Tea Party's bigotry is a birthmark, not a tattoo

Woodlands Tea Party on 2nov09

Image by bsryan via Flickr

The very public implosion of the Republican base into a tribe of frothing-at-the-mouth racist, homophobic militants has been so extensively documented that it has inspired former Conservative bloggers like John Cole and Andrew Sullivan to renounce and/or heavily modify their political ideologies.

Through it all, the claim from party leadership and beltway insiders has been that the Republican Party has newly fractured into two extremist sects: the Neo-Conservatives, hellbent on world domination, and the Tea Party militants, who refuse to recognize a Democratic and/or black president, and who truly believe feminists, blacks, gays, Hispanics, the poor, and the unions (the dangerous — yet strangely amorphous — “Them” Glenn Beck always whips out when a specific enemy isn’t readily available) are encircling the suburbs.

The Tea Party base has been described as a new phenomenon — a surprising turn of events that no one could have ever, ever predicted. Most recently, a spokesman for Astroturf Inc. FreedomWorks, quoted his boss, Dick Armey:

Regardless of who yelled what, the reports themselves could be problematic for the tea party movement, said Adam Brandon, a spokesman for FreedomWorks, the small government group that helped organize tea partiers congressional office visits last week.

“Tattoos last forever,” said Brandon, quoting his boss, FreedomWorks chairman and former House Republican Leader Dick Armey. “If the movement gets tattooed as at all sympathetic to those (racist and homophobic) views, I won’t want to be involved in it anymore. It’s very distracting not only to our side but also to the debate and the country.”

Brandon says this as though the GOP isn’t already inextricably linked to racist, homophobic views, and that hasn’t been the party’s official strategy for around three decades. And yet, Cole observes, it appears Dr. Frankenstein regrets creating his Monster.

But the strategy of praying on the ignorance of white people is really nothing new. A Cole commenter, JGabriel put it best when they wrote, “To anyone familiar the Southern Strategy, winger bigotry is not a tattoo – it’s a birthmark.”

This strategy is 30-years-old, and the “enemies” are the same: the left, the anti-war protesters, hippies, feminists, and blacks, with the relatively new additions of Hispanics and teh gayz.

Here is Nixon’s political strategist, Kevin Phillips, explaining the strategy to the New York Times in 1970. But really, with the antiquated term “Negro” swapped out for something less glaringly racist, this is almost identical to the Republican strategy today.

From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that… but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

Right. Make the white ignoramuses fear The Black Man, and they’ll come running to the Republicans. Blame the blacks, or the gays, or the immigrants for their lost jobs (instead of greedy corporations that get cheaper labor overseas,) and they’ll cross party lines that much faster.

The GOP’s strategy is exactly the same, but the bigotry is worse now because the wealth disparity has widened and America has its first black president. Also, there are more cameras available, and citizen journalists are cataloguing Teabagger ignorance and racism whereas some of these comments would have probably never entered the mainstream press a decade ago.

In times of economic crisis, it’s smart politics to run on populist issues like immigration, gay marriage, and abortion. It’s not ethical, or moral, but it definitely riles up the base. And this strategy isn’t uniquely American. A similar thing just happened in the UK, which partially explains why the unapologetically racist BNP picked up a couple Parliament seats.

Tough economic times means white southerners are more afraid than ever. They’re losing their jobs, their homes, and they feel outnumbered by people who don’t look, or act, like them.

Republicans know this, and given that they’ve managed to lose majority control of every other constituent demographic (even Big Business now that Corporate Democrats sold out the unions,) they need those terrified voters.

The only thing that’s changed in the GOP’s world since 1970 is that they’ve learned to disguise the bigotry. Leaders like Sarah Palin talk about “the real America” as a way to let her scared, white, elderly base know that she won’t let those bad ole’ blacks and feminists dictate policy.

Less savvy Republicans, say Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck aren’t politicians and so they don’t have to behave as centrists. As a result, they let their true ignorant, bigot colors show on a daily basis. Their niche is the White Disenfranchised Male, and their product is fear. The problem is, their audience develops a resistance to the same hysterical accusations week after week after week…and so the Fear Peddlers, Limbaugh and Beck, have to constantly increase the dosage of hysteria.

And when something bad happens, ranging from someone shouting “nigger” at John Lewis to shooting some of their fellow citizens, the right-wingers claim they have no idea where this hate and paranoia came from.

It’s pretty pathetic and transparent. They should at least have the courage to stand by the GOP strategy once it blows up in their faces.

44 Comments

  1. massawyrm

    A well researched piece that sadly gets dragged into the mud by the usual left versus right screed and takes the usual cheap shots while painting a whole party with a single brushstroke…for painting the other party with a single brushstroke. The real story here isn’t that Republicans are racist (we’re not), it’s the question of what Republicans are going to do with a 40 year old voting strategy decision that netted them voters they were happy for THEN who are decidedly unfashionable now. Making matters worse is that the media more than happy to paint anti-war protesters 8 years ago as freaks, kooks and nutjobs are more than happy now to do the same to the anti-health care nuts. It’s a position the Republican powers that be have no idea how to negotiate. These facts would have supported a great article on that.

