April 19th, 2010
08:46 PM ET
8 years ago

Keating: Anti-government mood part of a long American tradition

'As long as you say, I'm angry, but I’m not violent, that’s okay, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Monday on CNN.

'As long as you say, I'm angry, but I’m not violent, that’s okay, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating said Monday on CNN.

Washington (CNN) – On the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the man who was the governor of Oklahoma at that time said there is a big difference between violent extremists and more moderate citizens speaking out about their criticisms of Washington.

“The reality is we have had, unfortunately, a lot of violent acts by extreme individuals and groups,” Frank Keating, a Republican, said Monday on CNN’s John King, USA, “but I think to have a group of individuals – largely reasonably well-educated, upscale economically – who have had enough of taxes and are protesting and are angry – that’s really quintessentially America. I mean that’s something from the Boston tea party forward.

“As long as you say, ‘I’m angry, but I’m not violent,’ that’s okay. If you’re angry and you’re violent, then you’re a problem, law enforcement is interested in you and that is not American.”

Keating put Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was executed for his role in the crime, in a long line of violent, anti-government extremists including John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth, all of whom Keating called “isolated, dangerous individuals.”

Keating, a former U.S. attorney, said that in blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, McVeigh had crossed the line between voicing frustration with government and violence. And Keating suggested that McVeigh’s actions were not logical.

“He hated the ATF. He didn’t touch an ATF agent,” Keating told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “He hated the FBI. The FBI wasn’t even in this building. He killed 19 babies. He killed people standing in line to get their Social Security checks. He killed people who had nothing to do with his beef.”

Keating added that McVeigh committed “an evil, wicked, outrageous act.”

The former Republican governor said the he thought proper civic education was the way to prevent violent extremism while still encouraging political engagement and debate.

“What’s important is for schools to teach civic responsibility – sharing, debate, but not crossing the line,” Keating also told King.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Fitz in Texas

    Keating gets it..... “As long as you say, ‘I’m angry, but I’m not violent,’ that’s okay. If you’re angry and you’re violent, then you’re a problem, law enforcement is interested in you and that is not American.”

    Clinton, Obama, Reid, Pelosi and the rest that play the race card and call anyone who doesn't agree with this administration non Americans are clueless.

    April 19, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  2. Steve Lyons

    Anger alone was not enough to declare independence from the tyrant ruling England in 1776. All the harsh words were for naught. I hope to never see a repeat of that, so I pray Congress will return to representing the voters and more importantly the tax PAYERS. We must represent those that create the wealth of the nation more than those that consume the wealth. We need to repeal the 16th Amendment and liberate ourselves from the tyranny of the Income tax.

    April 19, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. NVa Native

    Guess I'll have to go out and buy a gun to protect myself against the wacko-wimps who are so afraid of everything they want to carry loaded guns around my community. Yea, that's good – arm the scared little girlie men who only feel safe with a gun??
    Couldn't we just get Rush to give them a hug?
    Or maybe sista-Sara?

    April 19, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. SC-Pub No More

    Has the tee-baggers endorsed John King yet?

    April 19, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    It's not even the inevitable payment of extra taxes that bothers me. It's the stupid philosophy that this government spending would solve anything. It will not and looking back on it, people will see how obvious that is. It's not about Obama and the Democrats trying to solve the country's problems...it really was just simply Obama and the Democrats greedily giving our tax dollars away to their special interests and trying to make their place in history with huge government programs. The problem is, these programs have to also work and nothing has yet. I don't think Obama will be proud of what history says about his decisions.

    April 19, 2010 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. John

    Frank Keating is just another republican Nazi looking to destroy this country for greed.

    April 19, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. hobart

    How about going the extra mile and condemning inciting violence as free speech? And how about condemning overt racism (racist slurs, spitting in people's faces, lynch mob posters and effigies) rather than passively tolerating it among your base, and looking the other way?

