Thursday, June 11, 2009


The answer is two. But first, let me explain why I'm bringing this up.

There's an effort out there to push back against the notion that James von Brunn was a man of the right. Michelle Malkin says, "shooter wasn't 'left' or 'right,' just plain loony," while Kathy Shaidle of writes:

... many of von Brunn's political views track "Left" rather than "Right." ...

For example, he unleashed his hatred of both Presidents Bush and other "neo-conservatives" in online essays.... As well, even a cursory glance at "white supremacist" writings reveals a hatred of, say, big corporations that is virtually indistinguishable from that of anti-globalization activists.

James von Brunn's advocacy of 9/11 conspiracy theories also gives him an additional commonality with individuals on the far-left....

I'll spare you Shaidle's inevitable citation of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism.

Meanwhile, what are we actually learning about the circles von Brunn traveled in? Here's a fascinating detail from a story in today's Washington Post:

Todd Blodgett, a former Reagan White House aide who later worked with several extremist groups, met regularly with von Brunn in the 1990s and early 2000s.

"Von Brunn is obsessed with Jewish people," Blodgett said. "He had equal contempt for both Jews and blacks, but if he had to pick one group to wipe out, he'd always say it would be Jews."

Blodgett was part-owner of Resistance Records, which distributed music by white racist groups, and worked for Willis Carto, the founder of Liberty Lobby, a radical right group.

Get that? One of von Brunn's pals had worked in the Reagan White House. I'm not saying that Reaganite conservatism is indistinguishable from neo-Nazism, or that one inevitably leads to the other -- I don't believe that at all. I'm just saying that if you're going to walk out on the loony ledge where people like von Brunn and Blodgett congregate, it's highly unlikely you're going to approach that ledge from the left. I've read a lot about von Brunn and his crowd in the past 24 hours; funny, I haven't read about any ideological soul mate who joined this movement after being part of SDS, or the Mobe, or Gene McCarthy's campaign, or George McGovern's (or Howard Dean's or Obama's or Kucinich's, or MoveOn, for that matter).

Here's more about Blodgett, from the Southern Poverty Law Center. I'll highlight one passage in particular:

Padded by a wealthy Republican father, Todd Alan Blodgett has been a free-range hustler inside and out of the Washington Beltway since he served as a staffer in the Reagan White House.

The 39-year-old son of Republican State Rep. Gary Blodgett of Iowa, Todd Blodgett was a protege of the late Lee Atwater, a key GOP campaign strategist of the time. Fresh from Drake University journalism school in 1983, Todd Blodgett went to work for since-retired Republican Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa.

Within a year, he was enjoying the run of the Reagan White House as a staff editorial assistant. Then it was on to the Bush/Quayle election committee as a domestic policy adviser.

But by 1995, Blodgett also had slipped into the anti-Semitic arms of Willis Carto. Splitting his time between GOP strategy and marketing Carto's anti-Semitic tabloid
The Spotlight, Blodgett was soon operating a number of Carto's financial shells, including one that later held Resistance Records.

Late in 1998, Blodgett was a glad-handing fixture at the functions of various racist groups, including
American Renaissance, a magazine run by white separatist Jared Taylor that focuses on alleged biological differences between races; the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist group with ties to many politicians that long has tried to portray itself as a mainstream conservative organization; and the neofascist British National Party.

So how long was he both an inner-circle Republican and a peddler of nakedly racist periodicals? How long did it take for someone to conclude that this was a bit, um, awkward?

(Then again, hanging out with the Council of Conservative Citizens was practically respectable for years -- Trent Lott regularly spoke at its rallies and wrote for its newspaper; Bob Barr also spoke at one of the group's rallies.)

And no, I'm not going to accept as "liberal" John Crommelin, a great fan of von Brunn's book, merely because Crommelin ran for president in 1968 as a Democrat. He was from Alabama, and if being a racist Democrat from Alabama makes you a liberal, then I guess George Wallace was a liberal, too. From Crommelin's New York Times obituary:

He also ran unsuccessfully for various public offices. He was a candidate in the Democratic Presidential primary in New Hampshire in 1968 and also repeatedly announced himself as a candidate for the United States Senate. The National States Rights Party, advocating white supremacy, nominated him for Vice President in 1960.

In retirement, Admiral Crommelin became known as a supporter of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, and also as an avowed anti-Semite who was active in segregationist circles. It was reported in 1960 that he was a self-styled ''white man's candidate'' for public office and called Jews the real enemy of ''white Christian Alabamians,'' asserting that they controlled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

As for von Brunn himself, I haven't been able to confirm this:

Freepers themselves cite pictures of Von Brunn's personal truck with "Bush/Cheney '04 sticker" on it posted to the website,

But here's the link to the Free Republic comment cited.


UPDATE: Limbaugh on the shooter:

This guy is a leftist, if anything. This guy's beliefs, this guy's hate, stems from influence that you find on the left, not on the right.

The Big Lie.

Oh, and I see Coulter wannabe Tammy Bruce and other right-wingers are saying the shooting was Obama's fault.

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