As if worried that it’s getting too mainstream, the Tea Party Nation – one of the most extreme factions of the Tea Party movement – has lashed out lately with a flurry of attacks on immigrants, Muslims, LGBT people, and, of course, President Obama’s birthright eligibility for office.
Tea Party Nation blogger Alan Caruba broke new ground Wednesday with a bizarre attempt to liken Obama to Casey Anthony, the single mother from Florida who was recently acquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter after a much-publicized trial.
In an essay entitled “Casey Anthony, Miss America,” Caruba wrote, “President Obama was the son of a divorced, teen-aged mother, who remarried, divorced again, and abandoned her child to the care of her parents. The President experienced trauma and dislocation throughout all of his formative years. Why should we not conclude that it seriously affected him? Common to both Ms. Anthony and the President is the persistent and blatant telling of lies.”
Never mind that this comparison ignores that Anthony was a single mother, while Obama was raised by one. The point is clear: In the eyes of Tea Party Nation, the president is a liar. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips reinforced that position just Friday in a column praising Orly Taitz, one of the most tenacious proponents of the thoroughly disproven theory that Obama wasn’t really born in the United States and therefore lied his way into office.
Fantasizing about what it would mean if Obama were booted from office for lying about his place of birth, Phillips wrote, “[E]verything he did [would be] void. … [G]iven the potential reward of undoing everything Obama has done, why any conservative dismisses the eligibility issues as ‘birtherism’ is simply beyond belief.”
That’s not the only counter-historical bit of whimsy the Tea Party Nation has on offer. In her July 4th column on immigration for the group’s site, blogger Eliana Benador praised the racist Immigration Act of 1924, which outlawed all Asian immigration and instituted national origin quotas favoring Northern European immigrants. The act stood until 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act finally abolished the national origin quota system that had sharply limited the number of non-white immigrants.
According to Benador, that change “ended up altering the immigration pattern and opening doors to non-European nations, thus forever changing the intrinsic tissue of American society.” In “endlessly increasing numbers,” she complained, these non-European immigrants “are bringing in a whole new texture of culture, 100% foreign to what America’s origins were as its wonderful adventure began in 1776.”
The worst immigrants of all, Benador wrote, are Muslims, who (she claims) are using the First Amendment to invade from within and turn our system against us. “[T]he First Amendment does not stipulate that ‘freedom of religion’ must be upheld even if the followers of a religion have perpetrated an attack on, and massacred, our civilian population in times of peace, and especially if that religion incites to the destruction of our country, our people, and our values.”
Tea Party Nation’s Rich Swier, who beefed up the group’s record of racism with a March 28 blog stating, “The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant [WASP] population in America is headed for extinction,” weighed in last month on threats from another perceived internal enemy, the LGBT community. Proclaiming the campaign against anti-gay bullying a “sham” and comparing LGBT people to drug addicts, Swier wrote, “This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and it is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it.”
Tea Party Nation, if nothing else, is consistent. Its 2010 convention featured a parade of divisive figures, include the viciously anti-gay head of Vision America Rick Scarborough, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (who was impeached for refusing to remove a 2½-ton statue of the 10 Commandments he’d had installed in the state judicial building without consent and in the dead of night), and hard-line anti-immigration politician Tom Tancredo.
Founder Judson Phillips once said, “I’m not trying [to] attract moderates. Moderates are just those who have no core beliefs.” Based on Tea Party Nation’s past and recent pronouncements, there isn’t much danger of that.