Day: July 16, 2010

White Supremacist Campaigns for AR Governor at Tea Parties

Between Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams unabated racist attacks on the NAACP and now an avowed white supremacist campaigning to become Arkansas’ net governor at Tea Parties, it is abundantly clear that the NAACP had a point in saying that the tea parties tolerate racism, plain and simple.

Little Green Footballs

This could be the deadpan headline of the day, from the Kansas City Star: Tea party rejects racist label, but concerns remain.

One of those concerns is a guy named Billy Roper.

Billy Roper is a write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas and an unapologetic white nationalist. “I don’t want non-whites in my country in any form or fashion or any status,” he says.

Roper also is a tea party member who says he has been gathering support for his cause by attending tea party rallies. “We go to these tea parties all over the country,” Roper said. “We’re looking for the younger, potentially more radical people.” …

In several instances, tea party members with racist backgrounds such as Roper have played a role in party events. At the same time, The Kansas City Star has found, white nationalist groups are encouraging members to attend tea parties. One organization based in St. Louis is sponsoring tea parties of its own.

The Anti-Defamation League has a profile of tea party candidate Roper, with a charming photo showing him giving a speech in front of Nazi flags and paraphernalia

What Happened To Megyn Kelly’s Big Interest In The DOJ/New Black Panther Case?

News Hounds

For weeks now, Megyn Kelly has been suggesting that scary black men with billyclubs are on their way to a voting booth near you, thanks to the racial favoritism of the Obama Justice Department supposedly at the heart of their decision not to prosecute a small band of fringe African American activists. Yet two days after Kelly had a prima donna meltdown on the air when a Fox News colleague, Democrat Kirsten Powers, challenged the significance of the story, there was almost no discussion about it on Kelly’s America Live show yesterday (7/15/10).

Kelly did take time out to visit the O’Reilly Factor last night but the discussion was more about media coverage - i.e. attacking the so-called “liberal media” for not seeing the “importance” of the story – than it was about the supposedly earthshaking accusations of a GOP activist that Kelly dubbed a “whistleblower.”

In other words, on the same day that Kelly turned the temperature way down on her own coverage of the case, she and Bill O’Reilly complained that other media should be ramping it up. Was there absolutely nothing new in the “explosive” story of black radicals threatening the integrity of our voting system that Kelly had trumpeted so many times an hour on so many previous shows? Or was she feeling the heat of the spotlight that Fox News Democrat Kirsten Powers shone on her “news” agenda?

Meanwhile, if Kelly truly thinks the story is so important, why hasn’t she expanded her coverage to examine the larger picture of voter crimes prosecuted by the Department of Justice? Why hasn’t she investigated just how big a problem black intimidation of white voters is? Why hasn’t she showed any interest in any cases of voter intimidation against AFrican Americans? I emailed her these questions several days ago and she has yet to respond.

And if this story is truly so significant, why didn’t Chris Wallace ask David Axelrod a single question about it in their lengthy interview last Sunday?

In short, Kelly has a lot of ‘splaining to do about her own coverage before she points a finger at anyone else’s.

Progress Report: Tea Party Racism Exists

Racism In The Tea Parties

 In passing a resolution condemning the racist elements within the Tea Party this week, the NAACP set off a media firestorm over the merits of its charge against the right-wing movement. As the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates notes, critics bemoaned the resolution as a silly stunt that “heightened division” and implied that racist extremists define the membership of the Tea Party. Such a wholesale charge would certainly be exaggerated and inaccurate, but that was not the charge the NAACP made. “The resolution was amended during the debate to specifically ask the Tea Party itself to repudiate the racist elements and activities of the Tea Party.” As NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous said, “We’re simply asking them to repudiate racist acts and bigotry in their ranks or accept responsibility.” But instead of acknowledging and disassociating themselves from the more radical actions of their membership, Tea Party leaders have said that racist elements are non existent. In hurling accusations of racism back at the NAACP, Tea Party leaders have wielded a professed desire for colorblindness as a whitewashing tool. But Tea Party members are employing a defense that only perpetuates the racism they are desperately trying to refute.

