Stay Classy, Tea Party

A few weeks ago on this blog, Jonathan Wilde expressed incredulity "that MSNBC has a host [Dylan Ratigan] who actually believes that the Tea Party constituents include a significant number of people who say, 'I want to kill blacks and Jews and women.' What universe is this guy living in?"

Apparently, Dylan Ratigan lives in the same universe as Jonathan and me.

Tea party protesters scream 'nigger' at black congressman

WASHINGTON — Demonstrators outside the U.S. Capitol, angry over the proposed health care bill, shouted "nigger" Saturday at U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia congressman and civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during an Alabama march in the 1960s.

Protesters also shouted obscenities at other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, spat on at least one black lawmaker and confronted an openly gay congressman with taunts.

"They were shouting, sort of harassing," Lewis said. "But, it's okay, I've faced this before. It reminded me of the 60s. It was a lot of downright hate and anger and people being downright mean."

Lewis said he was leaving the Cannon office building to walk to the Capitol to vote when protesters shouted "Kill the bill, kill the bill," Lewis said.

"I said 'I'm for the bill, I support the bill, I'm voting for the bill'," Lewis said.

A colleague who was accompanying Lewis said people in the crowd responded by saying "Kill the bill, then the n-word."

"It surprised me that people are so mean and we can't engage in a civil dialogue and debate," Lewis said.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., said he was a few yards behind Lewis and distinctly heard "nigger."

"It was a chorus," Cleaver said. "In a way, I feel sorry for those people who are doing this nasty stuff - they're being whipped up. I decided I wouldn't be angry with any of them." [...]

Protesters also used a slur as they confronted Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., an openly gay member of Congress.

Frank told the Boston Globe that the incident happened as he was walking from the Longworth office building to the Rayburn office building, both a short distance from the Capitol. Frank said the crowd consisted of a couple of hundred of people and that they referred to him as 'homo.' A writer for The Huffington Post said the protesters called Frank a "faggot."

"I'm disappointed with the unwillingness to be civil," Frank told the Globe. "I was, I guess, surprised by the rancor. What it means is obviously the health care bill is proxy for a lot of other sentiments, some of which are perfectly reasonable, but some of which are not."

"People out there today, on the whole, were really hateful," Frank said. "The leaders of this movement have a responsibility to speak out more."

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Capitol on Saturday as the House Democratic leadership worked to gather enough votes to enact a health care overhaul proposal that has become the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda. Most were affiliated with so-called tea party organizations that originally sprang up during last summer's protests of the health care proposals.

Heated debate has surrounded what role race plays in the motivations of the tea party demonstrators. During protests last summer, demonstrators displayed a poster depicting Obama as an African witch doctor complete with headdress, above the words "OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you." Former President Jimmy Carter asserted in September that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama's proposals had faced.

The claim brought angry rebuttals from Republicans. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who is black, accused Carter of playing the "race card."

On Saturday, Frank, however, said he was sorry Republican leaders didn't do more to disown the protesters.

Some Republicans "think they are benefiting from this rancor," he said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said Saturday's ugliness underscored for him that the health care overhaul isn't the only motivation for many protesters.

"I heard people saying things today I've not heard since March 15th, 1960, when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus," Clyburn said. "This is incredible, shocking to me."

via Julian Sanchez

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This story was on the NPR

This story was on the NPR 5 minute headline news Sunday (I listen to their podcast feed to keep track of what the MSM is saying). It was the only specific thing they said after an opening sentence about opposition to the healthcare plan.

I suspect that it was prominently promoted by the MSM to explain away opposition--"The only reason for opposition is that a bunch of dangerous racist haters have descended on Washington."

Were the victims all Democratic legislators supporting the plan? Are there any youTubes or other evidence to corroborate the story?

This story was on the NPR 5

This story was on the NPR 5 minute headline news Sunday (I listen to their podcast feed to keep track of what the MSM is saying). It was the only specific thing they said after an opening sentence about opposition to the healthcare plan.

NPR cherry-picked an incident which maximizes the embarrassment to the tea party movement. This tells us a lot about the person doing the cherry-picking, and almost nothing about his subject.

I know it shouldn't,

I know it shouldn't, but it boggles my mind that this State-funded, obviously-biased news outlet still has any credibility. I watched 1984 with the kids a few months ago, and ever since the NPR news sounds exactly like the Ministry of Truth broadcasts.

I'm thinking of giving up completely on the whole project of trying to stay in touch with mainstream culture.

Populism

Yes, I expect contemporary conservative gatherings attract a following from people motivated by animosity against ethnic minorities, religious minorities, sexual minorities, etc. Because these people have a justifiable fear that the prevalence of their world view is declining, they may well be among the most energized people at conservative gatherings.

Similarly, I suspect that liberal gatherings attract Communists and people who regard riches as the sole capital offense.

