THERE IS NO PARALLEL…. Though it’s unclear how close they were to executing their plot, two young white supremacists were arrested in Tennessee yesterday, in advance of an alleged plan to assassinate Barack Obama and murder 102 African-American kids.

Federal officials told reporters yesterday that the plot had not yet moved to an advanced stage, but the two would-be assassins had acquired weapons for their “killing spree.”

For reasons that I don’t understand, the Tennessee Republican Party felt compelled to issue a public statement after the arrests.

“Hate is not a political party, policy statement, agenda or ideology — it is a pure evil that no place in civil society,” said Robin Smith, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. “Whether it is neo-Nazi skinheads plotting a racist shooting spree targeting Sen. Obama, or West Hollywood liberals hanging Gov. Sarah Palin in effigy and calling it ‘art,’ or unknown anarchists tossing bricks through the windows of a county Republican headquarters in Murfreesboro, Americans of all political views should be outraged.”

There’s an odd tendency in some far-right circles for conservatives to feel like they’re victims of some kind of persecution. The problem with this bizarre complex, though, is that a) it’s absurd; and b) it leads to ridiculous comparisons like this one from the Tennessee Republican Party. The statement seems to argue, “Sure, white supremacists planned a killing spree, but everyone should feel sorry for us because we’ve been targeted, too.”

The Tennessee GOP really sees a parallel between a crude piece of art, random vandalism, and a plot to kill more than a hundred children and a presidential candidate. In Robin Smith’s eyes, there’s some kind of equivalency between the three. This is pure madness.

This is, of course, the same Tennessee Republican Party that’s been so extreme in its vile attacks against Obama that McCain and GOP lawmakers felt the need to condemn them.

We’ll see if there’s any pushback against Robin Smith’s breathtaking press release.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.