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. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Then tell me where many of the "tea party" people stand on immigration. Where are the Latinos, Blacks and Asians that support these "prinicples" that the "tea party" stands for because I don't see them. There are only two Blacks that I can quickly think of that are conservatives - Alan Keyes and Michael Steele. Where are the rest of them?

    July 14, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. bobby

    if America is going the way of the Tea Party God help the world they disgust me with their racist tactics..comparing Obama to hitler and Stalin
    how totally disgusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 14, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  3. JonDie

    The Tea Party is an anarchist movement that seeks to lead the country into chaos so that the corporations can take over and finally eliminate all traces of democratic government.

    July 14, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Mark Ferbet, KCMO

    I am fully aware that the majority of Tea Party events are not meant to become bigoted or racist. It's just unfortunate that this particular organization is so disorganized that it has allowed racists and bigots and the religious right to become associated with it. The Tea Party has it's use. It reminds many of us exactly why it's SO important to keep Republicans out of control in Washington. The fringe radical right keeps invading, yet only really represents less than 30% of Americans.

    The Tea Party needs to do some serious house cleaning before the Majority of Americans take them seriously. I mean, Rand Paul??? Really??? Let's elect another Nut to the Senate why don't we?

    July 14, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Yeah, talk about reruns...the republican party has been using it's dog whistle politics for generations. Taking away our liberty and our freedom yada yada yada every time democrats are in office, but yet, lookie here – there's no erosion of either. Unless of course, you look at the bush admin where the gw bush actually considered the constitution a gd piece of paper and proved it. I guess losing habeus and being wiretapped doesn't offend their sense of loss to their liberty.

    July 14, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. KJ

    TheTea Party spokesperson is full of it. No one disputes their right to protest. But they have refused to speak out against the so-called rogue element of the Tea Party. It was not until NAACP called them out that they spoke out.

    July 14, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. Chad from Tampa

    The race card is getting old, so old......

    July 14, 2010 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  8. Laurie

    Perhaps these tea party "patriots" should tell the "fringe elements" in their organization to cease with the posters of the President dressed in witch doctor regala, quit spitting on African American politicians, and get on their buses and think about their so called "Patriotic feelings" about taking their country back. I am a Caucasian living in North Dakota and I cannot put my utter disgust into words at the blatant, disrespectful, racist behavior that these so called "patriots" allow at their rallies. I want to emphasize that, if their idea of a country is to have citizens who cannot express their opinions without the hate filled posters and rhetoric, I do not want to live in "their country." It is so much easier to spread hate than it is to share solid intellectual ideas for the good of all. Tolerance seems to be as good as gone with this bunch, who hang on their "Christian values" and have no respect for themselves or anyone else.

    July 14, 2010 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  9. Tom from Ohio

    Keep putting up billboards of Hitler and Obama Tea partiers. Americans are sick to death of this kind of political BS and will vote accordingly in November.

    July 14, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  10. Aaron

    Now much of a comeback for the tea partiers after being outed for being rascist. Maybe they'll be more creative when their ultimate plans is revealed for placing gays and anyone else who is different in camps....it's a historically successful venture for eliminating perceived opponents and right up these hatemongers' alley.

    July 14, 2010 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. JR

    I am not sure what those Tea Party leaders mean by saying NAACP is racist. Unless, I am missing the real meaning of the word "Racism", I would ask, racist against whom?
    Frankly, I don't recall the NAACP encouraging any discrimination or injustice against any race. I am 100% sure that those Tea Party leaders would agree with me.
    NAACP was created with the supports of white people to protect black people. Black people are the ones that are often victim of discrimination and injustice. Women have their organizations too; gays have their organizations, even pets have organizations to protect them too. The weakest need protection. Otherwise, they wouldn’t survive.
    NAACP has never encouraged or promoted anything against white people. And they don't have any power to do so. Whites don’t really need any particular organization to protect or defend them. They have so many tools in case one is needed.
    It is NAACP job to call out Tea Party if they believe that it encourages degradation and discrimination against people that they are supposed to protect.
    If Tea Party is against the government wrongdoing, it doesn't justify racist insults against only President Obama. Why not insulting any one who has been a part of the problem. There have been many of them.

    July 14, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. Don

    YIKES! I really wonder about people who tote signs and wearing clothing dipicting Obama and Democrats as low-lifes and mere scum. LISTEN: Obama is NOT Hitler, a commie thug, or hater of whites! Case in point. George Stienbrunner has died a couple days ago;.yet, Limbaugh was painting a Racist rant about the man because he made too many blacks into millionaires. Limbaugh claims that he is an utra conservative and backs the Tea Party. Do you all remember his ranting that then Eagle QB could never win the SuperBowl game against the Patriots? This man is simply racist, bigot, and ultra nutcase. His rants about things like 'death panels, forced micro-chipping, the new Panther Party' have no merit! And its racism, discrimination, and simple stratification-look it up!

    July 15, 2010 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. key

    I want vote tparty

    July 15, 2010 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  14. Keith in Austin

    DNC Inter-departmental Memo: When things get really desperate, PLAY THE RACE CARD against those opposing us!!!

    July 15, 2010 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  15. b

    If we think its bad now, just wait until the Obamas are forced out of the White House!

    July 15, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. jules sand-perkins

    Jenny Beth Martin is absolutely correct in stating that disagreement with an African-American president does not constitute racism.

    July 15, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. vs

    The T party goers were strangely silent about their purported "core values" when W was violating them every day for the past 8 years. The racism put on display by T Party groups, whenever and wherever they congregate in public, is so overwhelmingly blatant and uniformly expressed, by the gathering, that calling T Partiers racist is ridiculously redundant.

    July 15, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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