There you go again.
Republicans love to re-write history, especially if they can delegitimize a Democrat at the same time.
Byron York doing some fancy cherry-picking to coincide with the remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombing. No doubt he’s trying to give the Tea Party people and the angry right cover as we all remember the violent mind of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh. Trying to draw a political corollary between then and now by bringing politics into the mix. The anger at government which McVeigh and the Tea Party have in common, then diverges, with their actions so far dissimilar, as is the target of their grievances.
In a piece entitled, “How Clinton exploited Oklahoma City for political gain,” York conveniently ignores the political witch hunt of everything Clinton that began the moment he was elected. With all the subtlety of a rhetorical sledge hammer, York obviously wants to connect the Tea Party criticism to mere political concerns, saying Democrats are using them simply for political gain as well. He doesn’t have to say it to imply it.
It’s critical to remember today that it wasn’t Bill Clinton who started the political opportunistic coupling of events for manufactured outcomes. It was Republicans.
Since this is going to be a flashback day to 15 years ago, let’s remember the climate poised against Clinton, which went to the political landscape and a Republican Party hell bent on vengeance, simply because Clinton beat what Republicans perceived as the entitled re-election of George H.W. Bush.
As early as November 1992, immediately after Bill Clinton had won the right to move into the White House, Judge Sentelle had circulated a list of eleven “potential Independent Counsel,” even before there existed a case to investigate. Sentelle also circulated, via confidential fax, a typed list of prospective candidates that numbered nearly eighty. He had distilled this list down from a larger collection of names that he kept under lock and key. – “The Death of American Virtue,” by Ken Gormley (pg. 146)
This came after Justice Rehnquist manipulated the three-judge panel to put Judge Sentelle in power in the first place; in order to make way for whatever might come down against the new president at a time when Rush Limbaugh was calling Bill Clinton a murderer, with one of the most opportunistic and morally corrupt reverends in the history of right-wing politics, Jerry Falwell, eventually to release a video going even further.
So, when Byron York talks about Pres. Clinton using the Oklahoma City bombing to target the right, it’s important to keep in perspective what Republicans always do when Democrats get into power.
The effort to delegitimize Democratic lawmakers is a constant campaign for them.
It’s this campaign that is at the heart of the Tea Party people, especially since Barack Obama became president.
It’s inescapable that on the 15th year since Oklahoma City occurred, with the hate speech floating up from the Tea Party crowd, coaxed on by wingnut radio and politicians, that the Tea Party comes into focus as well. Meanwhile, armed citizens enjoy gun rallies in the Beltway.
Pres. Bill Clinton gives us some important perspective, which also offers insight on what’s percolating today:
… Finally, we should never forget what drove the bombers, and how they justified their actions to themselves. They took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them. On that April 19, the second anniversary of the assault of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, deeply alienated and disconnected Americans decided murder was a blow for liberty.
Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence – or the threat of violence – when we don’t get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom.
Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws. […]
There is, however, a big gap between McVeigh and the Tea Party activists.
As we found out last week, many in the Tea Party are wealthy and well above McVeigh’s class. Their anger is splintered and partially misinformed, especially on taxes, though their target of government spending hits the mark. They are bonded primarily by frustration at government, but one thing clearly is different from McVeigh that goes well beyond class. (As an aside, it’s not completely unlike what now disgraced John Edwards tried tapping into bychanneling Mudcat Saunders.)
The racial component of Barack Obama’s presidency has stoked an irrational chant from Tea Party activists, whose target goes beyond McVeigh’s amorphous federal government grievance to hone in on the President himself. Instead of McVeigh watching the Branch Davidians’ battle with the government, which reportedly helped fuel his fury and the virulent complaints he had about the leadership of our country, Tea Party people are watching what they perceive as their country being changed by someone illegitimate, which is a convenient lie that fuels their fury.
We’ve gone from Timothy McVeigh being furious about the federal government to Tea Party activists who blame one person, Pres. Barack Obama, who also happens to be the first African American president.
Unlike McVeigh, who was a domestic terrorist, Obama’s presidency has ignited the latest frustration and anger towards government spending by providing a perfect personal foe. Someone who is seen as taking America somewhere the Tea Party people don’t want to go, through leadership they don’t accept as legitimate, which has been represented from the start by the birthers. This fact was once again proven last week when the CBS/NY Times poll reported that this myth “persists among Tea Partiers,” but also many Americans, with a total of 44% either not knowing or believing Pres. Obama was born in another country.
McVeigh’s fury against the federal government provided a symbol of rebellion against an institution.
Tea Party fury, helped along by the soundbite star power of Sarah Palin, is directed at one person, Pres. Obama.
It’s not unlike what the right did against Bill Clinton in the 1990s, except at least Clinton was a white southern good old boy Bubba. However, it’s important to remember he was still impeached through the lazy lacing of a thin sexual harassment case with a consensual affair that required the questionable and possibly illegal sequestration of a young woman, never mind that the two cases should never should have been coupled in the first place.
It’s true that the Tea Party fury at government spending is being funneled into November elections, where it should be, but the symbol that ignited their anger, Pres. Barack Obama, will remain in power well after November.