EDITORIAL: Dems targeted by bombs, and Republicans
It has come to this.
The United States comes under what can accurately be referred to as a terror attack, and the response from many on the right is to allege partisan gamesmanship.
And they call themselves patriots.
A patriot doesn’t immediately turn the blame on their countrymen when fellow Americans are on the receiving ends of bombs. Not bomb threats — actual devices.
Pipe bombs and other suspicious packages have been mailed to high-profile Democrats including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton (and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), and left-wing billionaire philanthropist George Soros. CNN as also forced to evacuate after receiving one such mailing.
By Thursday morning, law enforcement was investigating similar devices sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and businesses associated with frequent Trump critic and actor Robert De Niro.
Still, even as news bulletins detailing the threatening packages multiplied, conservative influencers took to their keyboards and microphones to peddle the fantasy that election-minded Democrats were behind the mailings.
“It’s happening in October; there’s a reason for this,” speculated radio host Rush Limbaugh, offering his usual concoction of two parts bluster, no parts proof. “Is it a political stunt?”
Right-wing water-carriers and Rush wannabes echoed the sentiments:
Conservative radio host John Cardillo, in a quickly deleted message on Twitter: “Just too coincidental that two weeks before Election Day, as the ‘blue wave’ has turned into a ripple, and the left is losing ground because of incivility and violent rhetoric, explosive devices show up in the mailboxes of Soros, Clinton, and Obama.”
Conservative group Turning Point USA Communications Director Candace Owens, also on Twitter: “I’m going to go ahead and state that there is a 0% chance that these ‘suspicious packages’ were sent out by conservatives. The only thing ‘suspicious’ about these packages, is their timing. Caravans, fake bomb threats — these leftists are going ALL OUT for midterms.”
Never mind that explosives-laden packages also turned up in the offices of California Rep. Maxine Waters, former CIA Director and frequent critic of President Trump John Brennan (care of CNN), and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Never mind that the FBI warned that additional packages could still be in the mail and Director Christopher Wray beseeched the public for information, calling the investigation “of the highest priority for the FBI.”
Never mind that Trump himself — whose bombastic insults targeting Democrats and the media have heightened vitriol among his supporters — condemned the attacks and declared the “full weight of our government” would be deployed to get to the bottom of them.
The fact-free fabrication that is right-wing rhetoric sought not to rally America as some of its more notable political figures were targeted but to distract and divide at a time of national attack.
Such grandstanding is beyond partisan. It is un-American.
Think back to the political unity that followed the (admittedly far more grievous) 9/11 terrorist attacks or, more comparatively, the 2001 anthrax attacks. Had proponents of either political party sought to score political points in such an environment, they would have been ostracized. Today, in too many quarters, they are celebrated.
The random mailing of dangerous packages to any American is horrifying.
But reflexive efforts by partisan right-wing voices to politicize the attacks are horrific.