A county judge in Lubbock, Texas, has raised the threat of a violent domestic response if President Obama is re-elected in November. Judge Tom Head's remarks would be easy to dismiss, except that they have gotten wide play around the country, and are the sort of views that feed political extremism.
The judge, a Republican, is the county's emergency management director and head of its commissioners' court. He told a local television station that the possibility of "civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe" existed if Mr. Obama won and then tried "to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N."
Mr. Head said: "We're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy." He suggested that the President might send U.N. troops to Lubbock to put down an uprising. If so, Mr. Head said he'd stand in front of U.N. armored personnel carriers. He has asked the county sheriff for backing.
The judge's lunatic remarks come on the heels of the extraordinary statement last week by Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, that women have the ability to prevent pregnancy from a "legitimate rape."
What is interesting to watch after one of these outbursts -- or moments of extreme candor -- is the party's response. Republican leaders tried to get Mr. Akin to drop out of the Missouri race, but he ignored them. That raises questions about future party discipline in Congress if the GOP were to emerge from the November election in control of one or both houses and the White House.
In Texas, no leading Republican, including Gov. Rick Perry, a former presidential candidate, has condemned Mr. Head's remarks. In this campaign season, everyone needs to calm down a bit, even in the Lone Star State.