  2. ragnar

    Given my experiences at several tea party events – where racism and bigotry were NOT displayed – I have to ask whether or not anyone has looked into the possibility that the incidents were planted by another agency.

    There was an incident in Colorado a year or so ago where a local Democrat’s election office was vandalized and the Republicans were blamed prior to any investigation. Turns out the guy who did it was a registered Democrat who had actually worked for the party in the past. It just illustrates to me how easy it is to blame the “usual suspects” in a given situation.

    So I am NOT claiming the Democrats – or any one else – are responsible. Its very likely that the usual racist, homophobic idiots were, but I like to ask questions, especially when it seems that the most likely “usual suspects” in this political theater are so easy to villify.

  3. qabal

    Yes, since the water is green in my pond, all oceans are green.

  4. ragnar

    So asking reasonable questions about unreasonable situations is verboten?

  5. sharpless

    They must have an awful lot of plants then, because it doesn’t take much searching online to find reports and actual footage of plenty of Tea Partiers displaying this same kind of bigotry and ignorance.

    I can understand why a slightly more sensible Republican would want to deny this behavior, or wish it away. But the fact of the matter is that it IS there. It runs deep. The South is notoriously Republican, and it’s also notoriously racist and anti-gay. Not everyone is, of course, but a strong presence IS there and has been there for a long time. It’s not a stretch to accuse the Tea Partiers of displaying such faults. For heaven’s sake, there are “Christian” groups proudly praying for Obama’s death. (And I don’t say that to slam actual Christians. I am one.)

    I am an ex-Republican. Fortunately, I got out a few years before any of this Tea Party garbage came into existence. But I’m sorry: While this article seems a little over-the-top in places, the core message cannot be plausibly denied. Bigotry does run deep throughout the Tea Party movement, and even (to a lesser extent) the entire Republican party. If you’re not one of the bigots, then great — be a good influence on your brethren. Just don’t pretend it’s not there.

  6. andylevinson

    RE: Tea Party militants, who refuse to recognize a Democratic and/or black president, and who truly believe feminists, blacks, gays, Hispanics, the poor, and the unions (the dangerous — yet strangely amorphous

    Hell, the Black marxist sitting in the white house doesn’t believe in the Constitution….

    Allison, you really believe Obama gives a rats ass about blacks, gays, hispanics, the poor, the thug unions?

  7. scottchaffee

    To deny that bigotry and fear has been and is being used as a political tool by republicans is an exercise in self-delusion. When you have political leaders that do not denounce racist remarks and domestic terrorist threats when they serve that party’s purpose, you might have a clue.

  8. justice4all

    I have to tell you, Allison, you’re way off the mark in your characterization of the Tea Party Movement. There are Republicans involved, but no one but grass-roots saavy Americans are making the decisions for this movement. They are educated, independent & intent on keeping the God given liberties that are their Right as Americans. They are professionals, blue-collar, hardworking folks who want to be left alone by government bureacracy. They have life & government experience. Are there kooks? Sure. But there are in every assembly of people. The media loves to emphasize the negative to marginalize the group’s influence. I have news for you: the Tea Party was named after the early Americans in Boston Harbor who protested the government’s infringement on their liberties. The same concepts apply today and mocking them by calling them “Tea-baggers” or any other epithet is not going to make them go away. They have political clout and strength. Mostly, they have the strength of their own convictions – the stuff that has always made America great.

  9. David J.

    Wait, I’m confused. Some people at a rally yell out obscenities (racist, homophobic, or otherwise) and an entire movement/political philosophy gets labeled as “racist by nature” or “homophobic by birth”?

    I’m a registered Massachusetts Democrat. But. I don’t support this analysis.

  10. esaeger

    Over on one of Taibbi’s recent threads a few posters encouraged the Teabags to express themselves freely. My own hopes were high, and I expected a lot of common ground to be found with progressives who’ve been sold out by their ‘leaders’. Who knew, maybe a couple of Teabags would figure out they’re being played by the Beck/Limbaugh corporate-bullshit complex.

    Instead, the posters quickly proved their doubters right, spewing Birther crap, failing to grok simple (if off-the-usual red/blue track) opinions, and of course misspelling every syllable their hotdog-sized fingers attempted to hunt-and-peck.

    They’re fucking stupid, is what it is. Let evolution take its course and let them drown in their own fearful bile. I actually feel a little sorry for them now.

  11. elizabeth59

    All I have to say about the recent comments and threats against President Obama is “THE WORLD IS WATCHING AMERICA!” After all our country’s claim to be land of the FREE and HOME OF THE BRAVE, the present state of affairs begs to differ and the world is watching. America has involved itself in many countries’ affairs in the name of DEMOCRACY, but now the world sees just how DEMOCRATIC we are; WE WANT TO ASSASSINATE OUR LEADER BECAUSE OF WHAT????. WAY TO GO MY FELLOW AMERICANS!!

