Ann Coulter appeared last night on The Joy Behar Show where she claimed “Every presidential assassination or attempted presidential assassination was committed by some left-wing loon, communist, anarchist, communitarian…or they had no politics as all.” In other words: left-wing extremists.
Of course she’s wrong. Not all presidential assassinations were committed by left-wing extremists. Both Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield were assassinated by right-wing extremists: Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth who opposed abolition and suffrage for freed slaves; Garfield by Charles Guiteau, a member of a far-right faction of the Republican Party who believed he was commanded by God.
Yet Ann isn’t completely wrong. The other two presidents assassinated—William McKinley and John F. Kennedy—were killed by left-wing extremists: McKinley by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist influenced by socialist and anarchist propaganda; Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald, a Marxist who spent several years in the Soviet Union and tried to immigrate to Cuba.
And she’s not entirely wrong about attempted presidential assassinations, many which were attempted by left-wing extremists:
· Franklin Delano Roosevelt was shot at five times by Giuseppe Zangara who would later tell police, "I have the gun in my hand. I kill kings and presidents first and next all capitalists."
· Richard Nixon was threatened by Samuel Byck, who planned to fly an airplane into the White House, but committed suicide when confronted by police. According to Wikipedia, Byck believed that that “the government was conspiring to oppress the poor.”
· Gerald Ford was nearly shot by Sara Jane Moore, a Marxist who was strongly influenced by the revolutionary Symbionese Liberation Army.
Yet Ann Coulter was wrong to imply that all presidential assassinations and attempted assassinations were committed by liberals. Conservatives have the same capacity to commit terrorism as do liberals. The problem isn’t an ideology itself, but rather an ideology taken to an extreme. All extremists are evil, be they liberal or conservative.
Ironically, Joy was shocked when Ann suggested that liberals could be murderers, but was unmoved when, on the same night, left-wing author Gore Vidal shared his desire to kill George W. Bush, to which she simply replied, "Well, it's too late anyway."
I wonder how Joy would have reacted had a left-wing columnist suggested that all presidential assassinations were committed by conservatives. Knowing Joy, she probably would have nodded her empty carrot top head in agreement.