by Thomas R. Eddlem
The “talking points” memos have apparently gone out, and the salaried left is on the warpath against the Tea Party movement. The Boston Globe weighed in this morning with a protracted whine about radio talk show host Mark Williams, who serves as head of the Tea Party Express and spouts showman-like rhetoric. Williams is hawking “ long-discredited assertions,” according to the Globe, and the Tea Party leaders have not explicitly or sufficiently denounced him.
But the Boston Globe has only vented the latest salvo in a recent spate of attacks against critics of America's swollen federal government.
Last Week, the Boston Phoenix and its New England affiliates ran a cover story “Tea is for Terrorism” that blamed the non-violent Tea Party for stirring up potential terrorists because it has deligitimized the left: “Also wiped away is the line of demarcation between disagreements over policy and claims of illegitimacy. Little is more dangerous — or more effective — than undermining the very legality of those in power. Once you have convinced people that their government has ceased to operate under the rule of law, extreme measures become easily justifiable.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center published an enemies list of sorts earlier this month profiling 35 “patriots” who are supposedly a danger to the nation. The SPLC frets a “popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators.”
Former President Bill Clinton warned in a New York Times editorial April 18 against “demonizing” government, adding: “As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.” (Emphasis in original.)
Former National Security Council expert on terrorism Richard Clarke sniveled to National Public Radio on April 19 that: “one of the biggest, certainly the second largest and second most destructive attack in our history inside our borders, was done by these people, American right-wing people. Extreme right-wing, anti-government, violent people. I think the United States has a serious threat today from those people because legitimate public officials are egging them on and legitimate public officials who are conservative and who are Republican aren't criticizing them or aren't criticizing them enough. We need to de-legitimize these people, or we will have another Oklahoma City.”
Timothy McVeith an “anti-government, right-winger”? They might as well classify Leon Trotsky as an “anti-government, right-winger.” McVeigh learned to kill as a government employee in the U.S. Army and was inspired to blow up Oklahoma City by National Socialist author William L. Pierce's Turner Diaries.
The reality is that terrorists are not among those who advocate following the law and restoring smaller government under the limits as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, nor are they inspired by Tea Party people. It is true that terrorism almost always comes at times when the size and scope of government are growing and advocates of limited government are out of power. Terrorists may be inspired to lawlessness by a lawless government, but they are not inspired to lawlessness by those who point out the lawlessness of the government and call for a return to law. (There's no denying the federal government has exceeded its delegated powers with warrantless wiretapping, secret prisons, denial of trial rights, the new health care mandate, etc.)
Terrorists are almost always from supporters of big government who are angry and frustrated that their form of big government isn't the faction that's dominant. Whether it's Leon Trotsky protesting against Stalin, or the Red Brigades campaigning against Italy's Social Democrats or the Ayran Nations and it's National Socialism protesting against the big government in Washington, it has nearly always been people who support totalitarian (or at least bigger) government who have been the terrorists.
But Bill Clinton, the SPLC, Richard Clarke and much of the left have embarked upon a crusade to blame the non-violent Tea Party because it criticizes government for exceeding its proper bounds set by the U.S. Constitution. The main goal is to try to undercut the energy of the Tea Party by directing its energy inward toward self-criticism.
The smear tactic should be interpreted by Tea Party acolytes as a sign that big government is afraid and they are on the path to victory.