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Author Interview: Journalist Probes ‘Backlash’ Under Obama

By Larry Keller on August 30, 2010 - 12:06 pm, Posted in Media Extremism, White Nationalism

After Barack Obama’s 2008 election as the nation’s 44th president, the Tea Party movement sprang up, as did increasingly shrill assertions that the president was a socialist, a communist, a Muslim and more. Gun-rights advocates fretted that the new administration would impose draconian gun controls, while others insisted that the president wasn’t born in America and therefore was in office unlawfully.

Philadelphia Daily News senior writer and Media Matters for America senior fellow Will Bunch decided to investigate what gave rise to this vociferous movement. He traveled throughout the country, attending Tea Party and other conservative gatherings and interviewing activists. He talked to people such as right-wing Georgia congressman Paul Broun and Oath Keepers founding member Celia Hyde. He went to the semi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in Kentucky and to Phoenix, the epicenter of the nativist anti-immigration movement.

What Bunch learned is the subject of his third book, The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama, which goes on sale on Tuesday. He spoke to Hatewatch on the eve of the book’s release:

Why did you choose this topic for a book? Was there a particular event that was a catalyst?

In the waning days of the 2008 campaign, I was fascinated with the rise of Sarah Palin and the drift of the American conservative movement into a kind of blissful know-nothingness about everything from big issues like climate change to Barack Obama’s religion and where he was born. I thought Obama’s supporters of “change” were really calling out for a return to reason. Thus, it was stunning to see the angry and often irrational forces gain strength and influence in those first months of the Obama presidency. And as a career journalist, I thought this was a kind of a story of a lifetime that I wanted to hit the road and latch onto as this backlash was unfolding.

Have you seen anything in the past comparable to the accusations against President Obama, such as that he wasn’t born in the United States, he’s a socialist, and so on?

The first presidential race I covered was in 1984 as a reporter for The Birmingham News in Alabama, watching Jesse Jackson tilt at the windmills of the Reagan revolution before the first-ever “Super Tuesday.” Clearly, the increasing ideological polarization of the two parties — triggered by the shift of the Deep South to the GOP during the ’80s, when I worked there — has made over-the-top demonizing of the other party more of a reality. The seeds were planted with some of the crazier talk about Bill Clinton, things like accusing him of murdering his aide Vince Foster.

But one thing has changed dramatically since the early 1990s. The more insane Clinton allegations were things like underground VHS videos or pamphlets, while the allegations about Obama not only spread 100 times faster on the Internet, but are amplified by talk radio and a coast-to-coast cable powerhouse, Fox News, that gives these low ideas great power. The other difference with Obama is that he is viewed as a symbol of cultural upheaval and fear, of the projections that whites will become a minority in America by the year 2050. These fears are making partisans grasp at the most outlandish theory, that the president is in some way not American.

Should we be concerned by this rhetoric? Or is it merely democracy in action?

I’m a strong believer in unfettered free speech, and so that would include the ability of citizens to advocate any and all nature of conspiracy theories. What I find appalling is that supposed leaders — major media personalities like [Fox New host] Glenn Beck, of course, but also members of Congress and other top pols who are not only educated but employ large staffs — gladly help spread political claptrap in search of higher ratings or more votes in their heavily gerrymandered districts. While free speech certainly applies to a Beck or congressional extremists like Michele Bachmann [R-Minn.] or Georgia’s Paul Broun [R], they also have a responsibility to act like adults, and to not influence their most unhinged followers who may be drawn to violence.

As you note in your book, the radical right and conspiracy theories are not a new phenomenon. What factors have contributed to the rise of the Tea Party movement and the resurgence of right-wing politics?

Major elements of the Tea Party/9-12/Oath Keeper movements are 50- and 60-somethings who harbor resentments that date back to the Vietnam era and other 1960s upheavals, as well as “the paranoid style” so eloquently described by Richard Hofstadter in the era of the John Birch Society — which, as an aside, is undergoing a resurgence. On the other hand, I sensed that the recruitment pool for this movement is growing — in part because of the size of the boomer age population [cohort], but mainly because of the growing fear in this country both over the cultural changes taking place [and] the rising class of permanently unemployed, middle-class, middle-aged Americans.

How does the far right today differ from in the past?

[There are t]wo related factors. One is the existence of a media structure that didn’t exist until the late 1990s — the Internet, where conspiracy theories are easily promulgated and validated; social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, which are powerful tools that allow groups like the Oath Keepers to grow quickly; and the conservative bent of coast-to-coast talk radio, finally topped off with the rise of Fox. One thing I discovered about the anti-Obama backlash is that this is a class of people — retirees, middle-aged layoff victims, part-time workers, etc. — with more free time than other people, and many are immersed for hours a day in Beck and [radio host Rush] Limbaugh Land.

But it’s also important to note that as Beck and Limbaugh became the de facto leaders of the Republican Party, they created a new class of political “leaders” who kowtowed to talk radio and even developed sound-bite platforms lacking in constructive solutions or any potential for negotiation or compromise. This has led to gridlock on Capitol Hill for everything from energy and climate change to immigration reform.

What surprised you the most in researching this book?

The rank and file of the Tea Party — with little attention being paid by the rest of us — is actively engaged in a quest for a certain kind of knowledge and education, which in part explains the rise of Glenn Beck, who has been enormously successful in pandering to that by recommending books and devoting entire shows to “history.” It’s good when people are interested in learning, but the problems are: a) many Tea Party types aren’t seeking unbiased American history but tomes that sometimes validate narrow-minded views about America and our traditions; and, b) leaders like Beck are peddling phony ideas about our alleged founding as a Christian nation or [claiming] that the progressive reforms of the 20th Century were really a march to totalitarianism.

What disturbed you the most in researching this book?

The villains of the story are what I call “the high-def hucksters.” These are the kind of people who look out at a fearful populace and instead of promoting calm — remember FDR? — see an opportunity for big bucks. This includes Beck, who made $32 million last year by marketing to America’s worst fears, and Sarah Palin, who ditched her chance to make a difference as a governor to make $12 million as a media celebrity. But there are others — I profile a businessman named Bill Heid who openly brags of the money he earns selling “survival seed banks” and solar generators to fearful Americans.

You single Glenn Beck out for a good deal of attention.  How important is he in the emergence of the Tea Party and the far right’s revival?

Glenn Beck is huge, because with his background in entertainment — he is a student of Orson Welles and his fear-epic War of the Worlds — rather than raw politics, [he] has been able to tap into the raw emotions of an anxious middle America. As noted above, he also understands the desire for a kind of “education.” A recent poll showed that Beck is the most liked and most trusted figure in the Tea Party by far, and in my travels I met many who said they were moved to action by his broadcasts.

