I’ve noted before that conservatives work hard to distance themselves from any threats of fringe, anti-government violence. The case of John Patrick Bedell, the man captured after shooting two police officers in the Pentagon Metro station, is giving us another example. The argument goes like this: Bedell was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and a registered Democrat — a left-winger whose actions can’t be blamed on the right.
Michelle Malkin, author of a book about “unhinged” liberals, has done the most to move this along. At 10:14 a.m. she posted about the evidence of Bedell’s conspiracy-mindedness and argued that he “hated Bush and littered the Internet with 9/11 Truther rants,” but that was no reason for political games.
[J]ust as I passed on playing the blame game with the global warmicides earlier this week, I’m not playing MSNBC/NYTimes-style “gotcha” with this one, either.
Hours later, an update:
John Patrick Bedell’s voter registration records in Hollister, CA are available for any journalist before he/she goes off and labels him a “right-wing extremist.”
Guess which party he registered under in 2005 and was actively registered under as of 2008?
Stop playing games, MSM.
Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds rejoices:
YES. I BLAME KEITH OLBERMANN. Anti-Bush Truther shoots up Pentagon; Should we play the political blame game?
Melissa Clouthier jumps in:
I say, embrace John Patrick Bedell left-wing psycho extremists (that’s redundant, I think). He is yours. The leftist ideology spawns murderous, psychotic behavior. Evil. Evil. Evil.
See? That sounds rational and accurate right? Well, it does, if it’s describing a conservative or Teapartier. Guess what? I’ll stop the silliness when you all do. You first.
And here’s Ace of Spades:
John Patrick Beddell, Registered Democrat …but presumably from the Bitter Clinger wing, I guess.
And Stacy McCain:
Send the Body to Keith Olbermann
I think Malkin was closer to the truth of this first: Beddell was a nut. Adrian Chen, who has a huge data dump on the shooter, puts it this way:
What Bedell did was terrible and idiotic. But if any motivation is to be applied to his actions outside of pure insanity, simply writing him off as a brain-washed Glenn Beck zombie “teabagger” or an imbecile anti-government activist can’t capture the incomprehensible complexity of his ideas and the singular weirdness going on in his brain: The Information Currency, the DNA USB drive, his unfettered optimism in technology and obsession with obscure economic theorists. He was operating on a whole other level of crazy.
The worry among conservatives, of course, is that any story like this — especially one where the shooter had made anti-government comments — may be reported as an act of “right-wing extremism.” Stacy McCain puts it best:
If you don’t understand the strategic advantage that the Left gains by continually hyping their scary stories about the threat of “right-wing extremism,” you are a worse fool than Patrick Bedell’s ideological BFF – Rosie “Fire Can’t Melt Steel” O’Donnell.