The Spectacle Blog

Clinton Uses Anniversary of Oklahoma City Bombing to Attack Michelle Bachmann

By on 4.16.10 | 9:17AM

Reprising his role from 1995, Bill Clinton is exploiting the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to attack critics of big government for inciting violence, and in the process, he directly singled out comments from Michele Bachmann.

According to a New York Times interview:

“There can be real consequences when what you say animates people who do things you would never do,” Mr. Clinton said in an interview, saying that Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing, and those who assisted him, “were profoundly alienated, disconnected people who bought into this militant antigovernment line.”

The former president said the potential for stirring a violent response might be even greater now with the reach of the Internet and other common ways of communication that did not exist on April 19, 1995, when the building was struck.

“Because of the Internet, there is this vast echo chamber and our advocacy reaches into corners that never would have been possible before,” said Mr. Clinton, who said political messages are now able to reach those who are both “serious and seriously disturbed.” He will be delivering the keynote address Friday at an event about the Oklahoma City attack being sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Democratic Leadership Council.

Mr. Clinton pointed to remarks like those made Thursday by Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican, who when speaking at a Tea Party rally in Washington characterized the Obama administration and Democratic Congress as “the gangster government.”

“They are not gangsters,” Mr. Clinton said. “They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”

In 1995, you may recall, months after Republicans took over Congress, Clinton exploited the Oklahoma City tragedy to lash out at his political opponents and supporters of limited government, specifically, conservative talk radio.

At the time, he said that, "I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences, and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility."

He went on to blast "purveyors of hatred and division" and "promoters of paranoia."

Clinton's comments to the New York Times are part of a broader effort by the left to use the Oklahoma City bombing anniversary to accuse critics of the Obama administration of inciting violence. MSNBC plans a two-hour documentary hosted by Rachel Maddow based on interviews with Timothy McVeigh. "Fifteen years later," the show promo asks, "can McVeigh's words help us understand today's anti-government extremists?"

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