The YouTube Nut Who Threatened Eric Cantor

This story makes everyone a little crazy

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Police in Pennsylvania have arrested Norman Leboon for posting a YouTube video threatening to kill House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and his family. Leboon's many rambling and angry videos, which espouse anti-government conspiracy theories and call for a religious uprising, clearly show a man unhinged from reality. But that has not stopped his videos and arrest from becoming a political football, especially in the wake of recent violence against Democratic congressmen for their support of health care reform.

Ironically, Cantor recently accused Democrats of exploiting those threats to generate sympathy. He countered that he too had been victim of threats, citing a bullet found at his campaign office. But Cantor was widely mocked after police found that the bullet had landed there randomly. Now it appears Cantor was being threatened after all.

  • Leboon Believes He Is God  Talking Points Memo's Justin Elliott documents Leboon's messages. "When he was visited by federal agents on Saturday, he 'stated that he is the 'son of the god of Enoch' and that his father speaks through him. Leboon stated that Eric Cantor is 'pure evil'; will be dead; and that Cantor's family is suffering because of his father's wrath.'" Elliott says of Leboon's 2,000 videos, "He seemed to warn repeatedly about some sort of end-times event to come on Sept. 19, 2009. [...] He also says in another video where he talks about child molestation, 'Leaders you will perish' and 'I control your jets your missiles, I control everything.'"
  • Getting Tough on Political Threats  The Moderate Voice's Joe Gandelman notes that we've heard a lot lately about violent threats to politicians, but that arrests have been rare. Could that be changing? "The climate has gotten so hateful right now in the country, look for the FBI to take these kinds of threats very seriously — whether the person threatened is a Democrat, Republican, liberal or conservative. With these charges it has now served notice that it’s not going to look the other way."
  • Will The Right Spin It?  Liberal blogger Steve M. reminds us of the media firestorm when a leaked Homeland Security document warned of right-wing violence. "And no, this isn't going to prevent the righties from saying that [DHS Secretary] Janet Napolitano is inordinately fixated on right-wing groups, or that the Obama administration is thoroughly anti-Semitic. They're just going to say nothing about those matters for a few days (at least in this context), and then just start saying them again."
  • Too Crazy To Be Political  Talking Points Memo's David Kurtz sighs at the "rambling incoherent videos that mix pseudo-religious incantations with random warnings and threats" and that include "similar, if not criminally actionable, threats on dozens of occasions against an ideologically diverse array of public figures." Those include Obama and Democratic leaders. In short, he's just too nuts to have picked a side.
  • Vindicates Cantor's Concerns  The Washington Post's Greg Sargent concedes, "It’s now obvious that Cantor was right to declare that he was under threat, though in general the intimations of violence seem more widespread on the Dem side. Given the threats he’d received, it’s understandable that Cantor would conclude the worst after having been informed that a bullet had landed in his window and that it was under investigation — whatever the wisdom of discussing it at a presser before the probe was concluded."
  • He's an 'ObamaNut'!  In a likely preview of tomorrow's big right-wing talk radio meme, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham claims that Leboon donated to Obama's campaign. She concludes that he is an "Obamanut" and suggests he is a liberal counterpart to Tea Party extremists. She scoffs, "It will be interesting to see MSNBC spin this news, if it even covers it."
  • Cantor's Office Dug This Up?  Wonkette's Ken Layne wonders at the timing. Just days after Cantor was publicly embarrassed by false claims of being threatened, a real threat surfaces--one tagged with Cantor's name on an easily-searched website. More oddly, Leboon threatened dozens of officials, yet only the threat against Cantor ever brought legal action. Layne suggests Cantor's office may have dug up the video to buoy Cantor's earlier claim of threats.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.