The Tea Party Patriots has already gained notoriety as the Tea Party group that’s most willing to fraternize with some of the most extreme elements of the right. The group further cemented that reputation last weekend by hosting an address by Pam Geller, the shrill co-head of the New York-based Stop Islamization of America and a major force in turning Manhattan’s “Ground Zero Mosque” into a national controversy.
The Patriots received a heavy dose of Muslim-bashing and circle-the-wagons paranoia. A video of her speech is posted on her Atlas Shrugs website.
“The stealth jihad is very real,” the heavily made-up queen of Islamophobia told her Fort Lauderdale, Fla. audience. “I’m talking about the academic, the economic, the legal, the social, and the cultural jihad in this country. It is a covert operation, although increasingly more brazen under Obama.”
Using a strategy she described as “the mosquing of the workplace,” Geller claimed that Muslims everywhere are conspiring to “impose Islam,” demanding time to pray and the right to wear religious garb. “They get special privileges. It’s Islamic supremacism,” and “the American people are like Helen Keller and someone moved the furniture. Something is wrong and they don’t known what.”
At fault for this state of affairs, she said, is “the media,” which – having been co-opted entirely by anti-American forces – is now no more than the “activist arm of the über-left.” (Of course, “the media” includes Fox News, the highest-rated cable news channel, where Geller has appeared repeatedly. It also includes Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and innumerable other right-wing talkers who can hardly be called toadies of the left.)
According to Geller, murderous jihadists and the media-controlling “über-left” – which, in her estimation, specifically includes the Southern Poverty Law Center – have overcome vast differences to face down an age-old adversary.
“Hatred of America unites these radical groups. … Truth is the new hate speech, and just telling the truth is a radical act,” she said. “I am telling you, your basic freedoms are under attack. And you, every single one of you, are soldiers.”
Ramping up the Tea Party rhetoric, Geller proclaimed that America had “the first moral government in the world,” blessed with individual rights that are threatened imminently by the machinations of the über-left/jihadist compact – and most of all, by its leader, the “Islamophilic” President Obama. “I’m not saying he’s a Muslim. I’m not saying he’s not a Muslim. I don’t really care, because all I care about is his actions.”
Geller, who is Jewish and makes a great show of tossing Yiddish phrases into her Long Island-accented speech, reminded her audience, “Jesus Christ said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ … and now we know him.”
In an Aug. 2010 report on tea party nationalism, The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights singled out the Tea Party Patriots for the group’s unabashed affiliation with the extreme right, its hatred of Obama, and a membership that includes militia members and racists. The group’s Arizona chapter has promoted tours of the Arizona/Mexico border by nativist and anti-Semite Glenn Spencer, who runs the hate group American Border Patrol. Another chapter of the group is promoting the use of a history curriculum devised by the Idaho-based National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS), a radical, conspiracy-prone think tank founded by W. Cleon Skousen.
This is not Geller’s first time addressing the Tea Party Patriots. In May 2010, it was the only national group to help sponsor an event in Gatlinburg, Tenn., that pulled together nativist U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa); the Oath Keepers, an antigovernment “Patriot” group that encourages police officers and soldiers to disobey orders they consider unconstitutional; Geller; and a host of other far-right groups and individuals.
So Geller knows her audience well. Lumping together themes of patriotism, war and the religious persecution that some white Christians claim to be experiencing, she closed her Fort Lauderdale speech thusly:
“We’ve been living on the fumes of the greatest generation since the end of World War II. Well let me tell you something. Just as we revere our parents and our grandparents for fighting the scourge of Nazism and defeating evil, our children and our grandchildren are going to hate us – I promise you that – because we let them be held hostage by nuclear terrorist regimes and rogue groups.”