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October Surprise?
October 20, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of The Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope and Focus of its National Factions is a new study that released today, just two weeks before the US midterm elections, by The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR). Sponsored by the NAACP, it reports that the Tea Party movement is “permeated with concerns about race” and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.”

Foreward to the Study by NAACP President Ben Jealous.

Interview of Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP and Leonard Zeskind, President of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and one of the authors of the report.

The founder of Tea Party Nation responds: "This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics.”

Articles, Analysis & Editorials: New York Times / National Review / Politico / HuffPost
posted by zarq (73 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
MetaFilter: A Critical Examination of The Tea Party Movement
posted by thescientificmethhead at 1:02 PM on October 20, 2010 [15 favorites]


The report is also available as a downloadable PDF. Maps, charts and visualizations can be seen here.
posted by zarq at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2010


The founder of Tea Party Nation responds: "This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics.”

Did ANYONE expect him to say anything else?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:05 PM on October 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


As mentioned in some of the FPP's articles, in September the NAACP partnered with ThinkProgress, Media Matters and New Left Media to launch the website: Tea Party Tracker, "a site set up to monitor racism and other forms of extremism in the Tea Party movement."
posted by ericb at 1:09 PM on October 20, 2010


Do I have to come up with something on-topic to add to the umpteenth Tea Party-related post of the day before I can say that Ben Jealous is an awesome name...?
posted by rollbiz at 1:11 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Funny, just this morning I was arguing that if Barack Obama had not been elected, there would not be a Tea Party.
posted by AugieAugustus at 1:11 PM on October 20, 2010


Truth is always the best smear tactic.
posted by yeloson at 1:11 PM on October 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


My, just from reading the description I feel I can already sense what a productive and delightful discussion this is going to be.

Feel free to contribute something productive and delightful.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:15 PM on October 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


No, you first.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:17 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fifty-seven percent of people who oppose the tea party suspect its members of racial prejudice. That declined to a quarter of those who are neutral toward the movement, and 10 percent of tea party supporters considered prejudice as a motivation.


Family Values Rise Above Political Hoopla

reading old polls remind me that somethings change but somehow remain the same.

Polls.
posted by clavdivs at 1:31 PM on October 20, 2010


This study will change nearly EVERYONE'S vote. Nothing is the same anymore. A true October surprise.

Really, calling them racist just galvanizes these Tea Party folks, because then they think they're persecuted just for being "politically incorrect."
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:31 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The NAACP just wasted quite a bit of time. Not one Tea Partier will be convinced to change their ways, everyone left of center already knew this, and independent voters are pants-on-head retarded.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:32 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Let's take off the kid gloves and get to the heart of the matter. In addition to being generally borderline racist (with some members being not racist, and others being blatantly racist, making for a nice, vaguely offensive haze when viewed from afar), the Tea Party has the major issue of being hypocritical and stupid on policy.

Really, they have no real platform other than "We dislike Obama, spending from non-republicans (but the wars and Medicare D are generally cool), intellectuals who think they're better just because they know more than us, and welfare queens (but don't touch our 100% Medicare subsidized scooters!) and we want our white/Christian/straight privilege country back."

The only reason this movement thrives is because we keep sugarcoating it, or attacking the issue from the side. The fact is this movement is philosophically bankrupt and based only on misguided populist rage. There's also some malaise over a black president and Islamic people having religious freedom, but that's not the core issue, and Tea Partiers take those accusations almost as a compliment, as I said above.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:38 PM on October 20, 2010 [31 favorites]


Really, calling them racist just galvanizes these Tea Party folks, because then they think they're persecuted just for being "politically incorrect."

Not disagreeing with what you're saying, but I'm kind of tired of hearing this verb in conjunction with Tea Partiers. Could we all just stipulate that anything and everything on earth galvanizes them, that there is no state of entropy for them, and leave it at that?
posted by blucevalo at 1:39 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The NAACP just wasted quite a bit of time.

You're taking the short view of things. The Tea Party won't evaporate overnight, and, even though it's obvious and clear, notice how stuff like "racial profiling" and "housing discrimination" was all black people making shit up until someone did a study on it.

As MLK pointed out in Letters from a Birmingham Jail - the moderate gatekeepers are often the enablers of the batshit insane.