There has been debate as to whether or not the Tea Party movement is racist or contains racist elements. If voters in 2008 had elected a white man rather than Obama, would there still be a Tea Party?

There would certainly be anger and resentment from those long engaged in “the paranoid style” — one can look at some of the allegations about Bill Clinton and imagine that a President Hillary Clinton would have received, arguably, even worse treatment. That said, I think that Barack Obama — as the first black president, with an unusual life story and heritage and, of course, that infamous middle name — is a symbol for broader anxiety about major cultural change in America. This summer we’ve seen a powerful conflating of xenophobia about Mexican immigrants and Muslims and these notions that Obama is a Muslim or a Kenyan. That has helped to weaken the Obama presidency, and I don’t think it would have played out the same way with a white president.

A common refrain of the Tea Partiers and the far right is that they want to “take back America.” What do they want to take the country back to?

An America where they felt secure that the dominant culture would remain white, Christian and non-urban long after they are gone. Rapid change has overwhelmed many of these people in a way that futurist Alvin Toffler predicted with remarkable prescience in his 1970 book Future Shock. Some scientists even link these ideas to our broader fear of death, [arguing] that the kind of cultural unity and, arguably, purity sought by the “I want my country back” crowd is a form of immortality.

Do you think the Tea Party movement and the extreme right’s power have peaked, or will it continue to grow?

It’s complicated. In the short run, the Tea Party has been the tail wagging the American dog, exerting enough influence over the 41 [Republican] senators who represent just 37% of the population to block most meaningful legislation that would get the country moving forward. What’s more, the movement’s extreme rhetoric amid frustration over the march of a multicultural [society] raises the most unfortunate potential for more violent incidents like the killing of three Pittsburgh police officers by Beck fan Richard Poplawski, which I chronicle in The Backlash.

However, inexorably, the forces that rallied behind Obama in the 2008 election are still on the rise. While the 2010 election looks like an angry blip, over time America will continue to grow more racially diverse and also become more educated and most likely less religious, more tolerant on social issues like gay marriage. This would seem to not bode well for the Tea Party over time, but it’s still likely that the “last throes” of this movement may play over for a number of years.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    As usual the conservative runs away when faced with people who’s political/historical education doesn’t come from radio DJs and paid professional commentators.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Absolutely, these people listen to the radio or read the typical pundit books, and then think they can throw around the word “Marxist” as though it means whatever they like. Call banks “Marxist”, call “czars” Marxist, no problem! Deny economic data that has been around for decades- if the statistics are against you, just claim that “libruhls” and “Marxists” doctored them.

  • toolbuster

    “Dick” (and I use the term loosely) Lancaster
    You say that Unitarian churches do no mention God. Actually, I attend a Unitarian church, and we mention God quite frequently. Many of us pray. It is a well known fact that Thomas Jefferson attended Unitarian services. I must conclude, using your twisted forms of logic, that you are therefore un-American in some way, and would yourself have been tied to the stake during the McCarthyist 1056 hearings.

  • Uncle D

    It is obvious when someone has gotten their education from pundits because when challenged they really don’t know what they are talking about. Some are so ignorant that they do not realize that others are not.

    Revisionist definitions come from revisionist historians. Truth has become relative.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I also find your basic lack of knowledge of economics amusing. You DO realize that banks are private enterprises right? And you acknowledge that they received a bailout from the taxpayers- also known as the redistribution of wealth, upwards.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    UH OH!!! Somone’s upset that the pseudo-intellectual nonsense they learned on the Beck show doesn’t work in the real world.

    ” You are intelligent and you use it to obfuscate your opponent’s position with an abundance of words and convoluted argument.”

    No my arguments are incredibly simple- you don’t know anything about Marxism. How hard is that to understand?

    “You are not really debating me because you know I see through all of your wordy, insulting responses.”

    Really? Then why don’t you answer them instead of writing this nonsense?

    “Karl Marx is not the founder of modern sociology and political economy. He is the founder of modern communism; also known as Marxism.”

    I didn’t say he was the founder of modern sociology and political economy. Obviously political economy had to exist for Marx to write critiques on it. However, he was a major contributer to both of those fields. “Marxism” is a term related to the philosophical and economic thought laid out by Marx. “Communism” is a mode of production.

    ” It is responsible for the rise of dozens of tyrants and millions of deaths throughout the 20th Century and continues to this day. To ignore it would be irresponsible.”

    The same could be said about capitalism but with a much higher death toll.

    “Playing with or exposure to Marxism in college indeed does not make one a Marxist. Continued voluntary exposure and participation in the furtherance of its ideals does.”

    How does one measure this?

    ” David Horowitz was a major influence in waking up many of Lenin’s ‘useful idiots’, including this former liberal writer.”

    But he should be considered a Marxist as he spent as much time if not more working supposedly in furtherance of Marxist ideals.

    “Ruslan would like to see all of my sources indicating that Obama is a Marxist, except for Obama’s book.”

    Yes because the quote from the book was weak. So someone was partially inspired by someone who in turn was interested in Communism. Let me ask you something, what would we find if we applied your logic to your heroes like Hannity, Beck, Palin, and so on? Beck alone has W. Cleon Skousen and Elizabeth Dilling.

    “That’s like asking for all of the evidence to prove the world is round, except for a photo from space. If you can’t accept the photo from space, why should I spend the time to dig up other evidence that won’t convince you?”

    No, it’s actually nothing like that because Obama doesn’t write anything about Marxism, nor does he identify himself as a Marxist, and what you can provide is insufficient to suggest that he was a Marxist.

    “If “spreading the wealth” is not what Marxism is all about, then the phrase, “From each according to his ability. To each, according to his need”, has been an unchallenged hoax for a century and a half.”

    First of all this phrase describes the mode of production known as Communism, something that would come into existence after the evolution of socialism, which itself would last as much as an entire epoch. Marx defined socialism as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his WORK.” What’s wrong with people being paid the full value of their work? The Communist “slogan”(as you incorrectly call it) would be the result of a mode of production where wealth is produced in such abundance(as there is nothing to fear from overproduction) that people would simply take what they need.

    Whether you believe such a society is possible isn’t the point, the point is you have no idea what you are talking about. I could recommend that you read Critique of the Gotha Programme but then again, you don’t like words.

    “In recent U.S. history wealth has not been redistributed from bottom and middle to top.”

    Yes, actually it has since 1970. Not my fault that you don’t bother to check.

