Somewhat astoundingly, in the entire nation’s history, there’s never been a presidential assassination attempt by a right-winger. There have been more than a dozen by left-wingers. I wouldn’t mention it—I assume we’re all against political assassinations—except liberals keep warning us about the burgeoning violence on the verge of exploding from the right wing.
It could still happen, but in the first 222 years of this nation’s history, every single shooting of a national politician has been committed by either a liberal or someone even more deranged than the average liberal.
Some would-be assassins were simply delusional nuts. Richard Lawrence, a painter who thought he was King Richard II of England, tried to shoot Andrew Jackson because he believed the United States owed him money. John Schrank, inspired by the ghost of William McKinley, tried to kill President Teddy Roosevelt because he was angry about Roosevelt running for a third term. Francisco Martin Duran, a paranoid schizophrenic who believed he was going to become Jesus Christ, shot at some men on the White House lawn during Clinton’s presidency.
The rest were political activists, who may have been crazy enough to be left-wingers but were not so crazy as to believe they were King Richard II.
Actor/peace activist John Wilkes Booth—not to be confused with actor/peace activist Sean Penn—shot President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, because, as he explained in a letter to his family, he was furious with Republicans for foisting the war on the South. He said he loved “peace more than life.” (But he really wanted to direct.)
Charles J. Guiteau, who shot President James Garfield in 1881, had a long relationship with a utopian commune called the Oneida Community, where free love and communal child-rearing were practiced, kind of like Berkeley.
Leon Czolgosz, who killed President William McKinley in 1901, was a socialist and anarchist inspired by a radical speech given by socialist Emma Goldman that same year.
Giuseppe Zangara, who plotted to kill both Republican president Herbert Hoover and President-elect Franklin Roosevelt, just missed shooting Roosevelt, killing Chicago mayor Anton Cermak instead. Zangara was motivated by his all-consuming envy of the rich and intended to assassinate “all capitalist presidents and kings.” This would have made him an ideal pick for Obama’s cabinet, apart from his habit of shooting elected officials.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was a stone-cold communist ever since he read a communist pamphlet about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg as a teenager. Oswald studied Russian and moved to the USSR in his late teens. When his application for Soviet citizenship was declined, he slit his wrists. Oswald married a Russian woman, brought her and their child back to the United States, and planned to escape to Cuba, whiling away his days passing out Fair Play for Cuba leaflets. In other words, Lee Harvey Oswald was Michael Moore, if Moore didn’t hate guns and wasn’t a fat, disgusting pig.
Ginned up by publications of the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party, Oswald first tried to kill Major General Edwin A. Walker, a John Bircher. Oswald next plotted to kill former vice president Richard Nixon, but was waylaid the day Nixon was in Dallas.
So he shot President Kennedy. Upon his arrest, Oswald immediately called John Abt, lawyer for the American Communist Party, planning to ask Abt to defend him so he could use the trial to showcase his Marxist beliefs. (And who hasn’t used his one phone call after being arrested for murder to make arrangements to share Marxism with the world?)
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who shot at President Gerald Ford in 1975, was part of Charles Manson’s countercultural hippie cult. She pulled the gun on Ford because she was incensed about the plight of the redwood.
Seventeen days later, Sara Jane Moore tried to kill Ford because, she said, “the government had declared war on the Left.” (Would that it were so!)
In the entire history of the nation, only two senators and two congressmen have been assassinated. Both the first and the last were killed by Democrats for political reasons, and the other two were killed for nonpolitical reasons.
The first member of Congress to be assassinated was Republican James M. Hinds of Arkansas. He was killed in 1868 by secretary of the Democratic Committee of Monroe County and Ku Klux Klan member George A. Clark. (This was contrary to initial reports on the Rachel Maddow Show that he had been killed by a right-wing anti-government Tea Partier.
Senator Huey Long was shot and killed in 1935 by Carl Weiss for no political reason, but apparently because Long had targeted Weiss’s father-in-law, a judge, for removal from the bench. Senator Robert Kennedy was killed on June 5, 1968, by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian extremist angry with Kennedy for his support of Israel. Sirhan keeps coming up for parole these days and is hoping to be released in time to get his own prime-time show on MSNBC. (It was a strange name for an assassin, unless you think about it.)
The last assassination of a member of Congress was in 1978, when Representative Leo Ryan was killed by members of Jim Jones’s left-wing cult in Guyana.
Conservatives, we’re endlessly told, create “an atmosphere of hatred and fear.” This is as opposed to liberals who just go around shooting elected officials.
Among recent examples of political violence on a massive scale in this country—not rhetorical violence, but real violence—was that committed by the Weathermen and their ilk just a few decades ago. Not only were those people embraced by the establishment, they would be welcome today at any Democratic gathering. America’s current president launched his political career in the home of two such radicals who incited violence, set bombs, praised Charles Manson—and only through their own ineptitude avoided murdering anyone.
Guess which political group both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI consider the most dangerous in America? Moveon.org? Tea Partiers? The Kennedy family?
The answer is: environmentalists.
Citing the $43 million in damage done in the past two decades only by the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, the Southern Poverty Law Center concludes, “Extremists within the environmental and animal rights movements have committed literally thousands of violent criminal acts in recent decades —arguably more than those from any other radical sector, left or right.” In 2002, the FBI described the Earth Liberation Front as America’s most dangerous domestic terrorist group.
There are other hard comparisons to be made.
No conservative has ever charged at a liberal testifying before Congress, waving bloody hands in the witness’s face—as was done to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Or as liberals would put it if she were a Democrat: the first black female secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.)
No conservative has ever sneaked into a Democratic National Convention and heckled the speakers.
No Democratic politician has ever been rushed by a conservative and hit in the face with a stupid sign, as was done to Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul in 2010. Indeed, no conservative has rushed anyone, other than maybe a laggard waiter.
No conservative has ever thrown food at a prominent liberal. This is done all the time to conservative public figures. Limiting this review of liberal food-throwing to the baked dessert section—and liberals throw all sorts of food at conservatives—liberals have thrown pies at William F. Buckley, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, Milton Friedman, Bill Kristol, David Horowitz, and G. Gordon Liddy, among others.
No conservative has ever demonstrated outside a private citizen’s home. This is done repeatedly by liberals—to the Duke lacrosse players; to AIG officials; to Republican House speaker John Boehner; to a Wal-Mart developer; to a Bank of America executive (who was a Democrat, but SEIU didn’t care); to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker; and to Wisconsin State Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald. (And that was despite a union rule prohibiting work on Tuesdays!)
When the Bank of America officer’s young son was trapped, alone and terrified, inside his home with fourteen busloads of Service Employees International Union thugs pouring out onto his front yard to protest, the police refused to arrest the trespassers so as not to “incite them.” His parents had both worked in the Clinton administration. Even liberals know that they are in danger of a physical assault only from their fellow liberals. But they still playact terror of anti-ObamaCare protesters.
It is possible that, somewhere, at some time, an audience of conservatives has shouted down an invited liberal speaker—though no such incidents come to mind. But it is not possible that conservatives would defend or embrace the hooligans. Conservatives think civil society needs to be, you know, civil.
We are not counting the voices in Maureen Dowd’s head that heard Representative Joe Wilson shout, “You lie, boy!” rather than “You lie!” during Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address. First of all, we’re in trouble if people can be found guilty for what Maureen Dowd knows they really meant in their hearts—especially since Maureen seems to base her experience of the world on having recently read Uncle