A couple of weeks ago, Conor Friedersdorf wondered how it could be that a fairly wide array of conservatives could simultaneously believe that Barack Obama "is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who cannot be trusted" and that he "should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield unprecedented executive power."

The assassination of George Tiller has tragically enabled Friedersdorf to ask the same question in more concrete form:

The attack on Dr. Tiller is widely referred to as “terrorism” in the blogosphere. Agree or not, it is easy to image an ongoing terrorist campaign run by fringe pro-lifers to shut down abortion clinics. Heaven forbid that this recent murder is followed by bombings at a few Planned Parenthood locations, but that scenario isn’t unthinkable — copycat atrocities are a sad fact of modern life.

Should something like that come to pass, I wonder how “War on Terror hawks” would react.... Would these predominantly conservative officials, commentators and writers be comfortable if President Obama declared two or three extremist pro-lifers as “enemy combatants”? Should Pres. Obama have the prerogative to order the waterboarding of these uncharged, untried detainees? Should he be able to listen in on phone conversations originating from evangelical churches where suspected abortion extremists hang out?

 --Christopher Orr