The Corner

DHS and OKC

Jonah’s column today on the ridiculous DHS report is excellent. Read it. I was a little surprised, however, that it didn’t mention Timothy McVeigh. If ever there was a poster child for “right-wing terrorism,” he’s it. Without McVeigh and Oklahoma City in 1995, there would be no DHS report in 2009.

Trying to connect McVeigh to mainstream conservatism is deeply unfair, of course, but it was also a deliberate strategy of the Clinton White House and it worked wonders. If the GOP revolution began with the elections in November 1994, the unraveling started only a few months later, when McVeigh let loose his bombs and his beliefs were linked to the anti-government sentiments of Newt Gingrich and company, just as they were prepping for big budget showdowns. The Oklahoma City bombing, for all of the much-deserved attention it received, was one of the most underappreciated events of the 1990s in terms of its political impact. Conservatives paid dearly for it. They shouldn’t have, but they did.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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