Are Tea Parties Racist?

Sifting through the anti-Obama-hysteria hysteria

In retrospect, I suppose I should be surprised it took as long as eight months for someone to accuse me of racism in my criticism of Barack Obama. After all, by September 11, when Salon Editor in Chief Joan Walsh wrote that my “strange slur” against the president was a textbook example of “the racial nuttiness that Obama faces,” just about every person loudly opposing the administration’s economic policies had already been tarred with the same brush.

It started in early August, as members of Congress began facing their unusually restive constituents in a series of town hall meetings. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, citing not one shred of contemporary sociological evidence, asserted that “the driving force behind the town hall mobs” is “cultural and racial anxiety” on the part of the “angry white voter.” Within a month, that bit of omniscient whitey baiting was perilously close to conventional wisdom.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne warned that the town hall protests exemplified “the politics of the jackboot,” comparing them directly to “lynching” and concluding that “it is profoundly troubling that firearms should begin to appear with some frequency at a president’s public events only now, when the president is black.” (There have been exactly two Obama appearances at which protesters outside the venue openly carried handguns. In both cases the acts were legal, and in one of them the gun-toting protesters included a black man.) 

After Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted “You lie!” during Obama’s September 9 address to Congress, Krugman’s page mate Maureen Dowd wrote, “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.” She added, “Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”

Generally speaking, when key evidence is “unspoken,” and in fact imagined by the prosecution, it’s a good bet that the overall case is weak. The same goes for relying on explanatory sociology dating from the early 1960s. During the summer, racism baiters such as New York Times columnist Frank Rich (“the atmosphere keeps getting darker”), Newsweek’s Susan Jacoby (“This toxic brew of racism and class resentment is rooted in anti-rationalism”), and Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez (“the first black president, as well as the deep economic recession, have challenged Americans’ sense of self”) cited the liberal historian Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” (which is not primarily about race). “The biggest contributor to this resurgence of radicalism,” Rich wrote in a typical passage, “remains panic in some precincts about a new era of cultural and demographic change.”

Hofstadter’s essay was published in November 1964. At the time, it was still illegal for blacks to marry whites in 19 states. Black professional football players were still denied service in posh New Orleans hotels and restaurants. Discriminatory poll taxes and ballot box literacy tests were still widespread. In short, race relations have changed quite a bit since then, as illustrated by the fact that we now have a black president.

But in a genuinely curious turn of events, Obama’s race—after failing to provoke any significant appeals to white fear or resentment during the long 2008 campaign—has now become a central factor in the eyes of people frustrated by the volume and effectiveness of the opposition. So Salon’s Walsh, after having previously complained about “GOP zealots” who were blocking health care reform, read between the lines of an online column I wrote about the president’s September 9 speech and declared that it would “go down in history as one of the dumbest white-boy outbursts in the history of covering Obama.”

My racist slip? In a throwaway line and hyperlink, I had compared Obama’s warning to those spreading lies about his health care plan—“We will call you out”—to the chorus of a new Snoop Dogg song I’d been listening to in heavy rotation: “We will shut you down.” Where my mind registered the similarity of two five-syllable phrases containing three of the same words, Walsh’s projection of my mind saw “totally gratuitous racial imagery” and the implication that Obama emulates gangsta rappers.

Contra Walsh, history basically ignored my “outburst,” but a fat new target marched into view the very next day, when roughly 100,000 protesters descended on the National Mall to demonstrate against Obama’s economic policies. “It was a Klan rally minus the bedsheets and torches,” William Rivers Pitt, a former spokesman for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), wrote at Truthout.org. “It’s obvious to anyone who has eyes in this country,” comedian/political activist Janeane Garofalo said on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, “that teabaggers, the 9/12ers, these separatist groups that pretend it’s about policy, they are clearly white identity movements; they are clearly white-power movements.” And in the biggest endorsement of the “racial anxiety” hypothesis yet, former President Jimmy Carter fired this warning shot across America’s bow: “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American,” Carter told NBC Nightly News three days after the protest.

So were these nightmarish descriptions of the 9/12 protest accurate? Was the “overwhelming portion” of demonstrators motivated by racism? Unlike any of the critics mentioned above, I actually attended the rally. And despite looking specifically for white-boy outbursts during four hours and across dozens of conversations, I didn’t see any.

This is not to say they weren’t there. Thanks to the magic of ubiquitous digital cameras, motivated partisans, and the Internet, I was able to ascertain after the fact that there was a poster featuring Obama with a bone through his nose, another showing the president in Robin Hood get-up with the charming headline “Robbin’ for the Hood,” and a scattering of Confederate flags.

But if there was anything “overwhelming” about the protest it was the percentage—which I would place well above 90—of signage and conversation specifically referring to government spending, economic policy, and creeping federal interference into various areas of life. I saw nothing about affirmative action, nothing about welfare, nothing about illegal immigration, almost nothing about hot-button social conservative issues, and very little on foreign policy. If race played a central role, 100,000 people did a good job of hiding it.

