The Far Right's First 100 Days
April 30, 2009 5:47 AM   Subscribe

The Far Right's First 100 Days: Shifting Into Overdrive. "Fueled by bone-deep racism, an unnatural terror of liberal government, frustration over the economic downturn, and fears about America's loss of world standing, they said, the militant right wing is indeed rising again. Their numbers are up, their talk is turning ugly, and it's not unthinkable that we could be in for a wave of domestic terrorism unseen since the mid-90s."
posted by stbalbach (47 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: single link blog op-ed. While not a bad article, pull quotes that editorialize aren't entirey different from basically editorializing. There is a politicalfilter site which is just for politics. -- jessamyn



 
"...a wave of domestic terrorism unseen since the mid-90s."

What did I miss? (Or what am I forgetting?)
posted by pracowity at 5:51 AM on April 30, 2009


Oklahoma City comes to mind.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:55 AM on April 30, 2009


The Oklahoma City Bombing.
posted by Dasein at 5:55 AM on April 30, 2009


Jinx!
posted by Dasein at 5:55 AM on April 30, 2009


Is it just me, or is this article being written over and over again? And it's such fodder for Metafilter. It hits a lot of our wheelhouses.

I'll sum the thread: get some whiskey, guns, Mormon friends; Sarah Palin reference; this always happens; Ruby Ridge; hypocrisy of "real" America wanting to blow up America; hurf-durf militias; Glenn Beck anecdote; DailyKos link.
posted by billysumday at 5:55 AM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


Obligatory Hatewatch link.
posted by acro at 5:58 AM on April 30, 2009


100 days of "fair & balanced" - Warning: FoxNews
posted by chillmost at 6:00 AM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


With the Republican Party disappearing -the number of people self-identifying as Republicans has fallen now to just barely 20%, it strikes me that the shift away from the hard right actually started when Bush stole the 2000 election. If 9-11 hadn't occurred, Bush would never have been able to steal the '04 election.

Essentially, the culture has been continually moving left the entire time I was freaking out over rightwing control of the country.

Does this mean that rightwing extremists are more prone to start becoming domestic terrorists? Maybe. But this government is keeping a watch on those people; of that I feel pretty confident.
posted by Tena at 6:01 AM on April 30, 2009


an unnatural terror of liberal government

fears about America's loss of world standing

2001-2008...i don't even...what
posted by DU at 6:03 AM on April 30, 2009


One bombing does not constitute a wave.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2009


I said throughout the Bush years, when people like this had power and influence, that I would be happy when they were back in their rightful place: as the butt of hack late-night comedy show hosts' jokes, predicting the End Times via their interpretation of coded messages on the backs of highway signs on cable access, and declaring that the Christian Republic of Southwestern Michigan (consisting of 20 guys, three dogs and a shack) will now secede from the Union. Now they are. They're more marginalized than I could have hoped for. I hope their marginalization doesn't cause them to blow anyone up, but I got what I hoped for.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]



What did I miss? (Or what am I forgetting?)


1992: Ruby Ridge

1995: Oklahoma City Bombing; Unabomber caught.

1996: Montana Freemen standoff

Those are just from memory; there were plenty of other events, and lots of heat and noise about right wing militia organizing. (Yes, for the pedants, Ruby Ridge was not right wing terrorism -- it is described by the far right as government terrorism, in fact -- but was a signal event in the formation of the far right's world view.)
posted by Forktine at 6:04 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


One bombing does not constitute a wave.

I think you could include abortion clinic attacks/bombings in that wave. And all the crazy weapons stockpiling and scary training camps out in the middle of nowhere in preparation for terrorism.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:06 AM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


(Nor did I mean to imply that the Unabomber was right wing, either, but his violence was part and parcel of the rest. Also, add a solid decade of anti-abortion violence to that list, including bombings and assassinations.)
posted by Forktine at 6:06 AM on April 30, 2009


Eric Rudolph too.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 6:08 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


...once they get to where they're brazenly breaking laws, you can bet they're especially breaking weapons laws.

