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The Tea Party, Joseph Farah and Sarah Palin: Trying to distinguish the fringe from the mainstream in the Republican Party

So let’s recap what we know about the National Tea Party convention in Nashville, shall we?

Tom Tancredo opened the convention with a speech falsely asserting that President Obama was elected by non-English speaking foreigners and urging the reinstement of Jim Crow era voting rules.

• Joseph Farah, proprietor of the truly nutty World Net Daily site, followed up with a Friday night speech propounding “birther” accusations against President Obama.

• And on Sunday, Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s most recent vice presidential nominee, will be the convention’s keynote speaker on Sunday.

Whenever liberals point out some of the nuttier stuff at the Tea Party gatherings — the racist signs, the comparisons of Obama to Hitler or the talk of revolution and secession — Tea Party sympathizers offer a couple of excuses: The nutty stuff is at the fringe, not really representative of the group as a whole and it’s not fair that you focus on that! Or that the whole thing amounts to political theater, not to be taken that seriously.

But this convention is making it harder for a reasonable observer to distinguish between the nuts and the mainstream. They’re all on the same stage together. That’s a problem for the Tea Party folks — but it’s also a problem for the Republican Party that’s tried to harness the Tea Party wind. Because if Sarah Palin — vice presidential nominee and somebody who is still talked about as the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012 — isn’t a “mainstream Republican,” who is? And if she’s taking the same stage where Tancredo and Farah have been propounding their foolishness, why should the rest of us not believe that the birther and nativist nuts aren’t welcome in polite Republican circles?

Palin, I suppose, could shock us on Sunday with a speech that decries the conspiracy theories that have taken the stage before her. Something like: “My friends, we are all united in our love of America, our belief in small government and the need for low, low taxes. But we cannot allow paranoia and falsehoods to be the foundation of our case. That’s what’s gone on here this week, and for the sake of our movement and our country it must stop.”

Call in Palin’s “Sister Souljah” moment. It would make folks like me stop and reconsider who Sarah Palin is and what she’s all about.

Personally, I don’t think Palin will do any such thing. She’s done her own bit to whip up paranoia about the president and his policies. She and the Tea Party fringe are made for each other. And the Republican Party, it seems ever more clear, is OK with that.

  1. Susan Says: Feb 6 10:51 AM

    Wow, it would be worth $600 to hear Palin speak some truths! However, since she panders to whatever group is paying her, and since she has yet to speak to a journalist or in front of a group of regular people, I won’t hold my breath or get out my checkbook. It is stunning that these people can get in front of a camera and just lie. Where IS the journalism in this country? Where are the fact checkers away from the internet? Why are they permitted (and this includes the Palin of fall 2008) to give outlandish, untrue lectures that their supposedly educated followers accept without question? It isn’t Palin who scares me any more. It is these groups who are sounding more and more like the Hitler mobs in the 1930’s. For all their painting of Obama as a socialist/commie/facist/whatever, it is they who are exhibiting behaviors worthy of all of those movements, while he is moving to the center and is barely even liberal at this juncture.

  2. canary Says: Feb 6 11:17 AM

    Whoever writes this piece of ‘news’ forgets one thing: only in a communist party people will share same ideas and opinions and speak with the same voice. In a free country, people all have different ideas. I find it funny that people even create the non-sense word “birther’ to call certain people [that they also call nutty] while they all ignore why a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE campaign’s website posted a FAKE birth certificate and then when he became the president, never shows his birth certificate, nor his college grades or his records in the ‘lawfirms’ he worked for. Nobody knows how good/bad a student/lawyer/lecturer he was whereas everybody knows McCain graduated near the bottom of his class. Is it funny?
    Lefties you are so smart, why do you live in the USA? Why is Arianna not living in the USA? By the way, I am natural citizen too, and I have not been here too long either, but I made every effort to speak English well and find it offensive that someone who shows her face constantly on TV like Arianna Huff can’t even make the effort to speak more clearly.

    These same people make fun of Sarah Palin ‘funny accent’? At least, her accent is American accent. Stop the bullshit.

  3. Robert Schledwitz Says: Feb 6 12:01 PM

    I attended a rally in Newburyport for Martha Coakley during the campaign for the US senate. The bridge across from the building was covered with loud Brown supporters waving huge American flags. They even had a pickup truck with a 4×8 foot pro-Brown plywood sign in it park in front of the doorway. The moment Martha began speaking, the sound system died and you could not hear a word she said. Coincidence? Brown supporters were also inside with signs and talking down Coakley. Rude behavior. Mob like actually. At least they were not carrying side guns like they did in New Hampshire. Newburyport voted for Coakley. Brown’s father is a resident and Scott lived here as a child. These actions were only meant to intimidate. Tea Party = GOP = Fundamentalist Christian Right. Wake up people! These are the ones who got us in the mess we are in today.

  4. Matthew E Says: Feb 6 1:30 PM

    Mr. Schledwitz, My suggestion is that you look in the mirror, when you say “wake up, people!” It is the shift toward socialism that has gotten us into the mess we are in today, where freedom-loving Americans are somehow seen as ‘evil’ and people passionate enough to fight for freedom are somehow seen as ‘mob’-like, and even ‘hateful.’ You need to take a long, hard, look at your own conscience.

