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The Big Question: Does the Tea Party need to drop ‘racist element’?

Alan Abramowitz, professor of Political Science at Emory University, said:
Yes—despite the efforts of leaders to keep overtly racist messages out of Tea Party rallies, there are persistent strains of racism and nativism evident in the movement.  It isn’t the main thrust of the movement, but it’s clearly present.

Glenn Reynolds
of Instapundit, said:

The NAACP was acting in its usual fashion these days, as political operatives for the White House rather than as a civil rights organization.  After eulogizing former Klansman Robert Byrd while mocking black Tea Partier Ken Gladney who was beaten and called a “nigger” by SEIU members the NAACP has made clear that its loyalties and condemnations are driven by politics, and not any sort of concern with fairness or racial equality.

“A better question, anyway, is whether ThinkProgress staffers should be fired for fabricating video alleging Tea Party racism. But note that I said ‘should,” not will, as ThinkProgress appears unfazed by this dishonesty.”

Of course, after their claim that the term “black hole” is racist,” the NAACP has scant credibility left to lose.  Given their once-great work, it’s sad, but this path to irrelevance and political capture is one that most interest groups follow eventually.   Don’t even get me started on Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Frank Askin, professor of law at Rutgers University, said:

The NAACP was absolutely right in urging the Tea Party movement to reject the racists in their ranks. Almost every video of Tea Party events is replete with racist banners and signs. How can they be ignored? And if the leaders do not repudiate them, they are endorsing them, whether they intend to or not.

Bruce E. Gronbeck, professor of Political Communication at the University of Iowa, said:

There are no signs of Tea Party racism in Iowa, but then, our rainbow is short a few colors.  The only public hints of racism, I suppose, are the attacks on the president and his birthing.  More interesting this week has been the decision of the Tea Party leadership to pull down the billboard comparing Obama to Hitler and Lenin, “democratic socialism” to “national socialism” and “Marxist socialism.”  The basis for the comparison?  All three built a campaign around the idea of “change.”  The moral of the story?  “Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.”  That billboard was not a clear example of racism–only political clumsiness and stupidity.  Iowans are used to such charges being leveled at middle eastern, South American, or east Asian dictators, not mere Democrats.

Ok, our very own Rep. Steve King may use those epithets domestically and Newt Gingrich  will come close to making that sort of argument when he swings into the state.  But really, Iowa is much too polite and civil a place to tolerate extremist political rhetoric.  The Iowa chapter of the Tea Party collective should know better (even if Steve King doesn’t).

John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society, said:    

All groups should purge themselves of racist groups.  But the charge of racism is one of several that sem to be employed selectively, frequently, and unjustly.
Consider: Frequent accusations of “racism,” whether or not based on something of substance, have the effect of attaching the odious label to a group or a person even if not deserved.  The very charge, like the charge of anti-Semitism, does the job of tar-brushing the target even if no evidence to back it up can be produced.  This is a nasty tactic that has been used over and over again by dishonest propagandists who prefer to hurl nasty names rather than engage in substantive discussion about issues.
Secondly: If racism is bad, why aren’t groups like La Raza, MEChA, and some of the other extreme Latino groups repudiated.  Racism, indeed, is bad in our “melting pot” country.  And it should be condemned. Yet, when he was a candidate, Mr. Obama not only pandered for the support of these extremists during his run for the presidency, he spoke at a La Raza gathering in July 2008 and promised to implement the group’s racist agenda when he entered the White House.
Just imagine a Caucasian candidate for office speaking at a gathering of white supremacists and telling them he would support their agenda if elected. He wouldn’t get very far – and that’s good.  Likewise, pandering to Latino racist organizations should earn a prompt shunning. 
If any group promoting white supremacy should be ostracized, why shouldn’t any group promoting supremacy of some other kind be equally ostracized?
People should be judged by their character, their patriotism, their honesty, etc.  Dishonestly tossing around charges against an entire group for the stupidity or evil intent of a single individual, or even a few hotheads, is an unjust tactic that should never be employed and, if employed, should earn the employer some condemnation.

Julian Bond,
former president of the NAACP, said:

Of course.

Peter Navarro
, professor of economics and public policy at U.C. Irvine,

Nope.  That just adds more energy to the Tea Party because the NAACP has
no political juice whatsoever, not even among African-Americans.  Sad
fact of life.


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