So yeah, until America gets enough sense that we don't need to point out the obvious- studies it is.
posted by yeloson at 1:45 PM on October 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


No, you first.

All right.

The current predictions have Republicans retaking the House but not the Senate. Additionally, a vast majority of the Republican congresspeople who will be taking House seats are projected to be "weak gains" -- they will win be small margins of victory. The Tea Party has favored about 70 candidates in the next election, and, despite the Associated Press making the case that about three dozen of these are competitive, they can only list a handful of states where the Tea Party is really pushing a clearly winning candidate. Even Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, very nearly lost her last election, and was only 9 points ahead of her opponent in July, and below the 50 percent "safety zone," meaning an upset is a real possibility.

The Republicans want a route in the midterms. Even though they will claim it is they don't have it, they really want an unambiguous, triumphal reclaiming of Congress, which they can then claim is a repudiation of Obama, so they can set to work actively destroying the men, rather than the passive-aggressive game they have been playing. But the Republican party is weakening -- it's slight edge, jury rigged from a thousand different blocs of single-issue voters -- often with conflicting agendas -- hasn't held. And so it went after the one energized, and angry, group of voters it could find, the Tea Party. It pumped cash into them, and tried to get it to bend to their will. But they were pumping cash into a more slippery monster than they expected, and the Tea Party hasn't done what the GOP has wanted, has pursued its own agenda, and has attracted a sort of lunatic fringe that is increasingly hard to ignore or wish away. And so, without the desired route, it's very possible the GOP will abandon the Tea Party. It's also possible the Tea Party will light out on its own, especially as it's anger at government is not partisan, but is based in a sort of generalized paranoia. If the GOP does anything the Tea Party doesn't like, and they will, as they are the party of big business, there is a good chance the Tea Party will break off into a real party -- not running their candidates under the GOP flag, but competing with the GOP.

I fully expect this to happen. And it will erode the GOP further, and to a large extent, because it will siphon off the outraged idiot base they have always relied on. The worst thing you can do as a party is to support a group whose interests do not align with yours, and who can challenge you. The GOP has never had to worry about this before, because Evangelicals, for instance, don't represent a large enough bloc to break away and mount their own challenge. But the Tea Party isn't a bloc like that. They don't represent a certain viewpoint, such as "prayer in school" or "no abortion," or "teach creationism," which the GOP can promise and never deliver on and still count on votes.

No. The Tea Party is an inchoate mass of anger and paranoia without a simple agenda. And they have fed it and given it political power. And anger and paranoia, once fed, is perfectly capable of continuing to feed itself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:47 PM on October 20, 2010 [52 favorites]


...the Tea Party movement is “permeated with concerns about race” and has “given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.

So has the internet.
posted by rocket88 at 1:48 PM on October 20, 2010


Rocket88, people know to not take the internet seriously.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:50 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could we all just stipulate that anything and everything on earth galvanizes them, that there is no state of entropy for them, and leave it at that?

Exactly. Any criticism, no matter how mild, will be viewed by them as persecution.
posted by brundlefly at 1:50 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The internet is not running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania West Virginia
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:51 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well done that man!
That's about the most coherrent comment in one of the political threads in days. Thank you.
Your turn filthy light thief.
posted by adamvasco at 1:51 PM on October 20, 2010


And anger and paranoia, once fed, is perfectly capable of continuing to feed itself.

Tea Party as Human Centipede.
posted by box at 1:53 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


delightful
i get it now, this is a political battle of verbs.
posted by clavdivs at 1:58 PM on October 20, 2010


I recently had a discussion about the tea party with a friend who is an older, northeast, educated kind of republican. He was happy that things looked good for his party in this cycle. But when talked turned to the next convention and the presidential race, he just looked down, shook his head and said " I... it's just... I can't... I can't see where this all ends up, you know?"
posted by R. Mutt at 2:02 PM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


blucevalo: there is no state of entropy for them

Are they some sort of undead mass, powered by criticism and forever roaming scooting around, waving their sometimes illogical signs?

