Pawlenty calls DHS rightwing extremists report “absurd”

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Just in case you missed this report back in April, take another look — both Michele Bachmann and T-Paw think right-wing extremism is not a threat. We published this article from media partner Minnesota Independent back in April, when they also reported Bachmann’s reaction to the report:
Bachmann: DHS head should resign if she believes ‘rightwing extremists’ report
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April 17, 2009 • On Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News Thursday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty called it “unfair” and “more candidly and bluntly… absurd” that a leaked Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremists should include “groups opposed to abortion,” as Cavuto put it. But both Pawlenty and Cavuto misrepresent the report: It includes mention of abortion a mere two times, including once in a footnote.

A section titled “Revisiting the 1990s,” references “white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion,” not mainstream abortion opponents. A footnote on page two defines the report’s key term (emphasis mine):

Right-wing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Pawlenty then goes on to say that there’s “a media perspective that, if you’re conservative, you’re somehow, you know, deranged, or you’re somehow deficient, that, if you were a rational, well-thought-of, intelligent person, that you — you couldn’t be a conservative.”

Like Pawlenty, right-wing groups are incensed, and one, the Thomas More Law Center, has filed a lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for targeting conservatives “for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs.” (That’s a familiar talking point on the right, with heavy hitters Michele Malkin and Power Line leading the charge.)

But, according to a Fox News reporter, the study wasn’t an Obama administration project. Fox’s Catherine Herridge said the report, plus an earlier one about left-wing extremists, “were requested by the Bush administration but not finished until President Bush left office.”

One critic, Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson, said he was “dumbfounded” by the report. By why would he be? As a ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee in 2005 he put out a similar report (pdf) on rightwing extremists.

It referenced abortion not twice, but six times.

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