Arizona militia man, and anti-immigration vigilante Chris Simcox was pelted with marshmallows today by the host when he appeared on the John Carlson show (KVI,m-f, 3-6p).
Simcox, a newcomer himself to Arizona, is a weekly newspaper publisher in Tombstone, the site of the historic OK Corral shoot-out, and located in Cochise County, a constituency known for its ugly history of violence against illegal immigrants.
He's riding the Western anger-wave gathering around the untrammeled immigration over the porous and inadequately patrolled southern border.
Simcox's Minuteman Project has lined up volunteers from some 29 states to camp out in April on ranches and public land to spot and report illegal immigrants to the U.S. Border Patrol.
This drew the outrage of the Mexican government Monday. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez told a press conference he would discuss the issue with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visits Mexico on March 10.
Immigration is a bottom-up conservative issue that's going nowhere in the top-down Bush Administration. Ever beholden to business, the President's immigration policy has been downright liberal--mainly because business interests (and US consumers) depend on the coolie labor afforded by the millions of mostly Mexican illegals who pour over the border each year.
It's is gonna be a problem in 2008, if not 2006...mainly for the Republicans. That's because the grassroots--reflected by callers screened to talk today on Carlson's show-- are madder than hell.
"We are not a militia" Simcox claims. They were, however, a militia, about 20 minutes ago. His newly scrubbed-up Tombstone Militia is now known as the "Civil Homeland Defense" which he describes as a "county-wide blockwatch" of concerned (and armed, I might add) citizens.
The majority of the 400 members, he says, are retired cops and veterans who have trained themselves in law enforcement and military techniques. In reality, they're fat-butted middle-aged weekend warriors that the Border Patrol would rather stay home and ride their Barca-loungers.
Border Patrol officials (who Simcox, knowing his KVI audience, dismissed as bureaucrats) say they deal with armed drug dealers daily and the idea that hundreds of armed citizens playing cops & robbers on the desert is alarming and dangerous.
With the nice face Simcox put on his posse for Carlson today, you'da thunk he was a humanitarian concerned only with the welfare of the poor wetbacks he strives to drive out. He says his boys help the injured, deliver babies, and give them water.
"We have a no-contact policy. We're acting only as eyes and ears," Simcox told Carlson. "We work within the law. We spot illegal immigrants and report them to the Border Patrol."
The Minuteman Project may be well intentioned, but they've whipped up the neo-Nazis and white supremacists on sites like StormWatch.org. They've given a national call for their little old boys to go out to Cochise Co. and lend a hand in April. They see this movement as proof that white people are finally rising up against the muddy tide. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center who tracks hate groups, is closely monitoring Simcox and his mufti-ed boy's club.
Carlson led Simcox along the ridge line of least resistance, pitching softballs, and rarely asking the follow-up questions that separates the so-called "advocacy journalists" from real reporters.
In the early '90's, in the warming political environment of burgeoning right-wing talk radio, the nation's powerfully paranoid militias, stuck their heads up out of their holes.
Hosts championed these nutballs as 2nd Amendment heroes. Even KVI (the only conservative talk station in Seattle then) flirted, mostly out of naiveté, with the far, far right. Mike Siegel joined white separatist Bo Gritz in an on-air smarm-fest at a survivalist expo and was roundly denounced by the Seattle press. There was a show for a while from the racist/conspiracist Liberty Lobby. Political hitman Floyd Brown warned on-air against the New World Order and introduced guests such as Satan-baiting evangelist Bob Larson.
Even Kirby Wilbur, a real estate appraiser brand new to broadcasting, bought a Glock and gave succor to militia men in interviews that were big hits to an audience being rapidly politicized.
Then came Oklahoma City, Waco, and Ruby Ridge. The militias and talk radio were denounced from the White House. Talk radio retreated to concentrate on killing Bill Clinton; and the militias crawled back into their spiderholes.
For talk radio, it was a case of naiveté and overreach, spawned by the arrogance of their own misperception of power. The conservative movement has jumped off this extreme cliff before; to avoid doing it once again they'd do well by keeping their distance from fools like Simcox.