  12. esaeger

    What government infringement on your precious “freedoms” are you referring to exactly, aside from the mandate? You geniuses still think there’s nothing good about the bill, don’t you? Blue Cross dumps mom in the middle of chemo because Jeebus would approve, right?

    Accept your biggie-sized fail and move the fuck on already. Even Fox is exhibiting signs of embarrassment.

  13. paulahannah

    You must be joking or you’re blind – carrying posters of Obama as a monkey or a witch doctor isn’t racism and bigotry displayed??? Calling John Lewis, one of the most respected members of Congress, the ‘n’ word isn’t racism or bigotry??? Calling Barney Frank a ‘faggot’ isn’t bigotry?? Take your head out of the sand and look around. The people you pal around with are hate-mongering, misinformed, homophobic right-wingnuts! There’s no other ‘agency planting’ or planning these incidents. Your friends are!! Time to wise up and switch friends!

  14. paulahannah

    #1 – Obama is not a marxist (time to learn what exactly a Marxist is before you spew out more hateful, misinformed accusations).
    #2 – Obama was a Constitutional professor at the Chicago University’s law school. He studied Constitutional law at Harvard Law School. I believe he knows a whole lot more than you do about the Constitution and I’ve seen or read no evidence to support your ridiculous accusation that Obama ‘doesn’t believe in the Constitution..”
    #3 – I believe very strongly that Obama cares deeply about the welfare of my fellow citizens in the United States – all the citizens.

  15. paulahannah

    Elizabeth, I agree with you but please don’t shout. It hurts my ears…

  16. how is it that when someone disagrees with a “open minded” lib that they resort to the race card or pretending they know what we are all about? you think we are all scared uneducated little white folk hating everything that doesn’t look like us. well your about as ignorant as i would expect an “open minded” liberal to be. why can’t you talk about the real problems instead of just spewing out a litany of trash with out backing anything up. immigration for example the dems want to give illegals the right to vote and healthcare, and to use their vote to stay in office. even though obama said they would not be included in healthcare, but your a liberal so thats ok i understand. when sara palin talks about the “real” americans she was talking about ,you guessed it, people who disagreed with the “open minded” liberal who of course “knows all” and “loves all” because you know so much more than us scared little white folk and finds nothing wrong with obama appointing known communists to czar positions. well i know you have some great lies to answer with but i’ll have to read them later.

  17. David J.

    So a few people’s actions makes the entire party or movement naturally bigoted? In other words, a person’s fiscal conservatism automatically makes them a bigot? Or the other way around?

    Let’s keep to sound, critical thought.

  18. thestatesman

    In response to Ms. Kilkenny’s post I would issue one comment. As a fellow American I respect your opinion, but I take issue with your obvious hatred for people who view the world diffeently than you do. To exploit the comments of a few ignorant “tea party-goers” to call almost half (or possibly even slightly more than half) of the American public bigots, racists and homophobes is not journalism. It is not reporting facts, and above all it certainly seems biased with no intention to enlighten others.

    It is highly possible, in fact, most probably true, that most of the conservatives you brand with these over-used, loaded and almost trite mischaracterizations simply disagree with President Obama based on his ideas, his policy and his lack seeming lack of pride in the american way of life, which most of us, liberal or conservative as the case may be, ascribe to, that long-standing tradition of earning and accomplishing the American Dream.

    To suggest that Republicans, conservatives or tea-party participants are al bigots is ludicrous and downright ignorant. I suggest you take the blinders off and study the facts, study the platform of the Republican Party, without bias, for what it is, and then tell me that the party which fought to end slavery against the Democrats’ opposition to abolition, the party that fought for women’s suffrage, the party that during reconstruction was the only party where black americans participated in significant numbers is truly bigoted. At some point, the Republican party did become less protective of minorities, but certainly not disrespectful of them. In fact, the party of the American Dream was and still is, the Republican Party.

    The Republican party believes in a level playing field for all Americans, not in giving a head start to some because at one time many years ago members of their community were a constitutionally suspect class upon whom discrimination was rampant. When Democrats realized that the only way to stay in power was to buy the votes of the disadvantaged poor and the various minority groups with social programs by creating endless dependency at taxpayer expense it was hailed as some great and prolific social change. Unfortunately, it has led to millions of poor children in single-parent homes, dependent on taxpayers, and unknowledgeable of the principles of hard work and self-discipline and with no appreciation of how hard it is to earn an honest living. There are, of course, some exceptions, some folks who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps against the odds, but they are truly exceptions to the rules created by generations of democrat rule and big-government spending.

