promoted it." And, by the way, the Democrats' language is and was worse.
- LOUGHNER IS A LONE NUT. Even "the Obama government" -- the FBI -- calls Loughner a "deranged, insular irrational kid" who acted alone, Limbaugh said. "The kid was evil. He was into the occult. He had an altar with a skull in his yard. Was God in his life? He was stalking the congresswoman."