07/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fox Loudmouth Rhetoric Comes Home to Roost

"The American Dream of the middle class has all but disappeared, substituted with people struggling just to buy next week's groceries."

This comment comes not from Paul Krugman or a lefty think tank, but from a discharged GI writing his hometown newspaper in Lockport, NY, during the winter of 1992. This GI would later blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people. When he was executed in July 2001, it was easier for elected officials and talking heads to dismiss Timothy McVeigh as a monstrous lone wolf than to confront the substance of his beliefs.

McVeigh's outlook resonated beyond the paranoid hate of right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Add a dash of nativism, government bashing, and racial resentment to McVeigh's economic anxiety and you have a fetid brew of white, right-wing terror. A terror that flared again in James von Brunn's museum shooting spree.

After Barack Obama's exultant 2004 speech to the Democratic convention, the white supremacist Samuel Francis rued "the moment when America ceases to be a nation defined and characterized by the white racial identity of its founders and historic population and is transformed into the non-white multiracial empire symbolized and led by people like Obama."

A Census prediction that made headline years ago, is now becoming a reality: By 2042 whites will no longer be a majority. This already palpable demographic shift has sparked considerable terror among a cadre of white Americans -- a fear that whites will be politically and culturally moribund in their "own" land. And we've seen this anxiety reflected on screen: American History X, Falling Down, Gran Torino, etc. Beyond extreme violence, this terror takes more nuanced, quiet forms in everyday life.

As Bill O'Reilly told John McCain in 2007:

"But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, of which you're a part, and so am I. They want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. They hate America, and they hate it because it's run primarily by white, Christian men."

McCain nodded patiently.

The paranoid vitriol of white supremacists has frequently merged with mainstream political "debate." Racially singed viewpoints once grumbled by white nationalists like von Brunn, Timothy McVeigh, William Butler, Jared Taylor, and the Minutemen -- and whispered sotto voce in private homes -- now air publicly in conservative debate.

The right-wing echo chamber has stolen, polished, and marketed the political hobbyhorses of white nationalists. Establishment, dye-in-the-wool conservatives stole the extreme right's positions and buffed their rhetoric to make it more mainstream.

Decades of right-wing rhetoric is coming home to roost.