    ” It has been ‘earned’ by middle and top and redistributed to the bottom under what we call ‘progressivism’.”

    It was not “earned”. If that were true you’d have a hard time explaining why the top started “earning” so much more since 1970 while the working class’s real wages didn’t rise.

    ” It is playing out presently as planned. All those empty houses used to belong to the middle of our working society brought about by the federal government’s attempt to allow the bottom to own and possess middle class assets.”

    Actually this theory has been entirely debunked. The bubble was not a result of the federal government’s policies. At least not any direct policies. (Yes, I see you trying to blame the CRA on this)

    ” When the bubble burst, it was the middle who suffered most leading the way to a classic Marxist model—a few at the top, most at the bottom and none in the middle.”

    Please cite the Marxist work where this “model” is given.

    “The title and position of ‘Czar’ was a Republican creation meant to identify an appointed leader of a specific administrative effort—Drug Czar for example, where a Cabinet position would be unnecessary.”

    Incorrect, the term Czar was used as far back as 1923.

    “Where Czars fall into the Marxist debate here is that Obama has appointed a record number of them and assigned them to jobs which are designed to strengthen the progressive cause. You appoint a Czar when you do not want them scrutinized by the Senate. All of Obama’s Czars have progressive leanings, some have praised communism and its current leaders and one has admitted that he was and is a communist, Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar. Valarie Jarred admitted that Jones was well vetted before being assigned to the position.”

    Ok let’s slow down for a second here, a “czar” is not always above senate review but since the evil Dems had a majority in the senate why would that matter if they were? Presidents delegate their authority to get things done. Bush had his “faith-based programs czar” if you choose to call it that. Was he a Communist?

    Also I’d like to see where Van Jones admitted that he’s still a Communist.

    “Red China is the most glaring example of the failure of communism. In order to keep itself from imploding, it had to adapt some free market ideas. But the totalitarian side of Marxism is still strong there. There is a minimal middle class located mainly in urban areas.”

    There is no “totalitarian” side of Marxism. China is a capitalist state, plain and simple. The color of their flag means nothing. Cyprus and Moldavia are capitalist states and they have Communist presidents.

    “Banks not lending money is directly tied to Marxism in the current situation. The philosophy of ‘ability’ and ‘need’ must be determined by some authority and so far in America it is determined by Congress.”

    You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Banks don’t want to lend money because they don’t want to lose it.

    “The banks saw a Democrat landslide and pitched with the obvious winner. In exchange they got a handsome bailout (under a lame duck Bush with a Democrat Congress). ”

    Please cite the Marxist text where Marx recommends using taxpayers’ money to fund private banks. Please name the country where socialists did this.

    “Marxist policies were inevitable. Thus came unaffordable free health care and attempts to tax our breathing through ‘Cap and Trade’.”

    I can’t even begin to tell you what’s wrong with this statement. First of all, there was no “free health care”, even the “public option” was stricken from the bill. And tax our breathing? Have you lost your mind? What does any of this have to do with Marxism? Even the capitalist with a level head understands that his workers must have a minimum standard of health.

    “Bankers are not stupid and held the money they were given because they understand Marxism destroys wealth. ”

    Then why was the USSR wealthier than the Russian empire?

    “While it is true that many Marxist have made themselves well know, it is also true that Obama hasn’t.”

    Because he’s not a Marxist.

    ” Any thinking man with minimal study of this Marxist puppet could see who he was prior to his election. Where did he come from? Who influences him? These questions never came up in the mainstream media and as we have seen from recent revelations, left wing journalists conspired to keep it that way”

    Ooooh it’s a big CONSPIRACY!!! No evidence necessary then. Sorry for asking.

    “He is a puppet. Who pulls his strings? The same people who set him up; Marxists.”

    Name them Dick.

    “I will not be debating you anymore, Ruslan. I find you boring and predictable. For followers of this debate, I welcome challenges from you over my ideas.”

    Awww, you’re leaving the sandbox because I pointed out, quite correctly, that you have no clue what you’re talking about. You keep throwing words like “Marxism” around and applying them to all kinds of things which have nothing to do with the term.

    Here’s a tip: Don’t go on saying things like “I DO know what Marxism is!!” You see, in your first post here you already told me that you didn’t know. It’s like if someone says they are a pilot, and then use so many terms incorrectly that any real pilot can call them out without trouble.

  • Dick Lancaster

    Ruslan,

    I’m afraid my initial assessment of you as an intelligent debater was erroneous. You are intelligent and you use it to obfuscate your opponent’s position with an abundance of words and convoluted argument. You also weave ridicule into your argument which impresses less intelligent readers with your superior intellect.
    You are not really debating me because you know I see through all of your wordy, insulting responses. You are actually attempting to sway an audience. In these pages they would overwhelmingly lean your way. So, for readers who follow the SPLC’s ideology and paranoia of the right, I will keep things simple and to the point in response to Ruslan’s insult.

    Karl Marx is not the founder of modern sociology and political economy. He is the founder of modern communism; also known as Marxism.

    Any study of modern socio-politics or economics must indeed include a study of Marxism. It is responsible for the rise of dozens of tyrants and millions of deaths throughout the 20th Century and continues to this day. To ignore it would be irresponsible.

    Playing with or exposure to Marxism in college indeed does not make one a Marxist. Continued voluntary exposure and participation in the furtherance of its ideals does. In America one has to cloak these beliefs under the positive sounding ‘progressive’ label in order to have it swallowed. David Horowitz was a major influence in waking up many of Lenin’s ‘useful idiots’, including this former liberal writer.

    My “incredibly weak evidence” concerning the Unitarian Church can be strengthened by anyone interested by simply attending one—any one. But I was wrong on one point; I have heard God discussed in a Unitarian Church, when we were mocking the idea and its believers.

    Ruslan would like to see all of my sources indicating that Obama is a Marxist, except for Obama’s book. That’s like asking for all of the evidence to prove the world is round, except for a photo from space. If you can’t accept the photo from space, why should I spend the time to dig up other evidence that won’t convince you?

    If “spreading the wealth” is not what Marxism is all about, then the phrase, “From each according to his ability. To each, according to his need”, has been an unchallenged hoax for a century and a half.

    In recent U.S. history wealth has not been redistributed from bottom and middle to top. It has been ‘earned’ by middle and top and redistributed to the bottom under what we call ‘progressivism’. It is playing out presently as planned. All those empty houses used to belong to the middle of our working society brought about by the federal government’s attempt to allow the bottom to own and possess middle class assets. When the bubble burst, it was the middle who suffered most leading the way to a classic Marxist model—a few at the top, most at the bottom and none in the middle.

