“…civility is censorship…”
– Rush Limbaugh show, 1.13.11 (1:30 p.m. EST)

It would be one thing if the quote above had simply come from Rush Limbaugh. It’s quite another for his listeners to confirm it, which is what happened yesterday on his show, with Limbaugh wholeheartedly agreeing, amidst a defensive onslaught of talk radio babble that had the right-wing leader hailing Sarah Palin, while pronouncing her a victim.

After Palin dropped “blood libel” into the American dialogue on the Arizona terrorism tragedy, she’s been fighting for her political life even harder than she was when the crosshairs “targeting” signaling out Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sent Sarah fleeing into hiding. Since then, she’s not only sent a message she doesn’t plan to back down, but she’s betting she’s got Republican primary voters behind her, at least the ones she’ll need in the early states.

The Republican and Tea Party Right have decided to gamble on Pres. Obama’s “it did not” caveat on hate speech causing Loughner to snap, as well as some polling they feel bolsters America supposedly doesn’t care about the Right’s hate speech.

The Hill announces today that former governor Palin is set to give an address at a gun convention in Nevada. If that doesn’t spell defiance you aren’t savvy to the Right’s dictionary.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will deliver a keynote address to a gun convention later this month.

Palin (R) will speak to the Safari International Club (SCI) in Reno, Nev. on Saturday, Jan. 29, according to the group’s website. The organization bills itself as “the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.”

There’s a hint in Palin’s choice to do this address that she and her people think there has been overreaching in the criticism of her crosshairs targeting, as well as on her “blood libel” charge. That to back down would be a political catastrophe for Palin. So, in the spirit of the old Lee Atwater, attack, attack, attack it will be.

I’ve known quite a few hunters who were committed to “wildlife conservation worldwide,” with Sarah Palin’s actions to date, especially as governor, being the antithesis of what that means. A conservationist doesn’t use loopholes in federals laws to got wolf hunting from helicopters.

The comment on Rush’s show is the leading edge of where the Right stands today after the Arizona domestic terrorism tragedy. They’re not “retreating” from their rhetoric, they’re “reloading.”

That Rush and his audience, which can easily be said to be representative of the entire Right’s thinking, believes civility means you’re being censored reveals something stark about the campaign we’ll see waged going forward.

There’s been a lot of career obituary writing lately where Sarah Palin is concerned. Now, she may not run for president, but there’s absolutely no evidence, example A “blood libel,” example B her upcoming key address at the Nevada gun convention, that Palin is backing away from considering a presidential run. As I’ve written, it’s clear establishment Republicans are sending the message she cannot win, which hardly stops her from running. Democrats, including in the media, are saying the same thing, but also proclaiming she can’t win. This judgment is made not only prematurely, but through a very rosy picture of the Right and the base who votes in primaries.

Rep. Keith Ellison posits that Palin may have hit the end of her political ride. The announcement of Palin talking at a gun convention proves otherwise. It’s also wishful thinking from someone who hasn’t studied what drives the Right, which now has a majority in the House and, they think, the ultimate weapon to take it all home in 2012. What they call “Obamacare” and a campaign that won’t sound rabid as much as reasonable to many who are against the bill and want it repealed.

If Sarah Palin runs she can win the nomination. Can she win the presidency? I appreciate the rush to proclaim it impossible, but George W. Bush taught us even the incompetent and morally bankrupt can prevail in today’s scorched earth politics, from which the Right has no intention of retreating. But Sarah doesn’t think from the end, she thinks from the possible, taking on the immediate challenge and worrying about the future when it becomes today. Sarah Palin would make history with the nomination.

So, the clarion call has gone out far and wide. “Civility is censorship,” proclaimed by Rush Limbaugh and his talk radio audience, which is shared by Rush, Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and on and on, aided by their cable outlet Fox News.

This means that when Pres. Obama takes on the topic of civility in his State of the Union message all out political war will be proclaimed and 2012 will have begun.

It will take a lot more than Republicans and Democrats sitting next to each other to change our current trajectory.