Tea Party rejects racism, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has “better things to do”

The Tea Party is a loosely organized group of people who favor generally conservative causes—lower taxes, smaller government, gun rights, and more immigration enforcement. But the party has attracted people to its rallies carrying signs comparing Obama to Hitler and telling him to “Go back to Kenya.” And members have spat epithets of faggot and nigger at congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

As a result the NAACP passed a resolution last week calling on Tea Party leaders “to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.” (Several of those signs are shown here.) Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams, asked to tell racists “you’re not welcome” in the tea party, replied, “Racists have their own movement. It’s called the NAACP.”

Not satisfied to let things stand, Williams posted on his web site a letter supposedly written to Lincoln by “colored people” protesting emancipation and praising slavery.

While Williams defended his letter as satire, he has used ugly racial language regularly, especially in opposition to the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. He derided Mohammed as “the terrorist monkey god,” and called Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who backs building the mosque, a “Jewish Uncle Tom who would have turned rat on Anne Frank.” President Obama was an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug.”

But the faux Lincoln letter was too much for the national Tea Party Federation. They demanded that the Tea Party Express expel Williams. When that group refused, the federation expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams. Federation spokesman David Webb called the letter “clearly offensive.”

Sadly, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couldn’t say the same. When asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley if he thought there were “racial elements in the Tea Party, McConnell brushed it of as trivial. “I’ve got better things to do than to wade in to all of these disputes that are going on all over the country.”

Looks like the Tea Party is less hospitable to ugly racism than the Republican Party.

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5 Responses to “Tea Party rejects racism, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has “better things to do””

  1. Jack Marshall Says:

    Let’s see:

    1) I think the “racist elements” shot by the NAACP was a cheap shot, essentially tarring the whole movement by its vagueness. I’ve read too many blogs and heard too many radio callers that equate opposition to the President as per se racism. The attack was clever but essentially unfair.

    2) There are definitely racist elements in the NAACP. I wouldn’t call it a racist organization. Given the ugly rant recorded of one of the participants in the voter intimidation episode by the New Black Panthers, it would have been soothing, at least, if the NAACP also asked THAT organization to reject its racist elements. That they don’t at least creates a rebuttable presumption that the NAACP’s gambit was a political tactic, not a moral one. (Any idea why the language of the actual resolution hasn’t been released?)

    3) The Democratic Party hasn’t been told by any legitimate organization to kick out its Truthers, anti-religious bigots, socialists, anti-Semites like Helen Thomas and the likes of Noam Chomsky, because to do so would tar the Party with extremism that in fcat isn’t at its core, only its fringes. When Alan Grayson says “Republicans want you to die” it is widely condemned as uncivil and hateful. I saw outright anti-American posters at Iraq (and Vietnam) War peace rallies, and I don’t recall anyone thinking it was necessary to demand that the peace movement organizers toss out the America-haters.

    4) The NAACP tactic is the equivalent of a “when did you stop beating your wife?” question. I think McConnell, who may be my least favorite Senator, was well within his discretion to refuse to play. The Tea Party is only about racism to those who want to discredit the whole movement.

    5) Mark Williams had to go because he’s an embarrassment and a loose cannon—and a terrible satirist. I don’t know that he’s a racist, but if people conclude he is he has no one to blame but himself.

    6) I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the mob Pelosi, Frank and others provocatively walked through to provoke an ugly reaction (for this was clearly what they were doing) shouted epithets. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t, and the claims they did were lies. I will say that in the absence of any evidence on any of the recordings or videos that such epithets were shouted, and the equivocations of some of the accusers (what was later described as spittle spraying from the mouth of a shouting angry demonstrator was described in the press the demonstrating spitting at a Congressman, which appears to be fiction) I think you would be more correct to use “allegedly” when you allude to those incidents. Those at the incident deny the allegations, and Pelosi et al. hardly have an unblemished record of honesty.

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    1) You wouldn’t tar the NAACP with the wild accusations of “too many radio callers,” would you? They didn’t equate opposition to Obama with racism.

    2) Ben Jealous, the NAACP head, said this on Face The Nation: “Bigots come in all colors. We absolutely denounce the New Black Panther Party.” (The NAACP website has a pretty precise description of the resolution.)

    3) Many Dems denounce the gang you mention. I do, often. In fact I consider it an ethical obligation to denounce ugly behavior by my own side as quickly as I denounce ugly behavior by those whose positions you oppose.

    4) The question to McConnell came from CNN, not the NAACP. McConnell said he had better things to do. His refusal to answer leaves us to imagine his motives. I imagine something bad.

    6. My memory, admittedly imperfect, is that I heard the epithets on video at the time. You don’t shout nigger or faggot, even when provoked, unless those terms are part of you.

  3. Fleshlight Gerberich Says:

    I think its funny how everyone here is so quick to jump on the illegal “Mexicans” that are in this country. What about ALL the Asian’s that are here illegally? I do agree that we need immigration reform but for ALL illegal immigrants not just pick and choose. For those who say we need the jobs for “hard-working Americans”, well they are more than welcome to go out to the fields, deal with heat or freezing cold and pick the fruit and vegetables that we all eat on a daily basis. However, a lot of those crying are the ones sitting on their butts collecting welfare. No one has to agree with me, this is just MY OPINION

  4. Kellie Vele Says:

    I was also wrong about the tea party movement until I joined a great site that made me understand it better. I met alot of friends on the site and must say I was impressed with the way they think. I thought they were all crazy people then I found out why they are the tea party movement. It was because they worry about the United States and the constitution.

  5. Ethics Bob Says:

    Kellie, They’re not the only ones that worry about the United states and the Constituting. My wish for them is that they learn more about the US and the constitution, e.g., what the Constitution says about freedom of religion (check Christine O’Donnell), and what it says about promoting the general welfare.

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