There’s a clear claim being made here, and one with an edge: Democrats care about doing something and taking action while Republicans waste time offering meaningless prayers. These two reactions, policy-making and praying, are portrayed as mutually exclusive, coming from totally contrasting worldviews.
The Huffington Post was among those pushing against the insignificance of thoughts and prayers, calling them "useless."
"Another Mass Shooting, Another Deluge Of Tweeted Prayers," read its headline. The subhead: "Seems to have been an ineffective strategy so far."
Sen. Chris Murphy (D) of Connecticut, a state still dealing with the killings of 20 children in Newtown in 2012, was particularly outspoken in his criticism of politicians who offered prayers for the victims in San Bernardino but opposed attempts to tighten gun laws after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. His colleague, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), was also quick to point the finger at congressional inaction.
The question now is whether any politician — from President Obama down — will again attempt to move some sort of gun-control legislation through Congress. And, if so, whether it meets with any more success than the last attempt in the wake of Newtown.
The effort to cast "thoughts and prayers" as trite reactions to horrendous events certainly represents a ratcheting up of the rhetoric.