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. jsilva

    Of COURSE you don't tolerate racism, you just allow a branch of your party to put the Presidents image next to Lenins and Hitler. This brings to mind an old saying.. "We have met the enemy, and they is us." Our Founding Fathers are laughing right now...or shaking their heads.

    July 14, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. Shannon

    There was a report on television tonight where they showed one racist sign after another at tea party rallies. It's disgusting, and they can deny it all they want. The proof is out there, it's in the media, it's on the internet, all you have to do is look. If they aren't racist, they should condemn those at their rallies holding racist disgusting signs. They can't do that, because there would be no one left.

    July 14, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. Sean

    What actually inspires folks to think the Tea Party movement is racist is all the racist signs they carry around at rallies, the racial epithets they yell at African-American congresspeople, and in conjunction with these, the fact that the movement consists almost exclusively of only white people.

    The Tea Party movement itself may not be racist, but it certainly does attract racists to it....

    July 14, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  4. Brendan from Montreal

    The liberals are pushing the panic button...?

    The right has used fear to smear every progressive-thinker, politician, newsperson and citizen since 1919 and the First Red Scare.

    Remember what the right called MLK Jr?... a communist
    Anyone who disagreed with Joe McCarthy... a communist
    Barack Hussein Obama?.... Socialist/Nazi/Muslim/whatever mud will stick.

    This is the pot calling the kettle black. Unfortunately, the Tea Party has been allowed to pander to such fear, and propagate it owing to a lazy-media which does no investigative journalism. Current media solely hires people to come and talk on their shows, with out providing any substantive investigation, reporting or analysis.

    July 14, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  5. jim atmadison

    The Tea Party revealed a long time ago who they really are. The pretense is just silly.

    If you want to associate yourself with the Tea Party, fine. Regular people will assume you are a racist.

    July 14, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. Keith in Austin

    Liberal implosion and unraveling of the Democrap party before our eyes!

    July 14, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  7. mamacoo

    Oh for goodness sakes. Now the tea party wants the American people not to believe what we have seen with our very own eyes? No, one from the tea party or the Republican party has ever condemned any of the antics made by those holding the racist signs or making the racist comments. If you don't condone it then something should have been said from the beginning when the rhetoric first began. Instead it has gotten worse and worse. You people have allowed the racist and intolerant, hateful people to over run your tea party, your bad. Republicans and tea party people alike continue to divide the country with their racist rhetoric. Now when they are called on it they are whining like the cowards they are. The American people are not stupid like you all want us to believe.

    July 14, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Ken in NC

    This billboard was put up by local members of the Tea Party but they never did their homework. Under the label "National Socialism" there is a picture of Hitler. Do the members of the Tea Party not know that Hitler was not a Socialist? Hitler was a facist. They need to do a better job of defining socialism or at least know what socialism is when they try so disrespectfully to apply it to the President of the United States.

    July 14, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  9. Brice

    Yep, its liberals pushing the panic button all right. Thats why its the liberals who put up a billboard comparing the President to Hitler. Wait... thats not right... oh yeah, it was the irrational, hysterical teabaggers who did that. Oops.

    July 14, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  10. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The Tea Party showed it's disconnect with reality in the billboard trying to link President Obama to Adolph Hitler. The reality is their type of extremist conservatism is exactly the tool used by hitler to whip up German emotion and gain control of the country for the minority. Extremism to the left or the right is not good. The majority of our country's citizens are just to the right of center, but tend to get caught up in the emotion generated by false information and statistics aired by radio and cable journalists who falsely call themselves news reporters.

    July 14, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. vette gal

    LOL, tell that story to the people in Iowa.

    July 14, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. msles59130

    Why are you calling this group the Tea Party Patriots? Is this their title? Because their goals of revolution if they do not get their way don't seem very patriotic to any sane person!

    July 14, 2010 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  13. Michael

    The problem with the Tea Party is that there are elements within it that clearly are inflammatory, look at the billboards in Iowa...It should, if to be taken seriously, work hard to expunge from it elements that would actually equate our president to Hitler or to Lenin. Instead, it minimizes these events and therefore does show that it tolerates extremists views. It then goes, that the Tea Party should be opposed at every step. It is a shame that the Republican party should stand by and not condemn these actions, since the Tea Party is another name for the most conservative elements of their party. It certainly shows that the Republican stance of being patriots and that they honor our political system is hollow and does not hold any water. It appears that the only thing that matters to Republicans is to hold political power at any cost.

