Estakio Beltran, a Democrat who's running for Congress in Washington state, released an ad this week featuring him gunning down the Republican Party mascot.

Beltran, 31, in a 30-second video uses a shotgun to obliterate a GOP elephant piñata. He then rides off on a donkey in the direction of Washington, D.C.

“They say I can’t win in this district,” he said.

“But what happens to an elephant that stands around doing nothing for too long?” he asked, referring to Republican Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington’s 4th District.

The Democratic candidate pulls the trigger and blows away the elephant.

“My name’s Estakio Beltran,” he said. “And I approved this message.”

Look, we appreciate that Beltran aimed (ha!) for a more original campaign advertisement. We get that.

But this is slightly different from shooting a copy of the Affordable Care Act. There's the Imagery of the party mascot and the suggestion that "this is what happens" to incumbent Republican politicians.

We're also old enough to remember when the media decided a few years ago to blame all gun violence on conservative “hate speech” and scary Republican campaign Imagery.

Remember: Hours after Jared Loughner on Jan. 8, 2011, opened fire on a crowd in Casas Adobes, Ariz., killing six people and injuring 13, including Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, economist Paul Krugman penned a blog post blaming former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin:

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers. ...

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.

It wasn't.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who's not exactly known for honesty or accuracy, blamed the Arizona shooting on Palin and Glenn Beck.

“Both are finally being held to account for recklessly playing with violent Images in a way that is bound to incite the unstable,” Milbank said during a CNN interview.

And this is just one of the many times that media figures have rushed to blame violence on the GOP and conservative “hate speech.”

So here’s the question: If Beltran belonged to the Republican Party, do you think the above video would go unnoticed or would it be further “proof” that conservatives are ginning up fear and violence?

Something tells us that things would be much different if an “R” followed Beltran’s name on the ballot. Indeed, if he were a Republican candidate, we suspect that the usual culprits would be out right now, protesting his ad, wringing their hands and bemoaning America’s scary, scary gun culture.