This would make a good bumper sticker. Needs a little tightening up, though.
posted by DU at 6:09 AM on April 30, 2009


Something not mentioned that I see is that in the 90s, the country was more friendly to conservatives and we had a white, Southern President. With the noted current humiliated position of conservatism, the recent taste of power and the Northern black guy the next 8 years could be pretty scary indeed.
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Remind me again: is this because they love America so much?
posted by MuffinMan at 6:13 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll sum the thread: get some whiskey, guns, Mormon friends; Sarah Palin reference; this always happens; Ruby Ridge; hypocrisy of "real" America wanting to blow up America; hurf-durf militias; Glenn Beck anecdote; DailyKos link.

You're forgetting the gay marriage. There always has to be gay marriage in there somewhere.

Seriously, though, it's a certainty that gays getting hitched is a potent organizing tool/marker of the apocalypse for these folks.
posted by blucevalo at 6:13 AM on April 30, 2009


Louis Theroux - Survivalists
posted by acro at 6:23 AM on April 30, 2009


The Oklahoma city bombing might not have been a "wave" but it certainly the most deadly terrorist attack to date, and killed like 300 people. Which is why all the right-wing zealots screaming about the need for racial profiling and the like after 9/11 were so idiotic. Of course none of them would do anything crazy when a right wing hack was in power, right?

What's so odd about their turnabout now is the fact that they totally ignore the totalitarian state stuff that's still in existence from the bush years, like the prisons at Gitmo and Bagram, state secrets, mass wiretapping, etc and instead make shit up like these "FEMA Camps" or whatever. That's what makes them so incoherent. Their dislike of what they call socialism, while at the same time ignoring the very real issues that came up under their own guy.
posted by delmoi at 6:24 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Their talk is turning ugly? When was it sweetness and light?

Interesting/frightening article.
posted by WPW at 6:24 AM on April 30, 2009


One thing about this prediction, it would make sense if time had stood still in the 1990s, but generations have changed. The current generation of 20-40 year olds - the age-group most likely to be "terrorists" - will they express themselves politically through violence of the traditional kind? Most likely the pressure from the right will blow its steam in new ways, but not the way their parents did it. Or will it be the same old bombs and assassinations. Somehow the mood of the country doesn't seem like it, witness the mass hysteria over the recent NYC plane flying low - there is just no tolerance for it.
posted by stbalbach at 6:24 AM on April 30, 2009


1996: Montana Freemen standoff

I read that as "Morgan Freeman standoff" and thought, "Christ, I really did miss a few things."

But back to reality: I didn't think of those things as a wave because I saw them more as individual acts of insanity than as parts of a unified series of actions, but I suppose they could be described as a wave either way.
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on April 30, 2009


How convenient that the far right has already put into place useful tools for dealing with this sort of threat; rendition, torture, gitmo, etc.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:29 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]




What did I miss? (Or what am I forgetting?)

1992: Ruby Ridge

1995: Oklahoma City Bombing; Unabomber caught.

1996: Montana Freemen standoff

Those are just from memory; there were plenty of other events, and lots of heat and noise about right wing militia organizing. (Yes, for the pedants, Ruby Ridge was not right wing terrorism -- it is described by the far right as government terrorism, in fact -- but was a signal event in the formation of the far right's world view.)


Don't forget Waco.

This is our second extremists-filter post in two days, if we count yesterday's KKK post (not saying all these guys are buddy-buddy). Without denying that there have been and are dangerous right-wing fringes in the US, I am suspicious that we get upset about these guys a little easily. Watching out for "hate groups" and domestic terrorism is like the left's version of having the NYPD spy on PETA. Most of the right-wing fringe are just a bunch of eccentrics with bizarre views who just want to hang out with each other -- kind of like most young religions. That they are racists is not a good reason to refuse to leave them alone.

