I’m looking back through the transcripts of the April 22 floor speeches that Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) and a number of Republican colleagues gave about the Department of Homeland Security’s assessment on “right-wing extremism.” Carter demanded the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, comparing the report to the Clinton administration’s worries about right-wing terror, which he viewed as totally baseless.
Now, this would be almost humorous, but those of us who have a little age on us, like I do, can think back to the Clinton administration and can remember how many times when anybody ever criticized the Clinton administration you would hear the First Lady then and now Secretary of State say, “Well, it’s all a plot by those right-wing extremists, those right-wing extremist organizations.” President Bill Clinton would say, “Well, they don’t agree with my party and with what we’re saying here, but it’s really the people you’re hearing from who are right-wing extremists.” They label talk show hosts as right-wing extremists. All this fear was generated about right-wing extremists. Now we’re not even six months into the Obama administration, and the people who are supposed to be protecting our homeland are warning us against right-wing extremists.
Later, Carter compared the president to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
If you are first classifying people who disagree with you as terrorists, or dangerous, then the next step is dealing with those people. The next step may be, we’ll read headlines like this, “Venezuelan Government arrests Chavez opponent.” “Equatorial Guinea: Arrest and torture of political opponents.” “Zimbabwe arrests opposition leaders.” “Britain tells Pakistan Government don’t arrest political opponents.” “Obama administration issues warning over right-wing extremists.” What is the next headline going to say?
This stuff doesn’t read that well with the benefit of hindsight.
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