Republicans have pulled off a neat trick with respect to Jared Loughner. They have worked very hard to characterize him as a “whacko” and a “nutjob” (inadvertently hurting the prospect of a successful prosecution, by the way), going so far as to use the shooting as an opportunity to revamp the nation’s mental health system. I’m all for that, but the ulterior motive from the right is to absolve themselves of blame and marginalize the voices talking about overheated political rhetoric.