From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Violence factors heavily into the cyber commentariat today, as conservatives downplay comparisons between outbursts this week and past acts fueled by anti-government sentiment. And -- field day alert -- liberals point to police reports that the bullet fired near House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's Virginia office was not, in fact, directly aimed at his window.
AMERICAblog's John Aravosis reacts to a report that the bullet, claimed by Cantor to have been aimed at his window, actually "had been fired into the air," according to Richmond police, and "finished its random arc back to earth at a sharp downward trajectory, breaking a window pane on the bottom floor of the two-story brick building where Cantor's campaign leases the top floor." Aravosis writes that Cantor's version of the story reaffirms the narrative that "Teabaggers are the only ones menacing members of Congress, and the targets are Democrats."
Jed Lewison at Daily Kos relates Cantor's exaggeration of the incident to that of Hillary Clinton, who during the Democratic presidential primary race spoke of dodging sniper fire in Bosnia, when in fact she had walked calmly across a tarmac after landing in the war zone: "It's Tuzla sniper fire, only worse, because Eric Cantor cried wolf about something that actually matters, all in a pathetic, dishonest attempt to smear Democrats."
Red State's Erick Erickson weighs in on the Democrat/Republican contretemps on reports of threats and violence in the fallout of the health care vote. He debriefs readers on an interview he did with WNYC's Brian Lehrer, writing that Lehrer "just could not believe the anger, rhetoric, and hate directed at George Bush and the Republicans in 2003-2008 and during the Patriot Act debate were anywhere near as hateful, harmful, or inciting of violence" as conservatives' outbursts of late.
Erickson also dismissed parallels made to the Oklahoma City bombing, executed by Timothy McVeigh, a member of an anti-gun control militia movement angered over the federal siege and subsequent fire at a Waco cult compound which he viewed as an act of an increasingly oppressive government: "the militia movement was never as widespread [or] as feared and however bad the Oklahoma City bombing was, it was the result of the feds handling of the Branch Dividian compound, which is a different issue from passing legislation. Thus ended the conversation," Erickson writes.
Responding to queries as to why Sen. Bob Bennett is facing so difficult a re-election challenge, NRO's Jim Geraghty has to look no further than the Senator's fellow Utahans, including what he sees as "faint praise" from Republican Gov. Gary Herbert: ""Sen. Bennett is a good friend of mine. I think he's served us well. But I know the other contestants, too. They're all good friends. They all have strengths, and they all have weaknesses. I'll let that play out without taking a hand in it."
Liberal outlets like AMERICAblog shun midterm predictions in favor of applauding what they see the past week's milestones. "It's like the Democrats finally beat up the schoolyard bully," Joe Sudbay writes. "And, it turns out the bully is all talk and really a wimp. Winning seems to have inspired Obama and the Hill Democrats." Sudbay hopes that Democrats return from their two-week recess with the energy to "keep that momentum going til November. Passing more progressive legislation -- and being bold about it -- will help."