The Republican party and the conservative movement as a whole deserve to be held accountable for their role in Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado. Simple as that. And maybe more than any single member of the GOP, Carly Fiorina shouldn’t be able to pull the usual sleight-of-hand and flip this easily preventable tragedy around onto her political enemies. What very likely led Robert Dear to kill three people inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, including a local cop, wasn’t just the constant demonization of the organization by the American right; if his own words during his arrest are to be believed — his comment about “no more baby parts” — a heavily doctored series of videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials selling the organs of aborted fetuses had a significant impact on him. And Carly Fiorina’s somebody who’s not only campaigned on the back of that bullshit, she’s openly, brazenly lied about the extent to which the clip shows the graphic horror of supposed baby body parts harvesting.
Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday, Fiorina sounded off on the shooting — and her take on what happened and who was to blame was every bit as disgraceful as you might expect from a grotesque political opportunist of Fiorina’s talent. When pressed on the question of whether irresponsible and overheated anti-abortion rhetoric from the right played a role in the Planned Parenthood shooting, Fiorina not only denied the obvious link, she reached right for the most popular weapon in the Republican arsenal. That would be the “I Know You Are But What Am I” comeback. “This is so typical of the left to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” she said.
Normally when this kind of thing is trotted out it’s proof of political hackery, but in this particular instance it’s nothing short of disgusting. We’ve heard conservatives attempt to magically recast undeniably reactionary criminals and extremists as tools of their “left-wing” adversaries, in stunning acts of projection, but Fiorina blaming liberals for anything right now shows a capability for self-deception and general mendacity that makes you wonder if she’s even human. The so-called Center for Medical Progress may have created the fraudulent Planned Parenthood videos, but it was Carly Fiorina who took the group’s campaign of deception to entirely new heights by claiming during a Republican presidential debate that she personally watched a video clip that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’” It was a chilling little soliloquy but much like Donald Trump’s story about “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the collapse of the World Trade Center, the video Fiorina referenced just doesn’t exist.
What Carly Fiorina offered up on national television wasn’t a strongly held opinion on a controversial matter, something she’s entitled to on First Amendment grounds. It wasn’t something you can “agree with” or disagree with. No, Carly Fiorina’s tale of a kicking fetus being prepped to have its brain removed while it’s alive was, quite simply, a lie. The whole thing was fiction. Sure, she can traffic in lies as a presidential candidate, but because of the size of forum she has and the authority automatically granted to her as someone running for the highest office in the free world, her lies have infinitely more weight and potential consequence than an average person’s. When Fiorina says Planned Parenthood is harvesting organs from live babies and she’s seen it for herself, people believe it — people like Robert Dear. She has a responsibility not to encourage the well-armed, resentful rabble that makes up the Republican base to do something stupid like go out and kill people to preserve their way of life. And not lying to their faces about what goes on at Planned Parenthood clinics goes a long way in that regard.
We already know that the Republican candidates for president are speaking largely to those inside the hermetically sealed conservative infotainment bubble — and they’ll believe absolutely anything that bolsters their fucked-up worldview. They live on a planet where no GOP sin even comes close to the trespasses of the liberal menace; where Fiorina can casually toss out laughable false equivalencies in the wake of right-wing terrorism by saying, “Any protesters should always be peaceful, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or pro-life protesters,” and not get run out of the country on a rail; where Fox News can have the breathtaking audacity to actually bemoan how liberals are supposedly “indicting an entire religion” of Christian Republicans following this shooting while they themselves have spent years demonizing all Muslims because of the role Islam has played in various terror attacks.
Carly Fiorina knows she can get away with saying whatever she wants because even if the rest of the world calls her on it, the people in the bubble will never hear that — they’ll only hear her voice loud and clear. The problem is that the people inside the bubble include people like Robert Dear. They think liberals are the problem even though one of their own bears most of the responsibility for this nightmare.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.