    The title and position of ‘Czar’ was a Republican creation meant to identify an appointed leader of a specific administrative effort—Drug Czar for example, where a Cabinet position would be unnecessary.
    Where Czars fall into the Marxist debate here is that Obama has appointed a record number of them and assigned them to jobs which are designed to strengthen the progressive cause. You appoint a Czar when you do not want them scrutinized by the Senate. All of Obama’s Czars have progressive leanings, some have praised communism and its current leaders and one has admitted that he was and is a communist, Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar. Valarie Jarred admitted that Jones was well vetted before being assigned to the position.

    Red China is the most glaring example of the failure of communism. In order to keep itself from imploding, it had to adapt some free market ideas. But the totalitarian side of Marxism is still strong there. There is a minimal middle class located mainly in urban areas.

    Banks not lending money is directly tied to Marxism in the current situation. The philosophy of ‘ability’ and ‘need’ must be determined by some authority and so far in America it is determined by Congress. The banks saw a Democrat landslide and pitched with the obvious winner. In exchange they got a handsome bailout (under a lame duck Bush with a Democrat Congress). Marxist policies were inevitable. Thus came unaffordable free health care and attempts to tax our breathing through ‘Cap and Trade’. Bankers are not stupid and held the money they were given because they understand Marxism destroys wealth. Give Obama enough time and he will destroy the bankers as well.

    While it is true that many Marxist have made themselves well know, it is also true that Obama hasn’t. Any thinking man with minimal study of this Marxist puppet could see who he was prior to his election. Where did he come from? Who influences him? These questions never came up in the mainstream media and as we have seen from recent revelations, left wing journalists conspired to keep it that way. Obama’s incompetence is now on full display so much that he’s even receiving criticism from his former backside smoochers. He is a puppet. Who pulls his strings? The same people who set him up; Marxists.

    I will not be debating you anymore, Ruslan. I find you boring and predictable. For followers of this debate, I welcome challenges from you over my ideas.

    I was an early admirer of the SPLC, particularly Morris Dees because I knew he and others took ultimate risks to rid us of the Klan, the ‘Order’ and other destructive elements of our society. I was extremely disappointed when I realized it had become a propaganda arm for the progressive left. So far, I have been allowed to participate and criticize in these pages. But as America becomes more divided, I don’t expect to be here. I’ve studied the left enough to know that their arguments can never be defended rationally. This is why wordiness and ridicule must be employed against its opponents. Someone, please—make a rational argument for big government, totalitarianism and equality utopia and perhaps you will convince me. But you’ll need a better spokesman than Ruslan.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    By the way Dick, since your “research” seems to have hit a snag since you haven’t been able to find Marxists openly champion their views, I’ll help you:

    http://mltoday.com/en/subject-.....914-2.html

    http://mltoday.com/en/subject-.....s-906.html

    http://mltoday.com/en/subject-.....g-644.html

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/pres.....index.html

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    That’s hilarious D.S. First of all, I am a Marxist-Leninist and it is precisely for this reason that I am opposed to Obama. All your claims, some of which may very well be dubious(the only one you sourced was incredibly weak), still boil down to “he knew some people(often the relationship is exaggerated) who may have been “influenced” by Marx. Do you have any idea how many thinkers were influenced by Marx? The man is practically a founder of modern sociology and political economy. You cannot study either of these topics without running into Karl somewhere.

    If being exposed to Marxist ideas or even playing with such groups in college means one is a Marxist for life, then we’d have to include several famous conservatives, many of whom were previously Trotskyites. One of the most famous is David Horowitz. Islamophobic darling of the right, Robert Spencer, also used to be a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA.

    “The family also attended the East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellview. Have you ever attended any Unitarian Church that discusses God? I haven’t.”

    This is incredibly weak evidence. First of all, they do not have a Marxist doctrine. Second, how many Unitarian Churches have you attended at all?

    Anyway I’d like to see your exact sources(besides Obama’s book), because all of this sounds suspiciously familiar to Jermoe Corsi’s discredited work.

    About “spreading the wealth”- this is not what Marxism is about. Redistribution of wealth happens in a number of ways in capitalist society. In recent US history wealth has been redistributed from the middle class and poor to the wealthiest. When this happens, republicans don’t complain.

    Next, “czars”. Because you are probably a Beck fan, your memory is poor and your understanding of US politics non-existent. “Czars” are just people the president delegates to handle various programs. Bush had his “czars” too but nobody cared back then. Where do you get the idea of having “czars” has something to do with Marxism? For one thing, Marx wrote nothing about how a socialist government should be organized, second, you DO realize that a real Czar is an emperor, a monarch, and historically Marxists and monarchs haven’t gotten along so well, right? I suspect Beck plays on your ignorance by connecting Czars-Obama-Russia-Communism-Marx.

    Saying that the presence of these “czars” makes Obama a Marxist is like saying that his desk and personal chef make him one as well. It’s a total logical disconnect.

    On the matter of Red China, are you admitting then, as many Marxists do, that China is in fact a capitalist state? And to destroy your funny little theory, banks do not “bet on the winner”. See how many banks in Russia supported the Bolshevik revolution some time- no class willingly gives up its power. They could just as easily shoot themselves.

    “Do you see any bankers lending money these days? It worked out well for them and as for the ‘common man’ doesn’t get a dime.”

    This is absolutely hilarious. You think that banks not lending money equals Marxism? In case you didn’t know this is a matter of capitalist enterprises doing what they do best, look out for their profits. What, you think the government should force the banks to loan out money at a time when they fear they won’t be able to get it back? The credit crunch is part of a normal capitalist crisis, not some evil Marxist scheme. Absolutely ridiculous.

    “I have often pondered the inability of Marxists to champion their beliefs publicly. Then I realized they can’t. It might wake up all those useful idiots Lenin described as the secret to his success.”

    Maybe you need to “ponder” a little harder because Marxist have and are constantly displaying their ideas openly and yet you have basically told me in this message that you have no idea what Marxism is, you have clearly never read any of Marx’s works, and as is the case with most people who rail against Marxism, you don’t understand what capitalism is either. Don’t try to flop around and say, “YES I DO KNOW ABOUT X” because this entire message has shown me otherwise.

    So let’s see, here you are using debunked conspiracy theories and fallacious logic, and preaching about something you clearly know nothing about, and then you want to talk about “useful idiots”?