I recommend Jon Ronson's Them for humanizing the weirdoes.
posted by grobstein at 6:34 AM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is why I don't like republicans. They make it so the education system is crap and preach that everyone should go to church. They then fear monger this section of society to believe that they are the answer and any liberal is the devil. Now a lot of them have seen the light and are turning liberal but there are still a few scared cavemen out there holding on to their beliefs that Obama is the black devil and our country is going to hell. You mix one part stupid right winger + 8 years of republican propaganda + a dash of racism and you got a bunch of domestic terrorist ready to secede, blow shit up, whatever....
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:38 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Centennial Olympic Park bombing
posted by P.o.B. at 6:40 AM on April 30, 2009


Something not mentioned that I see is that in the 90s, the country was more friendly to conservatives and we had a white, Southern President.

You certainly didn't see the paranoia-fueled flood of guns and ammo purchases with Clinton (at least, I don't remember hearing about them), who was ostensibly another "gun control liberal." And I've seen a lot of recent news stories about people stockpiling firearms, the increased popularity of gun shows, etc. and yet - for some reason - the motivating fear of Obama's race is never brought up...even under convention center ceilings festooned with Confederate flags.

I admit I've always been surprised at the sputtering hatred leveled at in the past at Bill and, especially, Hillary. But these people are honestly frightened of Obama, which makes this new strain that much more worrisome.
posted by total warfare frown at 6:44 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


quoting from the linked article:
Second: it divides the world into a Good-versus-Evil/Us-versus-Them dualism that encourages the group to interpret even small personal, social, or political events as major battles in a Great Cosmic Struggle -- a habit of mind that leads the group to demonize anyone who disagrees with them. This struggle also encourages members to invest everyday events with huge existential meaning, and as a result sometimes overreact wildly to very mundane stuff.
I don't think the answer, then is to further widen the gap with columns like that one. Or the right-bashing we all get into sometimes, here in the blue. Takes two to polarize...

The right currently lacks a central voice and a sense of moral certainty. In this silence, Sean and Rush and Glenn are noticed more, like crickets when the rest of creation goes quiet for a minute. That won't last forever; the GOP has to make a play for center, and soon, if they have any hopes for a future.

I'm sort of with DecemberBoy; if the far right are fracturing into smaller, self-isolating fringe groups, it's probably a good thing.

Fatherland Security is taking more interest in internal suspicious activities of the right, for a change. In the meantime, instead of girding for ideological warfare, I think the rest of us should be showing people from both extremes how nice it is here in the middle. Take your right-wing uncle fishing, and reassure him that even lib'rul college kids can kick back occasionally, and actually love their country too.

The things that unite most Americans far outnumber the things that are dividing them, but we continue to focus on the divisions.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:47 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm going to hold off on freaking out just yet. The more militarized and whacked-out the right gets, the less interested people will be in supporting them. So far, none of these people have posed a credible threat. Even those guys who were busted for trying to assassinate Obama weren't likely to accomplish it.

We should still keep an eye on these people, but save the freakout for the guy who just bout 100 tons of Nitrate-based fertilizer and a rental truck with the same credit card.
posted by SansPoint at 6:48 AM on April 30, 2009


I met a fellow a few years ago named Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin -- interesting cat; once hijacked an airplane to Cuba. He frequently tours and speaks, particularly to anarchist groups, and Minneapolis had a pretty active anarchist scene back then, including a group called Anti Racist Action, whose claim to fame was that they had chased skinheads out of St. Paul.

Ervin felt this was a waste of time. He described this sort of activism as "vanguard vs vanguard" politics -- that is, the vanguard of racist politics were battling the vanguards of anti-racist politics in the streets, but most people are affected by neither. Most people who experience racism will never come face-to-face with a racist skinhead, and are more likely to suffer abuse at the hands of a justice system that skews its prosecutions and sentencing to such an extent that half of the prison population consists of people of color, or school systems where funding is lower in urban neighborhoods, or any of the myriad of ills that conspire to build racism into systems of power. These vanguards never seem to be people with any real power, but, instead, people who are far outside the system, and really should only concern us, politically, if a right wing group deliberately makes use of them to forward an agenda through a threat of violence.

The history of these groups tend to be messy and ineffective: They turn on each other with a murderous ferocity before they ever get around to hurting anybody else, they make their plans so badly and so boldly that they are often arrested before they can do any real harm, and they die in gunfights with the police with alarming frequency, and that will often be the first anybody has heard of them. I mean, some of them manage to blow up buildings, but there isn't much we can do about that.

