After being blamed for last weekend's shooting in Arizona and today's backlash from her somewhat misguided attempt at refuting that blame, Sarah Palin can use all the help she can get. Palin's utterance of the term "blood libel" has ignited a whole new pundit battle. This is why liberal blogger Jonathan Chait is as shocked as anyone else that, of all people, he feels the need to come to Palin's defense in this situation. "Okay, it's a little over the top for Sarah Palin to accuse her critics of 'blood libel,'" he admits. But you can sympathize with her situation, he points out-- "she had nothing to do with Jared Loughner." He writes at his New Republic blog:

What's happening is that Palin has come to represent unhinged grassroots conservatism, and people in the media immediately (and incorrectly) associate Loughner with the far right. Moreover, the Republican establishment understands her potential candidacy as a liability and is looking to snuff it out. So you have this weird moment where Palin is on trial for something she has no connection with at all.