The left's and the media's reflexive search for right-wing perpetrators is not unique to this attack. Indeed, it's not even unique among attacks this week. On Tuesday the office of Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, received a letter containing ricin, a toxin derived from the castor oil plant. United Press International reported that the Anti-Defamation League "said ricin . . . is popular with domestic extremists. . . . Many ricin incidents have been attributed to homegrown extremists, particularly right-wing groups such as anti-government extremists and white supremacists. Other ricin incidents have been unrelated to any specific ideology, the ADL said."
A suspect, Paul Curtis, was quickly caught. On Wednesday the Jackson Clarion Ledger published a photo of him, posing with a bumper sticker that reads "Christian and a Democrat."
It is true, of course, that some terrorist attacks are committed by white supremacists, antiabortion extremists or others on what is called "the extreme right." It was not unreasonable to consider that as a possibility when Boston was bombed.
What is unreasonable is the impulse to blame mainstream conservatives, including the Tea Party, a diffuse mass movement that has never been linked to any violence. Never forget that after the Tucson massacre of 2011, the New York Times editorialized that "it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible"--even though it was already known that the killer had no political motive.
What the hope-they're-white crowd really wishes for is a reason to treat their domestic political adversaries as enemies of the state.
Where do I begin with dismantling this textbook case of projection? Should I start with Taranto complaining about his voicelessness against the "media" when he's penning the day's top op-ed in the Wall Street Journal? How about his rage over the Tea Party and conservatives being unfairly painted with broad strokes while in the same article he is indicting all liberals, all of the "media", all Muslims, all Democrats, and all Obama supporters as "thugs" and "fascists"? His blithe dismissal of criticism of a Tea Party movement that has "never been linked to any violence" when even a cursory search pulls up dozens of incidents and his own article references abortion clinic bombers and white supremacists? His utter contempt for the 90% of Americans who supported background checks for firearms as having "no organic reality" that is a "sign of weakness, not strength"?
It amazes me that a national newspaper would be employing Taranto at all at this point, considering how completely bonkers he has become. Instead, like Jennifer Rubin's daily disgraceful slop at the Washington Post, he gets a platform to spew nonsense that should rightfully be laughed out of the room.
The problem of course is that tens of thousands of people read both of them daily and millions agree with them.