While last week’s report in the Washington Times is hardly unique, it suggests Tea Party Americans can expect the mainstream media and its lefitst allies to continue smearing the grass-roots movement as part of their effort on behalf to reelect President Obama.
Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, the Left has been peddling the lie that Tea Party members are sheet-wearing night riders for some time, and the charge hasn’t just come from the fever swamps of the blogosphere. Seemingly intelligent top-level officials in Washington say the same thing.
The Times reported about the APA’s conference, where several “professors” presented “papers” on their “findings” about the Tea Party.
One of them was a professor from the University of San Diego, Gary Jacobson, who wrote a screed entitled “The President, the Tea Party, and Voting Behavior in 2010: Insights from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study.”
Concluded Jacobson, the Times reported, “Tea Party activists have denied accusations that their movement is racist, and there is nothing intrinsically racist about opposing ‘big government’ or clean-energy legislation or health care reform. But it is clear that the movement is more appealing to people who are unsympathetic to blacks and who prefer a harder line on illegal immigration than it is to other Americans.”
Another of the APA’s geniuses offered an even harsher assessment of the Tea Party. According to the Times, Alan I. Abramowitz “also said they were more likely to harbor racial resentment, which he judged based on their answers to questions such as whether blacks could succeed as well as whites if they ‘would only try harder,’ and whether they agreed with the statement that Irish, Italians and Jews overcame prejudice and ‘blacks should do the same without any special favors.’” Abramowitz offered a paper entitled “Partisan Polarization and the Rise of the Tea Party Movement.”
Mr. Abramowitz said tea party supporters were substantially more likely than other voters to question how much effort black Americans are making to advance themselves, versus being held back by social factors.
“Tea Party supporters displayed high levels of racial resentment and held very negative opinions about President Obama, compared with the rest of the public and even other Republicans,” Mr. Abramowitz wrote. “In a multivariate analysis, racial resentment and dislike of Barack Obama, along with conservatism, emerged as the most important factors contributing to support for the Tea Party movement.”
Other academically rigorous papers the APA’s best and brightest put forth, the Times reported, seem to suggest, given the titles, that Tea Party Americans are also “homophobic” and “sexist”: “Civil Rights and LGBTQ Scapegoats in the Tea Party Movement” and “Passionate Patriotism: Gender and the Discourse of Anger in the Tea Party Movement.”
The media has been trying to glaze the Left’s charges of Tea Party racism with an academic patina for some time. In April, the Daily Beast reported that two studies demonstrated as much, first quoting Professor Christopher Parker of the University of Washington’s Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality. “The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability," Parker told the leftist Internet publication, “of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters. The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.” Indeed, Parker and the Daily Beast put a number on the “higher probability”: 25 percent.
The second study, widely quoted elsewhere, came from the New York Times, which found much the same thing, although the Times did not permit its reporter to pin the racist label on Tea Party American. It left that job to outfits like the Daily Beast, which offered this summary of the problem:
If Tea Party supporters are doing relatively fine, what are they so riled up about? These studies suggest that, at least in part, it's race. The country that the Tea Partiers grew up in is irrevocably changing. Last month, new demographic data showed that minority births are on the verge of outpacing white births. By 2050, Hispanics are expected to account for more than a quarter of the American population. The Tea Partiers “feel a loss … like their status has been diminished,” says David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which examines issues of race. “If you listen to [their] language, it’s always about ‘taking our country back.’ But it’s really not taking the country back as is. It's taking the country back” — as in time.
Bositis finds the movement's arguments about reckless federal spending unpersuasive. Why, he asks, weren’t they up in arms when President George W. Bush launched two costly wars and created a new unfunded mandate with his Medicare prescription-drug plan? Why didn’t they take to the streets when he converted a surplus into a massive deficit? “I don’t like to be in a position where I’m characterizing people as being racially biased,” says Bositis. “But when the shoe fits, what do you do?” Given modern societal norms, “they know they can’t use any overtly racist language,” he contends. “So they use coded language” — questioning the patriotism of the president or complaining about “socialist” schemes to redistribute wealth.
Salon.com, another leftist Internet publication, offered this opinion:
The role of race is nothing new. A New York Times survey as well as a University of Washington study found Tea Party members more likely even than other Republicans to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people, that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, and to blame black disadvantage on the shortcomings of black people, rather than on the legacy of slavery and discrimination. Is it only about having a black president? Um, that probably doesn't help. But it's worth noting that these are the same people who've been fighting the Democratic Party since the days of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the beginning of the War on Poverty, almost 50 years ago. They associate those long overdue social reforms with giving folks, mainly black people, something they don't deserve. I sometimes think just calling them racist against our black president obscures the depths of their hatred for Democrats, period.
On hearing the latest from the APA, Mark Meckler, cofounder of Tea Party Patriots, laughed off the criticism, the Times reported, noting that the leftist professors are rather a caricature of themselves. “This is good. You’re making my day,” Meckler told the Times.
“Statistics show that the vast number of folks that are in the world of academia are liberals,” he said after collecting himself. “Liberals don’t like the tea party movement. I don’t think that’s news.”
Indeed, as Meckler says, the charges are nothing new. Last week, Rep. André Carson, a leftist from Indiana, flatly announced that his colleagues in the House who are affiliated with the Tea Party would like to hang him.
Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree. Some of them right now in Congress are comfortable with where we were 50 and 60 years ago but it's a new day with a black President and a Congressional Black Caucus.
Carson was the culprit behind the lie that Tea Party Americans hurled racial epithets and spat upon black Congressmen as they exited the Cannon House Office Building on March 20, 2010, the day the House of Representatives passed President Obama’s socialist healthcare plan.
Carson lied. As The New American reported, no one could provide any evidence of such an incident, even when Big websites founder Andrew Breitbart offered a $100,000 cash gift for the United Negro College Fund.
And Carson is just one member of the Congressional Black Caucus who has attacked the Tea Party.
At a “community summit” in California, leftist Rep. Maxine Waters of California sounded almost as unhinged as Carson: “I’m not afraid of anybody. This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to Hell.”
The NAACP says likewise. At its convention in July, the group said the Tea Party harbors “racist elements.” NAACP chieftain Benjamin Jealous said, “The time has come for them to accept the responsibility that comes with influence and make clear there is no place for racism” and other types of hatred.
Before the NAACP passed its “resolution,” a top executive at National Public Radio, NPR Foundation chief Ron Schiller, told undercover operatives working for video sting impressario James O’Keefe that Tea Party Americans, as well as Republicans, are out of their minds.
Said Schiller, “The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian — I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move.”
[The Tea Party is not] just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist.
The remarks cost Schiller his job, and led the NPR board to force out NPR CEO Vivian Schiller.
Photo: AP Images