April 15th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

What to do about rise in right-wing extremism?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yet another sign that when economic times are tough, things can get ugly: A new report suggests that right-wing extremism in the U.S. may be on the rise. The Department of Homeland Security says these groups might be using the recession and the election of the country's first African-American president as tools to recruit members.

The Department of Homeland Security says membership in extremist groups like this may be increasing.

They say there's "no specific information" on planned violence by domestic right-wing terrorists; but real-estate foreclosures, unemployment and tight credit could all lead to a "fertile recruiting environment." There's even the possibility of confrontations between these groups and government authorities.

The report says many right-wing extremists are antagonistic toward President Obama and his perceived policies on issues like immigration, expanding social programs to minorities and restrictions on owning guns.

It also points to concerns about anti-Semitism, saying some people are blaming the loss of jobs and home foreclosures on a conspiracy planned by a "cabal of Jewish financial elites."

The report cites "lone wolves and small terrorist cells" as the biggest threat - because their low profile makes it hard to catch them before they act.

The Southern Poverty Law Center agrees that President Obama's election may have boosted membership in some groups, but questions the link to the economy.

Meanwhile at least one conservative radio talk show host suggests that this report is meant to step on free speech and First Amendment Rights - which the Department of Homeland Security denies. It's probably worth pointing out that the Obama administration also issued a warning about left-wing extremists in January.

Here's my question to you: What should be done about a potential increase in right-wing extremism?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Benny writes:
Jack, They claim they fear their guns will be taken away, but they're making the case that their guns should be taken. They're about nothing but hate and disorder. It seems to me they hate intelligence and embrace ignorance.

Pete from St. Louis, Missouri writes:
The same thing we did to other unpalatable groups, such as the Mafia and the KKK. Let the FBI do their job. If they are a legitimate threat, they will be brought down appropriately.

Mike writes:
Right-wing extremism is a fact of life. They do not accumulate guns for nothing. I believe they are sincere in their efforts to prepare for a war, and unfortunately I believe they think it is going to be here. These people are dangerous and fueled by the right-wing nuts on the air.

Tim from Hot Springs, Arkansas writes:
This type of thing happens every time there is a recession… Young, urbanites resort to crime to survive and whites in rural America unite to blame others and "protect" themselves. Either the economy needs to recover and recover quickly or we will need to crush the extremists like pebbles just as we did in the mid-90s. Let's just pray we it happens before another Oklahoma City.

William from Minneapolis writes:
As a black man, I will shock your audience with this: Don't do anything. If the government does anything to restrict 1st Amendment rights of these extremists, they will go underground with more venom than before. Prosecute them under current law if they violate the law, but don't squash their rights.

George from New York writes:
Now that they are out of the White House, I feel much better.

Mario from Montreal writes:
Put Rush in jail.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Benny Huff

    Jack they claim they, Fear Their guns will be taken away, but they're making the case that there guns should be taken, They're about nothing but hate, and disorder, It seems to me they hate Intelligence and embrace ignorance....

    April 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  2. Venia PA

    We should thank the republicans for fostering home grown terrorism. I swear every last one of these nuts were at each and every palin rally.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm |

    Jack, I'm really not sure. Most of the time I always have a good answer to your questions but you got me on this one..

    April 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Bill .............. Austin, TX

    Jack, it's just another cog in the economic wheel. It's always easier to blame someone else. Sadly there will always be hate. Ignorance is the worst part of violence and that through the centuries has never changed.

    April 15, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  5. mitchell, arkansas

    Same thing you do with all extremists. keep them under a watchful eye, and pounce on them ,when they break the law.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Thomas - Yo.town, OH

    Nothing until a law is broken, then enact the RICO act upon the group of which they represent.........by the way of which should be done with the pirates as well.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  7. Joan B

    The problem with this report put out by Dept of Homeland Security is that it has no facts to back up what they say. They are showing the Tyrant wishes of this Socialist/Fascist Adm. They actually say the Military is their enemy – READ IT !
    People have to legal right to freedom of speech and to protest the spending us into becoming a fifth world country.
    Joan B

    April 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Brian, Portland, OR


    Perhaps we should ship them off to Alaska, where they can help Gov. Palin keep an eye on Russia and the so-called impending communism.

