From attending Tea Party conventions to hanging with Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin’s done a great job transforming herself into the right-wing’s unspoken leader. Or, at the very least, a main attraction. The right wing has become increasingly angry, not to mention irrational, and Palin’s latest stunt, issuing a list of electoral “targets” could make her more of an outlaw than a rebel.
Six democratic headquarters in four states have been vandalized with window-breaking bricks since health care passed this weekend. Those starts are Ohio, Arizona, New York and Kansas. Many lawmakers, including Louise Slaughter of New York and abortion-hating Democrat Bart Stupak have received death threats.
An Alabama man named Mike Vanderboegh has taken credit for firing up the right, and recently used his blog to urge “sons of liberty” to break windows at Democratic offices. Writes Vanderboegh, a former militia leader, “If we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democrat party headquarters across this country, we might just wake up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary.”
The Vanderboegh story dove tails quite nicely with one of Palin’s recent tweets, “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!’” That tweet included a link to her Facebook page, where the former Alaska governor announced she and Sarah PAC have twenty electoral targets across the nation, including Arizona and Ohio, the latter of which Sarah PAC has spent a lot of her donors’ money. Though it’s great press for Palin’s crusade, most stories revolve around Sarah PAC’s use of crosshairs to illustrate their geographic targets.
Palin would do well to distance herself from these right-wing outbursts. Secret Service has already launched investigations into a “death tweet” against President Obama, and the FBI’s looking into those made against lawmakers like Slaughter, whose family was mentioned in the foreboding message. It’s unclear whether Vanderboegh will face charges for his role, but inciting violence definitely breaks the law, and if Palin’s group becomes too far aligned with this extremist violence, she could, in theory, be described as an accomplice. And that would be disastrous for someone who may one day run for the White House: how can you be President of the United States if you’re accused of helping tear them apart?