YES, THERE IS RACISM: Galled by the NAACP’s shot across the bow, Tea Party leaders and sympathizers immediately dismissed the charge of racism in the movement as unrepresentative or unfounded. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin sounded off on Facebook this week, decrying the racism accusation as a “false” and “appalling” insult of which the “patriots of the tea party movement are truly undeserving.” Conservative Bishop E.W. Jackson shrugged off the displays of racist tendencies, claiming “people will sometimes say things.” He insisted that “the idea that the tea party movement is racist or that it has racist elements that need to be denounced is a nonsensical statement.” At this point, the overwhelming evidence of such “radical elements” is enough to discredit any outright dismissal of the NAACP’s claim. The North Iowa Tea Party recently launched a billboard that equates President Obama with flagrant racist Adolf Hitler. In April, Tea Party member and New York GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino forwarded “racially degrading material” in emails, one of which was posted at the Neo-Nazi Stormfront website. Ironically, the clearest example of endorsed racism was offered by the Tea Party Express chairman and spokesperson Mark Williams. While contending that it’s the NAACP that is “bigoted,” Williams has made outright bigoted comments, referring to Allah as the “terrorists’ monkey God,” to a Jewish developer as a “Jewish Uncle Tom,” and to Muslims as “semi-human, bipedal primates with no claim to be treated like humans.” In responding to the NAACP’s charge, he accused the group of being “professional race baiters” who “make more money than any slave trader ever.”    Continue reading…

It Seems Only Republicans Like Sarah Palin

The Plum Line

The new Gallup poll shows a striking disconnect in public opinion about Sarah Palin: While her favorability ratings are significantly higher among Republicans than all the other 2012 GOP hopefuls, her negative ratings among Americans overall are also significantly higher than those of her GOP rivals.

This is significant, I think, because it underscores the uniqueness of her political situation and suggests she will face major challenges if she decides to step outside the current role she’s carved out for herself in American life.

Palin has skillfully positioned herself as a kind of celebrity quasi-candidate. It’s a role that allows her to insulate herself from direct media cross-examination and to communicate directly to her supporters, tightening her emotional grip on them even as the rest of the world continues to sour on her.

The numbers from Gallup tell the story. Palin has a whopping 76 percent favorability rating among Republicans; only 20 percent don’t like her. That’s significantly higher than the other GOP 2012 hopefuls.

At the same time, among all Americans, she’s viewed unfavorably, 47-44. That’s also significantly higher than all the other GOP 2012 hopefuls. Only nine percent of Americans don’t have an opinion of Palin, while that number is in high double digits for all the others. Her situation is different than that of her rivals: They have room to expand their appeal, and she doesn’t.

As Ben Smith has noted, Palin’s strategy of going around the lamestream media filter has been a huge success with the Palin Nation hordes but it has failed in that she continues to grow more unpopular with everyone else. As the above numbers demonstrate, this works for her in her current role, but make it increasingly unlikely that she’ll succeed if she ever sets foot outside of the bubble she’s created for herself.

UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.: DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan emails that Dems will seize on these numbers to argue that she has nowhere to grow:

I’m not a Republican and I like her. She serves to further isolate the Republican party, reinforcing the perception and hardening the reality that the GOP is a narrow, ideological, extreme party with limited demographic and regional appeal. The more she turns on the right wing, the more she turns off everyone else.

UPDATE, 12:47 p.m.: Some are comparing Palin’s numbers to those of President Obama, pointing out that Obama is a mirror image of Palin. But the comparison doesn’t wash, according to more Gallup numbers sent my way.

Palin’s overall favorability ratings with the American people are negative, 47-44. By contrast, in the same poll, Obama’s are positive, 52-44. What’s more, Palin’s fave/unfave numbers are evenly split among independents, 44-44, meaning that Republicans are the only group that view her more favorably than not. By contrast, Obama’s viewed positively by indys, 50-46.

The more important comparison is between Palin and her potential GOP rivals, and as demonstrated above, her situation is unique.

The Top 5 Republicans Who Think The Tea Partiers Are Bad News

What?  You mean there are some Republicans who see through the astro-turfed crap that teabaggers are unloading on the media and low-information followers?

TPMDC

Maybe it’s just sour grapes, but sure seems like a lot of Republicans are hating on the tea party these days. Spurned GOPers ousted in primaries have been the most vocal, but even candidates who tried to court the tea party are criticizing the approach of the populist movement.

Whether it’s because they feel liberated (or because, as some tea partiers have suggested, maybe they are liberals at heart), here’s TPM’s roundup of the Top Five Republicans who have spoken ill of the movement in recent weeks.

1. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT)

Considered a conservative by all political measures, Bennett was unseated as a “moderate” by Utah tea party activists and the uber-conservative Club for Growth this summer. Since losing his seat, Bennett has held nothing back.

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Bennett said tea partiers are actually helping Democrats, given their support of novice candidates like Sharron Angle who might blow chances at unseating the party in power.

“With the tea party creating the mischief that it is in Colorado, we may not win that seat. My sources in Nevada say with Sharon Angle there’s no way Harry Reid loses in Nevada,” Bennett said. He also said thanks to Rand Paul’s candidacy, “that’s a seat we could lose.”