Everything faces entropy, even nebulous concepts like political parties. The issue is that criticism of tactics and beliefs seems to bolster the vague Tea Party collective. Call them racist, and "This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics." Remind them of the separation of Church and State, and they'll say it's not in the Constitution, it's only in in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, and anyone who says otherwise is some snooty pundit. Claim to have some truth refuting their standpoint, and you become "the educated elite," the scourge of the Working Man.


No, you first.

All right.


I was joking, providing playful banter to a noisy topic. But I thank you for replying.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:04 PM on October 20, 2010


Even a joke will produce an avalanche of verbiage from yours truly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:07 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this would be a much more interesting midterm election if the internet was running for the Senate in West Virginia.

Just sayin'.
posted by Fraxas at 2:09 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Too much tea, not enough party.

The internet is not running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania West Virginia

For what it's worth, I always find West Virginians to be among the best drivers in the U.S.

Re: link, exposing tenuous connections between the "tea party" (whatever that means) and racist groups is a political mistake. It plays right into their hands, i.e. evolving the southern strategy.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2010


evolving the southern strategy.

Silly! The Southern Strategy didn't evolve. It is exactly as it was 6,000 years ago when God created it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:24 PM on October 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


Thanks zarq. So far this has been pretty interesting.
posted by nangar at 2:24 PM on October 20, 2010


A couple of things that might be of interest to those who aren't planning to read the whole study:

It says that white supremacists on Stormfront and other forums have been attempting to tie their fortunes to the Tea Party (page 59) and that unemployment does not seem to be a factor in whether or not someone joins the Tea Party. (Appendix A.) The latter finding is particularly interesting (to me, at least,) seeing as how there some articles have said there's a connection between the two.
posted by zarq at 2:34 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you, nangar. And thank you too, BP.
posted by zarq at 2:35 PM on October 20, 2010


October Surprise?

Alternative FPP title:

"Let's Get Dis Poity Stoited"
posted by mmrtnt at 2:36 PM on October 20, 2010


mccarty.tim : Really, calling them racist just galvanizes these Tea Party folks, because then they think they're persecuted just for being "politically incorrect."

I agree. In their mind, "racist" and "bigot" have just become synonymous with "bad". They are words devoid of the meaning we impart, because they know that they aren't "bad" so the label can't possibly fit.

I suggest we coin some new words to describe them. "black-hatey" and "brownaphobic" maybe? Something that describes the action without all those nasty loaded phrases they hate so much.
posted by quin at 2:37 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


> Did ANYONE expect him to say anything else?

No one who could imagine the NAACP finding anything else should boggle at a little thing like that. The NAACP already announced their POV as a resolution back in July. Waving around a study now, in late October (having your President and CEO write the foreword for the study counts as "waving it around") is a case of leading with your conclusion pretty much the way Leon Spinks led with his chin.

N.b the pdf includes the claim "Neither the NAACP nor its leadership was involved in its research or authorship." The Politico link above, ("NAACP commissioned Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights to write the study") makes that claim sound pretty slippery. It's worth noting that the file is being served out from teapartynationalism.com, which a whois search shows is registered using Domains by Proxy, which is what you use when you want to make it as hard as possible to find out who actually owns your domain.

What we have here is two groups who understand that they're eating out of the same plate, and neither one likes it a bit. Plague on both your houses.
posted by jfuller at 2:40 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The New York Times article linked in the original post contains a worrying disclaimer on this report:

Most of the groups the report focuses on are better described as social media networks that predate the Tea Party movement but have become popular among Tea Party activists, among others. The core of the movement remains local Tea Party and 9/12 groups, which are harder to analyze because of their diffuse nature; the report explicitly notes that it did not make an effort to examine these groups.

If the report doesn't provide information on the core of the tea party movement, how can its authors claim that it accurately presents the movement itself?
posted by honest knave at 2:41 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Until we see some sort of separate nominating process and people with T (instead of R) after their names, there really is no "Tea Party." These are Republican candidates and we really ought to refer to them as such.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:42 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm voting for "The Rent is Too Damn High" party from now on.
posted by empath at 2:44 PM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


More data on the Tea Party: Blue Texan at Firedoglake links to a Project Vote survey, released in September.
... by and large, those sympathetic to the tea parties were white, wealthy and affluent people, whose political views represent approximately 29 percent of the electorate. ...