Yes, there were many, many placards hyperbolically comparing Obama’s policies with those of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, proving once again that Americans of all stripes continue to despise the two worst totalitarian (and murderously racist) systems yet attempted. And the protest’s single biggest celebrity endorser (see Greg Beato’s “Glenn Beck’s Experimental Melodrama,” page 14), did create a stir earlier this year with an asinine comment that Obama has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” But even that sentiment was not visible to my naked eye on September 12.

So is the Tea Parties = racism meme a sincere expression of anxiety about resurgent racist violence? A knowingly inaccurate attempt at political marginalization? Whatever was behind this summer’s hysteria, it seems reasonable to assume that the next three or seven years will feature more of the same.

Call me an incurable Californian, but I see reasons to hope otherwise. President Obama himself smothered much of the rhetoric by telling David Letterman, “I think it’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election.” Jimmy Carter, no doubt under pressure from the administration, backpedaled on his racism claims two weeks after he made them. And most hopefully of all, the kind of overt or thinly coded appeals to white racial resentment and nativist paranoia that have stained generations of American politicians have been marginalized in right-of-center politics. Whether Jimmy Carter will get around to noticing how much America has changed for the better remains to be seen. 

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  • ||

    Jimmy Carter does share DNA with Billy... I wouldn't put it past him to be unable to see anything after so many years of ignoring something outlandish, so close to home...

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    I wouldn't bother with Carter, but articles like this are not pushback. If Welch wants to pushback against those listed, compile "dossiers" on them showing how they lie and mislead about objective facts. That can be used to impeach their opinions. There's a tag search in the right sidebar of every page at my site; enter the name of someone who's in the news and there's a good chance I've got at least a few posts in a "dossier" about them. (Example: start typing "max b" or "dave w" in the tag search box.)

    And, here's some racism at a tea party that you won't hear about from Reason, because they're more or less on the same side as "Erickson".

  • Episiarch||

    "Dossiers", LoneSchmuck? Are you fucking serious?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • ||

    That linked story is so flaccid it's not even worth the calories spent typing an analysis.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    But, briareus, even "flaccid" has a shape, right? Describe that shape for Reason's readers and tell them why you don't like it.

    I'm here to answer all your questions and concerns. Let's rap!

  • Spanish Bombs||

    How about I not click your link and not give you the ad revenue.

  • ||

    "We're trying to toughen you up boy"

    - Maureen Dowd, about Barack Obama

  • HeadTater||

    An event where the majority of the crowd is white is a klan rally. Does that mean the Million Man March was a black panthers event?

  • ||

    What's wrong with the black panthers?

  • ||

    Indeed. *snort* I mean damn America, damn it!

  • ||

    Suggesting that you are opposed to Obama's actual policies instead of hating him because he is (half) black is racist.

  • ||

    What if you only hate the white half?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    What if Obama hates his own white half?

    Further, wanna bet Michelle has at least some animosity towards said white half?

  • ||

    No, Crips.

  • ||

    That reply was to HeadTater|11.16.09 @ 4:50PM|#

    Threaded comments don't always work.

  • Chief Ironside||

    Please don't call me "Crips."

  • Attorney||

    My personal favorite: Newsweek’s Susan Jacoby (“This toxic brew of racism and class resentment is rooted in anti-rationalism”)

  • ||

    Yoda-esque..... sans deeper wisdom

  • Tony||

    I don't think teabaggers have anywhere near as coherent a message as white supremacists.

  • ||

    Or teh gays for that matter.

  • ||

    Re: Tony,

    I don't think teabaggers have anywhere near as coherent a message as white supremacists.

    Would you concede that the message from the Tea Bag parties' detractors (like Nancy Pelosi and Janeane Garofalo) is AS coherent as the message that comes from white supremacists?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I'm actually surprised Tony is being this cordial. Him being a liberal and all.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Heshe is not a liberal.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You HAVE read Tony's missives on here, haven't you?

  • ||

    I'd peg him as a trot.

  • Jim Treacher||

    I don't think teabaggees like Tony think.

  • ||

    Proving that coherence isn't everything.

  • Tony||

    True. Necessary but not sufficient.

  • JB||

    Tony the teabaggee at it again.

  • ||

    Don't know Tony, but the schoolyardesqueness of this little exchange is odd.

    It's amusing, but odd. . .

  • ||

    From our December issue, Editor in Chief Matt Welch investigates the charges of racism directed at the Tea Party protests.

    So . . . what's there to investigate? I saw several black and Hispanic folks in the tea parties, so why is Matt even bothering to "investigate" something that did not exist (i.e. a racist Tea Party?)

  • Oh no not this again||

    It sounds like someone has their car hitched to a different hope train altogether.

    God it's in the magazine too, yuck.

  • EMp||

    I think it would be safe to say that there were people at the Tea Party protests that bore racial animus, but no more than at most a small section of the movement(10%),in my opinion. Pretty certain there were rabid communists,self loathing white liberals and America haters (could the preceeding terms be redundant?)at the anti-war protests - and more than likely to a much larger degree. This question is pretty much a misnomer, but boy is it used as an all-canvassing term by a lot of the news media!

  • JoelShoe||

    I don't consider tea party participants to be racists per se. I do consider them to be hypocrites. Where were they during the Bush years?