  • William Metcalfe

    I think the some of the reasons for the attack on 9/11 were based on an atavistic desire to restore Islam to its greatness of past centuries. Remember Muslim Spain was an important center of learning during the 8th or 9th century. Modern medicine began there. Greek and Roman literature was available to any who were interested. Many fundamentalists in any faith are antagonist towards members of other faiths. I happened on this site because I was trying to learn if the early 20th century KKK went beyond house burnings of Catholics and molestation of Jews. Another factor is the acceptant of American cultures, especially movies, TV and music by a larger part of the Arab world. An Arabic friend once told me that Seinfeld was very popular in Iraq. This was before the invasion of Kuwait. I don’t know if this popularity was a secretive pleasure, much as is going on now in Iran with the illegal viewing of European and American TV. I don’t know how many other factors there were of which I am ignorant.
    As to the Spanish language question, I can think of two reasons for its presence in the US.Spanish workers have picked crops in many of the agricultural states for decades. This kept the price of produce low. Pickers have come from other countries than South of the Border. All of this work was necessity because US citizens would not work in the fields for the wages that were offered. Some of these workers stayed and have lived here for decades. Many Spanish speakers have come in recently because there was work. Most of the housing projects I have seen are build by Spanish speakers.
    Another factors that added to the number of Spanish speakers in the US is generally never mentioned. I believe there was a point in time where our legal immigration policy changed to favor citizens of Central and South America. For many years, our immigration policy favored Europeans. Europe is a continent filled with diverse languages. Even within the major languages there are sub-divisions. When we opened our door to South America, a flood on Spanish speakers arrived. There are variations in the spoken Spanish of each South American country but we cannot rarely distinguish the differences. A good ear could regard Brazilian Portuguese from Argentinian Spanish as separate tongues. I don’t know how many people came in legally, but generally legal immigrants are a welcome addition to our country.
    I agree that we are not fascists.

  • Dick Lancaster

    Thank you for the opportunity, Ruslan.

    First, Read his book, Dreams from My Father then do some research. One of the major influences in his early life was Frank Marshall Davis, identified in the book as Frank. It must be remembered that communists weren’t as popular then as they are now so Frank took pains to conceal his affiliations. However, government informants not only confirmed but received Davis’ Communist Party dues for at least 3 years during the 50s. When he got caught up in some of the subversion going on in Hawaii at that time, Davis repeatedly ‘took the 5th’ at the Senate Security Subcommittee hearings in 1956.

    Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham was raised by Marxist parents—Obama’s maternal grandparents. The family moved from Kansas to Mercer Island, Washington so Stanley could attend a school infested with communist ideology. The chairman of the School Board and at least 2 teachers at the school admitted to such. According to a childhood friend, Maxine Box, Stanley embraced the ideology and was an avowed atheist. The family also attended the East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellview. Have you ever attended any Unitarian Church that discusses God? I haven’t. They discuss politics and whoa be to you if you disagree with their Marxist philosophy. In Bellview, the church was known as the ‘Little Red Church on the Hill’ for obvious reasons.

    So it isn’t surprising that Obama would launch his political career in the home of Bill Ayers who describes himself as a communist with a little ‘c’. ( A little ‘c’ communist is a little ‘m’ Marxist.) Introducing Obama to his new friends and puppeteers at the Ayers home was IL State Senator Alice Palmer who designated Obama as her preferred successor. A member of the World Peace Council, a Soviet front organization attempting to prevent ‘Star Wars’ implementation in the early Reagan years, Ms. Palmer wrote in the People’s World Weekly telling of her experience attending the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    During the campaign Obama made Joe the Plumber famous when he said he wanted to spread the wealth. This is a Christian principle when churches do it and a Marxist one when the State does it.

    Now that he’s President, take a look at his Czars. Van Jones was the first to go because he had broken a cardinal rule—never, ever admit to being a communist. Progressive sounds much better. Ask any salesman the value of words and perceptions when you’re trying to sell junk.

    That’s a small sample which will get you started on your own research.

    As far as the banks go, like any good capitalist, the money’s on the most likely winner. Who says capitalists can’t make money under Marxism? See Red China for details. It’s the free market that gets choked under Marxism. Do you see any bankers lending money these days? It worked out well for them and as for the ‘common man’ doesn’t get a dime.

    I have often pondered the inability of Marxists to champion their beliefs publicly. Then I realized they can’t. It might wake up all those useful idiots Lenin described as the secret to his success.

  • Mitch Beales

    Ruslan you fail to realize that Dick Lancaster is describing a parallel universe on planet Elbonia!

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Dick, please provide proof that Obama is a “Marxist”, for example, let’s see a link of some of his Marxist writing. Explain why bank lobbies gave his campaign 3 million dollars MORE in contribution than they did John McCain. A lot of other Marxist-Leninist parties in the world would LOVE to know how to get financing from major banks.

    And don’t give us this nonsense about how you guys are upset about a “destructive government”. You were the ones calling leftist traitors when they were protesting two wars of aggression and the biggest challenge to constitutional rights in modern history- i.e. by the Bush administration. And don’t even try this “oh we were angry about that too” nonsense. You weren’t in the streets screaming with your tri-corner hats back then. Despite the economic crisis beginning in 2007-08, you guys waited Obama was elected to suddenly “realize” that the country was going down hill.

    Looking forward to your proof of Obama being a “Marxist” surrounded by “Marxists”.

  • Mike Magruder

    I keep thinking about the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland and wondering about someone’s sanity. Tea Party attitudes seem perfect for promoting the spread of industrial mercury poisoning. It was mercury poisoning that caused hatters to become mad. Sort of an occupational hazard like watchmakers and radium. The 19th century seems a kind of lunacy in the 21st. If I had a time machine I would mercifully return the Tea Party to that former era.

  • Dick Lancaster

    If Will Bunch is going to travel that extensively to report on this strange phenomenon, ‘the conservative movement’, then he ought to have kept his mind open. What he did here is take his preconcieved notions on the road then gave his opinion and called it reporting.

    His ridicule is telling. When one cannot argue a point he ridicules his opponent.Lets try some.

    The ‘Mexican immigrants’ he refers to are actually foriegn invaders. When people from one nation invade another they have no intentions to assimilate. When immigrants enter a country with an invitation from that country, they assimilate.

    If we find four Elbonians hopping Mr. Bunch’s fence and entering his home, we call that a home invasion. One may cut the grass, one may do his dishes, one may clean his house but invariably one trashes his house and molests his kids. Being a kind-hearted liberal, Bunch allows them to stay–become part of the family. Unfortunately, three out of four want to remain Elbonians while mooching off of Mr. Bunche’s hard earned wealth. Soon the Bunch home is full of Elbonians who decorate his home in traditional Elbonian style. When Mr. Bunche’s family comes to visit, there is no room and his house stinks to high heaven. Eventually Mr. Bunch wants his home back but the Elbonians cry foul; all they want is a better life and mean Mr. Bunch is denying them that ‘right’.

