Saturday, June 6, 2009

You Probably Think This Report is about You

Are they so vain? Or are "conservatives" like Michelle Malkin decrying the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Rightwing Extremism Report because, despite the fact that it doesn't once use the word "conservative," the report hits too close to home?

According to The Nation (June 8):

The nine-page report was a routine threat assessment issued to law enforcement and counterterrorism officalis that warned of the potential for a raise in homegrown terrorism. It concluded that the combination of an economic downturn and the election of the first African-American president [sic] could cultivate a right-wing "resurgence in radicalization and recruitment," including among disgruntled veterans.
Specifically, as summarized by ThinkProgress:

Anti-immigration: “Rightwing extremist groups’ frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence. If such violence were to occur, it likely would be isolated, small-scale, and directed at specific immigration-related targets.”

Recruiting returning vets: “Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”

Gun-related violence: “Heightened interest in legislation for tighter firearms...may be invigorating rightwing extremist activity, specifically the white supremacist and militia movements.”

This is specific and (to anyone who remembers the Oklahoma City bombing) highly credible information. It does not bear the stigmata of ideological bias: "DHS had released a similar report on left-wing extremists a few months earlier." Anyway, who ever accused DHS of being a nest of leftists? Some attention to reality here, please!

It makes me wonder what conservative commentators are thinking when they hear "rightwing extremist" and think it applies to themselves. If they are identifying with the white nationalists and the militia movements, what does that say about so-called mainstream conservatives?

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