    July 14, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. E.J. in Tacoma

    People have a right to be concerned when there are Nazi slogan sign wielding so called Patriots saying they've come to take back their country! I'm concerned that these fanatics will go too far and start civil riots again and tare the country apart. These people don't have any purpose except to try anything they can to incite the people against President Obama. Their soul goal is to ignite fear and hostility towards our President . You can't tell me there is not a hornets nest of disgruntled neo-Nazi white supremacists in that angry misguided mob.

    This country is for ALL Americans our President and his family are The first family whether the Tea Party likes it or not . It's time they give the President a chance to the job he was elected to do for ALL AMERICANS.
    E.J. in Tacoma

    July 14, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  15. Dawn

    Wow these people are really living in LA LA land. 1st there is the birther thing. Then the pictures of our President as a voo doo doctor. Racial slurs at black Congressmen. Crazy Tea Partiers bringing guns to Obama Rallies. Our President in white face as the Joker. SERIOUSLY: if you align your self with these people you are CRAZY!!!! Not just crazy but 7 kinds of crazy!!!

    July 14, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  16. Hope for Change

    These guys are correct. You cannot disagree with Barack Obama, and you cannot disagree with the Democratically controlled Congress without being called a racist. And they are correct that this applied to Bill Clinton during the primaries. And to Hillary Clinton.

    And I expect it will be the central means of attack in 2012 – if Obama runs for re-election (which I think is debatable because I think he knows he is not likely to be re-elected).

    July 14, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. Mark

    You mean CNN is pushing the panic button

    July 14, 2010 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Jason B.

    Liberals are pushing the panic button huh? Seems as though the Tea Party has been pounding the panic button to tiny bits for some time.

    July 14, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. Vet

    This guy is either blind or ignorant, finally they got call out for who they are, common sense would dictitate that if you refuse to repudiate the racist hate displayed by the people who co-mingle among you then any rational person would conclude you condome it. Now that an organization with real credibility which goes back over 100 years in uncovering and fighting actions such as those being displayed by the tea people and a large percentage of the Republican Party. they have the unmitigated gall to yell about they (NAACP) is using the race card. There they go again ,thinking the majority of Americans are so dumb they want see through their smoke screen.

    July 14, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. Sharon

    The NAACP has not said the Tea Party did not have a right to their opinions, the issue is when thier memembership say racist things.What do they expect people to think. I don't care if they disagree with the president but, I have never seen such disrespect shown to a president before. The leaders can make excuses for thier members but, their actions are racist. Do I believe all of them are racist, no. But the evil members are causing people not to want to listen to them. It's a reason the Tea Party is attracting the kinds of individuals you see on television. When you agree with some of their opinions you still don't want to be associated with the name.

    When they start only discussing issues and get the racial under tones out of the way maybe I will be open to listening to thier ideas.

    July 14, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. rdepontb

    Look at the race-baiting posters, listen to the race-baiting rants of Rush and Co, listen to Bachmann--you will quickly make up your mind whether or not the Tea Party is, too close to its heart, supportive of a very racist, very divisive culture. Are they racist? If it walks like a duck...

    July 14, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. George of the jungle

    isnt it interesting that the bilboard incident has not been on Fox news at all. Fair and Balanced . My a.... They only report half the story and the dummies who listen don't bother to check any other source out.

    July 14, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. Ron

    Gee isn't Rand Paul a Tea party candidate? And didn't he publically announce that he thinks that businesses should be allowed to refuse service to people of color if they so choose? Yeah, that sounds an awful lot like Racism to me or is Mr. Paul a member of the NAACP now?

    July 14, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Couldn't have been said better! They can't debate real ideas because they don't have any that aren't proven failed policies. How pathetic and childish can these race baiters be? Grow up liberals, we don't want your unconstitutional big government chains binding us down, we are working to protect freedom and civil rights for all Americans regardless of race! Every citizen of this country regardless of race, creed, sex, or any other label the left wants to use to divide us is entitled to the blessings of freedom and liberty. Those very things have been under attack by the previous administration and even more so the current one. Enough is enough, a political revolution is underway and it transcends left or right, it is about our inalienable rights and preserving what made America so special, not moving backward but forward to a freer more prosperous and tranquil society.

    July 14, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. Pot calling the kettle black

    The naacp is the biggest racist organization there is.Every little thing that happens, they holler racism, They do more to promote racism than theyn do to combat it, always stirring things up.

    July 14, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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