    And, Susan… I am an Ivy League grad who loves Sarah Palin. I happen to know that many people who like her are extremely well-educated. And, I also happen to know that she has never said anything that wasn’t true. The thing that makes her different from Obama is that he imagines that he is, somehow, smarter than those who listen to him – while, Sarah Palin understands that we are all equal in God’s eyes. If you don’t believe that – i.e., if you think certain people are superior – then, you are a socialist. Obama and his allies are socialists. Socialists imagine that people in power rule over the people; while, Americans understand that the people in power serve the people. Service requires humility.

    As for you, Mr. Mathis, it is one thing to – as you say – “whip up paranoia,” and, it is another thing to tell the truth. The lies of liberalism are so thick, that some people can’t even see the light of day (perhaps you are in this category?) It is somewhat like that movie, The Matrix, where people are plugged in, controlled by the machines, and have no clue. Obama is a bit like the king of the machines — not that this metaphor is very clever… but, it is apt. Sir, if you still believe that bringing up a candidate’s America-hating preacher, or friendship with unrepentant terrorists is somehow inappropriate, you are living in a supremely hateful state of mind that does not allow for freedom of speech, or serves a desire to find truth. And, if you live in that state of mind (along with other sorry leftists, in this beloved country), all I can say is that I hope you come to a realization of the consequences of your ignorant actions.


  5. Truga Says: Feb 6 1:39 PM

    Palin is speaking on Saturday, Feb 6th. If you wait until Sunday, you’ll be too late and would have missed a great speach from the next POTUS.

  6. DEO Says: Feb 6 3:00 PM

    Canary YOU stop the Bullshit.
    Even your Bill O’Reilly concedes that the birther stuff is CRAZY. On the day Obama was born there was a birth announcement in the Hawaii newspaper…conspiracy? Did they know the great baby Barack would grow up to be PRESIDENT OF THESE UNITED STATES?
    It’s horseshit…and YOU prove this big BIG TEAPARTY REVOLUTION is horseshit driven by greed and hucksters ready to exploit the crazies for profit and celebrity. The very thing you say you hate is embodied in the charletan, Palin. Good luck…it’s horseshit, you have a right to it, keep it.
    Obama will be president for 3-7 years more, embrace it or embrace horseshit.
    You people would rather embrace horseshit then a government headed by BLAC person. I used to hate when people pulled the race card, BUT IT SEEMS TO BE TRUE. The teaparty is spouting racism. It ain’t dead in America yet, and THAT is what we are dealing with.
    Teapartyiers have a PROBLEM with GOVERNMENT or do they have a problem with THIS particular government?
    Your keynote speaker collected $100,000.00 to buy more MANTAN for her family. A beauty pageant contestant with dollar signs in her eyes, but hell, she ain’t black, she ain’t Oprah, so she’s good enough for you.
    Shame on ya…I see what this is about now.

  7. DEO Says: Feb 6 3:03 PM

    And, Susan… I am an Ivy League grad who loves Sarah Palin. I happen to know that many people who like her are extremely well-educated

    And many people that DON’T like her, aren’t. SO WHAT?

    Sarah Palin/Fabio 2012!
    Good luck with THAT.


  8. Jake Says: Feb 6 6:42 PM

    @Matthew, you claim that Palin has “never said anything that wasn’t true.” I refer you to this collecition of her lies: If nothing else, she lied when she came up with the idea of “death panels.” You also say that she “understands that we are all equal in God’s eyes.” First of all, you don’t offer any evidence that Obama believes otherwise. Some people *are* smarter than other people, but that doesn’t make them better in God’s eyes. Besides, what’s important when you’re talking politics isn’t a candidate’s guess at what God thinks, but what they think. And Palin has made it clear that she thinks some of us are “real Americans” and others of us aren’t. I don’t want a president, or anybody, that divides us up that way.

  9. Robert M. Simon Says: Feb 6 6:43 PM

    The REAL fringe nuts are in the White House and Congress….And they reaLLY FRIGHTEN ANY SANE PERSON…

  10. Former Marine '69 '72 Says: Feb 6 6:52 PM

    LOL Real “BLAC”, Obama is 6% black 44% Arabic…

  11. Keith Says: Feb 8 10:38 AM

    I’d add something to this discussion, but I washed the notes off my hand.

  12. Robert Schledwitz Says: Feb 8 12:11 PM

    Dear Matthew E

    In reply to you response to my comments above:

    I reality check my beliefs every day. I listen before I speak. I never shout people down so no one can hear what they have to say. You seem to dislike socialism. I happen to dislike totalitarian police states. Political civility towards the opinions of others is not a sign of weakness, it is common respect for the political process our government was founded on. Perhaps you would like a wealthy, powerful, conservative Republican like Pat Robinson in the White House. He is very against social programs like you are and has enlightened us about many of his perceived realities. Like revealing lesbian talk show host Ellen Degeneris caused God to send the Katrina storm to trash New Orleans because she lived there. The earthquake in Haiti resulted from a pact with the devil by black slaves made 200 years ago to free them from French rulers. He is not a wing nut on the fringe of Republican (read Tea Party) ideology, he has 40 million devoted followers. Think about that, sir, the next time YOU look into a mirror!


    Mr. Robert Schledwitz

  13. Josh Powers Says: Feb 9 10:03 AM

    Jesus gawd there are ignorant people in this country, as evidenced by the comments here.

    If you believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to do anything beyond spouting empty-headed rhetoric, you should have your voting rights restricted.

  14. lostinsc1 Says: Mar 4 12:06 AM

    The real Sarah Palin . See one of her best

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