    And to those who keep posting when have liberals ever done the same thing?, try looking up the ACLU's defense of Rush Limbaugh's right to privacy over his medical records on addiction to pain medication. During the campaign, McCain had the moxie to stand up to this crap, but now, unless he goes along with it, he'll lose his primary to a Tea Party approved purveyor of hate speech.

    April 19, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. Marie MD

    Seventy six percent do not trust government. Of that same poll of people seventy percent want their kids to work for the government.
    You don't trust the government but it's okay for your kids to work for said government.
    I'll never understand these people!

    April 19, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. catmomtx

    The problem is , they are mad and angry about everything despite the fact that what they are mad and angry about is not happening. The whole thing about guns, no one is talking about taking their right away. The President even signed a bill giving them permission to carry in places previously off limits. But yet, they are whining about what MIGHT happen. They want to turn our country back into the wild, wild west.

    They whine about taxes but yet under this administration, most of their taxes went down.

    They whine about the amount of money being spent by this administration but yet want the economy to rebound, jobs. They actually wanted the President to not help out the auto industry for goodness sakes. Did they consider the number of people who would have been put out of work?

    They whine about the government being to big but it didn't just get that way since 1.20/09.

    They whine about government not working but yet Republicans have spent the past 14 months refusing to work with this administration. Are those Republicans not part of the government that is not working.

    They totally disrespect the duly elected President of the United States. they allow racist to invade their movement, allow racist signs and insults against the President all the while claiming they aren't racist.

    The problem is, what is their point and what are their solutions? Where were they before the country got into this shape in the first place? Why don't they respect the duly elected President of the United States? Why won't they accept the fact that the majority of Americans elected him to be President of the United States based on the visions he had for the country like health care reform? Why do they not acknowledge the majority of Americans who elected President Obama and act as if they speak for all American? Why do they allow the racist in their midst to corrupt whatever it is they are trying to accomplish ? From what we are seeing they make no sense.

    April 19, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    I agree with Gov. Keating. McVeigh said his terrorist act was in reply to Janet Reno and the Waco disaster. Bill Clinton and his reference to Oklahoma City was a thinly veiled swipe at the Tea Party Movement in an attempt to bring scorn and deminish the strength of the movement. I'd be willing to bet that he and the Obama Administration got together and decided to try this to head off a embarrassing outcome in November.

    April 19, 2010 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    “If you’re angry and you’re violent, ...that is not American.”

    Oh really? The thousands of British and German soldiers killed in combat during the American Revolution might disagree.

    "The former Republican governor said the he thought proper civic education was the way to prevent violent extremism while still encouraging political engagement and debate."

    Then "proper civic education" needs to start with Congress and the President and needs to start with the fact that a tyrannical government that imposes things on the American people that they do not want is going to make them angry. If government expects citizens to play by the rules, then it must observe those rules itself–and one of the rules of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" is you don't ignore the people!

    April 19, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  12. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    You could start by educating Congressman Steve King.

    April 19, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  13. frank in valparaiso indiana

    McVeigh was a Gulf War vet, he fit no profile. And that is a real problem.

    The ideas he had, Waco, taxes, government, they are not part of the civic debate. Sorry. A lot of the tea party people have the same ideas. The Fed is illegal, the IRS is evil, government is the problem.

    Its time we hold them up for the fools they are.

    April 19, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. gare

    The government overspends, wastes our money, promises free stuff to poor people and special interest groups in exchange for their vote and support. The leadership of both parties have failed to earn our trust and therefore the anti-government movement is needed. President Obama has taken us on a high speed path to bankruptcy. We cannot continue with $1.5 trillion deficits or we will go bankrupt, it's so clear that it make you wonder if that is his intention....

    April 19, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Keating, let us know when you return to planet Earth.

    April 19, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Kathleen

    I read the first paragraph and knew for sure he is a Republican. "We have a group of largely reasonably well educated upscale economically-who've had enough taxes and are angry"-that's quintessensially American" . "As long as you say, you are angry, but you are not violent, that's OK."What I hear this man saying is that what these people are displaying is OK. NO, it is not OK! "If you're angry and your violent. then you're a problem.

