A FOX Democrat looks at the Tea Party, decides it's just a bunch of nice Real Americans
Juan Williams provides for the upteenth time an example of what a FOX Democrat is. In Tea Party Anger Reflects Mainstream ConcernsWall Street Journal 04/02/10, he tells us that it would be very naughty to even suggest that these nice pleasant Tea Partiers are anything but true-blue citizens deeply preoccupied with mainstream concerns.
I normally don't repeat quotes in successive posts. But it's pretty striking that Karl Rove in the same newspaper, in a piece which unfortunately is behind subscription, wrote yesterday:
A small fraction of the tea partiers' leadership are ambitious individuals who haven't been able to hold office in either the GOP or Democratic Party. Some are from fringe groups like the John Birch Society or the remnants of the LaRouchies. Others see the tea party movement as a recruiting pool for volunteers for Ron Paul's next presidential bid.
If tea party groups are to maximize their influence on policy, they must now begin the difficult task of disassociating themselves from cranks and conspiracy nuts. This includes 9/11 deniers, "birthers" who insist Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., and militia supporters espousing something vaguely close to armed rebellion.
But Juan Williams, one of FOX News' house imitations of a liberal, writes:
It is a fact that the tea party is an overwhelmingly older, white and suburban crowd. It is true that Republicans in Congress are almost completely white. And it is also true, according to some black and gay Democrats, that a tea party rally against health-care reform at the Capitol degenerated into ugly scenes in which racial and homophobic epithets were used and spit flew on some members of Congress. There are suspicions that tea party anger boiled over into the spate of personal threats against Democrats who voted for the health-care bill.
That is despicable and deserving of condemnation. [Not quite the same as saying, "I condemn it", but whatever - Bruce] And the leaders of the tea party movement have to be careful about rhetoric that feeds fringe, militia-type anger that leads to violence.
Yet opposition to health-care reform from the tea party is not based on racism but self-interest. The older, whiter segment of the American demographic was at the heart of opposition to the president's health-care proposal because they feared cuts in their Medicare benefits or taxes hikes eroding their income. [my emphasis]
Yeah, it's a bunch of mean, pissed-off white people whose rhetoric might encourage far-right groups to get violent, and maybe somebody had political motives to attack Democratic offices over the same weekend. And maybe even some of these nice white folks were using "racial and homophobic epithets", I mean, that is "according to some black and gay Democrats", if you can believe people like that. But if no Real American white people say they saw or heard it, how can we really take that seriously?
This Williams guy is a real piece of work. He cites a few polls about this and that. Evidently, he missed the ones showing those who identify as Tea Party supporters are overwhelmingly Republican and overwhelmingly conservative. Farther down in the article, he cites some suggestive poll data:
Where race comes into this picture of American political discontent is that a majority of whites, 52% according to a Gallup poll last month, say they see health-care reform as helping the poor, and that means lots of racial minorities. Only 20% of whites said the health-care reform will help their families. Majorities of Blacks and Hispanics, however, see the bill as helping their families.
That racial divide over health-care reform is exacerbated by the recession's tremendous damage to employment for blue-collar workers. Black unemployment remains nearly double unemployment among whites (16.2% to 9.7%), but that does not diminish the economic and emotional devastation being felt by whites, who are still the majority of the population and the majority of voters. [my emphasis]
There's a "racial divide" over the health-care issue but it has nothing to do with white racism, oh no! And it's just coincidence, or bad luck, or "poor life choices" reflected in the drastically higher unemployment figures for African-Americans. But, he says, "it is insulting to all voters to suggest that criticism of President Obama, even by people who want to throw him out of office, is motivated by racism."
I wonder if the Daily Howler will descend on Williams for failing to cite an example of anyone who says that "criticism of President Obama" in general "is motivated by racism", as opposed to saying some of the most bitter criticism from angry white people is due in part to white racism.
This is kind of a cryptic observation:
Putting a racial lens on the tea party activists may also help Democrats by painting congressional Republicans into a corner as debate begins on immigration reform. Hispanic voters are going to be looking at Republicans and their tea party supporters for evidence of racism in any effort to block reform.
You know, those Democrats, pandering to racial minorities at the expense of good, hard-working white folks who you can't accuse of racism just on the say-so of, well, "some black and gay Democrats."
Williams doesn't share with us what any of those polls say about Tea Partiers' opinions about immigration reform or Latinos. I'm guessing, though, that if Gallup comes up with a study that says some large majority of those identifying with the Tea Party movement think immigrants are a bunch of mooching, criminal, drug-dealing "wetbacks", he will explain to us that it would be very condescending and politically foolish for any Democrats to suggest out loud that white racism might have anything to do with.
After all, we elected a black President in 2008, didn't we? That proves we don't have a race problem in America any more. Except for, you know, all those blacks and Latinos who hate white people and just don't want to "git over it".