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It’s Not About Race, It’s About Government Spending…YEAH, THAT’S THE TICKET!!

July 20, 2010

“Hi, my name is Andy Breitbart of and proud member of Pathological Liars Anonymous. Now a lot of people, especially the NAACP, have been questioning the motives behind the Tea Party Movement, and…well…it’s…umm…it’s ALL ABOUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING!!! Yeah, that’s it! And the NAACP, well they’re…let’s see…hold on a minute…I know…THEY’RE THE RACISTS…JUST LOOK AT THIS TOTALLY UNDOCTORED VIDEO! YEAH, THAT’S THE TICKET!!”

Recently, there has been a lot written and said about the NAACP passing a resolution that denounces the racist elements of the Tea Party, citing the incendiary and racist signs that appear at Tea Party rallies and the ugly racial rhetoric espoused by many of the movements’ members, including those like Mark Williams and Bill Roper, who hold positions of leadership in Tea Party related organizations.

Of course, in response many in the Tea Party movement claim the NAACP is playing the ‘race card’ as part of a larger effort by liberal forces to discredit the movement, and they reject the notion that they are racist, claiming instead to be faithful Americans railing against government spending and taxes. That it is happening under the first black president in history is, well, just an inconvenient coincidence.

The debate around the NAACP charges has become so heated that Andrew Breitbart, the serial liar and reprobate who exploited intellectually challenged rich kids Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe in the childish ACORN escapade, weighed in with yet another sad attempt to deceive the public and destroy lives with his doctored video of a government official, Shirley Sherrod, talking about a race related interaction that turned out to be a shining example of how our society should deal with race (poor Andy, the more he tries the more he shows just how sadly stupid he really is, sort of like a sleazier and decidedly dumber version of William Kristol).

To get at the truth in this debate it helps to understand who the Tea Party is. And as we’ve seen in some recent surveys, there are very clear and consistent traits that unite the movement, specifically…

  • They are predominantly white – 89% are white and only 1% are black, which compares with national averages of 77% and 12% respectively.
  • They are overwhelmingly Republican – 55% of those in the Tea Party identify with the GOP versus 14% with Democrats. This compares with a recent Gallup Poll that showed only 21% of Americans called themselves Republican, with 35% saying they were a Democrat and 38% claiming to be an independent (that leaves 6% with some other affilitation).
  • They are politically conservative – 78% say they are  conservative.

Now the fact that the Tea Party is mostly white, conservative and Republican does not make it a racist movement by any means. Nor does the self-stated motivation for the movement as articulated in the Tea Party Patriots’ mission statement…

“the impetuses for the Tea Party movement are excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets”

And that they are also worried that…

“the runaway deficit spending as we now see in Washington D.C. compels us to take action because we know that a heavy burden of national debt is a grave threat to our national sovereignty and the personal and economic liberty of future generations.”

But when the lack of political and ethnic diversity of the movement, along with the so-called reason for its existence are pressed against over three decades of federal spending and budget management, the ugly and uncomfortable questions about the true forces behind the movement start to bubble up, and it becomes difficult to drink what the Tea Party is brewing.

The first problem, and as has been argued elsewhere on this site, is that when the Bush Administration bailed out Wall St. in September 2008, there was no concern expressed by anyone now associated with the Tea Party over the use of billions of taxpayer dollars, and the impact on the Federal budget, to save banks and financial firms. So in effect, a huge government spending program under a white President didn’t cause a stir, but a huge spending program like the Stimulus Act of 2009 by a black President did?

And there is more than just the contrast between the Bush and Obama spending programs. There is a much longer, and a more damning history to be considered.

Since the election of Richard Nixon in 1972 there have been SIX Republican Administrations and THREE Democratic Administrations in power (not including the nascent Obama Administration). In all of the Republican administrations, including eight years of Reagan, the Federal Budget as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) INCREASED, meaning that government spending was growing faster than the economy, which creates a budget deficit. In total, these Republican Administrations INCREASED the federal debt by 63%!

In each of the three Democratic administrations, the Federal Budget as a percentage of GDP DECREASED, meaning that government spending was slower than the economic growth in the country, which creates a budget surplus. In aggregate, these three Democratic Administrations DECREASED the federal debt by around 13%.

So where were the Tea Party Patriots under these six irresponsible, fiscally disasterous white Republican Presidents? What was so different about these Administrations running up deficits that made it so acceptable that the current core of the Tea Party Movement sat idly by while the Federal Budget exploded? How come they didn’t pitch a fit when David Stockman was ‘taken to the woodshed by President Reagan’ over his candor regarding the increasing federal deficit and the rapidly expanding national debt, which he blamed on the Reagan tax cut (and that ended up doubling the deficit in only four and half years of the Reagan Administration)? How come Ronald Reagan is now hailed as a legendary figure despite eight years of exploding debt and out of control Federal spending while Obama is reviled as a socialist after only eighteen months of budget deficits? Why wasn’t there a chorus of condemnation in response to VP Dick Cheny’s dismissive claim that ‘deficits don’t matter,’ a statement that spits in the eye of the Tea Party and their mission statement? What is so different about the current, year and a half old Obama Administration that would cause the mobilization of a national movement of angry Americans to protest the exact same behaviors that were tolerated under six Republican Administrations covering over 20 years of this country’s economic history?