What concerns me at the moment is that the right wing IS starting to use the fringe elements as their shock troops. They are deliberately using distorted language to play up rage and paranoia, and political sites are now being swarmed by commentors whose language has moved from contemptuous, which it has always been, to frothing. I find it to be a very worrying trend that the violent fringe is no longer some disconnected vanguard, but actually seems to be something the Republican party is mobilizing as their shock troops.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:50 AM on April 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


About six years ago I was involved with the production of a one-act play that had a lot to say about the right-wing militia movement, and some thought-provoking reasons why one might join. The playwright has the script posted on his web page here, (and frankly, I think it is utterly brilliant, still).

He actually makes a thought-provoking point about how some of the things people on the far right complain about are things we may not want to dismiss out of hand; not that he says that Sean Hannity et. al. have a point, but more that the people who listen to Hannity et. al. have a REASON for doing so, and it would do well to figure out that reason and address it some other way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:53 AM on April 30, 2009


Reason #63 to go organic: you don't have the Secret Service busting your ass when your pickup is at the repair shop and you need agricultural supplies.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:55 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the linked article: At the same time, the past 100 days have seen record gun sales and nationwide ammo shortages as terrified conservatives buy up guns in anticipation of a total weapons ban. This seems like just another curious only-in-America news story -- until you realize that the far right is already sporting most of the earmarks of a group that's gearing up for violent action.

This is the part that's got me the most concerned. Democratic wins in Nov. 2008 sparked a run on ammunition by conservatives that literally cleared the shelves, then the same conservatives took the empty shelves as a sure sign the the libruls had already clamped down on their ammunition-buying rights and that the black helicopters were next, and outright panic-buying ensued, like bottled water & plywood before a hurricane. A couple of these wackos have already lost it and started shooting things up. I'm not keeping a precise count, but what -- 5 dead cops by paranoiacs in the last couple months??

Local take: The Austin shortage is just part of a nationwide paucity of ammunition that most agree began with fear that the Obama administration will regulate, ban or tax guns and ammunition.

"Once the election happened, people became very concerned and began increasing purchases," McBride said. "It really started at the tail end of last year."

Last year also saw brisk gun sales, and especially of semiautomatic rifles, sparked by worry that a Democratic president would reinstate bans and waiting periods for handguns. That soon spread to ammunition, where demand quickly outstripped supply.

Neil Fees, a Horseshoe Bay investor, spent two days this week searching for 9 mm bullets at various Austin gun shops. (...)

"There just isn't anything anywhere," Fees said. "I've got a gun but no bullets ... People are freaking out."

Manufacturers insist they are producing as many bullets as they can.

"Remington Arms is operating at full capacity and will continue to do so," said Al Russo, spokesman for the North Carolina-based company. "We're producing more today and more this month than we have produced in the past."

"It makes people nervous," said Alice Tripp, the legislative director of the Texas State Rifle Association. "If you go to (gun shops) and see empty shelves, it makes people nervous and uncomfortable."


Hey, NRA guy, your gun-toting fanatics are making me just a tad nervous and uncomfortable, too. The "lone wolves" are as much a worry when they're armed to the teeth, tossed out of work, & sitting home listening to Limbaugh all day, amped up on cheap bathtub speed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2009


Fight the Right.
posted by kldickson at 7:00 AM on April 30, 2009


...but more that the people who listen to Hannity et. al. have a REASON for doing so, and it would do well to figure out that reason and address it some other way.

The medical word for it is 'crazy', and we address it is by crossing the street when we see it coming.
posted by troybob at 7:01 AM on April 30, 2009


What concerns me at the moment is that the right wing IS starting to use the fringe elements as their shock troops

Not that it even registers on the importance scale in the same way, but the [hard] right wing in the UK is increasingly adopting the same themes and tropes as its counterparts in the US.

Part of it is try-hardism of some UK political bloggers who are aching for someone to care about them and look to the success of Drudge and Instatwit as templates for success.