"Only six percent [of tea party participants] reported having to worry about buying food for their families in the past year, compared to 14 percent of voters nationwide, 37 percent of blacks, 21 percent of youths, and 39 percent of low-income voters," they added.
Blue Texan argues that the Tea Party isn't driven by economic insecurity. He links to an Economist columnist who quotes "Storming the Gates" (1996):
These angry white men are one legion in a grassroots movement that has rewritten the political equation of the 1990s, and in the process helped to transform the Republican Party ... An army of conservative grassroots groups has mobilised middle-class discontent with government into a militant political force, reaching for an idealised past with the tools of the onrushing future: fax machines, computer bulletin boards, and the shrill buzz of talk radio. They have forged alliances with the Gingrich generation of conservatives and strengthened their hand as the dominant voice within the GOP family. Like a boulder in a highway, the conservative populist movement has become an enormous, often impassable obstacle in the path of President Clinton. No single factor in the Republican revival ... has been more important than the party's success at reconnecting with and invigorating the profusion of antiWashington and antigovernment movements sprouting in every state.
Blue Texan:
Anyone who thinks the Teabaggers' unhinged "anger and bitterness" will subside in the face of an improving economy really needs to take a closer look at objective polling on the Teabaggers and review the 1990s.

The '90s was a time of economic prosperity, but because there was a Democrat in the White House, the far-right was in full freakout mode. Back then, Clinton/Gore's black helicopters were coming for their guns and right-wing "patriots" like Tim McVeigh and Eric Rudolph roamed the countryside.
See also Richard Hofstadter's classic essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1964).
posted by russilwvong at 2:52 PM on October 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Whenever someone says that (taken as a whole) the TeaBaggers aren't racist, it boggles my mind.

If they aren't, then what does "take our country back" mean? Why are they OVERWHELMINGLY white? Why are they fighting fights that were settled 70+ years ago? The minimum wage is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. We need a JUDEO-CHRISTIAN theocracy, just like our Founding Fathers wanted. THE GAYS don't deserve equal rights (it's a choice, don'tya know - GOD hates 'em and so do we). Health care reform is SOCIALIST - all it does is help the lazy and Godless.

These people are haters. It has fuck-all to do with big government or government spending or the Constitution.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:01 PM on October 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem is that, of course the Tea Party is largely informed by racism. St. Alia/Konokolia/whatever she's calling herself this week's protestations to the contrary I think anyone on the outside can see that, regardless of whether the movement is officially racist or not, it is very attractive to racists.

But that's because it's a nativist, protectionist, regressive movement. I'm sure the racism is depressing and embarrassing to many of the members, but it's inevitable. People start talking about "real America" and what they mean is "like Leave It To Beaver, where there weren't any gay people, or black people, and everything was like it should be".

They're mostly there because Obama is black, and a Democrat, and doesn't even have the decency to be a Southern Democrat.

The Tea Party is just the current name for right wing of the Republican party.

That said, they've got a legitimate gripe about the economy, and especially about jobs. And that really worries me because history shows a trend in nativist, protectionist, movements and bad economies. They tend to grow in bad economies, and then they often lead to very bad places indeed.

Here we see rather disturbing video of a campaign staffer with a video camera being driven away from a public event by threats of violence. Last election the big story was a staffer being addressed with a racist term, this election they're being intimidated by thugs. Next election?

On the one hand you can argue that what we need is to try and reach out on the economic issues, not the crazy deficit obsession and the hypocrisy of demanding cuts while profiting from government spending, but rather the undeniable fact that the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is shrinking, and their children and grandchildren really don't have much hope of meeting (much less exceeding) their own economic status.

But I'm doubtful that such an effort could succeed. Never mind that they've internalized the Beck/Limbaugh/Etc lies to the effect that the Dirty Fucking Hippies, the ecofreaks, the feminazis, etc are to blame. More important I don't think they'd want to make a common cause with us because we differ on too many other important areas.

Even if they could be convinced that their economic woes are caused by something other than liberals, I don't think they'd join us because they still oppose secularism, and equal rights for all, because we don't embrace abstinence only education, because we don't agree that the state should regulate sexual behavior, because we don't agree that the world should look like Leave it to Beaver and that the government should enforce that.

