By Ken Klukowski and Ken Blackwell
"He who defines the words is the master."
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Recent events reveal how far to the left President Obama really is. When the president's Cairo speech, taken with his reactions to the deaths of an abortion doctor and a U.S. soldier, are weighed against his Department of Homeland Security report and his Supreme Court decisions, a pattern emerges. The president is indicating that conservatives can in many ways be equated with terrorists. Such a comparison is outrageous, and the possibility that this mindset could end up on the U.S. Supreme Court makes it all the more dangerous.
First was the president's speech in Cairo. As Charles Krauthammer observed, Obama kept comparing appalling acts of Mideast terrorists with acts from America's past, suggesting a degree of equivalency between the two. Separately, many noted that the president never once used the words "terror," "terrorist," or "terrorism." He did, however, use the word "extremist." More on that in a moment. Second was the contrast between the president's immediate expression of grief at the shooting death of partial-birth abortion provider George Tiller versus the shockingly muted expression of sympathy for a U.S. soldier gunned down by a radical Muslim terrorist in Arkansas. A man shot and killed Dr. Tiller, who was one of the few doctors in America willing to perform partial-birth abortions on late-term, unborn babies right up to the moment of birth, committing what the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan called "infanticide." Pro-life groups spoke out as quickly as pro-choice groups to condemn this vigilante act.
To read the immediate White House reaction, you would think a national hero had died. And indeed some in the media said exactly this, with USA Today editorializing that Dr. Tiller was a "hero" to many women. Setting aside the disgraceful commentary that came from some pundits trying to blame conservatives, and even moderates like Bill O'Reilly, for "inciting" this shooting, it's worth noting that one CNN anchor referred to Dr. Tiller's murder as "an act of domestic terrorism."
Contrast that with the reaction to the killing of a U.S. soldier in Arkansas by a real terrorist. A man who had converted to Islam deliberately sought out and shot two uniformed U.S. soldiers, fatally wounding one of them. The White House was virtually silent for days, including the president's choice not to utter a word when he introduced his nominee for secretary of the army to the media. Only now has the White House spoken, after being called out by journalists.
These events must be taken in the context of the deeply disturbing report issued by the Department of Homeland Security weeks ago. This is the report that said conservatives, such as people who are outspokenly pro-life or support the Second Amendment, pose a potential terrorist threat in this country. That report also warned that military servicemen returning from overseas were potential recruits for these proto-terrorist movements. There again, the Obama administration analogizes conservatives with terrorists.
That report was issued under the approval of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. That's important because Napolitano was one of four finalists to be Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court may not succeed. Ironically, if confirmation is denied, it will be because supporters of the Second Amendment will make Sotomayor's lifelong opposition to gun rights an issue that some elected officials cannot countenance. If Sotomayor does not make it to the Supreme Court, or if Obama gets one or two more vacancies to fill during his term (which is very likely), then Napolitano may well become a justice.
Should that happen, this comparing of conservatives with terrorists could impact Supreme Court decisions for decades. How would pro-life protesters fare in a case before a Justice Napolitano? Or what of a case brought by the NRA to advance Second Amendment rights, as will likely happen next year?
Conservatives are not the moral equivalent of terrorists. We should all fear the consequences of this administration failing to appreciate the difference. Ken Klukowski is a fellow and senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union.
Ken Blackwell is the former United States Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow with the American Civil Rights Union.
J. Kenneth Blackwell is a board member of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. He served as mayor of Cincinnati and as U.S. Human Rights Ambassador at the U.N.