    Sure, the Republicans may have dropped the ball a little during GWB’s time in office, but they are not bigots, hate-mongers, homophobes and male chauvinists as you so indelicately portrayed them. The facts are: 1) that the vast majority of the Republican party and conservatives in general are white, but most of those are, in fact female. Go to any local Republican party meeting and you can verify this as the gospel truth; 2) Most Republicans are average, working, middle-class individuals ranging spanning across every racial background, gender, age-group and, yes, even sexual orientation; 3) The Republican party is anything but rich elitists who despise the poor. Most small business owners are conservative, wanting to pay less taxes so they can in turn employ more people and increase productivity and improve the quality of lives for their families and the families of the employees who work for them every day; 4) Most conservatives, Republicans and tea-party participants want the sanctity of the Constitution, the very foundation of our democracy, to be preserved, and they appreciate that there are inalienable rights and want them protected. By way of contrast, most Democrats believe we should ignore the Constitution, or only abide by the parts that promote and uphold their agenda. In fact, when members of their own party stand up for our Constitution’s preservation, they often become the laughing-stock of the democratic part and branded as turncoats or something less than Democrats.

    Democrats and liberals are in fact anything but progressive. They are in fact anything but well-intentioned. They are the latent bigots, homophobes and gender supremacists they have branded others as being. The Democrats and the left-wing in general have done their level best and succeeded for the most part in playing on the fears of minorities and women so they could keep them under thumb, and bound as a coalition of the duped, all under the cloak of social liberalism and progressivism. Democrats hate prosperity they cannot expolit to buy votes, they can’t stand freedom of speech that disagrees with their world-view and they do everything they can to discredit it and silence it, even though they own and operate most of the media. Democrats can’t play fair, they are downright nasty to black, hispanic, jewish, female and gay conservatives and they seem to have a vehement disregard for all things Christian in nature: we need only look at how they characterize Christians for moral views opposed to abortion as radical right-wingers and unsympathetic to the rights of women.

    It’s time to get real, and put the blame where it really should be. I challenge you to study conservatism without interjecting the biases against it you were taught. Take the blinders off, see it for what it is supposed to be and could be, and you just might find that you’ve been wrong and need to reconsider your own world-view, even if only just a little bit. President Obama pointed out to Senator McCain several weeks ago that the election is over. I challenge you to keep that in mind and to remember that he is just a man, exceptional in that he has the distinction of adding a list of impressive firsts to his resume, and he does make mistakes, as did his predecessors of all parties and walks of life. I challenge you to stop trying so hard to protect him and prop him up, but see him and his ideals for what they are. I trust the truth will set you free, if you let it.

  19. Pingback: We all work for Fox

    [...] the subject of fear, and how it’s wielded by the Republicans, I also liked this piece by Allison Kilkenny. Here’s a clip: …Here is Nixon’s political strategist, Kevin Phillips, explaining [...]

  20. Allison Kilkenny

    Sure, the Republicans may have dropped the ball a little during GWB’s time in office, but they are not bigots, hate-mongers, homophobes and male chauvinists as you so indelicately portrayed them.

    “Dropping the ball” may be the biggest understatement I’ve seen in quite a while.

    The Republican leadership has collectively decided to become the “Party Of No.” They don’t propose solutions. Or rather, they propose “solutions” that have time and time again been proven false. It doesn’t matter how many local and state economies they tank (see Colorado Springs and California for two models,) or how many Nobel Prize-winning economists dispute them (Krugs and Stiglitz,) their “solution” is always the same: cut social welfare programs and/or cut taxes.

    When they’re not proposing “solutions” that don’t work, they’re obstructing real progress, or encouraging their ignorant, bigoted base. See: idiots like Rep. Steve King floating the idea of seceding from the union or Michele Bachmann claiming passing health care reform would magically result in abortions skyrocketing by 30 percent.

    If this isn’t the official Republican leadership, then Republicans should really stop voting for them. Every time a Republican leader says something stupid, or a teabagger embarrasses themself in front of a camera, someone pops up to say they don’t represent the “Real Republicans.”

    Where are the real Republicans hiding? Who is their leadership? Is it Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck?

    If you don’t want these people representing you, find new leadership. But don’t act annoyed when Progressives point out that the de facto Republican leadership preys on the fear of ignorant Americans.

  21. David J.

    I thought like you for a long time. Recently, though, I’ve been questioning all that the Democrats are feeding us and have started thinking about what this will *cost* us.

    I’m starting to realize that Republicans are standing their ground because of how much this bill is going to *cost* Americans. In terms of money. In terms of freedom. In terms of how much it hurts (and doesn’t help) the poor.

    After this bill has been implemented, we will all, as Americans, be forced into a contract with insurance companies whether we want to or not.

    - This means no more entrepreneurs starting up companies without insuring themselves (to save money because they’re young and healthy).
    - This means small businesses will cut jobs. (That’s what taxes and forced contracts do, people.)
    - This means that insurance companies will have to charge me, a healthy young adult, as much as a 70-year-old smoker/tanning-bed-goer/cocaine addict for insurance. Because there’s no “discrimination” allowed. Not even discrimination based on people’s choices.

    This can only help insurance companies. They can raise prices because of increased demand. They have a captive customer base. They charge more to cover pre-existing conditions. Not only does this cost me more up front, it costs me double in taxes. Because I’m paying for someone else’s high-risk premiums, too.

    Not only does it help insurance companies become more corrupt. It hurts the poor. Namely, fewer people can now get jobs because more small businesses won’t be able to afford the mandated level of health coverage. They’ll hire fewer people. And statistically, this will hit poor people the hardest.

