GOP Excels at One Thing: Manufacturing False Controversy

It's only fair to give Republicans credit for one of the party's strongest skills: manufacturing a controversy out of nothing. Turning molehills into mountains is an art, and GOP leaders -- in conjunction with their various allies -- are genuine masters.


This week's flap over a DHS report on potentially dangerous right-wing extremists is the best example of this, at least since the manufactured controversy over President Obama "apologizing" for American "arrogance." Which was the best manufactured controversy since the administration's plan to "cut" military spending. Which was the best since Obama "bowed." Which was the best since the "outrage" over the president using a teleprompter. Which was the best since conservatives bristled after seeing the president chuckle during a "60 Minutes" interview.

Consider this take from Oliver North, chatting with Sean Hannity about the DHS report last night:

"[H]ere's what's really disturbing about [the DHS report]. One is the intrusion into political thought in America that vilifies those of us who have subscribed to any of those, or guys like you and me that subscribe to all of them.

"Second of all, it's a twisted idea. They're saying that right-wing extremism is the number one threat to American safety and security. That means that if you're a Hamas organizer or a Hezbollah recruiter or a Somali terrorist trying to recruit suicide terrorists, you're lower on the totem pole in terms of scrutiny than a regular American citizen concerned about these things, to include, outrageously enough, American veterans who they think are a target for being radicalized."

This is so obviously ridiculous, it's a challenge counting all the errors. The DHS report doesn't "vilify" conservatives, unless North is prepared to argue that he and Hannity have embraced a extremist, borderline-violent ideology. The department isn't singling out people like North and Hannity; it prepared a similar report about left-wing radicals (curious that no one seems worked about that one).

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