THE BLOG
06/10/2009 05:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Politicization of Our Safety by Republicans and Right-wingers

A brief chronology:

A Objective Assessment on Public Safety Concerns

April 7, 2009: The Department of Homeland Security releases a nine-page assessment document entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" (in PDF). Among the findings:

Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn--including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit--could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.

The assessment also warned of "a heightened level of extremist paranoia" and "lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."

Right-wing Blowback and Politicization

April 14, 2009: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich:

The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired

April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Sean Hannity intentionally misrepresents the focus of the assessment as targetting "people who have pro-life bumper stickers."

April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin:

The "report" ... was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I'd ever read out of DHS. I couldn't believe it was real. ...

By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives.

April 15, 2009: House Republican leader John Boehner demands an apology from the Department of Homeland Security for the report.

The Report's Tragic Accuracy

May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller, a frequent target of right-wing hate and violence for performing late-term abortions, was murdered. The suspect apprehended is a right-wing extremist with a long history of violent rhetoric and criminal actions on behalf of the right-wing anti-choice movement.

June 10, 2009: A lone gunman opened fire at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, killing a security guard and injuring others. The suspected shooter is a right-wing extremist with a long history of violent rhetoric and criminal actions on behalf of the right-wing white supremacist and Holocaust denier movements.

The Moral of This Brief Chronology:

Our public safety and national security should never be politicized, especially not by Republicans and right-wingers desperate for relevance in the media. How many times do Republicans have to be wrong and divisively political - and have their "wrongness" be illustrated in tragic events - before they either change their tune or have the traditional media stop taking them seriously?