While discussing the murders of Dr. Tiller and the late incident at the Washington Holocaust Museum, in which a private security guard lost his life, many commentators are walking a fine line in trying to separate the perpetrators of these crimes from the voices on the right (Limbaugh, Hannity, but not only--some Republican politicians as well) that have contributed to a climate conducive to such crimes. Not Paul Krugman, whose keen insight is not limited to economic matters.
In addition to the examples that Krugman mentions in his opinion piece, there are many more that could be produced as evidence of right wing incitement to rage, even violence.
Remember John McCain's and Sarah Palin's rallies? As Sarah Palin traveled the heartland during the presidential campaign, she repeatedly prodded the crowd by accusing then Sen. Obama of associating with terrorists (William Ayers) until the crowds at her rallies started crying "terrorist!" and "Kill him!" (Read these old posts of mine, No Moral Equivalence and Silence Indicates Tacit Approval for more reminders of the base tactics the McCain/Palin campaign employed in an attempt to get elected.)
Or how about Michele Bachmann? Just today, she referred to Obama's "gangster government" in a speech she gave on the floor of the House, and she immediately found right-wing sympathizers, ready to laud her statement. And a few months ago, remember how she equated "liberal" with "anti-American" and called for McCarthy-like investigations of liberals in Congress? Would you like more example? Just go to Dump Michele Bachmann for more example of her dangerous lunacy.
Or how about Sen. Inhofe, who but a week ago said this of the president? "I just don’t know whose side he’s on,” Inhofe said of the president." He said this in the wake of Obama's Cairo speech, which he called "un-American" because "[Obama] referred to the war in Iraq as 'a war of choice' and didn’t criticize Iran for developing a nuclear program." (see Think Progress.)
These cranks can say what they want, of course, because the Constitution gives them the right to. But they would do well to consider the effect that their accusations, their smears, and their incendiary words have on the psyche of people who are already inclined to view the first African-American president in our history as an enemy to be stopped, if not altogether eliminated.