July 14th, 2010
06:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Tea Party Patriots: Liberals pushing 'panic button'

(CNN) – In response to the NAACP's call to denounce racism within the Tea Party movement, two co-founders of a national Tea Party group are accusing the NAACP, other liberal interest groups and the White House of "hitting the panic button" in advance of this year's midterm elections.

"A clear pattern of behavior has emerged over the last 16 months," Tea Party activists Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin write in an op-ed published Wednesday on the Politico website. "According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a 'racist.'"

Related: We don't tolerate racist behavior, Martin said

Before pointing to charges of racism leveled against former President Bill Clinton during his wife's pitched primary battle against then-Sen. Barack Obama, Meckler and Martin state "The left has a long history of using the race card. It has been pulled on people across the political spectrum."

"This card is generally played when all else has failed," they write. "It was inevitable that it would eventually be used aggressively against the tea party movement."

Meckler and Martin point out that national Democrats have referred to their increasingly influential movement as a bunch of disgruntled voters, nothing more than "'astroturf,'" "a flash in the pan that would disappear overnight," and "an 'angry mob.'"

But, the two write, the real motivation for the recent attacks on the Tea Party movement is political survival during an election year.

"The Obama White House and liberal interest groups are hitting the panic button as they read weekly polls showing diminishing support for their radical big government issue agenda, and a weariness for the politics of division."

In the op-ed, the two activists also admit that their movement has a fringe element that, they say, does not represent the values of the conservative, grassroots movement.

"The racist posters of a few at a Tea Party rally do not represent the feelings or behavior of Americans who believe in this movement," they write.

Instead, Meckler and Martin say their movement is colorblind and dedicated to a few core principles.

"The tea party is a truly post-racial movement. Based strictly around the three simple principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market capitalism, the movement is uninterested and uninvolved in the politics of race."

The op-ed was published a day after the NAACP passed a resolution asking the Tea Party movement to condemn racism within its ranks. Earlier Wednesday, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the first African-American to head the national party committee, sent a simple message to the longstanding civil rights organization: "Enough with the name-calling."

Filed under: NAACP • Popular Posts • Tea Party movement
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Derek from Marlborough

    They're one to talk. Tea Party "Patriots" having been living on the Panic Button since their inception.

    July 14, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. New Age Independant

    Liberal organizations such as the NAACP are indeed desperate. It seems over the past several months that they will say and do anything to save what power they have in politics. How they stay a non-profit organization is beyond understanding. It's all too obvious they are only the attack dogs for liberal democrats.

    July 14, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. brendan

    What a disgrace this woman is. Of course people should go through preventive screening, but how the world would anyone with a end grade education not understand that removing co-pays would make this financially disastrous. Oh yeah, that is right...only applicable to people dropping current coverage...once again, obvious attempta to nationalize health

    July 14, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Go USA!

    The Tea Party hates American and hates when the truth comes out about them, they do have a lot of White Supremacists and racists among them.
    Did you know, this group also wants government employees (including the military) to work for minimum wage? They want to eliminate retirement pensions for government workers and military members, eliminate Military and Federal Health benefits for government workers, the Department of Education, Agriculture, The FDA, and FAA, as well as Medicare and Social Security (except for the payment made to them.
    What’s worse is the possibility we will vote these people into power along with the GOP in November…what short memories we have and what a tragedy it will be for the middle class of the United States and my children.

    July 14, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Minnesotan

    That's great and all to blame the liberals, but how do you explain all the racists at their rallies, and its most of the rallies, and no one denouncing the signs. Not to mention the Tea Party heroes of Rush and Beck and their own racist rants.

    July 14, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Fed Up!

    Yes and when the Tea Party fails it is due to liberals, socialists and those who are "unAmerican."

    July 14, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. vic

    Tea party talking their own experience who pushed the panic button last summer tea party

    July 14, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. ib

    They are and after the Nov. elections they will be in bigger panic. People are going to elect people that will stop this out of controll spending and the ramming bills down our throats that we don't want. We have to do this we won't have a country left if we don't.

    July 14, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    are the libs pushing the panic button OR did somebody actually hit a nerve with the Tea Party folks?

    July 14, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. hobart

    >"According to liberals, if you disagree with their thinking, and if you disagree with the Obama administration, you are not only wrong, you are a 'racist.'"

    What a loathsome and disgusting lie. Is isn't your disagreement that's racist. It's your explicitly racist signs, your shouting racist epithets, your spitting in peoples faces, your death threats and your attempts to blow up peoples homes that's both racist and treasonous.

    The Tea Party's MO is to preach hatred 24/7/365, and the complain when anyone calls them on it.

    The Tea Party is a fraud. They all have jobs with above average incomes, homes, investment portfolios, and health care. Although the pretend to represent Main Street, they absolutely do not care that their own failed policies resulted in economic collapse, with many of losing our jobs, homes, life savings and health insurance in the process.

    Why does the Tea Party so hate America?!