I have no idea how it is even possible to have a rational discussion of policy with the Tea Party, they work from axioms that fall into the "not even false" category, and they defend those axioms vigorously.
posted by sotonohito at 3:05 PM on October 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


The Tea Party Will Be Watching You: Republican groups and tea party activists unite to block Democrats…err, voter fraud, at the polls.

Has Voter Intimidation Already Begun? During early voting, tea party poll watchers are already drawing accusations of interference in minority districts.
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every time I hear from Tea Party or conservative people, I know it does not take long before I hear the word SOCIALISM uttered to describe the Democrats, the liberals, Pres. Obama, and our colleges and news media. And then I am once again reminded of what John Kenneth Galbraith once said:
In America we have socialism for the wealthy and the corporations and capitalism for the middle class and the poor. That is, the Govt works hand in hand for those running things and lets the rest of us have an invisible (all too invisible) hand and a "free market."
posted by Postroad at 3:14 PM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


I posted this earlier in general response to a now deleted thread. I repost it here:

...this is as good of time as any to remind everyone, with 2 weeks to go until the midterm elections, to get out the vote, talk with voters, and help to make sure folks like this stay as far away from power as possible.

This is exactly what I used my university fall break for.

Sick sick sick article opposition.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:22 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this is how the Mullahs looked to Iranian intellectuals before the '79 revolution. Mad, much too mad to ever take over. A few sane voices that are incrementally drowned out....
posted by stonepharisee at 3:26 PM on October 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


> Everything faces entropy, even nebulous concepts like political parties. The issue is that criticism of tactics and beliefs seems to bolster the vague Tea Party collective. Call them racist, and "This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics." Remind them of the separation of Church and State, and they'll say it's not in the Constitution, it's only in in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, and anyone who says otherwise is some snooty pundit. Claim to have some truth refuting their standpoint, and you become "the educated elite," the scourge of the Working Man.

Somehow or another, and I'm not quite sure how this happened, but there appears to be a political party made up of people who argue just like my brother!
posted by mmrtnt at 3:48 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Postroad: The invisible hand is real. It slapped me upside the head at the bank the other day.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:08 PM on October 20, 2010


mmrtnt - are you my uncle?
posted by jpziller at 4:16 PM on October 20, 2010


mmrtnt - are you my uncle?

If your father argues like my brother, then I fear for your sanity.

On the other hand, if your mom's anything like my sister-in-law, you'll probably do well.
posted by mmrtnt at 5:00 PM on October 20, 2010


The report explodes a myth about the far right that has been current since the 1950's: economic determinism. Economic determinism argues that economic cycles and fears of loss of economic status drive people towards reactionary politics. This idea was a centerpiece in Lipset and Raab's major study, The Politics of Unreason. One of the first serious challenges to economic determinism came in James Aho's The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism.

Tea Party Nationalism has a section that compares unemployment rates and Tea Party participation: next to no correlation.

Probably the most important upshot of this report is that it supports the idea that people are not drawn to the Tea Partys because they are racist, but that the groups are the target for infiltration and subversion by racists who see them as a ready and uncritical audience. This is a nuanced view and very different from the name-calling that the Tea Party would like to be the only critical view. Name-calling is easy to refute. The infiltration and subversion is very problematic for the Tea Party, because it requires them to be responsibly self-critical, something that is very difficult for them.

The infiltration and subversion tactics by white supremacists and so-called "anti-government" types (an establishment euphemism for right-wing revolutionaries) is well rehearsed by many of the extremists named in this report. That's because they were very active 15 years ago in using the backlash against the passage of the Brady Bill to promote militias, an organizing drive that strongly influenced the 1994 elections in favor of the Republicans.

The problem with the Republicans "Big Tent" approach is that it has limited them to recruiting from the fringes of the far right. This dynamic has been well in place since the Goldwater campaign in 1964 and has become more and more extreme as each decade passes. It give the extreme right a disproportionate leverage over the Republicans, which in turn makes them more demagogic and unrepresentative with every election cycle.

The Tea Party's cry that they want to "take back their country" is actually a move towards an overtly minority ruling class, one that only accepts "real Americans" who are, by and large, WASP and right-wing. It's a glue-trap and one that guarantees the Republicans can't elect a govenment that can actually govern, as the eight years of the Bush Jr disaster demonstrated.