  • Jim Treacher||

    It's hypocrisy to protest spending that puts Bush's to shame?

  • ||

    Bush broke open the safe, then Obama comes by sees open safe and loots it.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    "Loots" is a dog whistle for racism. I'm onto you...

  • jesse||

    I love the eddie izzard reference.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    That shit might be accurate about a sizable number of the protest participants, but not everyone who is opposed to the democrats now was silent during the Bush administration.

  • JoelShoe||

    That's not the question before us, is it? The question is, why weren't tea party participants throwing tea parties during the Bush years? For instance, I don't recall any organized objection when the Medicare prescription drug plan came down. I must have missed those tea parties -- maybe Fox didn't cover them?

  • ||

    Joel,

    O!'s spending binge puts anything Bush ever considered to shame. At some point differences in degree become differences in kind.

  • progressoverpeace||

    First of all, none of Bush's spending came even close to what we are seeing today. Of course, scale is not something that you seem able to understand.

    Secondly, it's not just spending, but much more importantly, the un-Constitutional expansion of the federal government and the intrusion into our private lives - taking away our individual liberties. The fact that you don't understand this and want to whine about just the dollars shows that you don't understand much of anything.

    This whole "Bush diversion" tactic is really getting tiresome. You blithering idiots are straining for any argument to protect your America-hating Precedent (which is tough to do, since America has never had such a traitorous force int he White House) and it is getting truly tiring to have to listen to your nonsensical babbling.

    On top of all this, did you not experience the credit crisis of Sept 2008? Do you not understand the monetary precipice that this nation is perched over? You can thank the CRA, the left's abuse of Fannie and Freddie and the FHA to misvalue debt and destabilize our debt markets, and the left's refusal to hold any of those criminals accountable or even acknowledge how their social engineering plans, for once again, having brought disaster on this nation, and a near nation-killing disaster, at that. But, you prance forward with the retarded idea that spending today on un-Constitutional federal power grabs is the same as much less spending in the past that didn't violate the Constitution and was within the environment of a strong monetary system.

    You libs are too dumb for words. You don't seem to understand what the consequences of national bankruptcy actually are and you are happy to push this nation down that chasm. You fools don't deserve the benefits of civilized society and are too dangerous to keep around, since all you ever do is work to take society apart and destroy it - thanks to your intense, pathological self-hate. You are despicable people. Truly.

  • Mr. Go||

    On the troll scale I give you 10/10 for such excellent remarks as:

    Secondly, . . . the un-Constitutional expansion of the federal government and the intrusion into our private lives - taking away our individual liberties.

    You blithering idiots are straining for any argument to protect your America-hating Precedent . . .

    You libs are too dumb for words. . . . You fools don't deserve the benefits of civilized society and are too dangerous to keep around . . .

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Joel, some of us have as much respect for Bush as we do for Obama - that is to say, none whatsoever.

  • EMp||

    Neither do I, JoelShoe. I think the Teapartiers started to percolate( pardon the gratuitous pun!) during Bushes' second term (the dubai ports fiasco,unfunded drug benefits,Harriet Miers, illegal immigration, and lastly the multi billion TARP funds)- that is when the base started getting riled up about things. Bush, I think, inadvertantly unmasked himself as a big government republican and a lot of conservatives(and to a lesser degree, libertarians) said a hushed collective "Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot" to themselves.
    My guess is that about a third of this nation wants big Gov't to take care of them, 25% are are entreprenurial and want to be left alone and the rest are middle-ground,sheepish moderates. Most were tired of Bush after eight years and that gave rise to an ideal candidate for the media - Barack Obama - who could address all kinds of "sins from Americas' past, take care of the downtrodden, make us be loved by the world again" in a collective 'kumbaya'. The problem with that is, most people want everyone to have a good life, healthcare, equality, etc. - But on the more conservative and libertarian side of things, they realize someone is going to have to pick up the tab at the end of the 'love fest'. They, I think were just so shocked that an alleged (by the left-wing and wall street) conservative would do so much social and market 'tinkering'. Just my two pesos. :-)

  • ||

    I was complaining about the spending. What were you doing? Of course the problem is now four fold and we're out of credit and printing enough to flatten whole forests.

  • Janeane Garofalo||

    but boy is it used as an all-canvassing term by a lot of the news media!

    That's racism, straight up.

  • Typical Democrat||

    Got that right! Because when WE say someone is racist, they ARE racist!

  • nobody||

    If we're going to have to suffer with threaded comments can we at least get the server squirrels to install a 'STFU LoneWacko' button next to the 'reply to this' link?

  • ||

    New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, citing not one shred of contemporary sociological evidence, asserted that “the driving force behind the town hall mobs” is “cultural and racial anxiety” on the part of the “angry white voter.”

    This comment from Krugman evokes the same kind of pseudo-scientific babble that the Nazis flung around to explain their "struggle" against their detractors, never conceding that people might disagree with them on other terms besides race.

  • ||

    Yes it does. But remember it is all of their opponents who are the fascists.

  • smartass sob||

    It's the equivalent of the Nazis' Big Lie. Same kind of tactic.

  • EMp||

    Paul Krugman is Renfield to Leftist ideology(Dracula). ...'share the wealth, you vill share the wealth...!'