    Portland, OR

    April 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    Use the republican law of the land to watch them. You know, PNAC, Patriot Act and wiretapping without a warrant should be enough.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Than Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

    I've been asking this question since Bush's reelection in 2004. Nice to know DHS is finally catching up to me...

    April 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  11. David Phillips

    Nothing!! There's no cure for stupid.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  12. Linda in Arizona

    Why don't you name the "one conservative radio talk show host"? We know you mean the traitor, limbaugh, who should be arrested for sedition, and tried and SHOT OR HANGED FOR TREASON.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  13. Joel -- Phoenix, Arizona

    Nothing should be done. Everyday there is a potential for some great disaster or some other thing to happen.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  14. Rob

    I'm sorry did you just say right-winged terriost on air.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  15. brett

    Nothing, until they break the law. I think they're all idiots but that's not illegal.

    New York City

    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  16. Melissa, Winterville, NC

    We should remember what happened in Germany after World War I when right wing extremism ran amok. The similarities are frightening.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  17. kijana

    Deal with them the same way the government dealt with the Black Panthers

    April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Ken in NC

    Gather them up and send them to fight the hijackers in Somalia.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Richard, in Kansas

    The right may be on to something here. Their strategy has worked before. Call the opposition socialists, blame some ethnic group for all your problems (economic and social), restrict the rights of people you don't like (gays and minorities) portray yourself as the victim, and arm yourself to the teeth. It worked for Hitler...

    April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  20. Mark

    STOP the lies. This is soooooo not true. You should do better research before you start the propaganda. This is just a way to stop free speech. Just because you quote a few "liberal bias" groups doesn't make it true!!!

    April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  21. Stephanie in Sunrise, FL

    Increasingly tax them until they leave the country, since i'm sure all of them are part of the super-rich that refuse to help anyone besides themselves.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  22. chris

    it's really easy. 2010 we have another election.....

    April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  23. Jennifer Buxton

    Nothing. Their behavior is not only misdirected, its self destructive. They will fall apart.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  24. jeff hendrix

    mr.cafferty, give that most hate groups come out of liberal groups isn't this report a joke on the people of america

    April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  25. ken

    why not call it what it was and what it is...terrorism. our policy regarding combating terrorism..sanctions

    April 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  26. Peter Denison

    There is more to life than politics.....

    I guess Obama was right.....when people lose faith, they cling to their guns and religion. Extremists are supporting Obama's views.....

    As I said, there is more to life than politics. Rather than fight perhaps the media can educate the population about putting a smile on there face, and getting out to lend a helping hand to others.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  27. Dave , Munhall, Pa.

    INFILTRATE !!!!!

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  28. Mike Szmania

    Easy Create more American made jobs, if your workin you will not have enough time to join a right wing extremist group.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  29. Dan Columbia SC

    The same thing you would do about left-wing extremism. Nothing. But then again maybe we would get rid of some of them,too. After you hailed them as heroes.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  30. marie mtl can.

    Put Rush in jail, without a micro and peace will return

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  31. Pat, Pa.

    One thing that would probably help would be to put a stop to all of the hate broadcasts from the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, O"Reilly, Beck, etc. They just keep things humming all the time and most of their listeners never do any homework to see if what they say is true or not.. Usually NOT.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  32. Derrick

    2 groups have attacked the US. Rightwing extremists and Islamic terrorists. Rightwing extremists – Taliban, Rightwing extremists – terrorists......what's the difference.

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  33. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    I guess whatever was done to the left wing extremists...Are you sure this warning was from the Obama administration...when was the inauguration again? January what!

    April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  34. Frank, Montana

    If the feds did a report on left-wing extremists earlier this year, why didn't you do a story on that?

    April 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  35. Christle

    The same thing we've always done. Nothing. Most of the people who join those types of groups are just looking for something to belong to, and when it comes down to it, the threat they pose is minimal at best.


    Las Vegas NV

    April 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |