Friday, April 17, 2009

Republican hypocrisy

In America, Republican is a word that seems naturally joined to the word hypocrite. In fact, these days the party seems unable to be much else.

The latest example is Republicans losing their shit over a Department of Homeland Security report that they claimed characterised military veterans as right-wing extremists.

Naturally, Republicans aren’t telling the truth.

As Secretary Janet Napolitano put it, "Let me be very clear—we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States. We don't have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence."

What the report actually said was that right-wing extremists could use the bad economy and the election of the first African American president to recruit members. It adds that returning military veterans who have trouble adjusting to being back home may be susceptible to extremist recruiters or they might engage in lone acts of violence. There’s nothing new in that assessment: Let’s not forget that the biggest act of domestic terrorism to date was committed by a disgruntled ex-military man.

But Republicans have gone apoplectic. One Florida Republican said, "The department is engaging in political and ideological profiling of people who fought to keep our country safe from terrorism, uphold our nation's immigration laws, and protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms," neatly summing up most of the ideological checklist for far right Republicans. Another Republican complained that the Department was attacking "law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as 'extremists.'"

Here’s the thing: Last February, the Department warned that left-wing extremist groups were likely to use cyber attacks more often in the next 10 years. Yet I didn’t hear of a single Republican complaining about "law-abiding Americans” being branded as “extremists” back then. Of course not: Republicans consider all centre and left Americans as “extremists”.

And this is just another example of why the Republican Party is led by hypocrites. The Party of No is quickly becoming the Party of No Clue.

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