    I think that the reason Republicans are more negative than positive because they see so much bad in this bill, regardless of how much good it could do. I also think you’re wrong to write off all of the Republican suggestions for reform–some of them are quite sound.

    So bottom line is, I’m starting to see their point. I don’t like this bill, and I don’t like how my fellow Democrats have failed to reflect on its costs.

    I want better insurance companies, better coverage, better fiscal responsibility. This bill goes in the opposite direction.

    Best,
    David

    Also, no one is going to claim Krugman is the unbiased, clear-thinking economist he once was. Read his NYT column if you disagree.

  22. thestatesman

    First, let me say that I am truly honored that you took time to respond. The answer to your question is that real Republicans are not hiding; they are working overtime to pay their bills and their ever-increasing taxes and working harder than ever to teach their children how to balance their family’s budget, how to treat others with respect, and how to become self-reliant and dedicated in their pursuit of happiness instead of relying on the hard work of their peers to help them accomplish some warped imitation of the American Dream.

    Beck and Limbaugh are sensationalist talk show hosts, hardly leaders of a political party or movement, at least not any more than Alan Combes or Keith Olbermann are leaders of a movement. As for party leadership, that would be Michael Steele, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and a host of others including State Party Chairmen, Executive Committees and Republican Governors and State Legilative leaders. I’ll be the first to admit they are not perfect, but overall, they are a pretty good lot.

    As for the party of NO, their job is to say NO when they fundamentally disagree with proposed legislation especially when the process is only open to them to participate if they ditch their convictions and vote in tandem against the will of their constituencies as many of their colleagues did on Sunday. As far as stupid things said, there are numerous instances, like comments made by Senate Majority Leader Reid in describing President Obama as a light-skinned man with “no apparent negro dialect, unless he wanted to” or Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd, a known former Ku Klux Klansman, or Vice President Biden, who dropped the F-Bomb today when speaking to the President of the United States before a national TV audience. The only difference is that when conservatives, Republicans or “tea-baggers” (what an innuendo, lol) say something stupid or ignorant the Republican leadership faces insurmountable media and public pressure to do the right thing and reject their peers’ remarks and abandon them instead of standing by their peers who made the remarks, when compared to liberals, Democrats or so-called progressives who mercilessly defend, excuse and/or attempt to minimize the perceived offensive conduct and to dismiss those who have been offended by the remarks. There is clearly a double-standard when insenstive and offensive comments are tolerated from liberals, but similar insensitive commentary by a conservative is never forgiven or excused. In fact, such comments and actions should not be tolerated by either party no matter who says it. Simply put, the Republicans (whether they are in the majority or the minority at the time) are fiercely held to a higher standard by the media and the public than their Democratic counterparts. When the Republicans even attempt to apply the same pressure and standards to Democrats who make similar comments and exhibit similar bad behavior, the Republicans are demonized by the Democrats, the media, and liberals and the Republicans are called divisive or accused of obstructionism. There is an obvious and unconscionable double-standard which should not be.

    Conservative fiscal policy does in fact work. It has been proven over and over. What does not work, however, is when conservatives behave like their counterparts when it comes to the people’s money, which is exactly where I think GWB dropped the ball. I personally believe that the companies that received the massive bailouts in late 2008 should never have received a dime. They should have been allowed to fail, as any small business would also have had to do which mishandled its finances and breached their fiduciary duties to their customers and employees, and they should have had to suffer the same public backlash and humiliation and even litigation as need be. Conservative fiscal policy balances budgets, reduces deficits, lowers taxes and keeps jobs in America instead of shipping them overseas. When we deviate from it, as did GWB and the majority Democrat controlled congress that helped him instead of stopping it, the people ultimately suffer.

    Again, thanks for your reply. I must now get some sleep so I can go to work tomorrow and figure out how to earn enough money to pay for health insurance or either shut down my own small law practice, and go to work for the government so I don’t have to worry about providing my own health insurance to comply with the mandates of this new legislation. I run a solo practice, and I do mean solo. I have no paralegal or legal secretary to help me because I can hardly afford to even pay myself a predictable monthly salary. I do it all myself. Many weeks go by wherein I make nothing at all to pay my bills, but the bills keep coming. My student loans are so massive that I am forced to make a decision each month to pay what I can afford instead of what I owe. The student loan company refuses to cooperate with me because my loans are private loans, not federally backed, yet the lender cites federal law for their reason to force me into default despite my best good faith efforts to pay something each month. I do not have perfect health, but I cannot afford the healthcare I need, and now I’m going to be fined a substantial portion of my income if I do not sacrifice something else that needs to be paid in order to provide myself insurance.

    Last year was my first year in practice. I had no option other than “hanging my own shingle” when law firms in my area (and the government law positions) froze hiring due to the economic downturn. In 2009, I netted a sum total of $8,000.00 after I paid the business expenses for the year. The low income I make forces me to live with family instead of being able to afford to purchase or rent a home of my own. I’m not ignorant, by anyone’s definition of the word, but I have a true fear of the Democratic agenda for this nation, and I honestly do not see it doing anything to improve my economic condition or the condition of the millions of other small business owners out there like me who are struggling to make ends meet and who desperately need a break.