But part of it also is a realisation that just as we laugh now a the idea of a television only have one or two channels, the distribution model of political airtime and reach is being broken, and the reality is (in the UK) that there is room for more than just two and a half mainstream parties.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:02 AM on April 30, 2009


For some reason, I listen to conservative talk radio (maybe I just like getting angry at how stupid the radio personalities are), but on the 'news break' driving into work today, they said that more americas support gay marriage, legalizing marijuaha, AND lesser gun control than ever before. I believe they said, in fact, that more people support yes votes on those measures than people who'd vote no. Now, as a gay marriage supporting pothead who wishes he had a gun (in case of zombies, thank you), that, to me, sounds like an America I can finally agree with.
Any action by any right-wing extremists will just make the GOP look even worse, grow even smaller, and make even easier for us all to pants and laugh at on the big playground of life.
posted by Bageena at 7:07 AM on April 30, 2009


For some reason, I listen to conservative talk radio (maybe I just like getting angry at how stupid the radio personalities are)...

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this from formerly rational people who gradually started taking that shit seriously. I've tended to suspect some type of subliminal encoding, but I think that's just hope that bitter selfish paranoia isn't like the human default setting.
posted by troybob at 7:14 AM on April 30, 2009


"It makes people nervous," said Alice Tripp, the legislative director of the Texas State Rifle Association. "If you go to (gun shops) and see empty shelves, it makes people nervous and uncomfortable."

Which is why as soon as any bullets make it to the shelves, they nervously buy everything out. Then the shelves are empty again, and OMG libruls are limiting the supply! Rinse, repeat, and eventually go postal.

Yeah, damn those liberals. All their fault.
posted by splice at 7:16 AM on April 30, 2009


I read the post title as "Shitting into overdrive" and thought, well, that's appropriate.
posted by notsnot at 7:16 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sensationalist, speculative, partisan blogiverse op-ed. I suspect this post will stay but I don't think it's worthy material for Mefi.
posted by peacay at 7:17 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


But these people are honestly frightened of Obama, which makes this new strain that much more worrisome.

That's because these people think they are going to get what's coming to them, same as what drives the fear of violent crime. They honestly think Obama is a black nationalist in cultural hegemonist clothing and that the inner circle is all black all the time and it's Pay Back time. No one has to die to make anyone else Sigmund Freud to see that one.
posted by y2karl at 7:20 AM on April 30, 2009


The reason why the Right is getting all paranoid and "riling up the shock troops" is because, this time, the Right were the ones who gave more power to the Left.

Remember when Cheney, DeLay, Rove, and Co. gave all that power to the executive branch? The power to effectively circumvent the judicial and legislative branch, thus rendering the checks and balances into a "see if you can stop me" gig. The Right honestly thought they were going to waltz through the Middle East, increase the standard of living, and quash crime, and in this white bread utopia, we were going to continue to elect these people on the Fear factor (fear of terrorists, fear of taxes, fear of Blue Tie Socialists, etc.). The next twenty years or so (perhaps, 100 years, if PNAC was going to be respected as the think tank it was) were supposed to be roses and fillibuster busting.

Now...? Well, now "they" have the power "we" have foolishly left under the hand of the executive branch, which is controlled by "they".

Now the Right is a rich kid who got in way over his head in Havana. Send lawyers, guns, and money (and guns)... Psycho-Right, get us out of this!
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:21 AM on April 30, 2009


I miss Sarah Palin. Don't get me wrong, the last thing I want in the world is for her to have any position in government whatsoever. But I would love it if she got a show on FOX News. Like a punditry/variety show where she spent about half the time on crazy Glenn Beck-style rants about how socialists were palling around with terrorists and out to get real Americans *wink!* and half the time she and Todd and Bristol and Pistol and Cutlass and Sierra and whoever just went all Hee-Haw and told knock knock jokes in front of a green screen with a snowy field projected on it and a snowmobile prop next to them and maybe she and Todd could do some covers of popular songs Donny and Marie style. I would watch the shit out of that.
posted by ND¢ at 7:23 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


« Older Is pr0n an appropriate metaphor for databases?   |   The food of Italy's Grandmothers Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments