“The Very Real Threat of Extremism” by The Center for American Progress
June 14, 2009, 1:00am

Yesterday’s tragic shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, by an “88-year-old white supremacist,” is the latest in a string of right-wing extremist attacks. The number of hate groups such as the “Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads and Black separatists” operating in the United States is at an all-time high, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Moreover, gun purchases since President Obama’s election surged. However, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declassified a report “detailing potential increases in right-wing extremism” in April, right-wing commentators and Republican politicians decried the report as a politically motivated attack on all conservatives. They claimed that “the Obama administration is targeting conservatives and others simply because they disagree with administration policies and proposals.” Ignoring that the report — like a similar one describing the threat of left-wing extremists — was commissioned by the Bush administration, conservatives called for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Media Matters Action Fund’s Matt Finkelstein asks, “Will Republicans admit that their partisan ‘outrage’ was misplaced?”