    At this point Mr. Bunch no longer has any wealth and his home has been taken from him because the unassimilated Elbonians have brought with them the same stench they were escaping in their home country. Now Mr. Bunch and his guests are all poor and everyone’s equal. Finally–liberal utopia!

    The Tea Party is a threat because it has no national leader and therefore no one personality to ridicule. So Mr. Bunch invents some leaders to ridicule.

    The Tea Party is angry, but it is angry at the policies of a destructive government. But who in there right mind could be angry at policies Mr. Bunch supports. Therefore, they must be dangerous and they must be racists. After all, political decent and free speech are not ‘rights’ for dangerous racists. They are only ‘rights’ for those that agree with Mr. Bunch.

    Although Glenn Beck is not a Republican, he is a leader of the Republican Party because Mr. Bunch says he is. His ‘followers’ must be stupid because Beck was a worthless, uneducated junkie who came out of nowhere. This of course, is the American dream. But only idiots would follow a guru who made his fortune from dispare. Better to follow an educated liberal who made his fortune through a liberal education paid for by his rich parents or his ideological groomers.

    And of course, idiots hate Obama because he is black. It has nothing to do with him being a Marxist. He surrounds himself with Marxists, wrote a bio or two spelling out his introduction and embrace of Marxism, attended a church for 20 years, mentored by its anti-American racist preacher and started his political carrer as a puppet for the left in the home of a violent radical Marxist. But how can he be a Marxist if the ugly right hates him only because he’s black?

    And finally, the Tea Party, the ‘right’, the racists will eventually all die out when we all become diverse and less religious. However, we must make an exception for those on the most extreme ‘right’; those that hate free speech, sexual expression, filthy homos and want all to conform to their way or die. Yes, we must allow radical Muslims to keep their religion. This is because they hate American ideals even more than their current Marxist allies.

    Can you think of anything more American than the right to hate America?

  • Allen

    It’s really very obvious what white people are scared of; it’s a kind of historical/cultural Freudian projection. As a white guy (in appearance, at least; if you go by the “one drop” rule I am Amerindian) I have had many white people confide to me their fears.

    They fear that when they become a minority then the non-whites will hate them and treat them the same way that the whites have treated the non-whites historically. They think that the prejudices that they harbor are humanly universal, that we are all born with them.

    What they don’t realize in their ignorance is that those kind of ideas of racial superiority, passed on only through culture, are unique to white Europeans, and actually quite recent in the vast span of human history. Other ethnic groups just don’t have any historical or cultural precedent for that kind of persecution. Their fears are baseless.

  • Allen

    Jeez, D. S., how many keyboards did you wear out writing that book?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    KG, please search the site and find an article on this site suggesting that “anyone who has a differing opinion to Obama” is a racist. I have always been opposed to Obama on ideological grounds and yet nobody calls me a racist for it.

  • kg

    It’s funny how anyone who has a differing opinion to Obama is always called racist. Is it against the moral code of this country to disagree with a someone of another race? This website used to actually provide good information, now it’s becoming a joke.

  • american wetback

    mr. william metcalf,
    why were we attacked? and why are there spanish speakers? we are not fascists.

  • american wetback

    to d.s. aparently you dont want any more people here and you speak very eloquently of the why’s and how’s and who’s but you dont address the issue of the reason for immigration. you sound very self serving and decietful. read david bacon’s book called “illegal people”. it explains the why’s and how of the times we live in, and we live in these times because of people like you who only want to accuse but never give us real solutions to fix our problems. sure we can close off our borders but the reality is that we caused this mess by letting greed take over and replaced common sense, if you take away my means of living then i am going to follow you and get it back. that is exactly what every immigrant in the history of the world has done. you can thank N.A.F.T.A. for the immigration problem going on now. even if everyone goes into high tech education who is going to work the lines, you certainly dont sound like someone who is versed in the fact that the people who are here, are here becuase of people like who live in their ivory towers and look down on the less fortunate trying to escape the poverty that was caused by us the U.S.

  • Kate De Braose

    If you are reading what complainers are actually saying, you will know that most Americans consider themselves middle class, regardless of their actual position in this society.

    Even the actual poor do not consider themselves anywhere near the lower classes in the pecking order.

    Of course that is a direct result of politicians’ massaging of frail egos and their lies about the conditions of labor that employees actually face. Now some of them have (with ignorant pride) started the so-called “Tea Party” to cash in on the fun and games.

    While hucksters like Dick Armey and Beck work their confidence schemes, political backers cash in on every aspect of the nation’s wealth.

    Here’s the one and only rule to never break in such a political society as ours. Never trust a person who has lied to you or to anyone else in order to gain any kind of preference.

    In the end it has been every man for himself in this American society. It began in murder and theft and will end in the same way.

    That is, unless we awaken in a hurry to what we have become in our race to get rich.

  • Emma

    dlake
    thanks for your post. Selfishness and greed will end w/ this country in the gutter.

  • dlake

    I have to agree with Bunch that many of the Tea party are longing for the days of their childhood. those clean and sunny suburbs with mom at home. A time when the middle class was strong, schools were teaching and there were plenty of jobs.
    However, what many in that tea party refuse to face up to and ignore is that many of those golden things were the direct result of the New Deal policies. And those tea party boomers are the ones responsible for tearing it all down.
    they wanted to do away with Unions, the very force that kept good jobs in the country and Ceo’s from running roughshod over workers.
    They torn apart the schools and kept defunding and short changing their own children and grandchildren of the good education these spoiled boomers benefited from. While their parents paid for good roads and good schools with taxes, the boomers were too shelfish to sacrifice a few bucks a year collectively to keep our schools strong and infrastucture repaired and as result, it is all crumbling.
    these same spoiled boomers cheered on and kept in power the very politicians dedicated to destroying everything put in place by the New Deal that gave us those golden times they pine for.
    And even now they refuse to see or admit to their role in much of the destruction they wrought on the country.

