It’s almost hard to recall how the left howled about “civility” in the wake of the Tucson shooting horror. But that was then, and the standards the left sets for the right is one it hardly adheres to. We had Vice President Joe Biden’s now-denied comments casting Republicans in the role of “terrorists.” And then the hometown newspaper for liberal elites got into the act.

There’s no denying the depths — and hypocrisy — to which the New York Times opinion section has sunk. Remember that Paul Krugman carried on his own war of vilification, claiming Republicans were responsible for mass murder. As my colleague Charles Lane and the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted, another New York Times columnist decided to unleash his own noxious assault on the right. Yesterday Joe Nocera coughed up this bile on the Times’ op-ed page:

These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Where are the howls from No Labels school marms? Why no outpouring of rage from liberals for invoking such terminology to describe political opponents? (You’d think that the hard left that equates ‘jihadist’ with ‘Muslim’ in an attempt to silence its ideological foes would at least keep up the pretense of outrage.) One lonely Democratic reader at least noticed the slur in Nocera’s comments section: “Comparing tea partiers to terrorists now . . . interesting. They are not terrorists, they are citizens who banded together to push for what they believe in.” Interesting choice of “interesting.”

But among Nocera’s liberal readership there were almost entirely pats on the back for his diatribe. The vast majority didn’t even seem to notice the vitriol. That sort of language has become wallpaper or white noise to so many in the Times’s target audience that they think nothing of it, provided, of course, that it is directed at conservatives.

One obviously conservative commenter hit the nail on the head:

Gee, with the welcome appearance of Giffords in Congress, one would have thought that those of you on the Liberal end of the Media spectrum would remember your own admonition about civility in political discourse. I recall the cries of ‘bloody murder’ emanating from these very editorial pages when Conservatives used such very common phrases like ‘targeting a political opponent for a challenge’ or putting cross-hairs on a political map. Obama was chiding the opposition for such violent language, even as he continued his obnoxious class warfare and degradation of bankers, doctors, corporations, etc.

The Tea Party members are doing exactly what they were elected to do: stop the outrageous spending that is bankrupting our Country. . . .The Tea Party members should be thanked for trying to pull us back from the brink of insolvency, not attacked personally as ‘terrorists’.

Another conservative reader observed, “Remember how everyone wanted to tone down the rhetoric and use more civilized language. Now, we’re calling people terrorist and criminals. I guess ‘terrorist’ and ‘jihadist’ are only politically incorrect when they’re used to refer to actual terrorists and jihadists.”

You don’t have to agree with Tea Partyers to recognize the abject hypocrisy of the left. In other words, don’t expect Krugman or other prominent liberals to say boo about this. After all, this is what they have come to expect from the (liberal) “paper of record.”