This isn't an epiphany by any stretch. From the beginning, with their witch doctor imagery, watermelon agitprop and Curious George effigies, the wingnut right has been dying to blurt out, as Lee Atwater famously said, "nigger, nigger, nigger!"
But they can't.
Strike that. Correction. TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson brandished a sign with the (misspelled) word "niggar." So they're not even as restrained as the generally unstrung Atwater anymore.
The tea party is an extension of talk radio. It's an extension of Fox News Channel. It's an extension of the southern faction of the Republican Party -- the faction that gave us the Southern Strategy, the Willie Horton ad, the White Hands ad and the racially divisive politics of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove. It's an extension of the race-baiting and, often, the outright racism evident in all of those conservative spheres.
From the outset, the tea party was based on a contradictory premise (the original tea party was a protest against a corporate tax cut). And when you throw out all of the nonsense and contradictions, there's nothing left except race. There's no other way to explain why these people were silent and compliant for so long, and only decided to collectively freak out when this "foreign" and "exotic" president came along and, right out of the chute, passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history -- something they would otherwise support, for goodness sake, it was $288 billion in tax cuts! -- we're left to deduce no other motive but the ugly one that lurks just beneath the pale flesh, the tri-corner hats and the dangly tea bag ornamentation.
Irrespective of whether the president passed a huge tax cut or went out of his way to bring Republicans into the health care process, the seeds of racial animosity from the far-right were sown during the campaign. In those lines waiting for then-vice presidential candidate and current tea party heroine Sarah Palin, their loud noises spread the pre-scripted lies, lies that entirely hinged on the president's African heritage. A white candidate would never be accused of being a secret Muslim. A white candidate would never be accused of being a foreign usurper. Only a black candidate with a foreign name would be accused of "palling around with domestic terrorists."
In the final analysis, when you boil away all of the weirdness, it becomes clear that the teabaggers are pissed because there isn't yet another doddering old white guy in the White House -- like they're used to. That's what this is all about.I recently abandoned a back-and-forth with an anonymous reader down below, because when you ignore shit like this, there's just no arguing with that kind of unreality. But I want to emphasize again the racist, ignorant heart of the tea party movement. Cesca correctly states, and Obama himself said during the campaign, that they wouldn't be protesting if he was just "another doddering old white guy." Damn right.
The comparison with progressive-led protests again George W. Bush and other conservative presidents is ludicrous. When did the left ever call for secession? And just where are all the people of color at these tea party rallies?--I've counted less than ten total, in all the news footage I've seen. When did progressives ever bring firearms to a townhall meeting or anti-Bush rally, or carry signs portraying W in a klansman's hood? When did we on the left claim that Bush was a secret, foreign-born terrorist? A fake Texan, maybe, but a covert spy of a different faith, friendly to domestic terrorists and dedicated to destroying America? No, such ludicrous, seditious, and patently false claims are the calling cards of the tea parties.
There's a 24/7/365 drumbeat of hate, fear, and misinformation aimed at the Obama presidency, led by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, something unprecidented in American politics. It's hateful, racist, deceitful, ignorant, disrespectful, and just plain wrong. And as long as I draw breath, I'll fight it with everything I have.