    Respectfully yours,

    Jesse S. Cartrette, Jr.
    Florence, South Carolina

  23. Somebody on Gawker suggested calling white people with tattoos “colored people.” I can’t wait to try this.

    From behind bulletproof glass, of course.

  24. dtafs

    Jesse, This statement: Conservative fiscal policy balances budgets, reduces deficits, lowers taxes and keeps jobs in America instead of shipping them overseas.

    So wrong on so many levels, if you dig a little deeper.

    I would love it if we had a real conservative president who did these things. Hell, I would love it if we had ANY president who did these things. But the fact is, we never have, and probably never will.

    Your IRE should be pointed directly at the people whom you vote into office, as they have produced more in budget deficit in the past 50 years than their counterparts on the left.

    The big fallacy in all of this is that budget deficits are generally ran up by the very same people who claim they won’t run them up, republicans.

    Whenever I engage in political talk with my friends, I always use the same simple premise: spending is spending is spending. Doesn’t matter if it’s on social programs or on the military.

    Our problem as a country is largely NOT a left vs. right theoretical issue. It’s a credit issue. We spend, again whether it’s on social programs or military programs, then almost ALWAYS put the cost off down the road. Then, everyone squawks about taxes.

    Maybe, just maybe, if we ever started paying for these things upfront, like we are supposed to do, we could climb back out of this hole we are in.

    Seems to me that, love him or hate him, Clinton started us on that track. Then Dubya completely took apart any chance we had of continuing along it.

  25. is the Tea Bagger Movement a racist, homophobic movement? Until I see every Republican stand up against the slurs hurled at the Nations Capitol I would have to say…yes.

  26. David J.

    Andy didn’t say Obama didn’t understand the Constitution. He said he didn’t believe in it. He’s probably referring to unjustified detention and to how the new bill forces people to enter into a contract with insurance companies. Both of which are unconstitutional.

    To counter that point by saying “Obama studied law” is to use a red herring.

  27. Shortbus

    No bid Contracts, 2 Wars kept off the books and what ever-increasing taxes are you referring too?

  28. bluesman

    These kind of responses always crack me up – pretending to take the high road or more “intellectual” position, then turn around and smear “Progressives/Democrats/Liberals” with the same garbage – like “Democrats hate prosperity” – what a load of crap. “The Statesman” – what arrogance! Lol!
    Here’s a historical fact for you – Almost overnight, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, “Dixiecrats” (who were so because of Lincoln freeing the slaves/Civil War) turned into “state’s rights” Republicans – so the entire Southern core of the Republican party is so FOR RACIST REASONS. Denying this with “I know you are so what am I” child’s argument however eloquent you think you are or sophisticated you think your language/vocabulary is, it’s just a lot of words with the same lame argument.

  29. thestatesman

    bluesman,

    If it makes you feel good to get that off your chest, I’m happy for you. I don’t take the high road. I take the road period, so I won’t have to resort to throwing dirt at others. As far as my vocabulary, it is not an eloquent cover up for racism; it is the product of hard work and a strong desire to become an educated citizen, and it comes with my profession, fo rhte most part. I am indeed highly offended you would make such a remark without knowing me at all. I have two beautiful nieces who I love very much, and they happen to be black. One of my closest of friends is a black gentleman, and most of my clients are poor, disdvantaged black youths who cannot afford to pay my fees, but deserve a fair day in courts like their white peers. Arrogant, if you say so. I like to think I am a statesman because I have spent my entire adult life serving the public, working in the public interest and giving back to local charities and civic-minded organizations, and I have done so without the distinction of being elected or appointed to a powerful position, but by cooperating with leaders in my hometown, my state and nation to make a difference without any tangible financial or other type of reward for myself, except the joy of knowing that I am doing as Christ would have me do unto the poorest and the downtrodden of my fellow citizens. So, yes, in my opinion that makes me a statesman (as opposed to a politician. The truth is some part of your conscience saw the truth in my statements and now you don’t know what you’re going to do with it, so you’re getting defensive and resorting to name-calling because your arguments are grounded in misguided emotion instead of the facts. As far as Dixiecrats, they’re mostly dead now, and their descendants don’t vote in high enough numbers to make a difference. It is a political species with very few members surviving into the twenty-first century, and I suspect it will be extinct by the middle of the century.

    Republicans and conservatives believe in state’s rights because that is how our founders intended it to be in the United States Constitution. To say otherwise is to deny the founders’ notion that a weak federal government is essential to the longevity of our democracy. If states’ rights were as evil as you seem to think, then the ideals of the representative democratic republic means nothing to you and it’s okay for California and Texas and New York to rule over the other 47 states without deferring to the needs of the citizens who live there, effectively running the show to the possible (and probable)detriment of people living in the other 47 states. If state’s rights are so evil, then there would be no need for a Senate, we could get by with just the House of Representatives. My point is that states’ rights proponents are not all wrong. They serve a good purpose, which as you stated before, has the potential for abuse, but not necessarily an inherent proclivity for abuse.

