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E.J. Dionne: Where Have You Been?

John on July 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

Good for the NAACP. We need an honest conversation about the role of race and racism in the Tea Party.

These are the opening lines of E.J. Dionne’s latest, prompting me to ask: Where the hell have you been E.J.? You make it sound as if this has been a verboten topic and now, thanks to the courage of the NAACP, we can finally throw off the cloak of fear and ignorance that has shrouded the issue.

What a load of crap.

We’ve had nothing but claims of racism in the Tea Party since before most Americans even knew there was one. Back in April of 2009 the Weekly Standard reported:

One senior aide has been circulating a document to the media that debunks the effort as one driven by corporate lobbyists and attended by neo-Nazis…

What do you think “neo-Nazis” was code for E.J.? I’ll give you two guesses. Not to be outdone, Janeane Garofalo appeared on Keith Olbmermann’s MSNBC show and helpfully explained that all Tea Parties were straight up racism caused by conservatives over-large limbic brains.

By August of last year, when the health reform bill was in jeopardy, the DNC issued new marching order which said:

The right wing extremists’ use of things like devil horns on pictures of our elected officials…and the use of Nazi SS symbols and the like just shows how outside of the mainstream the Republican Party and their allies are.

Talking Points Memo, not known for its conservative leanings, introduced the memo saying:

Looks like the Democratic party is fully intent on using the fringe aspect of the protesters against them and their allies of convenience in the GOP.

And sure enough, CNN began asking if there were “racial undertones?” at the Tea Parties. John Dingell (D-Mich) fanned the flames by comparing ObamaCare protesters to the KKK. And Christ Matthews jumped on the bandwagon saying that the protesters real problem was with a black President.

The charges kicked into hyper drive this year when two black congressman claimed protesters had hurled the N-word at them. Video of the event later proved that their stories were inconsistent with video of the event. No one could be heard shouting the N-word once, much less a dozen times. Andrew Breitbart famously offered $100K to anyone who could provide video proof the incident had occurred and the media coverage suddenly dried up.

After all this, E.J. Dionne thinks Sarah Palin and others in the Tea Party need to stop being so defensive and not over-react to the NAACPs latest move. He wrote this on the same day Sheila Jackson Lee compared the Tea Party to the Klan to cheers from an NAACP audience. No race mongering here. Move along please.

The evidence that the progressive left has used the racism smear as a tactical weapon in their crusade is far stronger than the evidence that Tea Parties are composed of racists, which so far amounts to one shaky, unproven accusation about the N-word and a dozen or so fringe signs and statements.

What’s obvious is that at least some democrats are playing the lowest form of racial politics and have been since opposition to their health care agenda began to mount. Unlike the Tea Parties which are mostly organized from the ground up, these attacks seem to have started at the top, in Congress and on national television. It’s too late to ask for the kind of nuance in this debate that E.J. Dionne seems to think the NAACP deserves. After the race card has been played this often and this irresponsibly there’s just not a lot of trust left.

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Category: Politics |

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