Bill Clinton has spent the last couple of days alleging that Tea Party protesters remind him of Timothy McVeigh, who killed over 160 people in the worst case of domestic terrorism on April 19th, 1995, in Oklahoma City. Dick Morris, a one-time political adviser to the former President turned opponent, tells Sean Hannity that Clinton may want to reflect on his own responsibilities for that attack. Morris says that Clinton personally told him that Janet Reno’s appointment to a second term as Attorney General was to keep her quiet about the Waco disaster in 1993 that McVeigh claimed as his inspiration (via Yid with Lid and HAP):
I find this less than compelling for a couple of reasons. First, Morris doesn’t have the best reputation for credibility, and this story relies entirely on his recollection. Morris doesn’t even know the “big secret.” Second, Clinton had already won the last election he would ever contest — so what was the danger in kicking Reno out?
Next, I’m not sure there really is much of a secret about the Waco raid and the dozens of people killed in it. Clearly the Clinton administration botched it, and Reno took the responsibility for the entire debacle shortly afterward. If it turned out that Clinton had personally ordered the final assault on the compound, it would have certainly put him in a bad political situation — but after the election, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Congress didn’t impeach Reno for it when she took the blame, and they wouldn’t have impeached Clinton for it either, although he did get impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice on an unrelated matter later.
Most importantly, though, I dislike the idea of giving McVeigh any credibility by suggesting that Clinton holds some responsibility for Oklahoma City by pushing McVeigh to violence. It’s as appalling as Clinton blaming Rush Limbaugh for the exact same thing, and it’s as objectionable as Clinton suggesting in a pre-emptive manner that Tea Parties will be responsible for any acts of violence later. That shifts the blame away from the individuals who commit terrorist acts and onto those who get victimized by them, at least indirectly. McVeigh is the one responsible for his actions, not Clinton or Reno, and that holds true for Osama bin Laden, Ted Kaczynski, and Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, too.