A couple of weeks ago, Conor Friedersdorf wondered how it could be that a fairly wide array of conservatives could simultaneously believe that Barack Obama "is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to
transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going
to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who
cannot be trusted" and that he "should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield
unprecedented executive power."
The assassination of George Tiller has tragically enabled Friedersdorf to ask the same question in more concrete form:
The attack on Dr. Tiller is widely referred to as “terrorism” in the
blogosphere. Agree or not, it is easy to image an ongoing terrorist
campaign run by fringe pro-lifers to shut down abortion clinics. Heaven
forbid that this recent murder is followed by bombings at a few Planned
Parenthood locations, but that scenario isn’t unthinkable — copycat
atrocities are a sad fact of modern life.
Should something like that come to pass, I wonder how “War on Terror
hawks” would react.... Would these predominantly
conservative officials, commentators and writers be comfortable if
President Obama declared two or three extremist pro-lifers as “enemy
combatants”? Should Pres. Obama have the prerogative to order the
waterboarding of these uncharged, untried detainees? Should he be able
to listen in on phone conversations originating from evangelical
churches where suspected abortion extremists hang out?