In Greenville, South Carolina tonight, five presidential contenders will meet for the first GOP presidential primary debate. According to the official program of the pre-debate “Freedom Rally,” is sponsored by several extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers militia group and the radical anti-communist John Birch Society. You can see a picture of the program here. Here’s the John Birch Society’s booth at the the pre-debate rally:
ABC News reports that The John Birch society, famous for its vocal opposition to the Civil Rights movement, represents “the far-right fringe of American politics.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the John Birch Society as a group that “advocates or adheres to extreme antigovernment doctrines.” The group was so radical — calling President Eisenhower a communist infiltrator and claiming that the Soviets used fluoridated water to control Americans’ mind — that they were effectively exiled by conservatives until 2010. They even recently called Nelson Mandela “a communist terrorist thug.”
Here is the Oath Keepers booth at the rally:
As ThinkProgress reported on the Oath Keepers:
The Oath Keepers’ website is riddled with paranoid rhetoric about government officials “disarm[ing] the American people,” “confiscat[ing] the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies,” and “blockad[ing] American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.” In early 2008, the Oath Keepers’ founder warned that a “dominatrix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clinton” would impose a police state on America and shoot all resisters. After primary voters chose a different candidate, the Oath Keepers simply rewrote their paranoid fantasy to include a taller, African-American lead. At a Center for American Progress Action Fund event remembering the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, former President Clinton described the Oath Keepers as a “hatriot” group that embraces the same violent rhetoric that fueled Timothy McVeigh...............