    It might shock you to know that despite my pro states’ rights stance, I believe that DOMA is bad law. DOMA clearly carves out an exception to the Constitution’s mandates of the application of the Full faith and Credit Clause. I do not favor carving out exceptions which grant fundamental legal rights in some states based on an individual’s sexual orientation so that they are effectively denied their contractual domestic unions if they move into another state. Unlike some of my conservative colleagues, I am a pure Constitutional conservative. I do not believe we can reasonably expect people to take us seriously about abiding by the Constitution, instead of reading in things that are clearly not there, if we do not apply it to ourselves even when it conflicts with our overall political ideology. I do believe that the highest court in the land will hear a case on this matter soon, as it probably will also on the healthcare reform bill, and if the Constitution is properly applied without conservative or liberal bias both laws would be found unconstitutional. Simply put, Congress should not pass any law that the Constitution, as written, would not allow for. The only hitch here is the argument, which can justifiably be made, that at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, neither gay marriage nor universal healthcare were things our nation’s founding fathers could even fathom would be possible in a nation so firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian principles.

    This points to the beauty of the Constitution, the fact that those things that were once unforeseeable, can become parts of the American fabric by proper amendment of the Constitution. That said, if we follow our Constitution as it is currently written, the argument can’t sincerely be made that either of these two laws should stand as our Constitution, as written and fairly applied, would not allow for either law to be upheld without some amendment being made to the Constitution prior to the law’s passage.

    That’s all I have for you tonight. I challenge you to strive to be a Statesman, too.

  30. bluesman

    Ok, Mr. statesman, let me get this straight – I call your ID (and therefore you) arrogant, which is throwing dirt, but your saying “Democrats hate prosperity” (could be a Glenn beck quote, but I’ll give you “credit”) are “truly bigoted” “They are the latent bigots, homophobes and gender supremacists” and have “vehement disregard for all things Christian”… isn’t?
    Too funny!
    I won’t waste anymore time with your verbal diarrhea, as you aren’t interested in dialogue, just flattering yourself and spouting tired, shopworn responses without ever responding to anything your asked to defend your position – like when Conservative fiscal policy balanced a budget, reduced the deficit as you claim. Another fact I’m sure you will happily ignore is the Republican hero/God Reagan tripled the deficit. Remember Bush Senior’s Willie Horton campaign ads? Not racist?
    Babble on if you like – but I think you should change your ID to “sanctimonious”

  31. I’ve been trying to find some videotape of this name calling, but I’m not having much luck. Anyone have a link?

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  33. thestatesman

    bluesman,

    You can call me any name you like to call me, as it is a free country, but you cannot expect others to hold a serious dialogue with you when you can’t maintain a level of respect and maturity worthy of reasonable discussion without resorting to name-calling and pejorative jargon. First, I do not think of Reagan as a god. I personaally reserve that term for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I do believe, however, that Reagan was a very extraordinary leader in a very trying time for our nation. Secondly, I do not have to defend my position, but I certainly have done so in no uncertain terms in previous posts. Feel free to look them up. My position is rooted in facts and, simply put, the facts are what they are. I won’t tell anyone to take my word for it. I am satisfied with the research I have done and the observations I have made, and that’s enough for me. I understand if it is not enough to satisfy your query, but given the vitriolic tenor of your responses, you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with even the most thorough of analyses, as you believe what you do and you look at the world through your own set and preconcieved notions and biases. If you do not believe my arguments in favor of conservatism, then you should do some unbiased research for yourself. There is nothing more convincing in this world that one’s own search for enlightenment. If you seek it, I’m certain you will find it.

  34. Allison, I’ve been meaning to comment on this article since you first posted it over a week ago. Please excuse the length. I know not how to speak in few words.

    First of all this is going to sound really effed up, but as much as hearing the “n word” makes me literally nauseous and tearful, in a weird way I am glad that you used the word “nigger” in the end. I may get a lot of shit for saying that, but I think people need to understand and hear how ugly that word truly is. Not so much people who have posted on this thread, but others really turn their head when they hear these kinds of things. Just last week I told a friend about how Frank was called a ‘faggot’ or Lewis ‘the n word.’ Her reaction to my seemingly horrifying news was to stop watching the news coverage and reading blogs because it’s “just all so negative.” Why should we turn our backs to this issue because we don’t like to hear the word ‘nigger?’

    Secondly, I believe in my heart (I am still rather naive) that not all Tea Partiers are racists. I know a couple of Libertarian friends/Tea Partiers who when we’ve discussed this issue were just as outraged and disgusted as I was. But here’s the weird thing, and again this is 100% from my own personal experience..

    I worked on the President’s staff as an Obama Campaign Field Organizer. I had to move from my cozy gay friendly, progressive city into a very rural area of Central Florida (gasp). What I experienced there was horrifying, yet character building. The Obama staffers and all of our volunteers reached a point where hearing the “n word” didn’t phase us anymore.