  • ||

    I remember during the campaign I would often say that people are kidding themselves if they think electing Obama will help race relations since Obama's supporters will scream racism every time someone criticizes him as President. I was of course told that that was completely untrue and how dare I assume what Obama's supporters would do.

    Yeah, how is that whole post racial society thing working out?

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    The effective thing would be to have filed away public figures making such comments and then hold it against them now. Just after he won, I predicted he'd lose popularity and suggested that people store away examples of hype to be held against the hypers later. No one, AFAIK, did anything.

  • Warty||

    It all makes sense now - Lonewacko doesn't know how to read. Poor bastard; I really didn't understand how he could be so dense until now.

    Shut the fuck up, Lonewacko.

  • Mike M.||

    I'll admit, when I watched his acceptance speech on the night of the election, I found it so eloquent and moving that for a short time, I hoped that maybe I was completely wrong about him and that he could at least be good for the country on racial matters.

    But almost everything I've seen since then has confirmed what seemed apparent to me from reading his autobiography: Obama himself is a racist, and one who even after his election remains deeply angry and resentful towards America and its majority culture.

  • EMp||

    "A knowingly innaccurate attempt at political marginalization?" - B-I-N-G-O, nail on the head.

  • Better Racist than Bankrupt||

    Obama Admin. Actuary Finds Unsustainable Status Quo Cheaper than Obamacare
    By Philip Klein on 11.16.09 @ 12:27PM

    One of President Obama's primary justifications for pushing health care legislation has been that the status quo is "unsustainable" because of the skyrocketing cost of medical care in the United States. The way to rein in costs, he argues, is to do adopt the policies that he and his fellow Democrats are proposing. But a new report by the government actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a branch of the Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services, has found that the exact opposite is true.

    CMS took a close look at the health care bill that was passed by House Democrats and endorsed by the White House, and it found that not only would the bill not reduce health care costs -- it would increase them. Time and again, we have been reminded that the United States spends a higher percentage of its GDP on health care than any other nation -- about 16 percent. As Obama but it in his June speech to the American Medical Association, "If we fail to act, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care within a decade." Yet if we adopt the legislation supported by Obama -- which finances expanded coverage through tax increases and Medicare cuts -- health care spending will actually rise to 21.1 percent of GDP, according to CMS, compared to 20.8 percent if we simply do nothing.

    http://spectator.org/blog/2009.....-actuaries

  • Death Panelist||

    In Walsh's defense, you don't get much whiter than Welch.

  • Number 6||

    Out here in bubba land, my experience is that there is plenty of race-based animus against Obama. It's more or less ubiquitous here.
    That is not to say that the tea-party movement is racist. But pretending that there is not at least some degree of racism behind the nastier anti-Obama movement is as absurd as saying that it's all motivated by racism.

    Before the NRO types start shrieking, allow me to point out that I am no fan of Obama's policies.

  • EMp||

    I would second that, Number 6. I cannot really recall conservatives/ independents organizing to such a large degree - they just do not do protests- as we have seen with the the town halls and the '9/12' marches.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Before the election, the RonPaul types were doing things similar to what the TeaParty types are doing now. Hey, wait a minute... could they be the same people? Could XtremeLibertarians be using the TPs as a vehicle for the extreme ideas?

  • EMp||

    One thing is patently obvious to me - ya won't see too many Pelosi-Reid-Frank supporters at either one of those get-togethers!

  • ||

    If Ron Paul's ideas on abolishing the FED are what you call "Xtreme" after seeing what a shit legacy that institution has earned us, you are the fucking wacko.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Fuck off, LW. This "Ron Paul is a racist" shit was invented by liberals who, apparently, can't read a goddamned dictionary:

    Main Entry: rac·ism
    Pronunciation: \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1933

    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2 : racial prejudice or discrimination

    Courtesy of Merriam-Webster. All the other dictionaries are pretty much in accord, though the Liberal Dictionary defines racism as "whatever the fuck we want it to mean because we said so and liberals and non-whites are incapable of racist tendencies".

  • Jim Treacher||

    "I've urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming."

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Context being...?

  • Jim Treacher||

    You should read more.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Sorry, but I have "read", and see nothing there.

    Ron Paul is no Klan wannabe.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Yeah, there are Klansmen with less of a paper trail.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    This is tiresome and pointless, Jim. If you want to keep pounding the "Ron Paul is a racist" drum, it's your time to waste.

  • Jim Treacher||

    No need to pound the drum when it's blocking the whole aisle.

  • EMp||

    I would have to see more than the tacit "six degrees of seperation" theory and concrete evidence that Dr Paul is a racist. Does not wash with me, if that is what you are driving at, friend.

  • EMp||

    '...separation..'

  • Jim Treacher||

    Six degrees of separation? Good lord.

  • ||

    I'm not convinced Ron Paul is a racist. I don't think he is.

    But people claim he is because of a newsletter that was published under his name that was loaded with anti-Semetic conspiracy theory nonesense. He claims that he wasn't involved with the routine operations of the thing and was unaware of the content. I tend to believe him.

    But the documents exist, and they have his name on them. Certainly he can be accused of affiliating himself with racists.

