Markos Moulitsas: The real terrorist threat

Markos Moulitsas: The real terrorist threat
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It’s tough being a conservative these days. 

After attacking President Obama as “weak on terrorism” for nearly seven years, the nation hasn’t suffered a single terrorist attack even remotely like the 9/11 terrorist attack during George W. Bush’s presidency or the Beirut barracks bombings during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. As much as conservatives claim that Democratic policies harm the nation, it’s Republican administrations that have had the weakest record when it comes to keeping our nation safe. 

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In fact, one could argue that conservative policies are a root cause of terrorism, whether it is encouraging a foreign policy that breeds new terrorists overseas or cheering on the kind of lax gun laws and racist xenophobia that enable domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof in South Carolina. After all, it’s no accident that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE inspired two Boston brothers into beating a Latino homeless man senseless.

Violent right-wingers certainly don’t lack passion. In a study by the United States Military Academy, American Muslims accounted for 20 successful plots since 9/11, leading to 50 fatalities. In contrast, right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year, killing 254 people. And those numbers have only increased since the study was published in 2012. Meanwhile, the government’s ability to monitor and thwart such attacks was crippled by conservative anger over the 2009 Department of Homeland Security report detailing the danger from this violent fringe. 

And then there’s terrorism enabled by our nation’s lax gun laws. According to the Mass Shooting Tracker, there have already been 273 shootings in which more than three people were wounded or killed people this year, killing a total of 346 and wounding 1,004. But like right-wing violence, conservatives don’t consider this epidemic “terrorism,” proving their definition is conveniently narrow enough to exclude any violence that doesn’t justify their next war. 

With the dearth of successful Islamist attacks on this country, it’s only mildly surprising that a conservative like 20-year-old Joshua Goldberg would try to spark things into action. 

Goldberg worked closely with conservative news outlet Breitbart on efforts to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement, tried tirelessly to smear human rights groups including the Human Rights Law Center and Amnesty International, and was an avid participant in the “Gamergate” movement, a misogynist effort to drive out feminists from the video game industry. And last week, Goldberg was arrested for conspiring with a supposed agent of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to bomb a 9/11 vigil service in Kansas City, Mo. 

According to the indictment, Goldberg didn’t just advise the would-be terrorist on how to build a bomb, he also advised him to dip the shrapnel in rat poison so that victims’ wounds wouldn’t clot, thus increasing their chances of bleeding to death.

It seems incredible that right-wing conservatives would go to such great lengths to harm fellow Americans, but there is a palpable sense of desperation among the radicalized fringe as American culture leaves them behind. They have spent years claiming that Obama’s every step will lead to a loss of “freedom” and the Islamization of this country, yet Americans now widely embrace marriage equality, racial and religious tolerance, and even ObamaCare. The nation’s deficit is down, the economy and job picture are improving, healthcare costs are contained, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Pipeline paralysis: The left’s latest fossil fuel obstruction tactic Mueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation MORE still enjoys dominant leads in general election polls. And there’s no Sharia law anywhere to be found.

So when reality doesn’t confirm your crazy ideology, why not give it a little helpful push? Luckily, Goldberg was caught in time. Hopefully, the next conservative wacko doesn’t fall through the cracks. 

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.