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Timothy McVeigh Succeeded

During last night’s Republican presidential candidate debate, Ron Paul took a strong stand in defense of the Bill of Rights, stating that it simply isn’t necessary to sacrifice constitutional freedom in the United States in order to establish security. “I have a personal belief that you never have to give up security for liberty,” he said.

Newt Gingrich was outraged by Ron Paul’s support for liberty. His angry response was that “Timothy McVeigh succeeded!”

Timothy McVeigh succeeded? McVeigh was part of a network of right wing extremists that wanted to radically reduce the size of the federal government. After the Oklahoma City bombing, however, the size of the federal government increased. That doesn’t look like success to me. McVeigh’s terrorism provided a powerful lesson: Violence isn’t a reliable method for creating political change.

anti-gingrich tshirt for 2012These details were beyond the grasp of Gingrich’s pseudo-intellectual mind. Gingrich declared that McVeigh succeeded simply because he killed large numbers of people, as if that was McVeigh’s final objective. Then, Gingrich spoke in support of the radical expansion of federal government surveillance powers through laws like the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. “I don’t want a law that says, after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, if you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you!”

Gingrich’s approach seems like good sense, if you accept Newt Gingrich’s premise: That the United States is in danger of losing a major city. That premise, of course, is as flimsy as wet toilet paper. The United States has never had a major city “taken out”. Oklahoma City, of course, isn’t a “major American city”, but even Timothy McVeigh’s terrible attack didn’t destroy Oklahoma City – it only destroyed part of one building in the city. Even Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t result in the destruction of a city. In the context of real American history, Newt Gingrich’s fearful premise isn’t realistic. His hyperbole isn’t helpful.

Those who have a deeper knowledge of American history than what Newt Gingrich can offer also realize that what Gingrich proposes is something that American law was never supposed to do: Focus on preventing crime, rather than punishing it. Constitutional structures such as the fourth amendment were established to prevent the formation of a law enforcement system that was focused on controlling citizens’ activities in order to create a strict society of law and order. In the United States, the system is supposed to err on the side of freedom, with the presumption of innocence.

We aren’t supposed to have big government systems of surveillance targeted against people living peacefully within the United States. The Constitution guarantees protection from unreasonable search and seizure of our bodies and our property. The Big Brother spying laws that Newt Gingrich defends have disabled this constitutional protection, creating a law enforcement system that has more in common with that of the Soviet Union than what the authors of the Bill of Rights had in mind.

Newt Gingrich markets himself as an expert in history, but it’s obviously been a long while since he cracked open a book on American history. Gingrich has allowed his ideological preoccupations with fear and insecurity to overshadow some of the most basic facts of American history and government. His desire for a huge federal government spying system always looking over the shadows of American citizens in order to serve as a crime prevention system places Gingrich in opposition to the highest ideals of our national history.

In 2012, Americans who support the Bill of Rights must take a stand against Newt Gingrich.

8 comments to Timothy McVeigh Succeeded

  • socialistal

    So sad people are moved by fear. Hey remember when gov’t said u
    need duct tape and plastic to guard against a chemical attack? All stores were sold out by me. I live 40 miles away from the city.

  • Hooligan

    Old Newtie, on stage again with the same script a whole decade and a half later. “I am a historian”, “I’m a futurist”. Demogogue is more like it.

  • Born and raised in OKC.

    Go fuck yourself, Newt.

  • 8myfoot

    Ron Paul is a nutjob, plain and simple.

    • Well, I don’t think that Ron Paul is a plain and simple nutjob. I think he’s a complex nutjob. Congressman Paul has some very sensible and compassionate stands on some issues. His abstract antipathy to the United States of America’s federal government leads him down some very nutty roads, however, and some of his right wing social attitudes are quite ugly.

      Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, is a New Year’s Eve drunk, party-favor-tootin’ nutjob.

  • voice of seven

    By Hook or Crook O’Ramney is failing ,..so now we have evil eyes Grin of Gingridge
    Sound like a member of WHoo Ville

    Al these guys are all bad bad bad _ check our national Bohemian Forest campground for the evil people like newt Grimgrige.. there is lot in a name and his revels his character have your seen a newt they live under Rocks..

  • voice of seven

    By Hook or Crook O’Ramney is failing ,..so now we have the evil eyes and Grin of Gingridge
    I here the Sounds like a member of WHoo Ville Rymes and trick for everyone

    All these guys are all bad bad bad _ But if you look closely your see them in a group ,.. Yes it true, they like to ware blue,,, Just check our national Bohemian Forest campground for the evil people like newt . What a name Grimgrige.. there is lot in a name and his revels his game the character and the shame.

    Have you ever seen a newt? they live under Rocks.

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