    July 14, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. harold

    Hey T Party...people.. Too bad you all didn't get all het up long ago when ole GW Bush was telling you all to just go out and spend..max out if you want.. that he would do the same.. .. Pay the War on Visa et al... its maxed...now.. Pay for the Prescription drug Insurance.. with what did you say?..You get the picture.. T party check on your history folks historynet.com.. 1930 balanced budget. Herbert Hoover and the Republicans gave the USA back in 1930 during the Great Depression.. For the people selling apples on the street . back in teh Depression...they got the apple core and the government and big shots ate the apple.. Now you want the USA people to suck it in and buck up and tuff it out without un-employment insurance..or anything else to get us all out of the Great Recessi0on you gave us.. Is it all really too complicated for you all or WHAT?..The Republicans last balanced budget 1930.....

    July 14, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. bbrooker

    All one has to do is go to Faux News and spend 5 minutes reading some of the comments these far right lunatics post to know what the Tea Party Movement stands for. Perhaps there are some bad apples in the cart, but that's what's in the cart–disgustingly racist people. Period. And I'm as white as they come.

    July 14, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Charley Burch

    The Tea Party should be ashamed of it's actions, many of which are borderline threats to National Security and certainly are un-American.

    July 14, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. Robert

    hey, i am a republican and tea party people are racist.

    July 14, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. Jeff in Virginia

    A panic button?

    That's the funniest thing that I have read all day.

    It would be completely hilarious if it weren't almost frightening. Just consider, these people actually winning an election. That's scary.

    July 14, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. anotherGDlefty

    OK, OK, you're not racist.

    Now, what are those great ideas that you have besides paying my doctor with chickens and letting me lose my SS in the stock market.

    Ideas that will work in real life 2010, got any ?

    July 14, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. thor

    This is shameful what the NAACP is doing in calling tea party members racist.The members of the tea party that i know have never been associated in any way with racist activity.They just favor smaller govenment ,fiscal responsibility and reduced taxes across the board.They are sick and tired of wasteful spending and the national debt that is going to passed down to their children and their children.I have not been a member of the tea party movement and have no interest in joining them.However, i think they are being attacked unfairly by people that have their on interest in staying in power and could care less if that is best for the country.

    July 14, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    he ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    not nearly as panicked as the republicans that are afraid they'll get a majority and HAVE TO DO SOME WORK

    ha a ha ha ha ha ha a ha ha ha

    July 14, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Collins

    The NAACP's comments are not a reflection of "disagreement," it is the manner in which "disagreements" are discussed.

    I say "right on" to the NAACP, this organization has had the courage to speak out against the outrageous and incendiary practices of some members of the "tea party."

    It seems that the traditional media is scared to address the distortions and sometimes absolutes lies that are paraded around as ultimate "truths" – for fear that they will be called "liberal minded."

    The NAACP is not being trigger happy or using the "racist" card. However, the tea party seems to be.

    Disagreement might be uncomfortable but undermining other's character, using fear tactics and inciting anger does not serve the American public. In fact none of the above serves honest public discourse.

    July 14, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    This is funny!
    The Tea Party claims to not be racists yet will yell slurs at members of Congress about their color or sexual preference, They complain about programs for the poor , under insured, unemployed or anyone that is not above average in income, retired or self-sufficent – most of which are minorities.
    I think actual action speak louder than their protests.

    July 14, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. YY

    Here is an idea. Maybe the race card is played when racism occurs.

    July 14, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. Steve in Denver

    Well, there is something to be paniced about.

    Seems like the voters in this country buy into the right wing hate machine's crap, and might put the republicans back in power because Obama couldn't get the country out of the ditch Bush drove us into fast enough. That is, indeed, a scary thought.

    Now if some actual fiscal conservatives, some family values types ran on the R side, I might look at them. However, what we have are the people who gladly voted for bush's unfunded tax cuts that took us from $250 billion surplus to $450 billion deficit in three years. The same ones who voted for bush's wars (and one of them now calls them Obama's wars), and cut taxes at the same time. Now, however, they are indignant that Obama is increasing the deficit.

    Then there is Angle, rape is god's plan. Rand Paul, private employers ought to be able to discriminate if they want.

    No thanks. I'm sticking with the smart ones.

    July 14, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Allen S.

    These idiots are lying through their teeth. All you have to do is look at some of the signs these idiots carry during their klan meetings. Why of course they are not going to admit to it, but ACTIONS speak LOUDER than words. EVERYBODY, that I talk to about the Tea Buggers agree they are racist by the protest signs they carry, and some of the speakers that have spoke at their klan meetings, AND they had NEVER heard of them until Obama was elected. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then the fact is, it's a duck.

    July 14, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. BlackUSAguy

    It sounds like the Tea Party is hitting the panic button. Obama and the Democrats have not said that they agree or disagree with the NAACP. Republicans are the scum of the earth and they are a lot more than being a racist.
    Now the GOP will use the NAACP to run their campaign to try to divide the country even farther.
    It seems to me that the uproar is about a black president. A lot of people are very upset about that. Let's take a poll of ALL americans.

    July 14, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |


    July 14, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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