And here’s the dismaying thing about the political “marketplace of ideas”: both liberals and conservatives can marshal principled reasons for their positions – well, “principled” by their own standards, anyway. Those principles speak to a certain segment of the electorate. And then we’re left with elections being driven by people who are not motivated by those principles. So politicians go around eating the local burritos and kissing the local babies and otherwise trying to appeal to people on some other-than-principled basis.

Among the strongest of these bases is appealing to people’s sense of grievance. During war every government beats the drums about the harms that the government’s opponents are inflicting on the public. Those rapacious Jews! Those dirty Japs! Those fanatical Islamists! Those cowardly conscientious objectors! It’s us vs. them!

A large component of the hippy movement involved a populist revolt against the war in Viet Nam. ("Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming; we're finally on our own...!") Nixon was able to flip the white South to the Republican camp by conveying the idea that Democrats were sacrificing their interests to the interests of blacks. I suspect that Carter, Reagan, Clinton, W. and Obama were able to win office in large part based on populist disenchantment with their predecessors, distinct from a positive statement about their own merits or agenda.

Obama has given frequent speeches about the problems that the ageing population will create for the future, and for the federal budget in particular. Whatever the merits of these discussions, they did little to motivate people who were not already motivated. So then he started playing the populist card: Those health insurance execs are evil! Their gouging us with rate increases! It’s us vs. them! While insurance creates an unavoidable Moral Hazard problem – and nothing in the health care reform bill will eliminate that – I understand that health insurers were actually one of the few market forces that succeeded in moderating the growth of health-care spending. So, in his drive to push the health care bill, I suspect Obama has been flogging his friends in order to whip up the crowds. If the public needs a morality play, we’ll give them one.

Similarly, arguments about the need to avoid certain abuses in the financial markets are all very nice and intellectual, but are going nowhere. But whip up a little populist resentment about bonuses paid by investment banks and – well, it’s probably still going nowhere. But that’s the most effective lever Obama’s got. And once health care is off the table I expect we’ll see more of it.

So with the Republicans out of power, their best hope to influence public policy is to appeal to populism. Oh, now Republicans are deeply concerned about deficits; that’s what the crowd wants to hear. We dare not grant civil rights to those accused of terrorism; the Republicans are the only thing that stands between you and terrorists attending your schools! And Republicans want no part in negotiating public policy with the Obama Administration; that would muddle the clear Us vs. Them narrative.

Populism is the One Ring of Power: it may help you achieve your objectives, but you get a little more evil every time you use it. But for better or worse, populism is the only tool the Republicans have right now, so they need to don the Ring a lot, even in counter-intuitive ways. As I noted before, the Republican leadership has positioned itself as the true defenders of Medicare. Oy.

But once the Republicans return to actual power -- and they may take control of the House in November -- they'll have to do some actual governing. And then the populists will feel betrayed because the simple narrative will no longer apply.

Spot on analysis. Post

Spot on analysis. Post material!

of course its a lie...

Big Hollywood has the entire story, including video, of the lie that is this story.

Yep, lots of cameras and

Yep, lots of cameras and cellphones, a few police and security escorts, Congressmen walking slowly through the crowd (one is even holding his phone at waist height as though recording as he walks). I don't see any reaction on the reps that shows them being shocked or assaulted.

Of course, absence of proof is not proof of absence. I don't know which faces go with the names in the article claiming they were abused. I don't know if the video really was from the time and place they claimed it happened. Maybe all the alleged events happened while the reps passed behind the crowd, and they made a point of not reacting, and so it can't be seen on the video linked to, or any of the related videos on youTube.

It would be interesting if someone made a project of demanding proof of the event. Maybe they could offer legal assistance to the poor reps to help them prosecute their case. Or (more useful to the reps) mountains of publicity to help discredit the evil tea party even further. Imagine how much traction liberal TV anchors could get if they didn't just opine about racism in the tea party, but had actual proof on video of the event.

I think someone should offer a bounty for any video shot that day that shows the events claimed by the reps.

The idea that the tea party

The idea that the tea party movement is "racism straight up", which I first heard from Janeane Garofalo, was something that I initially dismissed as so retarded that Garofalo was embarrassing herself even among her progressive friends. Turns out I had too high an opinion of the progressives.

They absurdly call the tea party movement racist because that's one of the few enemies that they have the capacity to deal with. If you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If all you've picked up from the left wing indoctrination that your parents mortgaged the house for is a few trite ideas such as that racism is beyond the pale and we are destroying the planet, then all your enemies need to be pigeonholed as either racists or polluters.

The limitation of the leftist mindset has come up in this blog. I commented a while ago about the curious number of blog entries that re-cast a large number of familiar anti-capitalist idiocies as "racist", and the response was that the bloggers were trying to get through to the leftist crowd, and playing the "racism" card was the only way libertarians were going to get so much as eye movement from the otherwise intellectually comatose leftists.