  • William Metcalfe

    There is a difference between what is being called racism now and the earlier American variety. There are racists out there, but the majority of those who seem to be bigots are reacting strongly to people who are different from them. Older racist talk about how blacks smell different, bad. They are stupid. I was told twice by Southern Christians that, by having black friends, God would plunge me into hell. I do not think these aberrant attitudes exists in the majority of demonstrators now. In the 1960′s one of the most popular TV shows was I Spy. There were two main character, one white, one black. Race was ignored on this show. Bill Crosby, the black star, went on to star in other TV shows. I don’t recall ever hearing that the show should be protested because it featured a black and a white as equals.
    Today, a proportion of our population is fearful of many things. Part of this fear can be addressed because it relates to reality; other aspects of it are irrational and inaccessible. This later fear has been part of the emotional landscape of the American mind for many decades, predating Obama.
    Now many Americans are confused and fearful. The country is overrun with Spanish speakers. Muslims have attacked America. Our President does not look like any of his predecessors on our money. Homosexuality is not a secret vice. Non-Christian religions are given equal billing Postage stamps.
    In a book on the Nazis and Jews, Sartre comments on how the Nazis could quickly tell a German Jew by smell, appearance and other subtle means. But, when the Nazis invaded France, they discovered that they could no longer distinguish Jews from the general population. The Nazis had to rely on French collaborators.

  • legalhound

    D.S.

    Earlier you mentioned the changes in San Diego like suburban sprawl and linked it to immigration. There’s one problem with that-white flight is what causes suburban sprawl. White folks who don’t want to learn to get along with everyone else “head for them thar hills” because they buy into a bunch of myths.
    Many of the immigrants we get every year have TRS (temporary refugee status) and yet we keep hearing that people are here to take our jobs away-these are people who really did have to run for their lives. Stopping immigration will still likely not do one single thing to stop the preferential treatment of Cubans. If they can get onto dry land they get citizenship, yet someone from Latin America who’s trying to keep their kids safe get picked up and deported.
    The Tea Party is really looking to go back to a time that never really existed. History back in the 50′s and 60′s must have been extremely romanticized, because it never happened the way Beck and others claim it did. They’d tell you that the Allotment Act was promoting “diversity”when it was just another clever way to make tribal lands even smaller. This revision of history is actually dangerous, it is every bit as dangerous as their claims of “limited government” enshrined in the Constitution. Problem is that its not the Constitution that they’re talking about. It’s the dead and long defunct Articles of the Confederation.

  • Leslie

    I agree that debt is a very serious issue. I don’t remember very many complaints when Bush invaded two countries, and cut taxes at the same time thus ending the Clinton budget surplus. Where were the angry protesters then? I see a collective amnesia overtaking some Tea Party protesters. In fact, many in the Tea Party didn’t like Clinton either even though he balanced the budget.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Look D.S., if you don’t like the idea of getting out competed by the Chinese and Indians, then your issue is with capitalism.

    I believe that you are not a Tea Party guy and I personally think that a lot of people get caught up in the movement who really don’t accept all of their beliefs. Debt is also a serious issue and closing down US bases overseas and ending military interventions would be one of the best things America could do.

  • D.S.

    This is D.S.

    Okay, Ruslan says I’m a racist to say that some cultures place more value on education than others. But Mason says children whose parents are from India told him education was highly valued in their culture. To say that education is highly valued in your culture is to say implicitly that it is more highly valued in your culture than others. (By the way, I explicitly mentioned in my comment–check it out if you don’t believe me–”Incidentally, I’m not saying that Americans value education above ALL others, either.”) Otherwise, these children’s statements would be rendered completely inane.

    Skinnyminny, I agree that most parents do want what’s best for their children. I completely agree with that. I’ve never said, nor would I say, that racism doesn’t exist or that it has had no effect on people groups.

    Also, I never said I was a Tea Party person. Some of their ideas I agree with, yes. But not all. I’m not against government programs. If I had my druthers, I’d first close down military bases overseas. Honestly, other than that I don’t have a lot of ideas. We’re in a really big pickle right now. We should never have gotten into a debt this big to begin with. I really don’t know how to get out of it, because we’re such an integrated global economy that to pull back runs very big risks–but to continue on means getting out-competed by the Chinese and Indians. And that means that black hole of debt yawns ever wider. Probably some things are going to have to be cut–there’s probably no way around it. I especially hope that senior citizens are protected from these cuts. People aren’t going to loan us money indefinitely with an ever-expanding debt load. Once the money stops being loaned to us, what do we do?

  • skinnyminny

    Okay D.S., I won’t do that to you. However, I would like to make some fine points that hopefully you can understand.

    I know that some of the tea party members want to cut the debt. However, with what this country is going through, I don’t think it is a good idea to cut public entitlement. Seriously, what other alternatives do we have? The population in this country is much greater than when we had the depression – image having soup lines, or even lines for toiletries (toilet paper….) add to the mix that more people are more dangerous with guns….

    I can definitely say that I have expressed disappointment about some of the actions of the republicans/tea party. Here’s partly why, it appears everytime a GOP takes office, they complain of monetary shortfalls, they cut needed social programs, education, then they begin to sell off assets that taxpayers paid for – example, remember the ports up for sale to U.A.E…. In Calif – Pete Wilson gave I.O.U’s, which, in the end cost more because these are short-term loans, and banks make money for honoring the I.O.U.’s, now Schwarzenegger issued I.O.U.’s and will issue them again. From what I understand, in Arizona, the state building was sold and the government is leasing it. Then you have the people protesting against the cultural center – ground zero, well, here’s one that you haven’t heard of, in Costa Mesa Calif, the Orange County Fair Grounds was set to be sold for $96 million to the Fait Family Trust, or, Facilities Mgmt West Group which is owned by Mr. Fait. So, again, there’s frustration about so-called Islamization of America – yet, the frustrated ones are being mislead and getting involved in issues that help the causes that may not always be in their best interest – by the way, the councilman that is alleged to be all for this is Mansoor. So, let’s see, over $400 million for the cultural center, $96 million for the O.C. Fairgrounds, other proposed sites, and other projects that we are not aware of. Personally, I can care less one way or the other, but do you see my point – how can you be against the so-called SIOA, when the people you are following are helping this group sell off assets – eventually you will be asking ‘who owns America?’

    And to briefly touch on race, blacks and native Americans have NEVER received the quality of education they should have received. Some schools I attended, there were never enough books, no swimming pool, sometimes no field trips…..if all the minorities in this country were treated equally, meaning that not one child was Left Behind, there would be no issue with having to bring in migrants for either high or low-skilled. I’m not in my 50s yet, but, I remember in elementary school, a white teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up.’ When I responded I wanted to be a nurse, she told me I couldn’t because I was black. So, again, minorities in this country have always valued education. However, sometimes higher education was impossible because lack of financial resources, or because we already knew, no one would ever hire us for that position. Another thing I should point out, I remember teachers that were white, they didn’t care if we learned proper English or not – I can now safely say, some were afraid to be there, whereas, others was just there for the paycheck. This should sound familiar, some kids were passed to next grade that couldn’t read or write, fill out applications. So don’t you dare accuse any minority of not wanting higher education when you haven’t walked in their shoes. And, don’t you dare accuse any minority of not wanting higher education when they are not wanted in some of the white schools – BTW, did you miss or not learn of Central High in Arkansas?

