You know, I got into a heated discussion with good friend the other night at a local watering hole, and over the course of the conversation, talk turned to the craziness of the mid-nineties, with the Patriot movement, the militias, and right-wing media openly advocating sedition and violence. Timothy McVeigh was a fruit of those times, and he killed 168 people.
And yet, trying to get people to recall the mindset of that time - the open, seething hatred for the Clintons and the federal government - is very hard indeed.
It's like the blunt force trauma of 9/11 has wiped that far less effective, but still very real domestic terrorist element - with numbers, at the time, which rivaled those of al Qaeda before 9/11, and before George Bush swelled their ranks by essentially doing Osama's bidding - from the collective consciousness. In fact, over the Bush years, we've seen those elements absorbed back into the fold, with what used to be radical ideas softened and become part of the wider GOP narrative.
And of course, there's no need to advocate the overthrow of a government you're welcomed into, even if you have to use the back door.
Anyway, as we all know anything anyone a presidential candidate has ever associated with says is directly attributable to the candidate him or herself. The media, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton have all stressed that argument against Barrack Obama. He's been hounded to hell and back to account for Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers and everything they've ever said or done.
The other two? Not so much. McCain shrugs off John Hagee's vile comments and the press sees something shiny off to the side and chases it. For all her talk of being thoroughly "vetted," there's been suspiciously little talk of all the many skeletons in Hillary Clinton's closet (not to mention tapping that old 90's Clinton-hatred). Perhaps such talk will go better in the fall. October, maybe.
But in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman writes about John McCain's "old friend" G. Gordon Liddy:
What McCain didn't mention is that he has his own Bill Ayers—in the form of G. Gordon Liddy. Now a conservative radio talk-show host, Liddy spent more than 4 years in prison for his role in the 1972 Watergate burglary. That was just one element of what Liddy did, and proposed to do, in a secret White House effort to subvert the Constitution. Far from repudiating him, McCain has embraced him.In fact, McCain gushes praise for Liddy, saying on an appearance on his radio show:
How close are McCain and Liddy? At least as close as Obama and Ayers appear to be. In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns—including $1,000 this year.
Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."Hmm. McCain obviously shares the the "principles and philosophies" of Gordon. He said so, in his own words (and I know, John McCain is of the opinion that reminding him of his words is a libelous act, but still).
This is a man, who in addition to his role in masterminding the Watergate break-in (for his role in which he served four years in prison) and being an all around, well-known whack-job, rose to new heights as a right-wing radio host in the 90's (emphasis added):
In 1994, after the disastrous federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, he gave some advice to his listeners: "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. . . . Kill the sons of bitches."
He later backed off, saying he meant merely that people should defend themselves if federal agents came with guns blazing. But his amended guidance was not exactly conciliatory: Liddy also said he should have recommended shots to the groin instead of the head. If that wasn't enough to inflame any nut cases, he mentioned labeling targets "Bill" and "Hillary" when he practiced shooting.
Given Liddy's record, it's hard to see why McCain would touch him with a 10-foot pole. On the contrary, he should be returning his donations and shunning his show. Yet the senator shows no qualms about associating with Liddy—or celebrating his service to their common cause.
So, other than Chapman, who tried and was refused comment on the matter by the Straight Talk Express, who in the American media will start to ask some questions about the "principles and philosophies" the Senator shares with a man who - much more recently than the Weather Underground - was openly advocating violence against Federal Agents and encouraging violence against the President and First Lady?