Tea Party Racism Should Concern Republicans

Since it was the Republicans who created and ginned up the yokels to rant and rave it must now weigh heavy on the GOP when serious issues of racism abound within the Tea Party.  It is not a topic to be lightly dismissed as what has been happening over the past year, and brought to light with ever-increasing intensity, (though this blog has been writing on blatant racism within the Tea Party from the beginning) might very well bite back at the polls this November.  Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy’ aside, there is no long-term gain for the GOP in 2010 to be saddled with racists. 

Today one of the best columnists around, Eugene Robinson, wrote a great piece.  A portion has been supplied below, but the whole thing is worthy of a read.  This awful hate-filled racist element that has creeped out of the rocks and manifested itself within the Tea Party needs to be squashed.  The question is will the GOP do it, or will the national dialogue and media exposure be needed to do the job for the Republicans.  One way or the other the craziest elements of the teabaggers will need to be put in their place.

The national federation should be commended for moving quickly to cut all ties with this unreconstructed bigot. But Williams is not some obscure figure from the movement’s outer fringe. He’s a big player.

Tea Party Express lists as its “national sponsor” a political action committee named Our Country Deserves Better, which spent about $350,000 on Sen. Scott Brown’s winning campaign in Massachusetts and is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Nevada on behalf of GOP candidate Sharron Angle. Tea Party Express boasts on its Web site of having staged rallies featuring such speakers as Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and one Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber.

Have the rest of the movement’s leaders never noticed Williams’s rhetoric before now? His most recent obsession, before the NAACP flap, has been a crusade to halt construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan near Ground Zero. He has called the proposed structure a place where Muslims would honor the al-Qaeda hijackers and “worship the terrorists’ monkey-god.” He has called President Obama an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug.”

If Williams is now a pariah in Tea Party circles, that’s progress. But this episode should prompt the national leadership to look inward and acknowledge — not just to the rest of us, but also to themselves — that ugly, racially charged rhetoric has been part of the movement’s stock in trade all along.

###

And if the Republican Party is going to try to harness the Tea Party’s passion on behalf of GOP candidates, responsible leaders need to make clear that racism will not be tolerated. Yet Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to talk about the NAACP flap when asked about it Sunday, and Sen. John Cornyn volunteered that accusing the Tea Party of racism is “slanderous.”

It’s not slander if it’s the truth, senator. No one can deny that some fraction of the Tea Party’s considerable energy is generated by racism. Excommunicating Mark Williams was a start to disowning and discarding this element — but just a start.

And by the way, remember when Attorney General Eric Holder urged us to have a national conversation about race? Well, this is how we do it — awkwardly and episodically, almost always in reaction to a specific event. We don’t talk, we shout and grumble. It ain’t pretty, but it’s the American way.

Breaking News: Rod Blagojevich Unlikely To Testify

I just do not think an orange jumpsuit goes with his hair.  And it IS great hair!

After all the loud protests of innocence from Rod Blagojevich, and his statements about wanting to take the stand in order to clear his name, a shocking developement is taking place.  This was to have been the high moment of drama as intense speculation swirled over the high-wire act that Blagojevich would have to perform from the stand.  I am very disappointed.  This is what it must feel like to live in New York and have a show on Broadway close before the first performance ever takes place.  There was also the fact all were aware of that the judge could have upped the sentence had the jury brought back a guilty sentence, and the judge discovered Blagojevich was lying under oath.  One has to wonder if a last-minute deal is not being struck for Rod Blagojevich to try for a reduced sentence by admitting to some crimes.  I am not sure of the legal possibilities in this regard, but one has to wonder what is taking place.  This is going to be great fodder for the talk shows tonight!

The judge hearing the Rod Blagojevich corruption case has abruptly adjourned court for the day, without explanation.

Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Blagojevich is unlikely to take the stand and that his lawyers will likely rest without calling a single witness.

The former governor had been expected to testify in his own defense starting this afternoon but did not take the stand.

Earlier, he told Chicago Sun-Times columnist: “I’m testifying — are you kidding? And Patti, absolutely,” referring to his wife. “When people say terrible things about you, don’t you fight back?”

And, in his opening statement at the start of the trial, Sam Adam Jr. had promised the former governor would testify.

But then they watched Monday and today as prosecutors cross-examined his brother and codefendant, Robert Blagojevich — the somber businessman with a background in the military, who’s accused of far less criminal conduct than Rod Blagojevich.

In just the first 10 minutes of cross-examination Monday, Robert Blagojevich, who had overseen the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, found himself contradicting his own statements and having to explain a secretly recorded and previously unheard conversation in which he’d urged his brother to do some “horse trading” with then-President-elect Obama in an effort to kill the then-ongoing criminal investigation of the Blagojevich administration.

Meanwhile the Chicago Tribune has this line in their story.

But after conferring with lawyers in a private sidebar, U.S. District Judge James Zagel told the defense team to mull the decision overnight,  the sources said. The judge then abruptly adjourned the trial for the day.

Good News For The Long-Term Unemployed

The U.S. Senate narrowly voted to overcome a key hurdle on an extension of U.S. jobless benefits, renewing the 99-week period that long-term unemployed people in most parts of the country can qualify for assistance. 

Democrats captured the 60 votes required to overcome GOP opposition only after swearing in a new Democratic senator from West Virginia, Carte Goodwin, who will temporarily fill the seat left vacant by the June 28 death of Robert Byrd.

The legislation, which was supported by President Obama, will extend benefits for those who have already used their standard 26 weeks of unemployment. The measure now faces a final vote in the Senate and must also clear the House of Representatives.

Gay Teen Banned From Prom Wins $35,000 In Lawsuit Against Mississippi School

Hot damn!  Thanks to the ACLU justice has been provided to Constance McMillen.  Better yet due to this lawsuit the school district must change their policy in regards to gay students and future proms. 

Readers may recall that earlier this year I posted about McMillen’s attempt to attend prom, and how she was denied due to bigotry over the fact she wanted to take her girlfriend.  She fought back in grand style, and won.

Today’s ruling means that school officials are required to implement a policy banning discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and they’re paying McMillen $35,000 in damages as well as her attorneys’ fees.

Rep. Alan Grayson Slams GOP Over Unemployment Benefits Extension Mess

This is what needs to be said….and heard.