  • Mason Green

    D. S.,

    Actually, there are quite a few cultures that place _more_ value on education than “we” do here. I competed in the National Spelling Bee in 2004, where around 40% of the students were Indian or Indian-American. These students were frequently interviewed by people who asked them why there were so many Indian kids in the spelling bee, and the answer they gave was always that education is highly valued in India.

    In any event, I loved competing in the spelling bee, and it gave me a chance to meet kids from many different backgrounds. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my view. Bryan Fischer (of the AFA) has publicly bashed the Spelling Bee in the past for having so many Asian students. I guess when Fischer uses the word “Family” in the name of his organization, he’s only _really_ talking about white families. Ugh.

  • Frizzy Izzy

    In other words, D.S., you’re not a racist, whiny far-righter Teatard defender of racists… you just sound like one.

  • http://paxnortona.notfrisco2.com Joel Sax

    I wouldn’t call the majority of Beck’s followers racist. I would call them childish, immature, dishonorable, shallow, and stuck-in-a-preschool mentality. I would say that they are lazy about learning the facts and applying their knowledge to the betterment of themselves and those around them. I would call them knee-jerk. And I would call them whining.

  • Paen

    Actualy your right Ruslan Amirkhanov there are cultures that actualy teach their kids about real science and how to find their country on the map.In fact in some places people can even tell the difference between a Marxist and a Liberal.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Okay, so I know someone is going to take me to the woodshed for daring to say that some other cultures don’t value education to the same extent that we do here.”

    WHY COME YOU LIBRUHLS CALL US RACIST?

    By the way, Tea Partiers tend to be “concerned” with a whole lot of things that either aren’t happening at all, or they can’t possibly understand.

  • D.S.

    Actually, white separatists such as Kevin MacDonald recently criticized Beck for not trying to up-play white identity. (Beck’s recent event in Washington included a multiracial/multireligious group of speakers.)

    But what exactly IS the Tea Party, first?

    I believe we as a country are in a financial stew with too much debt. I know people who have entered what one might call a “black hole of debt,” and I’m concerned that this might happen to our country, too–where our interest payments on our debt are so high all of the “cream” of our economy is shipped off and sent overseas. Then things get worse. As in serious-poverty worse.

    Many in the Tea Party would agree with my assessment of our country’s finances.

    What does this have to do with race? (Of course, there is a connection–there’s always a connection–but it would be a very oblique and tangential one: concern with the economy=protectionism = non-globalism = in-group-ism = demonize outgroups = racism.) So racism might lead a person to be concerned about our economy, but then again, a person might be concerned about our economy just because he or she is concerned about the economy, in the way I am. (Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, right?)

    I’m also concerned with immigration, as are many in the Tea Party. We have over 300 million people in our country. Once beautiful areas such as San Diego have been given over to pollution and suburban sprawl.

    This, for me, is enough to say no more immigration (and certainly no more illegal immigration). But, I admit, I am concerned that some of the immigrant groups coming into the country (not all of them) come from cultures in which education is not as highly valued as it is here. This means that an increasingly larger and larger percentage of our work force will not be going into the tech/science area–at precisely the time when we need a high tech work force to compete with the Chinese and Indians.

    “Compete”–what a bad word–but think about it this way–we owe the Chinese billions and billions and billions of dollars. If we don’t compete well with them in the future in the tech industry, then we’ll be paying off our debt to them using our natural resources. We’ll essentially become a low-tech economy, subject to the same woes of other low-tech economies. And it all feeds back into the environment: natural resource use is bad for the environment, but we’ll have to use up our natural resources to pay off our debt–there will be no other way.

    Okay, so I know someone is going to take me to the woodshed for daring to say that some other cultures don’t value education to the same extent that we do here. But is it really in keeping with naturalism to believe that ALL cultures value education in precisely an identical way? (Incidentally, I’m not saying that Americans value education above ALL others, either). Do all people groups value education as much as do, say, the Jews and the Chinese? Obviously not.

    So, please, commenters: Do not put words in my mouth. I am not saying that people from other cultures aren’t wonderful people who are loved by God as much as we are. I am not saying that parents from other cultures don’t love their kids as much as our parents. But cultural expectations of what amounts to educational success can be different.

    Regarding the concern over Obama. Doubtlessly, there are many different reasons people have stressed over Obama. Some people stress for legitimate reasons, other people stress for illegitimate reasons. For a while, Obama seemed like a juggernaut–mowing down H. Clinton, etc. He was a smooth talker, handsome, etc. And people always freak out when a political opponent seems to have a lot going for him or her.

    I’m not denying that some people were against Obama because of his race. I’m just saying that some people were against Obama because of the various issues he took along with his glamor and what seemed to be his political powerhouse status.

    The Tea Party probably has a very limited lifespan–I’ll concur with the author on that one. I don’t see Tea Party leadership being able to step across the land mines that lie ahead of them without incurring a serious if not mortal injury.

    In particular, there’s no way they can save the economy if they decide to go to war with Iran. The neoconservatives among the Tea Party crew have been beating war drums for quite some time, and I doubt the Tea Party people have the understanding of the I/P issue to not be influenced by them. (To say nothing of the Christian zionists among them.)

    In some ways, though, I think this blog’s extremely negative reaction to the Tea Party reflects the cultural baggage and prejudices of the SPLC itself.

    Most in the Tea Party aren’t racist, but it’s true that the Tea Party tends to reflect a white, middle class point of view. In and of itself, however, this is not racist. The different racial groups in America have different economic niches, so to speak, and so what’s good for one group may not be good for another.

    Of course, we should be looking at the bigger picture–not just pushing what is good for our own group. That is ideal–and ideal we all should aspire to.

    But in reality, few groups do this. Do African-Americans take a race neutral point of view when a massively huge percentages of them say Obama is doing a really good job as president? Do American Jewish politicians do this when they push for the U.S. to take on the role of being Israel’s lawyer? In many ways, these two example show explicit bias–a no-holds-barred attempt to push a “what’s good for my group is what is good” mentality–that is much more extreme than that inherent in Tea Party economic conclusions.

    But I don’t find this blog complaining much about that.

    Of course, Tea Partiers tend to be socially conservative–and this reflects their religious sensibilities/beliefs. But African-Americans are also socially conservative, so I don’t see how being pro-life could be racist.