I’m worried. I want an opposition party in America that has, at one end of its continuum of beliefs, a far less radical strain — one that doesn’t make me fear the sparking of domestic violence and terrorism. Since I started appearing on The Strategy Room a few months ago, I have met more conservatives (which is to say Republicans) than I have ever met in my life. Like Democrats (which is not to say liberals in all cases), they come in varieties. Indeed, there are some varieties with whom I enjoy chatting and of whom I’m realizing I’m actually quite fond and wished I traveled in the same circles as. (Note to English teachers: pardon the atrocious syntax of the prior sentence.) Some varieties of conservatives, though, leave me enraged: I can’t believe anyone believes what they believe. But they do. For me, it’s as if we’re just not from the same America. Yet America belongs to us both. In a way, I feel like our national argument is over who will get the final say over whose America it is.
So then I went to the tea party last night at City Hall and, in one moment of baptismal submersion, I took in all those varieties all at once. And then I realized that on the right, the width of the philosophical continuum just isn’t as wide. It’s less a philosophical continuum than a bifurcation. There are conservatives who are moderate conservatives and consequently want there to be debate, but civil debate. There are conservatives who are extreme conservatives and those are the people that worry me. What worries me is what happens is this equation.
+ The warning against right-wing extremist violence from the Department of Homeland Security and the backlash against DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:
+ Newt Gingrich’s rather tepid evasion technique when asked directly whether this is a “battle” between capitalism and socialism:
= what? What if the far-right should unleash the worst strain of extremism and we meet the next Timothy McVeigh or the next Lee Harvey Oswald? What responsibility will the Republicans have if something should happen, God forbid, to the President? After all, in Perry’s case, if you’re asserting the right to leave the union, you’re far from interested in the comportment required to preserve it. Would something terrible happening to Obama be the equivalent of Fort Sumter?