“That’s my concern, that at the moment there is not a cohesive Republican strategy of this is what we’re going to do. And certainly among the tea party types there’s clearly no strategy of this is what we’re going to do,” he said.

2. Robert Hurt (R-VA)

The GOP nominee in Virginia’s 5th Congressional district, state Sen. Robert Hurt, managed to topple several Republicans in a competitive primary last month. Tea partiers and others in the district fought his candidacy in part because he supported a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004 under then-Gov. Mark Warner (D).

The tea party group is refusing to back Hurt. Now, Hurt also is taking heat because he won’t agree to debates which include a third-party tea party candidate who is running on the fall ballot.

Hurt spokesman Chris LaCivita criticized the tea party in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying: “With this group, if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you think you can be a member of Congress.”

This is, of course, the same local tea party in the central and Southside Virginia district that targeted freshman Rep. Tom Perriello with plans to hang him in effigy last fall. (It was called off following bad publicity.)

3. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Graham, who is often courted by the White House as a bipartisan deal maker on foreign policy, judicial nominees, climate change and immigration, isn’t even up for reelection until 2012. So it’s a little strange he felt compelled to tell the New York Times that he thinks the tea party is a passing fad.

“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out,” he said.Graham also said he challenged a group of Tea Partiers in a meeting: “‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’…Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”

4. Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC)

Inglis is another GOPer on his way out the door, having lost a runoff election in a Republican primary this month by double digits. And, as he leaves, he’s letting loose on the tea party and even his own party’s leadership team.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Inglis suggested “that tea party favorites such as former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and right-wing talk show hosts like Glenn Beck are the culprits” of “demagoguery” that threatens the Republican party long term.

Inglis didn’t directly name the tea party movement, but challenged one of the key talking points tea partiers picked up from Palin during the health care debate.

“There were no death panels in the bill … and to encourage that kind of fear is just the lowest form of political leadership. It’s not leadership. It’s demagoguery.”

On C-Span yesterday, Inglis complained about GOP leaders Minority Leader John Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor. Via Think Progress:

“I think that to some extent we’re getting what we deserve,” with Boehner and Cantor leading the Party, Inglis said, adding, “We have basically decided to stir up a base, and that’s a bad decision for the country.”Later in the segment, Inglis criticized those on the right who blamed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for causing the 2008 financial crisis:

INGLIS: What I’m supposed to do as a Republican is just echo back to you Anne that yes, CRA was the cause of the financial meltdown in October of 2008. And if I said that to you I’d be clearly wrong because if you think about it, CRA had been around for decades. So how could it be that it caused the problem suddenly in October of 2008? … So therefore we can just establish it as a scapegoat. Democrats like it and we can of course put the racial hue on that and that makes it even more powerful. But if we do that, we go further away from the solution, the solution is to deal with those fundamental things, not pick up on scapegoats and run with it.

5. Scott Rigell (R-VA)

Rigell is the GOP nominee to challenge freshman Rep. Glenn Nye (D-VA) this fall in
In Virginia’s 2nd Congressional district.

The local tea party backed the GOP primary’s other candidates over Rigell, a car dealer who donated to President Obama and other Democrats in recent years. The tea party now says they won’t get involved in the general election.

Listen to a recent speech where Rigell compared his primary race with boot camp. “The primary lasted 11 months, boot camp only lasted three months,” he says in the below clip, obtained to TPM.

Keith Olbermann Nominated For Emmy Award

No one deserves it more…and here’s why…

Daily Kos

I think most of us know that the last eighteen months have been very difficult for Keith Olbermann.  He lost both of his parents, and a few friends as well.

His remarkable tribute to his mother, Marie Olbermann, garnered him an Emmy Nomination, and I think it is well-deserved.  The tribute was wistful, funny, and beautiful, and it made me cry.  Looking at today’s Twitter feed, I can see I’m not alone.

Keith Olbermann has done a great deal of excellent reporting in the time he has been on the air.  He’s won several awards:

(Keith) Olbermann is the recipient of numerous distinguished awards in radio and television broadcasting, including the 1995 Cable Ace Award for Best Sportscaster, 11 Golden Mike Awards for excellence in television and radio, and four Sports Emmy Awards.  Olbermann also received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of the events of 9/11.

His beautiful tribute to Marie Olbermann also won him the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award.

NBC News dominated the Edward R. Murrow Awards, winning an impressive five awards, including one for Overall Excellence.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann won the Best Writing award for his tribute to his mother Marie. “A Baseball Fan Named Marie” aired two days after his mother’s death.

I, for one, would like to thank Keith Olbermann, for many reasons.

Continue reading…