Saturday, January 17, 2009

He Dines Out on Death

Did you know that the FALN was responsible for 9/11? Joseph F. Connor knows.

Connor, the professional victim-of-terrorism the Republicans trotted out to oppose Eric Holder in his confirmation hearings, had a column in the L.A. Times yesterday. The short version is this: on Connor's 9th birthday (in 1975), his father was killed in a bombing generally attributed to the FALN; the folks Clinton pardoned in 1999 (none of whom were charged with any bombing) belonged to the FALN; Eric Holder supported the pardons; Look! Over there! 9/11!, in which Connor's cousin was killed; and that's why Holder is unfit to be Attorney General. More...

We're all familiar with the responsibility shifting he uses here (anyone in the FALN is responsible for bombings committed by any FALN members; any organization using terror (e.g., the FALN) is responsible for the acts committed by any other organization using terror (e.g., al Qaeda); anyone who supports the rights of people associated with terrorism is responsible for any acts committed by anyone labeled a 'terrorist'); it's the way wingnuts have been smearing all of us for the last 7 1/2 years. Connor's personal loss is just the emotional hook ("He was supposed to be home early on that Jan. 24 for a family celebration of my birthday") to draw us into his reprehensible illogic.

But that's just part of the story. It turns out Connor has written essentially the same column before, emotional manipulation and all ("My father had been very excited to get home from work that night to celebrate [our] birthdays with his young family"). In Commentary, in August:

As an "ordinary American," I sincerely question whether Barack Obama has the judgment to be president. His lack of judgment in choosing Eric Holder as a top adviser on his campaign -- the man partly responsible for pardoning terrorists who proudly claimed responsibility for my father's murder -- serves as primary evidence supporting that judgment.
In that one, he makes the FALN-9/11 link more explicitly:
Worse, releasing the terrorists placed the American people in danger. When I helped introduce the Pardon Attorney Reform and Integrity Act in February 2000, I warned about "the encouragement would-be terrorists must have received by the" FALN clemency grants. Unfortunately, that warning proved prophetic, and Sept. 11, 2001, took the life of my father's 41-year-old godson, Steve Schlag, and 3,000 other innocent lives as my brother and I watched in horror from our downtown offices.
Yup: Eric Holder caused 9/11. Now you know.

But his target wasn't always just Obama. In May, he wrote the same column ("I was 9 and my brother Tom 11 when our father...was killed in the...bombing of Fraunces Tavern") about both Democratic candidates (throwing Ayers and Wright into the terrorism mix):
When it comes to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, what they will find are two candidates with dangerous ties to terrorists and anti-American radicals....The relationships are as intertwined as they are astounding and chilling.
And back in 2007, he was on wingnut radio slamming Clinton for her reaction to the Libby pardon:
...the need arises to remind Americans of the Clinton family’s unfathomable 1999 pardons of the 16 unrepentant FALN terrorists who proudly claimed responsibility for 130 bombings in the US including the murder of my 33 year old father Frank Connor...
And in 2006, in the NY Post ("[The FALN's] most heinous attack....killed four people, including my father"):
I did get a chance to testify before a Senate subcommittee conducting hearings on Clinton's clemency.....I was trying to make the point that the release of the FALN killers would send a frightening invitation to other would-be terrorists. Little did I know that more anguish was yet to come.

Almost two years to the day after my Senate testimony, my father's god son, our cousin Steve Schlag, was killed on 9/11. My brother and I watched in helpless horror from our downtown offices, ironically only blocks from Fraunces Tavern.
Admit it: when I said "professional victim-of-terror", you thought it was a little harsh. Now, not so much--right? This guy has clearly been working the same schtick for years. He refines it a little--he tones down the batshit wingnuttery, and amps up the emotional manipulation (the first couple of times he doesn't even mention his birthday)--but the message is the same: Democrats Killed My Father.

I feel bad for anyone who loses a father that way, but let's have a little perspective here. Lots of people suffer horrible, sudden, crippling loss. Many of them don't spin their loss into a viciously reactionary paranoid worldview...and of those who do, most don't make a career of it.