ShrinkWrapped offers his opening salvo, an attempt at a roundhouse haymaker, in round 6. All Previous Posts in this series can be found at the right of the horizontal drop-down menu above. As usual, for SW’s contributions posted at this site, comments here are closed and should be left at ShrinkWrapped.
The Open Mind VI: This is a Challenge
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. – Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Since the passage of the Healthcare bill, a new meme has taken root in the base of the Democratic party, amplified by their echo chambers in the Mainstream Media and the blogosphere. According to this thesis, the Tea Party movement is primarily composed of violent, and potentially violent, racists and radical right wingers. The initial impetus for the propagation of this meme within the MSM was the post-victory march through the Tea Party protesters by a group of black Congressmen:
Tea Party Protests: ‘Ni**er,’ ‘Fa**ot’ Shouted At Members Of Congress
Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.
Preceding the president’s speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse.
A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a ‘ni–er.’ And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a “faggot,” as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams. Frank, approached in the halls after the president’s speech, shrugged off the incident.
But Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.
“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Clyburn said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday… I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins… And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus.”
Surprisingly, despite the presence of a great many video cameras and cell phone cameras, no video of the event in which the offending words or behavior could be discerned were ever produced. The lack of evidence has not inhibited many people from perpetuating the stereotypes. To my disappointment, Jay Adler joined in last week:
“And You Know That It’s Right…”
Following up on yesterday’s post on the untethering of the GOP from reality, we have
Timothy Egan, The New York Times – “House of Anger“
Having welcomed Tea Party rage into their home, and vowing repeal, the Republicans have made a dangerous bargain. First, they are tying their fate to a fringe, one that includes a small faction of overt racists and unstable people. The Quinnipiac poll this week found only 13 percent of Americans say they are part of the Tea Party movement.
ABC News and new media everywhere – “House Democrats Face Violent Threats After Health Care Vote“
Rachel Slajda, TPMDC -”It’s The Democrats Who Are Fanning The Flames of Violence” say House Minority Whip Eric Cantor
by talking about the threats against them.
And I wonder how many of those who flirt with insurrection through its rhetoric, or maybe just spit at heroes of the civil rights movement and call them nigger, or prove themselves faggots by calling Barney Frank a “faggot” before putting the bit back between their teeth – I wonder how many of them are just so, so upset because Obama “palled around with terrorists” that they’re ready to do something about it, by God.
Lock and load.
My initial reaction was probably a mirror image of Jay’s. (Obligatory disclaimer: I have not attended any Tea Party meetings or demonstrations but I have tremendous sympathy for the baseline position of the Tea Partiers, ie our government has grown so large as to threaten our fundamental liberties and only a smaller government, that can pay its bills, will be able to safe guard our liberties.) I doubted that “my side” would have stooped to such a counter-productive low. Certainly there are always loose cannons in any crowd but the use of the racial epithet that is one of the “third rails” of American discourse seemed unlikely to me.
My second reaction was to recall the too-numerous-to-count attacks on George W. Bush in the latter part of his Presidency. BusHitler was only one of the common assaults on decency that was a regular occurrence at anti-War demonstrations. (Zombietime has helpfully collected an extensive documentation of death threats against Bush during his Presidency, death threats that were remarkable for how unremarkable they were.) However, the argument that “your side did it, too, and worse” hardly excuses the kinds of verbal assault that the Tea Partiers were accused of.
My next response was more productive. I decided to look for actual indicators of violent rhetoric and actual physical attacks. In the space of a mere 45 minutes I noted a number of items at Professor Reynolds site:
LEFTIST ISSUES death threats to Palin on Twitter. Have these people no decency?. No decency at all?
Posted at 8:19 am by Glenn Reynolds
A STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE: Leftist death threats against Bush at protests.
Then, of course, there was Craig Kilborn’s “Snipers Wanted” moment.
MORE ON THREATS TO REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS: Jim Treacher has the audio of the Jean Schmidt threat.
OK, maybe Glenn was cherry picking.
HARRY REID SUPPORTERS ATTACK TEA PARTY BUS!… Update: Breitbart Attacked!