  • ||

    The charge that he's a racist is unfair, but not invented from thin air.

  • Number 6||

    It's certainly true that there seem to be more protests and demonstrations from the right than I've seen before, but that can be explained in part by the prevalence of Fox News and of the Internet.
    I don't believe that the tea-partiers are all bigots, or even mostly bigots. But there certainly are bigots in the movement.

  • smartass sob||

    What sort of response would we have seen from the Right if Hillary Clinton had been elected President and tried to pull the same sort of crap as Bambi?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Why explain it by the prevalence of Fox News? Seems rather lazy and ill-informed of history, if you ask me. When Jimmy Carter had his ass handed to him, was Wally George the ringleader?

    It could be that people are supremely pissed off. I'd bet there's plenty of tea-partiers who don't even have cable TV. People are losing their jobs and have lots of time on their hands. They're getting angry. Thankfully there's plenty of employed members of the media who can insult these people by calling them racists and teabaggers.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    Yes, I'm sure there are a lot of unemployed, non-cableTV-getting people at those events whining about being TEA'ed. The TPs were seriously stupid from the start, restricting their audience to half the country and restricting it further with their AynRand BS.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    So, nobody is taxed enough? Are you seriously saying this, Lonewacko?

    Good God, you're an idiot. You might as well have voted for Obama.

  • EMp||

    You did forget to put in a 'scarcasm' notation, didn't you?

  • Number 6||

    Why explain it by the prevalence of Fox News?
    I don't. I mentioned Fox News as a factor. Given their positive coverage of the parties, and given the ideological overlap, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest that Fox was one factor. The Internet is probably a larger factor, if that makes you happy.

  • PR||

    When Jimmy Carter had his ass handed to him, was Wally George the ringleader?

    according to Dave "Weigs" Weigel, Dem voters were dying to vote for Carter in 1980 until the GOP tricked them by running two Republican candidates.

  • MJ||

    Probably, but at same time there are bigots the Moveon.org crowd as well. There are people with fringe beliefs who attach themselves to any political movement. If you don't believe the bigots are driving are driving the tea-partiers then what is the point of bringing it up?

  • Jim Treacher||

    I cannot recall liberals doing so much, so quickly, that's so worth protesting.

  • ||

    As one of a number of libertarian tea party infiltrators I can tell you that racists may exist but they know to keep their traps shut if so. We've been actively trying to expand into non white communities and our last two speakers have been african american.

  • ||

    I think it would be safe to say that there were people at the Tea Party protests that bore racial animus

    Are you counting the union thugs that showed up to harass and beat up black people?

  • Affirmative Action||

    They don't count.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Apparently, New Black Panthers can get away with intimidating voters at polling places, AND skate on the charges.

    But only white people can be racist. Never forget that.

  • EMp||

    Ha-haa, good point, R C!

  • ||

    This is a big problem for us. Non caucasians take a very real risk by being associated with the movement.

  • ||

    As Obama but it in his June speech to the American Medical Association, "If we fail to act, one out of every five dollars we earn will be spent on health care within a decade." Yet if we adopt the legislation supported by Obama -- which finances expanded coverage through tax increases and Medicare cuts -- health care spending will actually rise to 21.1 percent of GDP,

    Sounds just like the stimulus. "If you don't pass this, unemployment could reach 9%. If you do, it will exceed 10%."

  • Affirmative Action||

    I think if congress goes back to the R's in 2010, they should move to impeach this piece of shit.

  • Oh no not this again||

    The teaparties are over, right? That seems to be the only reason Reason is the only ones still talking about them.

  • ||

    Congratulations on the complete fumble of the sole sentence in your troll attempt.

  • This Is Blatant||

    +1

  • shrike||

    Teabagging rednecks are racist? As a white guy I say 'Who gives a fuck'?

    They're Creationist, anti-Federal Reserve, anti-Washington rednecks who have their hand out for Medicare and Social Security.

    Racism is a side-show at best.

    Its the hypocrisy!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    What's wrong with being anti-Federal Reserve or anti-Washington?

    I remember that kid a while back at one of O's speeches who was instructed to say "why do they hate you? They're supposed to love you", and it made me sick to my stomach - we're not "supposed to love" ANY public servant. Fuck that, same goes for respect - it has to be earned. Neither are granted via being elected.

    Hell, one time, Bill Kristol said "you can't love your country if you don't love your government". Double-fuck that. Patriotism means loving your country, NOT your government.

    Did I mention fuck government?

  • Eric the .5b||

    Because they're only "anti-Federal Reserve or anti-Washington" when their party isn't in control.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And Repubs only give a shit about it when THEY are out of power.

  • EMp||

    The '94 sea change in congress made a lot of people take the status quo for granted, Karl Rove said he could invision perpetual repub majorities. I think most of the country became content with that and stopped paying attention - now a lot of people are starting become skittish about the direction America is heading.

  • ||

    If you think tea party == GOP you're gravely mistaken, despite that's what the GOP and the dems want you to think.

    It's like when people call us libertarians 'moderates' like we want something in between right and left statism.

