when someone says "I will hold to my oath. No matter what."
And how paranoid is the group? The list of commands its members have pledged to refuse includes some that don't strike me as likely, e.g., "orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people." But it also includes commands that are easier to imagine -- or which have already become standard operating procedure. One item on the list is "orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances." Maybe Waters and Potok haven't noticed, but American police forces infringe on free speech and free assembly at pretty much every major political summit. I wish there had been some Oath Keepers on the force in Pittsburgh during the G20 meeting last month, or at the Republican National Convention last year.
If you review Rhodes' writings online, you'll find complaints about the militarization of police work, a process he links to both the war on drugs and the war on terror; about the expansion of federal power in wartime; about the illegal disarmament of civilians after Hurricane Katrina. In other words, normal civil libertarian concerns about policies already in place, not frantic speculation about the apocalypse to come. (Note that two of the last three links go to essays Rhodes wrote during the Bush presidency. The Oath Keepers were founded this year, but the organizers behind them didn't need a Democratic president to discover the dangers of state power.)
This is the group that has the Southern Poverty Law Center invoking the specters of fascism and terrorism: a network of present and former public employees who are vigilant about the state of our civil liberties. If their vigilance sometimes shades over into paranoia, well, that's a hundred times truer of the SPLC.