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The Tea Party, Tom Tancredo and racism

We here at Philadelphia Weekly have taken a little heat for this week’s Jonathan Valania cover story that, more than a few times, asserts that the roots of the Tea Party movement have more than a little to do with white folks’ discomfort with a black president. I’m no fan of the Tea Party movement, but — despite the odd frequency of questionable signs at some of the rallies — I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Still, if Tea Partiers don’t want to get brushed with the “racist” smear, they could help their cause by not featuring Tom Tancredo as a key speaker at one of their gatherings:

Tom Tancredo opened what’s being billed as the first Tea Party Convention with a bang.

The former congressman from Colorado and 2008 Republican presidential candidate blasted President Obama, saying “people who could not even spell the word ‘vote’, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama.”

It’s probably less accurate to call Tancredo a “racist” than a “nativist” — but the way Tancredo practices it, that’s only the barest step up. It’s certainly inflammatory to suggest that President Obama was elected president only because the foreign hordes defeated the will of real Americans. It’s not only inflammatory, it’s also … utterly false.

We’ll leave aside, too, the “Barack Hussein Obama” reference. (What? It’s his name? Are you saying I can’t use his name? Of course not. But there’s a way of saying that name that … insinuates stuff. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.) We’ll just mention that Tancredo mentioned reinstating “literacy tests” at election polls — tests, that of course, were last seen during Jim Crow to keep blacks from voting.

Read the CNN story, and you’ll see that Tea Party Nation — the organizer of this big conference — is already distancing itself from Tancredo. But Tancredo did what Tancredo does. If you don’t want the racist-nativist guilt by association, don’t invite him to be a speaker. Otherwise, you deserve what you get.

  1. Wry Mouth Says: Feb 5 2:04 PM

    based on the link, the “odd frequency” of questionable signs seems to be equivalent to the more plainly stated, “low frequency.”

    Captcha: before labors

  2. Joel Mathis Says: Feb 5 5:04 PM

    Based on the link, I’d say it’s “more often than you find at non-fringy political gatherings.”

  3. Bruce Majors Says: Feb 5 6:30 PM

    I wonder if the reason you leftovers think racism is the most heinous smear you can make is because you realize your own guilt in selling out generations of black underclass children to state warehouse pseudo-schools that leave them illiterate and unemployable, just so you can get campaign contributions from educrat unions.

    I wonder if as part of the tea party revolution, after your fuhrers are tossed out of office, and your media brothels have gone bankrupt, and Daschle and Rahm and all the other lobbyist profiteers of the tax predator ruling class have had their homes and retirement funds seized and returned to the taxpayers, if some of you will also find yourselves exiled or sent to the guillotine for YOUR racism and predation.

    I smell your fear, and your blood, and I cannot wait to taste it.

  4. Johnny B Says: Feb 6 8:37 AM

    Dear Bruce:

    You are a racist.

  5. Susan Says: Feb 6 10:55 AM

    I’d love to see the median IQ of the people who voted for Obama, versus those who voted for McCain. Then we’ll see who needs a literacy test.

  6. Wry Mouth Says: Feb 6 1:57 PM

    Joel — you are implying that “literacy tests” would even now keep Black people from voting? Isn’t that raci— (transcript breaks off here, with only the sound of strangling heard on the tape)

    “oration and”

  7. Un-American chickenhawk Tancredo does his best McCarthy impression « Coreys Views Says: Feb 6 3:26 PM

    [...] in addition to being a chickenhawk who got out of fighting for his country, we now we find out that Tancredo is an un-American McCarthyite to boot: “The former congressman from Colorado and 2008 Republican presidential candidate blasted [...]

  8. savage henry Says: Feb 6 7:01 PM

    Tea Party? Bull squash. I know that motor scooter when I hear it. It’s the John Birch Society.

  9. Elaine Says: Feb 7 6:52 PM

    Tancredo does not speak for the tea party people when he got up their & said that about voters. Why he said it, I do not know but I was embarrassed for him & the rest of the people there at the Convention. That is not what the Tea Party is about.

  10. Jeff Says: Feb 8 10:10 PM

    How about providing a transcript? It’s nice to hear what everyone thinks about the speech, but it would be even better to read it.

  11. Annette Says: Feb 8 10:42 PM

    Elaine, I wish you were right, but those who were at the convention cheered. They invited him, his views were well known. I also haven’t heard anyone connected to the tea party say “nope we don’t believe that”.
    What I have heard is weasel words like “we don’t agree with everything he says, and Tancredo is a great American”. I figure if they invite a known racist, cheer him wildly and don’t even disagree with him on anything, they agree.

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