The Right's colossally ignorant attacks on Erroll Southers

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

We had thought/hoped that no one else would be stupid enough to pick up and run with Erick Erickson's moronic attacks on Erroll Southers, President Obama's nominee to be chief of Transportation Security Administration. We were wrong.

Back story: In a 2008 interview, Southers discussed the dangers posed to the United States by Al Qaeda, as well as Middle-East-based groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Asked about domestic groups, he referenced "World Church of the Creator, National Alliance, Aryan Nations," and black separatist groups. He was then asked, "Which home-grown terrorist groups pose the greatest danger to the US?" He replied:

Most of the domestic groups that we have to pay attention to here are white supremacist groups. They're anti-government and in most cases anti-abortion. They are usually survivalist type in nature, identity orientated. If you recall, Buford Furrow came to Los Angeles in, I believe it was 1999. When he went to three different Jewish institutions, museums, and then wound up shooting people at a children's community center, then shooting a fellow penal postal worker later on. Matthew Hale who's the Pontifex Maximus of the World Church of the Creator out of Illinois and Ben Smith who went on a shooting spree in three different cities where he killed a number of African Americans and Jews and Asians that day. Those groups are groups that claim to be extremely anti-government and Christian identity oriented.

In a reaction reminiscent of their frenzied response to the release of a Department of Homeland Security report on "rightwing extremists," the conservative blogosphere has decided that Southers' comments are either 1) actually targeting them or 2) worth mocking.

This YouTube video, currently posted on Andrew Breitbart's website, takes the later course.

The video, headlined "Obama's TSA Nominee Worries About Those Who Are 'Christian Identity Oreiented' by, features Southers' comments with the captions "Anti-Abortionists?" "Survivalist-Types?" and "Identity-Oriented?" flashed over the video. At the end, a caption reads, "Christian Identity Oriented? What does that mean? Not fit to head the Transportation Safety Administration."

So in 2008, Southers noted that anti-abortion rights extremists and white supremacists could commit dangerous terrorist acts. In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered by someone who opposed abortion rights, and a white supremacist shot up the Holocaust Museum, killing a guard. In 2010, the right-wing is mocking Southers for suggesting that white supremacists who are anti-abortion could be dangerous.

The ignorance of the "Christian Identity Oriented? What does that mean?" comment is similarly staggering.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, "Christian Identity is a religious ideology popular in extreme right-wing circles. Adherents believe that whites of European descent can be traced back to the 'Lost Tribes of Israel.' Many consider Jews to be the Satanic offspring of Eve and the Serpent, while non-whites are "mud peoples" created before Adam and Eve. Its virulent racist and anti-Semitic beliefs are usually accompanied by extreme anti-government sentiments." The ADL has written of Christian Identity attacks in the 1990s:

In the 1990s, Identity criminal activity continued apace, including efforts by an Oklahoma Identity minister, Willie Ray Lampley, to commit a series of bombings in the summer of 1995 in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh. The following year, the Montana Freemen, whose leaders were Identity, made headlines for their "paper terrorism" tactics and their 81-day standoff with the federal government. In 1998, Eric Rudolph, who had been associated with Identity ministers such as Nord Davis and Dan Gayman, became a fugitive after allegedly bombing gay bars, the Atlanta Summer Olympics, and an abortion clinic. The following year, Buford Furrow, a former Aryan Nations security guard, went on a shooting spree at a Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, wounding four children and an adult, and later killing a Filipino-American postal worker.

Breitbart and co. apparently find anti-Semitic hate groups hilarious.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.