    Dear Mr. Keating, If you are angry and your not violent, that OK????
    Really? Well, let me tell you what I see across the country are possibly educated idiots who are mad because they are entirely against the President of the United States and have the Republicans and Tea Party fanning the flames of "the angry becoming angrier!
    They are angry because they don't want to pay taxes? Usually these are rich selfish, as you call them well-educated people that are causing distress and unrest in our Country, protesting their rights to carry guns when nobody said they couldn't carry their guns! Protesting taxes which the government requires to run this country! What kind of country would we have without taxes. Oh, they want fair tax. That is what Ron Paul once stated! What the hell is "fair tax". I think it is that the rich pay the same "one tax for all" as the poor and the middle class! Talk about greed.

    If I were a protester, I would protest that we end the wars, and I would protest, above all, that Corporations and Lobbyists be banned from buying our Public Officials vote. And I would protest against the minimum wage being so low. And I would protest against our Poltiticians telling lie after lie to the American People. And I would protest against Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck,
    Sarah Palin, and Marc Rubio, and O'Reilly. Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, J.D. Hayworth, Scott Brown, Ron Christy, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Dick Army, Newt Gindrich, Michael Steele, Tecredo, Michelle Bachmann, etc. and Mr. Keatings statement of these angry protesters not being dangerous. I THINK THEY ARE DEFINITELY DANGEROUS. along with the above mentioned.

    What bothers me most is that the American People really want to uneducate themselves by believing lies that these people tell. That is not what I call "educated people". They may be book smart, but to listen vigorously to lie after lie is an education of falsehoods, which means to me that being educated by lies is "not educated at all>"

    April 19, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    Anti-government mood part of long American tradition...


    Except when there is a Republican President in the White House who wants to invade and occupy a foreign country that has never attacked us, poses no threat to us whatsoever, and is sitting on tons and tons of oil...

    Then ANY criticism of this Republican President and his acts of unprovoked agression are labeled as "anti-American" "unpatriotic" and "treason" by the very people who are supporting the "tea parties" now.


    April 19, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. Kathleen

    P.S. And these Tea Partiers and Republicans are angry because they "lost". THEY LOST THE ELECTION AND THE MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE!!! And they are angry that we, the people voted for a Black President, who is widely respected by Nations across the Continent! And they want him, Obama, to fail!!!!! SAD day for America if that happens!

    April 19, 2010 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. Alert the media

    How is it that the only recent violence has been perpetrated against the tea partiers?

    April 19, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. lil

    So is the KKK.

    April 19, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Kevin

    So the ex-governor is comfortable with "well educated, upscale economically" individuals protesting....I take it that means he would not be as comfortable with people protesting who have less of an education and less money. Sounds like a cool guy. He really knows his history. Truly a friend to the downtrodden.

    April 19, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Hey, it's still better that we have the freedom to protest now, unlike under Dubya when anyone protesting was labeled anti-American terrorist sympathizers and were put on watch lists.

    April 19, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Yes, anti-government protesters are free to spout their ideas. Their stupid, stupid ideas... What's that? I'm not free to call them stupid? Somehow if I exercise my first amendment right and express my opinion about the protesters' ideas suddenly I'm repressive? They are free to call fellow Americans nazis but I'm violating their rights if I call their ideas stupid? Talk about hypocrites!

    April 19, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. harold

    Americans got a real complex for sure.. Go to Canada where everyone has Health Care.. you do not need to take bankruptcy like you do in the USA...

    April 19, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  25. rdepontb

    Mr. Keating,
    You can't really be in such denial-I am 60 years old, and have never heard this level of vitriol directed against a President, not even Bush (ok, Cheney) after getting us into two wars.

    If you guys don't crank down the heat, I don't know what to expect-Viet Nam era rampages? A nation-wide Watts?? What are you guys aiming for?

    I hope you have here some coded messages to Rush and Co that they're on the wrong track, and to please heed the call from more broad-minded Republicans.

    April 19, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
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