Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

Tea Party Demonization: NY Times Edition

Posted by Dan Draney on April 4, 2010

The New York Times dutifully adds its latest contribution to the ongoing efforts to portray the Tea Party Movement as dangerous, potentially violent radicals. They trot out the usual suspects, including (somehow) the Foot Hood jihadist, the lefty loon who flew a plane into an IRS office, and, of course, Timothy McVeigh as evidence of the potential for Tea Party violence.

Not that the rage, or the risk of escalation, necessarily goes away. If a group with enduring gripes is shut out of the political process, and begins to shed active members, it can leave behind a radical core. This is precisely what happened in the 1960s, when the domestic terrorist group known as the Weather Underground emerged from the larger, more moderate anti-war Students for a Democratic Society, Dr. McCauley said. “The SDS had 100,000 members and, frustrated politically at every step, people started to give up,” he said. “The result was that you had this condensation of a small, more radical base of activists who decided to escalate the violence.”

Given the shifting political terrain, the diversity of views in the antigovernment groups, and their potential political impact, experts say they expect that very few are ready to take the more radical step.

So, it was Beyond the Pale to say anything during the campaign about Obama’s real, longterm connection to Weather Underground alumni Ayers and Dohrn, but drawing an absurd parallel between the TPM and the Weathermen is just fine.

Stacy McCain has a post on his blog that highlights the vast differences between the two movements, demonstrating just how absurd the NYTimes piece is. He concludes with this gem:

To suggest that Tea Party activists are fundamentally like SDS and the anti-war movement of the 1960s simply because both engage in public protest rallies is to say that Barry Manilow and Metallica are fundamentally alike because both engage in concert tours.

McCain’s co-blogger, Smitty, argues that the Tea Party Movement is now too big to be taken down directly. He expects the main thrust of the administration and its minions will be on divide and conquer efforts to split the opposition in November. See my previous note on why a Tea Party Party would be A Bad Idea.

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