This week, explosive devices were discovered in packages addressed to billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the Clintons, the Obamas, former CIA Director John Brennan/CNN, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. At this point, it’s unknown how many others were targeted by this apparent serial bomber or what motivated the attacks, but it’s pretty clear from those targeted that the perpetrator wants to evoke terror on the left.
The bombings come at an inopportune time for the GOP, interrupting their bogus midterm narrative that Democrats are leading an angry “left-wing mob” to power and calling for “civility” in politics on the left (but not the right). In another “it would be hilarious if not true” moment, Fox News actually had to interrupt their in-depth reporting on Mitch McConnell getting his meal interrupted to report on the bombings.
Unbelievable — a Fox News segment fear-mongering about the 'left-wing mob' and 'incivility' toward Mitch McConnell at a restaurant was interrupted by breaking news coverage of a string of bombs sent to prominent Democrats pic.twitter.com/UKZogGKHHA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 24, 2018
However, early evidence that the perpetrator of these bombing is a right-wing extremist is so damning that right-wing pundits have already started to cry “false flag!” Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing luminaries wasted no time in going full Alex Jones and pointing fingers at the victims of the attack. The bombings, according to them, are not the work of some unhinged right-wing extremist working off of President Trump’s personal enemies list but are actually a conspiracy by violent “leftists” to paint Republicans as violent extremists.
“Republicans just don’t do this kind of thing,” Rush Limbaugh said on the radio today, “Every mass shooting there is, the Democrats in the media try to make everybody think right off the bat that some tea partier did it, or some talk radio fan did it, or some Fox News viewer did it. Turns out, it’s never, ever the case.”
Actually, it’s almost always the case. Most recent domestic terrorist attacks in the United States are committed by right-wing extremists, according to a recent report from the Anti-Defamation League. The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter was a right-wing extremist and religious zealot who killed three people and sent nine more to the hospital. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooter in Charleston was a right-wing extremist and white nationalist who killed nine people. The shooter who fired on a theater showing the Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck was a right-wing extremist who killed two people and injured nine more. And, of course, the neo-nazi who murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017 was a right-wing extremist, along with those who savagely beat counter protesters during the ‘Unite The Right’ rally. The list goes on and on and on.
But the most galaxy brain take on the bombings came courtesy of vicious anti-Muslim bigot Frank Gaffney:
And Gaffney, who’s no longer a fringe right-wing outsider but now a mainstream GOP activist, got roasted:
This is the same Frank Gaffney who Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have palled around with.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) October 24, 2018
I'm so old I can remember when Frank Gaffney said Saddam did the Oklahoma City bombing and CPAC had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood https://t.co/k5tlN7MNkk https://t.co/PnrlbUOvxx pic.twitter.com/6eErN33w7E
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) October 24, 2018
Frank Gaffney should actually know a thing or two about what inspires violent extremists to perpetrate deadly terrorist attacks for political motives—he’s inspired one of the worst.
In 2011, Anders Breivik bombed the office of Norway’s Prime Minister. Then, disguised as a police officer, he traveled to a nearby youth camp associated with Norway’s social-democratic party and began shooting people, killing 77 in total. One of his victims was only 14 years old. Breivik identifies as a fascist and a neo-nazi and cited Gaffney and other virulent right-wing American Islamophobes in his manifesto.
Accusing the victims of right-wing violence of orchestrating the attacks to provoke a reaction against the right wing is actually an old tactic, and was used to excuse similar bombings during the Civil Rights era:
Delegitimizing, dehumanizing, and demonizing your political opponents lowers the barrier to political violence and stoking fear and anger with lies incites political violence. After all, if these “evil” Democrats and “the enemy of the state” are trying to seize power through extra-constitutional means to “ruin the country” then suddenly all manner of action can be rationalized to thwart them. We’re merely seeing the consequences of the GOP’s decades-long coordinated attack on Democrats and the media come to violent fruition.
h/t: Daily Beast