Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White Rage and The Tea Party


Megan said...

Love how there is absolutely no empirical evidence that the tea party is racist so the author calls it a "famously difficult question to answer" and quotes Rush Limbaugh instead, thinking that this somehow proves something about conservatives.

And how is media coverage of members of the new black panther movement intimidating voters xenophobic?

And before we get all excited about the birther movement, let me remind everyone that in 2006 polls showed that more than half of Democrats believed George Bush either let 9/11 happen or caused it. Instead of believing that the Obama born in another country these people think George Bush allowed 3,000 people to die (Hmm, which is worse?)

Megan said...

So ironic that people who oppose Obama are therefore being categorized as stereotyping racists.

Julia G said...

Out of curiousity, where did you get that statistic about Democrats believing Bush caused 9/11?
I recently had to do research on conspiracy theories at work and never saw that.

Also out of curiousity, do you honestly believe that the birther movement is not at all motivated by racism (at least on the part of some tea partiers)? Of course there's no empirical evidence; who is going to answer 'Yes' to the question "Are you racist?" in a poll? I'm definitely not saying that everyone in the tea party is racist, but when's the last time there was a giant conspiracy theory about the president's nationality?

Julia G said...

Here's one of the polls I found when I did my research:

Last week, a Democratic Congressional Representative from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney, suggested that President (George W.) Bush had advance warning of the September 11 (2001) terrorist attacks and kept quiet about it so his friends and family could make money from their oil interests. Do you think Representative McKinney's theory that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks ahead of time is correct or is it just crazy?

11% Correct
75% Crazy

So I'm not sure where you're getting "Democrats think Bush caused 9/11" from.

Megan said...


Yes, I think there is definitely a racist underpinning to the birther movement, and I have zero tolerance for it. But do you think it is worse to accuse someone of basically murdering 3,000 Americans or of being born in another country?

And I firmly reject the fact that the Tea Party was founded for racist reasons. The Tea Party was founded because people are unhappy about the ridiculous amount of spending going on in Washington. Every tea party leader will tell you that. Are there racist people in the Tea Party? Obviously. There is bound to be racism in every National movement. Activists at a Common Cause rally stated that Justice Thomas deserves to be lynched. Stereotyping Obama opponents as racist is just as outrageous as stereotyping certain races of people.

Megan said...

More than half of Democrats polled in 2006 thought Bush had either let the 9/11 happen or that he actually caused it.

PBM said...

Megan, the spending spree began far before Obama came to office. I pretty much agree with you on the underpinning and don't think everyone in the tea party is racist. This piece is more of a critique of right-wing media sources and their rabid listeners/viewers that can easily get wrapped up in these racial ideas and conspiracies. I have to listen to a lot of them on the phone everyday and I can tell you with certainty that many self-proclaimed tea partiers on calls also either state or imply racist sentiments when they talk to me. A lot of these come straight from Rush, Glenn or Fox News. Again, I'm not stereotyping all tea partiers, but when you have 50% of Mississippi GOP voters saying they think interracial marriage should be illegal, there is clearly some racial undertones in the conservative movement.

I think it's bad for people to believe that lie about Bush or that Obama isn't American. But I do think you are misrepresenting the poll, and if put in those actual words, responses from Dems would not support your conclusion.

PBM said...

And the 9/11 thing has a little more merit seeing that Bush was repeatedly warned that bin Laden would attack America and that there would be significant casualties. Not saying their answers are completely justified but that acts as a better basis for the "let it happen" group than anything that exists in birther thing.

Megan said...

"How likely is it that people in the federal government either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East?" the poll asked.

A full 22.6% of Democrats said it was "very likely." Another 28.2% called it "somewhat likely."


I think it is wrong of Fox News to advance the birther claim just like I don't think that MSNBC and Michael Moore should have advanced the truther claim.

Megan said...

And the fact that Bush had a general warning that Bin Laden wanted to attack America provides zero evidence that Bush let 9/11 happen.

PBM said...

It was not a general warning it was a repeated warning that there would be a terrorist attack that would claim thousands of casualties. Now, I'm glad to see the actual wording of the poll, and I think we can agree that both sides are willing to believe in conspiracies about the other. However, the Bush claims of the left are at least partially based on fact. For example, "took no action to stop the attacks." That part, no matter how dubious the rest of the question, is true. For the birther conspiracy, on the other hand, there is not a single aspect of truth to any of their claims. Which brings me to my last point, and I don't know if you were trying to make it but I want to refute something from the Examiner article. It quotes Hillary Clinton saying something like "what did the President know? My constituents would like to know." The author is trying to equate this to public comments by prominent Republicans on the birther issue, but you just can't. Hillary Clinton and her constituents actually wanted to know what Bush knew before 9/11, which is completely legitimate. John Boehner saying people can decide for themselves whether they believe Obama's American-ness is completely different because of the differences I pointed out at the beginning of this comment.

Ayush Soni said...

I am also curious about the statistic that half of democrats believe Bush caused 9/11. I know you cited an article, but that is a blog, which happens to also not provide any links or evidence for the claim.