Unfortunately, the Democrats (or rather the DLC faction) has embraced a similar right-ward leaning strategy of "centrism" which consists of concentrating on independent or swing voters. This has marginalized the progressive factions in the party, with an attitude of "screw them, they don't have anywhere else to go." The problem is that Democrats lose elections when they can't turn out the progressives.

So the overall dynamic has the country steadily drifting towards the right and simultaneously favoring policies that are doomed to ineffectiveness in addressing the real problems confronting us.

So while the Republicans chase the Tea Party off the cliff of political fantasy, the Democrats are drifting along in pursuit of voters without any attachment to party, the vanishing mushy middle.

It's a problem and there isn't a quick and easy fix. But clear-headed and informed opposition to reactionary extremism is one obvious way to defend the republic.
posted by warbaby at 6:50 PM on October 20, 2010 [14 favorites]


Man, the Democrats need to make up a political movement where we dress like people from a steampunk future to counter all those old people in George Washington costumes. Our outdated future beats their revisionist history!
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:39 PM on October 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, come to think of it, I need to wear that to Restoring Honor.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:41 PM on October 20, 2010


Er, restoring sanity. Although that would work well at a Beck rally, too.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:47 PM on October 20, 2010


From the introduction, on the 9-12 groups:
The 9-12 formations lack the same sort of national structure present in the Tea Party movement. The national 9-12 formations are important peripheral forces, but as organizational actors they do not appear to play a notable role in the internal movement infrastructure. Moreover, much of the 9-12 group momentum was co-opted by the Tea Party movement. Following the 9-12 rally in 2009 in Washington, D.C., many local 9-12 Project groups hitched up with one or more of the national Tea Party factions.
So it seems the New York Times and the report authors disagree on the continuing importance of the 9/12 groups.


N.b the pdf includes the claim "Neither the NAACP nor its leadership was involved in its research or authorship." The Politico link above, ("NAACP commissioned Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights to write the study") makes that claim sound pretty slippery.

I think it's very common for groups to fund outside studies on things they want to know about; the statement that the NAACP and its leadership were not researchers or authors of the report is thus accurate.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:17 PM on October 20, 2010


Truth is always the best smear tactic.

I personally think Nutella on an English muffin is the best smear tactic.
posted by armage at 12:43 AM on October 21, 2010


There is no difference between the Teabaggers and the GOP. None.

They just can't believe a black guy because the president of the United States, and they never will.
posted by bardic at 1:11 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome sentiment, yeloson. Applicable every where from Islamic terrorism to the health care debate. Do you know an particular quote from Letters from a Birmingham Jail, or just paraphrasing broadly?

It's great the NAACP has not only raised the issue but taken such a high road doing so. If we're lucky, maybe this will turn some Hispanic and African American voters away from Tea party candidates.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:27 AM on October 21, 2010


They just can't believe a black guy because the president of the United States, and they never will.

Funny, just this morning I was arguing that if Barack Obama had not been elected, there would not be a Tea Party.

I just spent a long drive thinking about this, among other things, and came to the conclusion that had Hillary Clinton been elected, the reaction would have actually been a little worse up front and about the same now. A little worse in the beginning because there were two terms of a Clinton presidency and every B.S. scandal that was dredged up then would have been dredged up again on her second day in office. About the same now because a Democrat would have been in the White House and the same media people would have been shouting "Holy crap! There's a Democrat in the White House and the economy sucks and we have a huge debt! It's all their fault!" The right wing media narrative would have been mostly identical.

So, instead of Travel Gate, Trooper Gate, Vince Foster, almost certainly some conspiracy crap about Bill's foundation and the women-should-be-barefoot-and-pregnant-and-not-President crowd we get the birthers and the racists. Really, the venn diagram of this would show they are mostly the same people.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:44 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: "Awesome sentiment, yeloson. Applicable every where from Islamic terrorism to the health care debate. Do you know an particular quote from Letters from a Birmingham Jail, or just paraphrasing broadly?
"

This paragraph seems cromulent:
"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection." - MLK, Letter from Birmingham Jail
posted by Happy Dave at 5:57 AM on October 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


This section on Meet the Press (annoying ad framing) from last Sunday shows how the two Colorado Senate candidates really don't want to deal with problems presented by Tea Party. This is exactly the sort of cover that enables infiltration and subversion by extremists.

