The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma tea party leaders, “frustrated by recent political setbacks,” are working with right-wing Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature to create a new “volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.” State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and State Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with tea party leaders, like J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, to plan legislation for a state-authorized militia. Brogdon, who is running for Governor and sponsored the right-wing anti-health reform “state sovereignty” resolution in his state, explained that he believes his anti-federal government militia has constitutional backing:
The founding fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other,” Brogdon said. “The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
But critics say the tea party militia idea could “throw fuel in the fire of radicals.” Even some Republicans are opposed to Brogdon’s initiative. “If the intent is to create a militia for disaster relief, we have the National Guard,” said Sen. Steve Russell, (R-OK), a retired Army lieutenant colonel. “Anything beyond that purpose should be viewed with great concern and caution.” Indeed, the news of the state-sponsored militia movement arrives shortly before the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, on April 19.
Berry, the tea party leader who first solicited support for the militia, has posted rants against President Obama: the “Muslim President” — a “reincarnation of Pol Pot” who is trying imprison Americans for resisting health reform. One ominous posting from Berry says that his militia should “launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”
Both Berry and Brogdon lean heavily on far right propaganda and media outlets to fuel their conspiracy theories. Berry frequently cites conservative news outlets like CNS and notes that he draws inspiration from the white supremacist thriller The Turner Diaries. Despite his extremism, Berry has met with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other members of the Oklahoma Republican delegation, and counts them as “rock solid.” Brogdon, whose states’ rights resolution was drafted by corporate lobbyists opposed to health reform, has been endorsed by the lobbyist-run Tea Party Express and has appeared on on Fox News, Alex Jones’ radio show, and at a Glenn Beck rally.