Former President Bill Clinton yesterday criticized conservatives who are “vilifying” government and its workers warning that such rhetoric could lead to a repetition of the horrific attack on the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that marred his presidency.
Apart from the absurdity of likening elderly Medicare recipients pushing walkers to the likes of Timothy McVeigh and the right wing militias, Clinton’s comments totally ignore the real history of Oklahoma City.
It was not anti-government rhetoric that inspired McVeigh to do his dastardly deed. According to the killer himself, it was the action of the federal government during the Waco raid that incited him to violence. That the attack on the Federal Office Building took place on the anniversary of the Waco raid underscores the connection.
Bill Clinton was far from blameless in the Waco attack. While he sought to shift the responsibility to Attorney General Janet Reno, acting as if he were merely a by-stander, subsequent histories make it clear that he was smarting from criticism that the failure of the feds to act and their continued toleration of the siege showed him to be too weak to be a good president. He would often complain about the unfairness of this coverage to me as he recounted the events leading up to the Waco raid.
The Obama strategy of vilifying the tea party protesters and trying to link them to the violence of Oklahoma City is cynical and ridiculous. The tea party protesters are, in many cases, decorated war veterans and can, in the main, only be described as patriots. That Obama needs to paint them as violence prone extremists who are fanning flames that could lead to Oklahoma City-style bombings is offensive and vile in the extreme.
Why is Obama waging such unprincipled war on the tea party people? Because, at last, the Republicans have come up with an activist base to counter the ravages of the likes of Acorn and Moveon.org. The GOP is coming up with a ground game and it scares the daylights out of the Democrats.
The Republican Party lost the elections of 2006 and 2008 on the ground. They were out-worked and out-hustled by their Democratic opponents. But Obama’s determined move toward socialism has energized the Republican base and brought them out into the streets. In walkers and wheelchairs, the elderly are protesting the one half trillion dollar cut in Medicare. Veterans are protesting the laxity in the war on terror. And businessmen are remonstrating against the tax and spend plans of the Obama Administration.
In our new book 2010: Take Back America – A Battle Plan, we lay out a plan for individual activism to help win Congress back. It is the energy and the impetus that flows from the tea party activists that makes such a strategy possible. The silent majority is no longer silent. To make them out to be subversive is ridiculous.
The plain fact is that to take back Congress, we will need to win about 40 House seats. That means that 10% of the seats will change hands. What are the other 90% of us to do? In our book, we urge those who live in districts that are not in play to “adopt a Democrat” to oppose and work to dislodge him from power. Send his opponent your checks and email your friends to focus on helping the Republican in the district.
The tea party is the army of reform, not of subversion. They are the defenders of our free market system and they deserve our respect, not the innuendo that Clinton is peddling.