  • Jim||

    I'm confused. What do you really think about government?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Meh. I can do without at least half of it. And so could the rest of America, if they really thought about it.

  • Coronel_Angus||

    Lonewackoff-

    The number one reason to get rid of this threaded shit.

  • ||

    Getting rid of threaded comments to solve the LoneWacko problem is like disallowing umaults to solve the Anonymity bot problem. It'll inconvenience everybody, but the bastard will keep posting nonetheless.

  • ||

    I guess many of the racists criticizing the Prez voted for him last November? Even if he did garner 90%+ of the Black vote, there were millions of white votes, right? And using the lefty logic that any whitey who criticizes him is a racist leads me to that conclusion.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Supposedly, "taking back the country" (or "taking back America", et cetera) is some sort of racist code.

    But not if Howard Dean said it:

    http://www.amazon.com/You-Have.....0743270134

  • ||

    Unfortunately, the country is still primarily run by those who still see racial lines, and insist on reminding those of younger generations, that although we see a blurred line, they are entirely sure it is a hard and apparent line. And must therefore be continually identified, defined, and adjustments in the national "nanny-state" must be made to assist those poor unfortunate minority souls.

    Who cares what your skin color is? Who cares if you're gay? Who cares if you're fat, small, tall, ugly, beautiful, etc. In the grand scheme of this nation it no longer matters, we have come a point in our history as Americans when we must attempt to no longer see the damn line. Cause it truly isn't there.

    I give two squirts about Obama's blackness, I care that his policies are foolish and short sighted, I care that he has so much love for himself and his own voice, I care that Pelosi and the rest of the "powers that be" are on their knees for this complete failure of a president. And I think it's mostly cause he is black. I think the Dems are so worshipful of the man because they still see him as black, and want a poster child, so they can say, "see? we did it! The welfare state works and does not keep the black man down." Which we all know is not true. (Thankyou Jimmy) Furthermore, none of us should even listen to Carter, he's an anti-semite and a moron.

    Peace be with you.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The fact that Obama got elected, alone, should disprove the liberal meme of America being a home to soooo many black-hatin' inbred white idiots.

    Yes, there ARE white people who engage in racist tendencies. One of them is too many. But it isn't half of the population, as some on the left might think - the numbers are tiny, compared to the overall population.

    Of course, they don't add in the blacks who hate whites, the blacks who hate Koreans, the Koreans who hate blacks, et cetera yadda yadda ad infinitum - there are racists of ALL races. But to hear the Garofalos of the world, it's only right-of-centerists who are *capable* (and, by her judgement, guilty of) racism.

    Fuck her with a stolen strap-on.

  • ||

    We won't worry about the strap on for now. . .

    What about the reponsibility of the other tea baggers at those rallies if 5% of the people there are holding up signs that are, or might be construed as racist, shouldn't other people pull them aside and say "hey. . not cool."

    Is there any backlash within the Tea Party movement against some of the more irresponsible things that are floating around? Like those "prey for Obama" assasination joke T-Shirts? Or the various racist signs and shirts that have been all over the internet?

    IF you don't care about racism per se, don't you at least have a responsibility to your cause to not make yourselves looks stupid?

    It seems like being defensive about this is extraordinarily self defeating.

    The mainstream left says "hey, those guys are racists." You guys say "are not." The mainstream left says "he are a bunch of pictures of people holding racist signs." You say, "you always accuse of being racist when we don't like you." The mainstream left says "Holy crap, look at all those racist assholes. . . here's some more pics." You say "the mainstream media is unfair."

    This is not the way to win the middle over to your side. Just sayin.

    And now its YOUR turn to point out all the stupid things liberal protestors say (Bush=Hitler, etc.)

    Doesn't fix your problem. Lots of people are being convinced that you're crazy. You may have faith that your rhetoric is going to work, but I'm not seein' it.

  • ||

    Don't even start with talking about the merits of your ideas. That's not how politics works.

  • Technomist||

    Is being Californian curable?

  • Daniel Davis||

    The Left claims that those opposing them are racists.

    In other news, dog bites man.

  • ||

    I am not racist, I hate everybody

  • Horde4Lyfe||

    I said that before too. Although I said it like this: "I'm not racist, I hate everybody equally."

  • MIZUNA||

    Yo, radicals for capitalism!

    Without an occasional Ellsworth Toohey to scare us, we get complacent.

    Thank heaven for OBAMA! He's done more to unite capitalists than GWB ever could.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I've thought that very same thing Mizuna and so have some focus groups. That's why it's so important to squash all dissent with cries of racism.

  • ||

    Of course most blacks hate whites and Asians, and Latinos, etc. ad infinitum. American blacks are easily the most racist people on the planet. And the liberals are close behind them (followed by the Japanese)...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The brief blip about "tenthers" was an attempt to revive the tea partiers = racists template... but it seems to have fizzled out.

  • ||

    What the hell is a "tenther" anyway?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Someone who actually thinks the Tenth Amendment *means* something.

    It's a new term, but it hasn't really gained the kind of traction statists were hoping for.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    This link should give you an idea, Hazel:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/.....onspiracy/

    Sad, isn't it?

  • JB||

    We is all racist now!

