Friday, February 19, 2010

Calling It As They See It

By now it’s pretty obvious that Joe Stack intentionally flew his plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, yesterday. He left a long suicide note on his website and set his house on fire.

Apparently some commentators and news organizations took a while before they labeled this as an act of terrorism. Some were cautious because they didn’t have all the facts; fair enough. Others probably held off because Mr. Stack didn’t fit the profile of a terrorist; he was white, American, and didn’t have an unpronounceable name.

And then, if you’re a newly-minted Republican senator from Massachusetts who campaigned against terrorism, you leaven your talking point with a sense of sympathy and understanding as to why Mr. Stack did what he did.

A lot of people are probably wondering — if not scrambling — to see if this outburst of paranoia and anti-government hatred is of a particular brand; was Mr. Stack a tea-partier on a mission to make the point on the day the CPAC convention got underway in Washington? That’s highly unlikely; his troubles and tangles with the IRS go back a lot further than last year. But what remains clear is that it was an act of terrorism. I wonder if the right wing will spend as much time spinning this story of an actual act as they did over a guy who couldn’t blow up his own underwear on an airplane.