    While phone banking or canvassing we all heard white folks call the, then, Senator this horrible name. Since we had a ‘contact list’ I was able to see the party they belonged to (D, R, or I) along with their age and other demographic info. I’m not going to lie here and tell you that I never heard a D or an I say the ‘n word’ or call us ‘n-lovers.’ But in the Field Office we started making a little tally list of the demographics who said these things to us. Overwhelmingly it was the white R’s between the ages of 35-75 who used the ‘n word’ freely. And when I say overwhelmingly, I mean like hundreds of white R’s to about 36 white D’s.

    Not to mention… it was the white R’s that took a cardboard cutout of Obama, tied a noose around its neck and hung it from his Oak tree (I saw this while canvassing one day and decided NOT to visit this man’s house, even though he was on my list lol). After all it was the racist white R on my list who said they didn’t want their grandchildren to read in a history book that during his time they had a “nigger president” with (god forbid) a last name of “Obama.”

    So in response to your article, Allison I understand and respect the Tea Partiers right to free speech. I also (as mentioned before) really believe in my heart that not all Tea Partiers are racist homophobes. However, based on my experience from the Obama Camp., it is alarming to see how many racist R’s there were than racist D’s. So I think your analysis of some R’s being scared of ‘negros’ is still correct to this day. And I also believe that the conservative party is STILL playing to their base with the same ‘fear’ BS that they did in the 1970′s per that article. It’s just that now, they’re not allowed to say ‘negro’ in a newspaper. So they’ll just leave that to the protesters..

    -Brooke N. Dressler,
    Tampa Bay, FL – citizen radio listener

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  37. constance

    I’m not sure I know exactly what the Tea Party movement is all about. I see demonstrations covered on TV , and I saw Sarah Palin address a large group of Tea Party members. I think I know what Palin stands for after listening to her during the last presidential campaign, but before I generalized to the entire movement, I decided to do my own research. So, in my effort to learn more, I came across this site on the net and decided to read the article and comments. Two comments that stood out are below:

    ” you think we are all scared uneducated little white folk hating everything that doesn’t look like us. well your about as ignorant as i would expect an “open minded” liberal to be.”

    “Democrats can’t play fair, they are downright nasty to black, hispanic, jewish, female and gay conservatives and they seem to have a vehement disregard for all things Christian in nature: ”

    This is namecalling at its best. One party (party A) generalizes about the other (party B)which generates the response ……you’d better look into what we really stand for before you call us such and such, because we really are reasonable people who care about the country and we are all really good Americans. THEN THE PROBLEM BEGINS. Inevitably, party B, who in an attempt to defend their positions, writes comments (I refer back to quotes above) in their “responses to unfairness”, by being equally assinine. How is someone to be taken seriously if they are stupidly caught in the same name calling battle that they are fighting? It negates all the positive things that they might have said previously.
    How then is one to learn about the Tea Party movement without getting this reactionary backlash? Is it fair to judge by listening to people at the rallies? Is it fair to judge by reading their posters and banners? Is it fair to read what is said by democrats and republicans about the Tea Party movement? Is it only a financial movement concerned with fiscal issues, as some comments on this page have said? Or is it something more conservative and right wing because of concerns about constitutionality of health care legislation?
    Whichever the concern, or concerns, I would think that the Tea Party members, of all people, would see that our government, indeed the Constitution, is not locked into a time capsule that froze in 1789. The Constitution was written so that it could be amended and changed with the times, to fit the needs of the people of the US. Obama was elected and everyone knew of his health care agenda. No one can say it wasn’t a much debated issue. Isn’t it a mandate from the public then to reform health care, as was just done in Congress? How then is a public mandate considered unconstitutional?… A question only for the judicial system. Maybe the Constutution needs to be amended?… Surely the Tea Party, whose name evokes the thought of governmental change, can’t object to that.

  38. thestatesman

    Constance,

    I think the easiest and simplest way for you to look into the Tea Party pmovement would be to attend a tea party in your area. I don’t attend many, but I have gone to a few. I have found each one to be informative in its own right. Further, I believe it is just good to not take other folks’ word for it when you can find out for yourself. I would also say this, and I mean it with sincerest of respect; but I don’t think a year of discussion on an issue, be it healthcare reform or some other pressing concern, means there is a mandate to do one thing or another about the issue. Mandates come from clear majorities of the citizenry in favor or against a particular issue. Discussion, however, can certainly lead to a majority of folks having an opinion, as it did with the healthcare reform issue; and, in this particular instance the majority opinion, according to almost every non-partisan poll out there, was against the passage of the healthcare bill. I agree that, in fact, there is a mandate for healthcare reform, as I think most folks against the recently passed legislation do also, but I, like most other Americans, believe there was a better and much less costly way to do it which was completely ignored by the current congressional majority. As far as amendments to the Constitution go, certainly our founders left the door open for such; and they were wise enough to make the amendment process necessarily difficult so that simple majorities would not be able to force their will on those in the minority.

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