  • Bruce Majors||

    Welcome to the club Matt. Joan Walsh, as anyone who reads her or sees her on MSNBC should know, is an evil, fascist, rabbit toothed bitch.

    As I have posted often on Salon.com to her face.

  • ||

    I'm sure we're all impressed.

  • JohnD||

    An unfortunate side effect of the Obama mess is it will be many years before a black can be elected president again.

  • JB||

    Affirmative Action FAIL

  • EMp||

    I think that would be dependent on the political philosophy of said 'black' candidate, and if the current demographic shift keeps trending as predicted(actually will probably not matter in the latter scenario). JMO.;-)

  • ||

    It is important to remember that reinforcing "racial consciousness" and stiring the racial pot has always been an important tactic used by the ruling class to pit the powerless against each other. It can be used by those ostensibly opposing racism just as easily as by those promoting racism. Race baiting is such an easy strategy and works just as well for "progessives" today as it worked for "conservatives" in the south in the last century. There are many people who have an investment in and a commitment to the idea that the US is a racist country. They need it to be true and they will make it true if they have to.

  • progressoverpeace||

    did create a stir earlier this year with an asinine comment that Obama has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”


    What is asinine is someone discounting what Black Liberation Theology is, what its practitioners say, and the fact that The Precedent spent decades of his life ensconced in that anti-white environment (even going so far as to use the title of a sermon by the America-hating, racist dirtbag Jeremiah Wright as the title for one of his pathetic books). Also, explain why the Black Panthers were let off (from a won conviction), why the Cambridge police "acted stupidly" when they were clearly in the right, why The Precedent was apologizing for colonialism in Cairo (as if the US had anything to do with colonialism, let alone the fact that colonialism allowed the backward parts of the world to come into contact with the modern world - whether they ended up taking advantage of that or not). Then you can begin considering how The Precedent falls back on trying to stir up racial animus anytime he feels he is losing something. The evidence of where The Precedent stands is far too obvious.

    Anyone who doesn't see the clear anti-white views of The Precedent is being obtuse and dumber than anyone should really be allowed - at least to give their voice a public forum. A 7 year old has more sense than such an ignorant fool.

  • EMp||

    "The Precedent"...I laughed at first, then I kinda winced a bit at the many ways that term could be taken. Good one...

  • ||

    It seems to me that the salient question isn't whether tea parties are racist or not, but whether claims of racism from certain parties ought to still be taken seriously. When the charge is leveled 24/7, it's time to get earplugs.

  • ||

    It's sad that the Confederate Flag is viewed as racist, period. It's like no knows that Northerners owned slaves as well and not all southerners owned slaves. As my great-great-great grandfather fought for his country, I will continue to fly my flag with pride. We aren't racist but we do want to honor our fallen soldiers.

  • ||

    The Teabaggers should get together with the Obama salad-tossers over lunch. But only if it's herbal tea and low-fat dressing.

  • ||

    Hey, I am happy to be called a "racist." All that means is that I strongly object to the socialist policies being promoted by Obama and his henchmen. In a way, it's sort of a compliment, isn't it? Everyone knows the charge is bogus, but everyone also knows that you've obviously scored some points against Dems when the only retort is: "You dirty racist!"

  • ||

    any opposition to their agenda no matter how well reasoned, no matter how mild-mannered will be attacked with vicious instensity, when it's a pattern that is repeated over and over, it's certain you are dealing with ppl of a totalitarian mindset. The Global Corporatists of the Right and the Global Marxists of the Left both use this tactic effectively.

  • EMp||

    VERY true....

  • ||

    100,000 people don't even fill up the area directly in front of the Capitol steps.

    Try again.

    Note the reference to your own, more accurate, at-the-time comments in the link below.

    http://moderateinthemiddle.wor.....l-views-a/

  • ||

    Well, your all free to leave. The Repubs would not have done anything different concerning the bailout; oh wait, they drafted the bail out; they would have offered more tax breaks to people with no jobs, which would be OK if you cut spending to equal what you take in ,in tax revenues; simple, but no one including the American people seem to get it (continued financing of medicare,social security, home equity loans, credit cards ...etc.).
    We can cry about racism, tea-parties, western civilization(or the maintenance there of, ) , 'the thoughts of the Libertines', what does it matter; the national demographics are changing and a whole new group of people will be buying "ear-plugs", as not to hear the so called "middle America" pleads; and rightly so.

  • snort||

    Wow, never bothered to read Reason before, and after the comments, won't be reading it again. Should be renamed "clueless faux-libertarian apologist weekly."

  • ||

    Snorty ole boy we hardly knew ya.

  • ||

    I check in occasionally, and I always have the same reaction. Then I remember why I'm not a regular reader.

    Simply skimming down the page and posting a snark reply to every third idiotic comment or so has left me feeling inordinately pessimistic about the prospects of libertarianism being anything more than a flag for resentful good old boys who know a little (but not too much) about politics.

    Just to be clear, I want you people to get your shit together. I know your not all like that. I know everybody HERE isn't like that. But I don't see any pushback against the yahoos, even on this message board.

    I'd LOVE to see a principled mainstream libertarian movement become a big deal in this country. Instead I see a bunch of whiney ass paranoid yahoos. Some of you people are in John Birch territory down here.