Black Dem Rep. Who Was Reportedly Spit on by Tea Party Protester: I Never Claimed to Have Been Spit on Intentionally, Others Are Making the Claim on My Behalf, Refuses to Confirm it Happened..(Update) He’s Full of Shit…
NH Dem Likes To Shoot Conservative Republicans
PROVOCATIVE, CONFRONTATIONAL RHETORIC FROM JAMES CARVILLE AND THE DCCC
There sure are a lot of threats going around the airwaves these days and few of them seem to emanate from the Tea Party. But wait, didn’t Jay link to some provocative rhetoric from a Republican Congressman?
“Let’s beat the other side to a pulp!” Rep. Steve King, Republican of Iowa, shouted to the last stand of Tea Partiers on Sunday night. “Let’s chase them down! There’s going to be a reckoning.”
Should an honest observer conclude this is a hyperbolic statement of political intent or an incitement to attack and kill one’s political opponents? As you consider your response to that question, consider this statement:
‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’
Mobster wisdom tells us never to bring a knife to a gun fight. But what does political wisdom say about bringing a gun to a knife fight?
That’s exactly what Barack Obama said he would do to counter Republican attacks “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night. “Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”
The comment drew some laughs and applause.
[As an aside, George W. Bush had many faults, but he at least had the grace to refrain from the kinds of personal, petty exchange of epithets that Obama seems to revel in. A President should never respond with an attack on an individual or group of citizens who are merely exercising their right to free speech; Obama has done just that, repeatedly, during his tenure and it is unbecoming of a President, and potentially quite dangerous.]
It is now two weeks since the initial attack upon the Tea Party movement. The accusation that a Tea Partier spit on a black Congressman has essentially been retracted. No evidence of the “n-word” has yet been found on any of the videotapes of the supposed incident, leading James Simpson at American Thinker to wonder about projection:
It is a long and lucid article which includes a long list of violent attacks against Republicans and Conservatives by Liberals and Leftists. A corresponding list of attacks by Conservatives and Republicans against Leftists and Liberals is non-existent, and not for lack of effort by the MSM.
The lack of substantiation for the “n-word” incident has led Andrew Breitbart to offer a challenge:
Barack Obama’s Helter-Skelter, Insane Clown Posse, Alinsky Plans to ‘Deconstruct’ America
After 14 months of committing 100% to health care reform, the day after the signing of the Health Care bill was to mark the Democratic Party’s new primary concern: destroy the uprising, annihilate by all means necessary, the Tea Party movement.
The first sign that a plan was in place was the ham-fisted, high-camp posturing of the most controversial members of the Democratic caucus walking through the peaceful but animated “Tea Party” demonstrators on Capitol Hill. There is no reason for these elected officials to walk above ground through the media circus amid their ideological foes. The natural route is the tunnels between the House office buildings and the Capitol. By crafting a highly symbolic walk of the Congressional Black Caucus through the majority white crowd, the Democratic Party was looking to provoke a negative reaction. They didn’t get it. So they made it up.
The proof that the N-word wasn’t said once, let alone 15 times, as Rep. Andre Carson claimed, is that soon thereafter — even though the press dutifully reported it as truth — Nancy Pelosi followed the alleged hate fest, which allegedly included someone spitting, by walking through the crowd with a gavel in hand and a shit-eating grin on her face. Had the incidents reported by the Congressional Black Caucus actually occurred the Capitol Police would have been negligent to allow the least popular person to that crowd – the Speaker – to put herself in harm’s way.
That crowd was a sea of new-media equipment. Not only were tens of thousands people armed with handicams, BlackBerrys and iPods, so also was the mainstream media there, covering every inch of the event. Why did not one mainstream media outlet raise the specter that perhaps a video would exist to prove the events occurred? I am still dealing with the same press telling me we didn’t prove that ACORN was aiding and abetting criminal activity because we “did not provide enough audio and video evidence.” (Insert laugh track.) Is there not a blatant double standard at play here? Nancy Pelosi tipped her hand that race was a central part of her strategy. She invoked the Civil Rights Act and compared it with the universally reviled health care bill. Her caucus is doubling down on the civil-rights rhetoric. There are no coincidences.
