LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2015 — Twenty years ago yesterday, Timothy McVeigh murdered 168 innocent Americans. He blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in an act of domestic terrorism. Six years before 9/11, this heartless attack shocked the national conscience. American soil was attacked by an American.
McVeigh was a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War who became radicalized after President Bill Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno led the siege on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. That raid occurred on April 19, 1993. McVeigh timed his act of terror to coincide with that date as an act of retribution.
McVeigh was caught during a routine traffic stop, imprisoned, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed on June 11, 2001, precisely three months before the Twin Towers went down in Manhattan.
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While McVeigh’s act of evil was the work of a man with his own personal demons, there were far-reaching political ramifications from his act that still exist today.
The unluckiest politician was Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar. A longshot presidential candidate at best, Lugar had the misfortune of choosing April 19, 1995, as the day to formally announce his candidacy for the White House. He decided not to cancel his announcement, choosing instead to give a somber address. A respected voice on foreign policy by both parties, Lugar was drowned out by the horrific events. His campaign never gained traction.
While Lugar likely would not have won the nomination anyway, the Republican Party was in a strong position to win the 1996 general election. Clinton was thrashed in the 1994 midterm elections, as the Democrats lost both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was driving the agenda and the national conversation. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas was the Republican frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Dole led Clinton in the polls 51-44%. Clinton was deemed peripheral, insisting in his press conferences that he was still relevant. Clinton was on the verge of becoming another one-term Democrat in the mode of Jimmy Carter. Then came the Oklahoma City bombing.
Clinton was failing in getting his domestic agenda passed. His main skill was being able to convey warmth. “I feel your pain” was his signature refrain. Republicans were relegated to the sideline as Clinton became Comforter-in-Chief. He went to Oklahoma and hugged everybody in sight. As one grateful grieving woman told him as she hugged him, “Mr. President, I’m a Republican, but I’m glad you’re here.” This was the first time in his presidency that he looked presidential. He rode the momentum upward in the polls and coasted to reelection.
While McVeigh played a role in Clinton’s reelection, he has been saving Democrats ever since. McVeigh was a registered Republican in his younger years. He was born into a Roman Catholic family. He was a white male from the heartland. He fit every liberal stereotype of an evil dangerous threat to America.
The real truth was that McVeigh was not political or religious. The day before his execution he publicly declared himself an agnostic. He bombed the most rock-ribbed Republican state in America. He was not pro-Gulf War even though he served. He had turned against the war. His anti-war rhetoric reached levels normally reserved for Code Pink leftists.
Despite McVeigh’s not fitting neatly into any box, American liberals mention him whenever there is a terrorist attack. They need Timothy McVeigh. They obsess over him.
Virtually every act of terrorism around the world emanates from radical Islam. Since the 1970s, radical Muslim terrorists have been murdering people in an attempt to spread a global caliphate. Conservatives are determined to defeat radical Islam. Many liberals, including President Barack Obama, refuse to even utter those words. These liberals insist that radical Christianity is as big a threat as radical Islam. Timothy McVeigh is the example they cite. When asked for a second example, liberals change the subject.
Twenty years and hundreds of murderous acts later, Timothy McVeigh remains a statistical aberration. He is the white male Christian Republican terrorist who was neither Republican nor Christian. He is the crutch that liberals lean on in a desperate act of denial. When an Arizona shooting took place, the local Democratic sheriff posited that it could have been an angry tea party attendee who did it. Naturally, this turned out to be complete nonsense. Thanks to Timothy McVeigh, liberals for two decades have treated the typical explanation as unmentionable and the once-in-a-lifetime occurrence as the norm.
McVeigh murdered 168 people and injured over 600 more on that day 20 years ago. Sadly, he has indirectly gotten hundreds more innocent people murdered in the two decades since. Technically it is the terrorists who are murdering these innocent individuals. However, it is liberals in denial and invoking McVeigh’s name that leads to more emboldened terrorists and more horrific atrocities.
Boko Haram, al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and other splinter groups are all committing terror in the name of radical Islam. Whenever one of them commits an evil act, conservatives rush to insist that radical Islam be dealt with. Liberals insist that it could be another Timothy McVeigh. Being right one time allows them to be wrong every other time without consequences.
Twenty years later, Timothy McVeigh is as destructive and evil as ever. Those using his heinous act for partisan political gain are pretty horrible themselves. Terrorist attacks are bad enough in themselves. Refusing to accurately diagnose terrorist threats means more avoidable deaths. This is what happens when political correctness trumps national security because an entire political ideology clings to the ghost of one Timothy McVeigh.