And regarding the whole racist argument: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42656911/ns/politics-more_politics/

Then again, I do recall a lot of photos comparing Bush to moneys, so this may mean nothing at all.

Megan said...

I really don't think there is any distinction. Hillary appeared on the Senate floor holding up a New York Post with the headline BUSH KNEW in 2002. I tend to think that does a little more to fan the flames than Boehner saying its not his job to defend the President's place of birth. It's not really a natural reaction for Senators to publish a demand for information on what the President of the United States knew right after the biggest attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor. It shows an unhealthy suspicion just as the demands for Obama's birth certificate do. Both of these are ridiculous claims rooted in zero fact that have come about because of people's willingness to believe anything about the other side and their desire to take the other side down. I don't actually think that half of Republicans think that Obama was not born in the country just as I don't really think that half of Democrats think that Bush either assisted in or let 9/11 happen so that he could start a war in the Middle East.

I just don't think your argument holds any weight. You have to take these poll questions as a whole. The question is not: "Did Bush take any action to stop 9/11?" The true answer would be no, but it would be the equivalent of "Did Obama release his birth certificate?" which the true answer would also be no to. The real problem is what people have assumed from the facts that Bush took no action to stop 9/11 and Obama did not release his birth certificate.

Back to the original point about "white rage and thne tea party" it is my opinion that MSNBC, other liberal news sources, and many liberals cannot possibly grasp the concept of a movement that is made up of many lower middle class people who don't want government hand-outs and don't want the wealthy to pay more in taxes so they instead believe that this movement is somehow based on race. As much as many liberals wish it was, the tea party is NOT based on race.

Megan said...

Ayushi, I think that picture is racist, but I don't think it proves anything other than that the fact that that particular Republican official is probably racist.

And the statistic was that in 2006, half of Democrats thought Bush either assisted in the 9/11 attacks OR let them happen.

PBM said...

Ok, Megan, I am willing to buy some of your argument. I looked up more and Howard Dean was encouraging this theory as well. Both sides seem guilty here but I just think the conspiracy theories right now on the right including Birther and other issues (communist, Marxist, Muslim, wants to destroy America) are pretty out of control and there is no voice within the GOP willing to call them out. I don't remember the Bush conspiracy as well and I certainly didn't work in a congressional office at the time, but the some of the things that large amounts of people on the right think about Obama are false, hateful, sometimes racist, and almost dangerous (don't mean to recycle rhetoric debate, just going off some of the calls I get.) Yes, if it got to be the same way when Bush was in office with people on the left, they should have been called out. But my experience is with the right and Obama and what I am seeing without being called out by officials is pretty outrageous.

However, I do not think what Hill-dawg did was wrong. You said:

It's not really a natural reaction for Senators to publish a demand for information on what the President of the United States knew right after the biggest attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor.

Are you calling this unpatriotic? If so, I think that is some BS. Our congress should be able to have oversight of the executive branch no matter what the situation. I think her tactics were a bit sensational, but still, she saw a story in a newspaper and wants to get to the bottom of it. I don't understand how she could possibly be in the wrong here. He did, in fact, have some knowledge of the attacks before they happened, and even if he hadn't, she had the right as a US senator to know what Bush knew, no matter if it's 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, anything.

Now for the liberal coverage of the tea party. I don't think it began because of racism, I think it started because Fox News and other right-wing media sources. From the start the station promoted it and fed supporters talking points that are either misconstrued or untrue (there are any number of videos you can watch on this, I know that a lot of them are for entertainment value, but there are some seriously uneducated people out there in the tea party . My favorite video shows the host of the rally in DC chanting "global warming is.." and the crowd of atleast a couple hundred yelling back "BULLSHIT"). It's views can also be extremely contradictory. Polls show that it is made up of older Americans, many of whom are over 65, yet they bring signs to rallies that say "Keep your government hands off my healthcare." Do they mean that insurance called Medicare that is provided by the government? And if they care so much about the debt where were they during Bush? If they had an actual understanding of deficits, debt and government spending, they would realize that they're blaming the wrong person because that's what they have been taught to do by their sources of "news". Yes, I don't think it makes sense for people to be voting against their economic interests, but race is only a small part of that opposition. Yes, people were concerned about the debt and spending, blah blah blah, but without Fox News, nothing would have happened about it. The station and other right-wing news outlets made it what it is today, which is a if not the major force in the Republican party.

PBM said...

David Frum, formerly Bush 2's speechwriter, now influential conservative blogger agrees somewhat with me when he says, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we're discovering we work for Fox. And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party."


PBM said...

And I'm not saying Obama's policies are perfect and that nobody should complain about them. There are problems with many of the things he supports, like aspects of the huge reform bills he has passed in the last two years, but tea partiers aren't harping on legitimate policy issues. They are talking about death panels, czars, Obamacare, communists, socialism, and a whole host of things that are either false, extremely misconstrued, or things that they didn't have problems with during previous administrations. I realize the debt and deficits are problems, but if they want to be a legitimate part of the debate they need some specifics that aren't ideological and often times illogical talking points.