Holocaust Museum Shooting Rekindles Old Debate

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In early April the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning that the climate was ripe for an increase in domestic terror by "lone wolf" right-wing extremists, possibly with military experience. Conservatives, both politicians and political commentators, harshly criticized it for what they saw as unfair fearmongering about the right wing and disrespectful attacks on veterans. Yesterday, a fatal shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum was carried out by a white supremacist (and veteran) who raged against Jews and blacks. This, of course, comes on the heels of the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller at the hands of another extremist. So has the DHS report been vindicated after all? And are conservative pundits fueling the fears of right-wing extremists? The blogosphere has an opinion.

• Mike Madden writes that "white supremacist hate groups get a lot more fired up when the president is a half-Kenyan man named Barack Hussein Obama, whose chief of staff is an observant Jew, than they did when the president was a WASP from Connecticut by way of Texas." The DHS report was right about them, and "the government shouldn't pretend they don't exist, no matter how loudly Rush Limbaugh howls." [War Room/Salon]

• Ed Morrissey contends that conservatives criticized the DHS report because it "didn’t focus on known, specific threats, instead making generalized threats about abortion opponents and other vague and broad generalizations about conservative issues." And that is still valid — "despite being well-known as a threat since the 1980s, the DHS never bothered to identify von Brunn or his organization as a specific threat in the report — which, again, was the heart of our criticism." [Hot Air]

• Markos Moulitsas tweets, "Attempt by Cons to justify their critique of prescient DHS report are an extra special dose of stupid." [Markos Moulitsas/Twitter]

• Michelle Malkin mocks the "political opportunists" who "gloat about 'vindication' that isn’t there." [Michelle Malkin]

• Josh Marshall calls it "half bizarre and half comic" that some conservatives can't acknowledge "what everyone else in the world finds transparently obvious and unremarkable — namely that neo-Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violent extremism of the right." [TPM]

• Andy Ostroy, referring to Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, thinks it's no wonder "that these right-wing lunatic freaks feel a sense of duty, of obligation, to 'right the wrongs' that these instigators in the media hammer into their psychotic heads day after day." [HuffPo]

• Joan Walsh says that if she were "a marginal, unemployed, angry, racist white man right now, I'd be hearing a lot of mainstream conservative support for my point of view" from conservative pundits and politicians. "Can that help create a climate for more violence? I don't know. I hope not, but I don't know." [Salon]

• Steve Benen applauds Fox News's Shepard Smith for realizing "that these increasingly agitated conservatives are incensed, not because of justified concerns, but because of 'ridiculous' developments that have been cooked up in the far-right imagination." [Political Animal/Washington Monthly]

• Adam Serwer wonders how conservatives would react if the recent shooters were Arab or Muslim instead of white. [Tapped/American Prospect]

• Jesse Walker says the report was criticized because it "blew the threat of right-wing terror out of proportion, just as the Clinton administration did in the '90s; because it treated "extremism" itself as a potential threat, while offering a definition of extremist so broad it seemed it include anyone who opposed abortion or immigration or excessive federal power." It didn't "make right-wing terror attacks less likely," it just made "it easier to smear nonviolent, noncriminal figures on the right." [Hit & Run/Reason]

• Matt Yglesias hopes "that everyone who mau-maued the Department of Homeland Security for expressing concern about this kind of thing feels appropriately ashamed of themselves." [Think Progress]

• Andy McCarthy maintains that this "is not a wave of domestic terrorism, much less right-wing extremism. It's a pair of homicides. They are despicable, of course, but to suggest that they validate Napolitano ... is specious." [Corner/National Review]

• Andrew Sullivan asks, "That DHS report doesn't look so iffy any more, does it?" [Atlantic]

• Benjamin Sarlin says that "it seems the government's warnings deserve a second look and its critics may owe Homeland Security officials an apology." [Daily Beast]

• Greg Sargent notices that Christian-right groups are "still raising cash by mocking the 'right wing extremists' report, despite the identification of the suspect in yesterday’s Holocaust Museum shooting as a white supremacist and anti-government zealot." [Plum Line/Who Runs Gov]

• Jason Zengerle is tired of the "cheap political point-scoring." [Plank/New Republic]