WASHINGTON -- When asked on left-leaning MSNBC why President Barack Obama refrained from describing the Boston bombings as a "terrorist attack" David Axelrod, Obama's longtime political advisor, readily saw a political opportunity. The blood had not yet been washed away from the streets. We had yet to count up the casualties. Yet Axelrod saw a political opening, an opportunity to advance one or another of his pet political issues. So he said, "I'm sure what was going through the president's mind is -- we really don't know who did this -- it was tax day." Yes, tax day!
This is not the response of a normal mind. A normal mind would not, given the promiscuity of public bombings in the Middle East and now another bombing here in America, think it was provoked by "tax day." Conceivably the bombs in Boston were the work of small-government libertarians or of Tea Partiers. They could even be the work of vegetarians, but that was not the question. Axelrod was asked why the president was not describing the bombings as a terrorist attack. It certainly looked more like the work of terrorists -- either left-wing lunatics or right-wing lunatics -- than tax protesters.
The politicking continued. On CNN, Barney Frank, the former Massachusetts congressman, when asked about the bombing, averred: "I never was as a member of Congress one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover." So Barney's response to the bombs in Boston is to favor a tax increase, and while he is at it, why not throw in gay marriage?
We have a word for the kind of mind that keeps advancing pet political goals even when tragedy is in the air. It is "fanatic." Truth be known, an awful lot of politicians on the left are fanatics. Sure we have fanatics on the right, but they are usually widely recognized. The fanatics on the left are more numerous and are frequently palmed off as presidential advisors, viz. Axelrod, or elder statesmen, viz. Frank.
Whoever committed the cowardly and despicable carnage in Boston was in fact a terrorist. The bombing itself was an act of terror. In its very savagery -- apparently designed to amputate limbs as well as to kill -- it causes me to pause in my opposition to capital punishment. Caught in the horror of the moment, Americans perhaps despair that such acts have hit a new low. Yet I am afraid this is not the case. What happened in Boston Monday has been going on for years, actually for centuries.