The underlying values structure embraced by the far right incorporates an implicit belief in a fundamental, in some cases divinely ordained, human inequality. If you believe that people were not created equal, then things like racism, sexism and homophobia become not just natural, but opposition to them is thwarting divine will. Some of this is the lingering effect of slavery, because religion, not science, dominated the debate back in the 19th century and continues to have a powerful influence on the moral debate around these issues.

It's a rare right-winger who can tell you what racism is and how it affects people. I've repeatedly heard and seen wingers use the word "racism" in ways that leave no doubt they don't understand the concept. It's like trying to explain music to the tone deaf. It is telling that they will often use the concepts of racism, sexism and homophobia interchangeably and inappropriately. They know other people think it's bad, but they don't think it's real.

Values are tricky things. Nobody can tell you their values, they can only be inferred from behavior. Trying to rationally address values is like trying to talk someone out of being afraid of spiders. Fear, hate and prejudice are deeper and not consciously or verbally accessible.

This makes values a great lever for jerking people around politically.
posted by warbaby at 7:30 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


If we're lucky, maybe this will turn some Hispanic and African American voters away from Tea party candidates.

I don't actually think the study will help voters, of any race, change their mind in this short time frame. Anyone who can support a group that regularly swings around signs saying, "Obama's Plan: White Slavery!" etc. isn't going to utilize the critical thinking to read a study.

On the other hand, 10-20 years down the line, when the next wackjob politician or group comes up, maybe people will have absorbed the lessons of dog-whistle racism and be able to call it out before it gains traction.

Sadly, history has shown that given the choice between actual benefits (like, say, organizing labor for wages) or imagined benefits (the belief of racial superiority), the imagined benefits win out far too often.
posted by yeloson at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, Me? Racist?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:16 PM on October 21, 2010


As you said yeloson, the moderates are the enablers of the batshit insane. And those moderates include some blacks and hispanics. By taking the high road, the NAACP insures that people will be hearing about the racism in the Tea party from very respectable sources, like say NPR, their preacher, etc. So those moderates need not read the study, they just need some connection with more reputable outlets.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:11 AM on October 22, 2010


In related news: Months-Long Survey Finds The Tea Party Is Small, Doing 'Surprisingly Little'.
posted by ericb at 8:48 AM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


George Monbiot: The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires.
posted by adamvasco at 3:02 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a woman representing the liberal organization MoveOn.org. The incident happened outside a debate between Paul and Democratic rival Jack Conway for the open Kentucky senate seat. (Oct. 26)
posted by morganannie at 9:31 AM on October 26, 2010


Will the Real Tea Party Please Stand Up? - In a spate of lawsuits, the Republican Party of Florida is trying to put a stop to a third party called the Florida TEA Party.

^^ interesting article about Florida and Doug Guetzloe and the Taxed Enough Already Party.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:36 AM on October 26, 2010


Garry Wills On Colbert: 'Of Course' The Tea Party Is Racist.
posted by ericb at 11:11 AM on October 27, 2010


Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters
posted by homunculus at 11:36 AM on October 27, 2010


I got email this morning from Devin Burghhardt, the author of the report. He was pleased that Glen Beck went on a five-minute rant attacking Devin without addressing any of the facts in the report.

Heh.
posted by warbaby at 10:53 AM on October 28, 2010


The Triumph of Delusion
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on October 29, 2010


That's the genius of the Tea Party—you take these people who are all themselves middle class or below, and you make them focus on poor minorities so they think they're above somebody else.

The tea party is in a desperate state of denial after the poor man's philosophy of wealth generation (Republican Partyism) showed itself to be a massive accounting fraud in need of government bailouts. The dissonance among the faithful loyalists was too much for them, so they acted betrayed, hurt and in need of leadership. They were sincere dupes after all, but childish about everything. Since they were never were in on the open secret that Republicanism was being used against them, and still haven't figured it out, I would therefore doubt their future as a coherent mob.
posted by Brian B. at 7:55 AM on October 30, 2010


Gen. Jerry Boykin and Gen. Jack Ripper explain the nuances of Marxist infiltration and indoctrination
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


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