Before Tiller Murder, Palin Refused to Condemn Anti-Abortion Terrorism
As I've noted before, the distance between the incendiary rhetoric of the Republican Party and anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-government and above all anti-abortion extremism is a growing ever shorter. With Sunday's murder of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, that disturbing dynamic deserves deeper examination. After all, while even arch-conservative Attorney General John Ashcroft once deemed such anti-abortion violence "terrorist," Alaska Governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to "use the word there."
In May 2003, the FBI finally captured Eric Rudolph, the extremist fugitive behind the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Park bombing and a 1998 blast at a Birmingham family planning clinic that killed an off-duty policeman and seriously injured a nurse. Following Rudolph's apprehension, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft left no doubt that he considered Rudolph a terrorist:
"Today, Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list has been captured and will face American justice. American law enforcement's unyielding efforts to capture Eric Robert Rudolph have been rewarded. Working with law enforcement nationwide, the FBI always gets their man. This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent...
The American people, most importantly the victims of these terrorist attacks, can rest easier knowing that another alleged killer is no longer a threat."
Of course, to former Republican vice presidential candidate and conservative heartthrob Sarah Palin, the likes of Eric Rudolph, Dr. Bernard Slepien's assassin James Kopp or would-be Texas clinic bomber Paul Ross Evans don't qualify as terrorists. While even a hardline conservative like Ashcroft used the "T" word to describe Rudolph upon his arrest in 2003, during an October 2008 interview with NBC's Brian Williams Palin refused to similarly brand violent right-wing radicals as terrorists:
WILLIAMS: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?
PALIN: (Sigh). There's no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There's no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don't know if you're going to use the word terrorist there.
For its part, the GOP and its allies in the conservative movement previously portrayed today's victim as the villain. Fox News' host Bill O'Reilly long demonized Dr. Tiller. Senate Republicans even tried to block the nomination of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over donations by the Wichita physician to her past Kansas gubernatorial campaigns.
In any event, as John Ashcroft should still acknowledge, Tiller's assassin, like Rudolph and Kopp before, is a terrorist. Even if Sarah Palin won't admit it.
UPDATE 1: Previously convicted for bombmaking and tax evasion, Tiller's suspected assassin Scott Roeder is a poster child for precisely the kind of the anti-government extremism detailed in the recent DHS report on right-wing terror threats which so outraged conservatives.
UPDATE 2: In her statement Monday, Governor Palin echoed her October 2008 response that clinic bombing was "uancceptable" by announcing, "I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life." But while she fretted over the political impact of Tiller's assassination ("This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, 'What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today's event in Kansas?'"), Palin still refused to condemn the killing as an act of terrorism.
The essence of your blog is muddied by your desire to smear Governor Palin. She did not call abortion doctors terrorists. She does not condone killing of abortion doctors.
I believe you would have been deliriously over the top, had Governor Palin celebrated the death of Dr. Tiller. She views his murder as a loss of life, a loss to his family.
I feel sorrow for the Tiller family. I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life. This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, "What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today's event in Kansas?"
Regardless of my strong objection to Dr. Tiller's abortion practices, violence is never an answer in advancing the pro-life message.
Make of it what you will, Governor Palin is not celebrating the death of Dr. Tiller.
What you have written here is ludicrous. How you can link the death of Dr. Tiller to Governor Palin says a lot more about you and your lack of intelligence than it does about Governor Palin and the pro-life movement. Governor Palin called Tiller's death murder. That's exactly what it was.
You want to misuse the murder on Tiller to smear and attack Gov.Palin .
Shame on you.
Governor Palin respects life.
Governor Palin made it crystal clear that the murder on Tiller violates respect for life!
"I feel sorrow for the Tiller family. I respect the sanctity of life and the tragedy that took place today in Kansas clearly violates respect for life. This murder also damages the positive message of life, for the unborn, and for those living. Ask yourself, 'What will those who have not yet decided personally where they stand on this issue take away from today's event in Kansas?'
Regardless of my strong objection to Dr. Tiller's abortion practices, violence is never an answer in advancing the pro-life message."
Governor Sarah Palin
I would note that what she actually said was that she could say with certainty that Bill Ayers qualified as a terrorist by his own admission; she didn't have a clearly-developed schema as to which domestic criminal elements qualify as terrorists and which don't, and so she demurred on drawing a categorical conclusion.
I would further note that if the likes of Scott Roeder qualify as terrorists, so do those who kill military recruiters; are you as eager to denounce "the incendiary rhetoric of the Democratic Party and its anti-war extremism" that's clearly (by your logic) responsible for those murders?
Finally, what outraged conservatives about the reprehensible DHS report wasn't the acknowledgement that there are anti-government extremists on the Right; it was, rather, that anyone who had ever expressed an opinion dissenting from liberal orthodoxy (on abortion or other issues) or who had ever argued that government should be smaller was lumped into that category. It would be like branding you an eco-terrorist who should be held in preventive detention (Obama's idea, not the GOP's) because you liked An Inconvenient Truth and voted for Al Gore.
Are you afraid of Sarah Palin too? Be afraid, be very afraid. 51% of America is PRO LIFE!!!!
Only leftwing loons on the fringe of society would believe there is a connection between Gov. Palin and the killing of Tiller. There is no connection, I would bet you cannot come up with one quote anywhere where Palin even mentioned Tiller. You cannot come up with one quote where Palin either encouraged or condoned violence against abortionists.
I notice that no one put there name to this sorry piece of work. I don't blame you, if I had written it, I wouldn't want my name on it either.
Piney is a known TeamSarah troll, and since Charlie's message is nearly identical, it's possible he is, also (too). I've seen greg's name on various wingnut blogs, too.
No, there's no overt, direct link between Palin and the Tiller Killer, Scott Roeder. But she used flaming rhetoric against a '60s activist who committed acts of violence against buildings, and who never injured let alone killed anyone on behalf of his beliefs. And worse, she connected a then-8-year-old Barack Obama to this person. That was low, ugly, and nasty rhetoric on her part.
And that link about the deaths of the recruiters? They were SOLDIERS just barely out of basic training. They weren't killed because they were recruiting. That was a random act of violence -- a shoot-em-up of the storefront, and they were caught in the gunfire -- not terrorism. Silly of you to attempt to pin that on anti-war liberals.
When "conservatives" stop lumping progressives, or liberals (which only comprise 17% of the voting public), in their anti-current-state-of-affairs rhetoric, then conservatives might get the benefit of the doubt regarding arguments "that government should be smaller".
Until then, go on with your rabid defense of domestic terrorists like Randall Terry, Scott Roeder, Michael Griffin, Paul Jennings Hill, John Salvi, Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, Donald Cooper, Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins, Martin Uphoff, Clayton Waagner and Shelley Shannon.
All attackers of doctors who performed abortions. Most of their victims died.
I agree with KayJ. Posts here are suffused with trolls who are trying to prop up a loser, liar and quitter. And, apparently, excuse-maker for terrorists.
How's you mirror working?
Dr. Tiller wasn't killed to change his mind about abortion.
He was killed to change other doctors' minds about abortion.
That is terrorism. Period.