I smelled a rat so I offered at first $10k five days after the highly publicized alleged incidents happened. How could we be five full news cycles into this major controversy and not have any evidence? In fact, the existing footage showed the Congressional Black Caucus walking and never once moving their heads toward any “racist outbursts.” Is it conceivable that all of them stoically walked by the N-word as it was hurled 15 times — as they were holding up cameras to convey they were suspicious of the crowd to begin with?
We are now two weeks since the bill was signed and the $10k reward jumped to $20k in a day after it was mentioned on both Hannity and O’Reilly. At the Searchlight Tea Party event last weekend I upped the ante to $100k. [Emphasis mine-SW] So where’s the evidence? Ken Vogel of Politico covered this story and said calls to Rep. John Lewis — one of the originator’s of the N-word storyline – were never returned.
Go to Breitbart’s site for the accompanying videos; they are enlightening for what is not seen or heard, ie evidence of violent or racist threats.
SO, here is my challenge for Jay. Either find me some evidence that violent or racist threats are a regular occurrence at the Tea Parties (or have even occurred at the Tea Parties) or retract your comments about the unhinged Republicans and re-evaluate your own prejudices that lead you to so easily believe such scurrilous charges. While searching for the evidence, you might spend some time as well checking out how a smart liberal makes his case in the lair of “the enemy” without smearing the Tea Parties:
How Juan Williams Advances Liberal Ideas in Appreciating Mainstream Message of Tea Party Protesters
In their remarkable spirit of tolerance, the folks at the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR)
. . . has asked Fox News not to identify its news analyst, Juan Williams, with NPR branding when he appears on Fox News because of outrage among its largely liberal listener-base.
That was just too rich. A radio network which leans left on the taxpayer dime upset that one of its commentators appears on a private TV network that supposedly leans right.
And Williams is himself no conservative. But, before these lefties begin their belly-aching, they should actually watch their NPR colleague on FoxNews. Personally, I find his presence there one of the best things about the network. Simply put, he’s a very smart liberal who engages his conservative counterparts.
You might also want to take the time to read Walter Russell Mead’s rather brilliant exegesis on the tea parties, in which he places them firmly within the American tradition:
At the tea parties here in glamorous Queens we make sure we serve genuine Devonshire clotted cream with the scones and we keep our pinkies carefully extended while lifting the delicate porcelain cups to our lips, but a very different kind of Tea Party has my friends in the upscale media and policy worlds gravely concerned. To hear them talk, all the know-nothings, wackadoo birther wingnuts, IRS plane bombers, Christian fundamentalists out to turn the US into a theocracy, the flat earthers and the racists have somehow joined together into a force that is as politically formidable as it morally and intellectually contemptible. These Tea Partiers, I am frequently told, are ‘reactionaries’. They long for an older, safer and whiter America — a more orderly place where their old fashioned values were unchallenged, one in which ethnic minorities weren’t in their faces, gays weren’t demanding acceptance, and in general life looked more like “Ozzie and Harriet” and less like “South Park.”
I’m sure that description fits some of the people at some of the Tea Parties, but I think it misses the point. Yes, the Tea Partiers represent something very old in American life and in some ways they want a return to traditional American values, but the traditional American value that inspires them the most is the value of revolutionary change. The Tea Party movement is the latest upsurge of an American populism that has sometimes sided with the left and sometimes with the right, but which over and over again has upended American elites, restructured our society and forced through the deep political, cultural and institutional changes that from time to time the country needs and which the ruling elites cannot or will not deliver.
For completeness, here is one more from this morning: [HT: Instapundit]
Suicide Watch at DNC HQ: Four in 10 Tea Partiers Independents or Democrats
Go ahead, Democrats and your media lapdogs, keep insulting and smearing the tea partiers. Come November your obliteration will make 1994 look tame by comparison. Of course they’ll probably just scoff at this poll and just continue to dig a bigger hole. I say have at it.
It turns out that the MSM-Democratic slime machine now includes a great many Independents and Democrats among its “victims.”