    I await your snark with trembling hands.

  • ||

    I am a founding member of our local tea party group AND I am a mixed race American. Tea Parties are all about common beliefs, not race. People who view everything through the lens of race are blind to the true differences in political philosophy that members of the Tea Party hold. It's a rebuke of statism in favor of libertarianism/conservatism. It's a renouncement of big state conservatism as well as big state liberalism. It's about freedom to prosper in lieu of taxation, regulation, subjugation, etc.

  • ||

    Stick with it. They need you. This is the chance for libertarians to get out the the real message of freedom. They are primed and now is our opportunity. If we sit this one out we can hardly complain later. It takes some nose-holding but that's a small price.

  • ||

    Facts and truth don't matter in politics nowadays, e.g. The Big O's claim that "jobs were saved or created" in Congressional districts that don't exist by stimulus dollars that were never spent. Because facts and truth have been exiled from the Beltway, it's us against you, and if you send one of ours to the hospital, we'll send one of yours to the morgue. That's the Chicago Way!

    In view of this current state of affairs, Newsweek’s Susan Jacoby's statement is the most absurd of those quoted above: “This toxic brew of racism and class resentment is rooted in anti-rationalism.”

    How can there be any rationalism when there is no fact or truth? There can't be, which is why there is only the violence of hyperbolic calumny provoked by imagined transgressions. So stop whining, you pundits. You're like nude mud wrestlers complaining about the low self-esteem your vocation causes.

  • ||

    The membership rolls for the New White Panther Party are now open. I'm sending a personal invitation to Mr. Obama's white half. Do you think he'll join?

  • EMp||

    I think he'd be torn...it would only be a 'half-hearted' attempt, anyway.

  • EMp||

    I know...that was terrible.

  • J.Anderson||

    It's reasonable to assume that some of the more fanatical and irrational tea party protesters are motivated by racism. But this obviously doesn't justify Obama's policies.

    Still, we ought to be careful and examine the facts. In Louisiana, for instance, 15% of McCain voters listed race as a "very important factor" while 24% listed it as "a factor". Kentucky registered 14% and 19% on the two questions. Many of the states most typically associated with racism did not feature the question, and so we do not have their statistics.

    These numbers seem surprisingly high, and one must wonder how many more voters in those states felt that way, but did not want to admit it. It seems plausible to assume that this could be the case.

    Lets face it, the majority of the people at tea parties aren't exactly presenting coherent and intelligent critiques. It's mostly just shouting and wild sloganeering.

    I fear that the imbecilic nature of those mobs is doing more harm than good, and I don't think it's implausible to assume that at least a solid portion of it is based upon racism and xenophobia (Obama has a weird name).

  • ||

    Yes. Moving on.

  • ||

    I find all of this totally ridiculous, just because an ex-president who has barely enough clout to come on national tv , mind you Jimmy Carter has done nothing for America during his presidency and he uses bs socialist propaganda because truly that's all it is, an ex- white president pulling out the magical race card for a black president, how pointless is that! Is he trying to attract sympathy? Mr. Obama is not such a character to stoop so low as to pull a race card! Gentlemen , show a little respect for everyone! This is not a race issue! It is a logic issue! First of all why bother listening to Jimmy Carter what on earth did he ever do for America besides get a paycheck for doing nothing?So we give this guy enough clout to listen to him, why should I bother listening to someone who was mistakenly put into the white house, don't listen to such socialist propaganda drivel! There's someone else who used propaganda in the last century by the name of Hitler. Let me refresh your memories, Obamas approval rating was 73% when he took office, at present his approval rating is 38% that in itself tells you that people are waking up to the concept that Mr.Obama is not the savior, he can not pull any rabbits out of his hat, he is nothing but a rookie kid who is wet behind his ears and the only thing he can do is talk pretty and he is slowly running out of words! What is ruining this country is extremeism , the democrats and republicans are too opposed and there is a ever widening gap between them, there isn't any bipartisanship at all and something needs to be done, there should only be one agenda for America and that is to work together as one! Thanks, Steven P. Kunkel

  • ||

    The simple reality is
    TEA PARTY + 9/12 RALLY = PROFITS FOR NEWSCORP

    If you do everything Fox News tells you, then by all means, attend a 9/12 rally or tea party. Why report the news when you can simply make it instead?

    Tea parties don't equal racism, that's a bit of a pithy way to disprove a negative. A never equals B on a society scale.
    But they certainly don't turn away the racists. They don't ask them to take down their signs or decry their presence among them.
    And, by the way, anti-antisemitism is racism.

  • ||

    Yep.

    And ultimately, a lot of Tea Party stuff is totally incoherent gibberish. It just feels really good to be outraged and self righteous.

    I'm not saying there aren't issues there. I just don't think the majority of Tea Partiers understand them. And I KNOW that they are not conscientious about patrolling themselves.

  • Sean Smith||

    Don't fret, Matt. Joan Walsh is MSNBC's go-to white gal when it comes to ferreting out the racist motives of other white people. At least she knows the difference between epithets and epitaphs. David Shuster and Chuck Todd don't.

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