Obama: A target for extremists
David Jackson|USA Today There’s a disturbing story in the new Time magazine about violent militias, which are on the rise again in the Age of Obama. The nation’s first African-American president — with an unusual name to boot — appears to be one of the reasons for the resurgence of extremist threats, according to the story by Barton Gellman.
Obama’s ascendancy unhinged the radical right, offering a unified target to competing camps of racial, nativist and religious animus. Even Patriots who had no truck with white supremacy found that they could amplify their antigovernment message by “constructing Obama as an alien, not of this country, insufficiently American,” according to Michael Waltman, an authority on hate speech at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Perennial features of extreme-right scare lore — including imagined schemes to declare martial law, abolish private ownership of guns and force dissidents into FEMA concentration camps — became more potent with Obama as the Commander in Chief. Threats against Obama’s life brought him Secret Service protection in May 2007, by far the earliest on record for a presidential candidate. At least four alleged assassination plots between June and December — by militiamen in Pennsylvania, white supremacists in Denver, skinheads in Tennessee and an active-duty Marine lance corporal at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune — led to arrests and criminal charges before Obama was even sworn in.
“We call it somewhat of a perfect storm,” says a high-ranking FBI official who declined to speak on the record because of the political sensitivities of the subject. With an economy in free fall and rising anger about illegal immigration, Obama became “a rallying point” for dormant extremists after the 2008 election who “weren’t willing to act before but now are susceptible to being recruited and radicalized.”
Gellman’s piece also includes a chilling story about White House senior aide David Axelrod — a target of James Von Brunn, a racist who last year attacked the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and killed a security guard: Read Full Story Here