As I have stated previously, the difference between a terrorist and a revolutionary is rather simple:
Terrorists kill non-combatants. That includes children, the elderly, wives, daughters, brothers, or just the the shoe shine guy.
Revolutionaries kill combatants. They leave children and the elderly alone.
This is an important distinction, as we don't want our children and elderly to die. Nor do we want our wives, etc. to die.The entire reason many people become soldiers/combatants is to protect them. By breaking that rule of civilization terrorists go from being mere criminals to being something FAR worse.
The case of politicians is a harder question. If the politician gave orders to the military, then they count as a commander and are a combatant (and therefore are valid targets for revolutionaries). But if they are just some mayor or other person that does not have the power to order soldiers to kill, then they are non-combatants and targeting them makes you a terrorist.
Many countries undergoing a revolution claim it is just a bunch of terrorists. Syria for example.
The situation is further confused by the fact that most revolutions, there are a few unethical idiots that decide to become terrorists. Similarly, many terrorist organizations have 'non-violent' arms that attempt to do the same goals by political means. For example, many claim that the Sinn Fein was/is the non-violent political arm of the Provisional IRA, a clearly terrorist organization.
But the thing is that you can not blame one group of people for the actions of others, even if their goals are the same. You can take it as a warning, but you can't blame them.
That is, when anti-abortionists kill an abortion doctor, you can't arrest all anti-abortionists for murder - but you can look at them a lot closely and question them about their ties.
So when you have two similar groups, one being a terrorist, and the other not being a terrorist, both objecting to your rule, you can't claim you are just fighting terrorism.
No, you are fighting a revolution, that may have some aid by terrorists. If the revolutionists win, then you can look at who they put into power.
If they accept the 'ex-terrorists' as equals, THEN they are terrorists If instead they reject the terrorists and give them no credit or reward for their terrorism, then they weren't even aided by the terrorists.
They don't become terrorists until they embrace the terrorists. While they are rebelling against you, only those that actually do the terrorism (or embrace it) are terrorists. Not everyone else around them.