But Hollywood-fantasy-turned-Washington-reality isn't simply crummy entertainment. It presents a grave menace to political discourse in this country. "We want to move away from the politics of fear," Napolitano declared last month to explain her new secretary-caused euphemism for Islamic terrorism.
But not too far. That is, Napolitano, who supports the DHS report, is plenty content to deal in the politics of fear -- just not fear of Islam. Fear of conservatism, however, is OK by her.
How to make it stick? The DHS report repeatedly reaches back for inspiration to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building, citing "military veteran" and domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, one of 42 million veterans who, not incidentally, have not blown up a federal building, as American Legion chief David Rehbein noted in an outraged letter to Napolitano. But while the DHS report is thin on specifics and devoid of sources, it nonetheless quite helpfully exposes the federal government's outrageous strategy to portray conservatism as "right-wing extremism."
The report defines the term this way: "Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
Presto -- the federal government has just taken key conservative positions, from opposition to Islamic law to support for security along our Mexican border, and cast them as primitive, "primarily hate-oriented" pathologies that are therefore beyond civilized political discourse. So, too, is opposition to overweening federal powers and "single-issue" opposition to abortion. What we are seeing, in other words, is the most extraordinary governmental attempt in history to limit the spectrum of debate by demonizing a range of positions as "right-wing extremism." This attempt is surely not only unconstitutional but also un-American.
But not in the Obama era. This is a time when the following statement would surely set off a red alert with all federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement authorities who received Homeland's report:
"What we have to do is bring back the recognition that the people of this country can solve its problems. I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in state's rights and I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level. I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment."
In the language of Homeland Security, which "right-wing extremist" preparing for "right-wing radicalization and recruitment" said that?