If nothing else, the lack of outrage or concern over the out of control spending under white, Republican Presidents makes the central premise of the Tea Party’s mission statement somewhat disingenuous, and makes it very difficult not to assign racism to much of the anger and outrage now expressed towards the Obama Administration. Sadly, if the members of what is now the Tea Party had only spoken up earlier to protest exploding budget deficits and out of control spending under Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, saying the Tea Party Movement is mostly about race would not be such an easy conclusion to reach.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Gipperdagay permalink
    August 16, 2010 6:29 am

    It is bad enought to be racist but to be chicken to admit it is worse. The tea baggers are the lowest of the low. They want to go back to Jeffersonian times? Slavery and no voting for women. What does that tell you. They have not had a single idea to improve anything. Cliches and sound bites rattle around their Palinesque emty heads like a bb in a empty can.

  2. Brett Gasper permalink
    August 10, 2010 4:34 pm

    I am a moderate swing voter, a card carrying ACLU member, a veteran of the Marine Corps and the US Army – I am also a Tea Partier. Many folks here will remember the election of 2004 – when many supporters of Senators Kerry and Edwards held, in effigy, signs of President George Bush being portrayed as Hitler or a monkey. If you don’t believe me, Google “George Bush Hitler” or “George Bush monkey”. You will get millions of image results on either.
    Some of the tea partiers have been criticized as being racist for portraying President Obama as either Hitler or a monkey. A few of these people brandishing these signs are, in actuality, racists – but most people who brandish these signs haven’t given race a thought and are under the notion that equal treatment is, in fact, equal. (The issue of race is put aside)
    My take on this is: President Obama is our first American President of African descent (father from Kenya I believe) and a historical person in this sense. No one wants to see him as a failure because his failures are our failures and we are all tied together in this.
    We should all be supportive of our elected officials and wish for their success – even if we didn’t vote for them. To have a disrespect for our President is to have a disrespect for Democracy… Face it, the people have spoken and we should respect it.
    However, if an elected official should break a promise – then that official should be held accountable. It just so happens that Democrats hold a majority in all houses of government and the American people are still dissatisfied with the actions of the federal government. There is nothing personal, it would be the same if the Republicans held the majority. Then the Tea Party would fight to remove the majority of Republicans.
    I’ll tell you what you may already know. Our country is faced with some major problems that a cheerleader or a charismatic person who is detached from the mainstream of America will not be able to solve:
    Our foreign debt will grow to the extent that we will owe two trillion (2,000,000,000) a year – in interest alone.
    Our population demographics is such that Social Security will, and is, largely insolvent. Instead of 16 people paying for every recipient only 4 people are paying and, when this comes to roost, two people will be paying in… We need a plan B to fall back on to take care of the disabled and elderly.
    Housing is unafordable to the average person and the market is not bearing the costs. Owning a home should be a natural right We are physical beings that have weight, take up space, and are subject to the laws of gravity – each one of us occupy an exclusive patch of ground upon the earth.
    The market is not bearing the cost of health care. The health care profession, insurance, and trial lawyers are tied together in a vicious triangle – each with the greed driven ability to drive up the rates of the other two. If we were to do away with insurance and hire every doctor in America, we could double their salery at half the present cost.
    The war on terror is too vague and is not economically sustainable. The Germans lost WWI because they ran out of money – we need to learn from history and not do the same. Presently, we are playing a never ending game of whack-a-mole in a guerilla war. We need to change the game, (Sun Tzu) visualize what we hope to achieve and narrow down our objectives to a specific enemy (Al Queada and the Quetta Sura of the Talib Tribe)
    The Federal Government should be limited to their Constitutional roles of sound currency, defense, representation abroad, responsible regulation of commerce and defending civil liberties and natural rights.
    Also, a perponderance of power should be left to the individual states and local communities – to insure representation that is sensitive to the needs of the people – whom all power is derived.
    I am sorry if anyone is upset with this, this is the true nature of the Tea Party.
    I invite the NAACP to join with us. I also invite my fellow ACLU members to join us.
    If there are any racists reading this – crawl your fearful mistrusting a** back into your caves. You are a boil on our backsides and we do not support your neanderthal tripe.

    Liberty for all.

    • Brett Gasper permalink
      August 10, 2010 4:38 pm

      Sorry, Two trillion is 2,000,000,000,000

  3. Mark H permalink
    July 25, 2010 9:17 am

    Apparently, tr0lls don’t care about facts:

    Also, reading those RACIST signs that have been on display at tea bagger rallies are abhorrent. Anti war signs don’t stir up hate and anger the way RACIST signs do. That’s their excuse now. Well, liberals had anti war signs against Bush. Yeah, but there weren’t RACIST sign geared toward Bush like the one’s above. Tea baggers tell themselves that libs think that every disagreement with President Obama means they are racist. WRONG. No one has EVER said that. That just gives them the excuse to keep on saying racist things. Most libs think that tea baggers disagree with the President because most of the tea baggers are ignorant to the FACTS. They just shout bumper sticker slogans and don’t engage in REAL talk. For example, when you show a tea bagger the facts from the site above, or this famous one:, it’s always followed by, “That’s liberal bias” or “it’s just not true”. If they are REALLY serious about smaller government, where were they when Dubya made the biggest increase in government in the past 50 years with the DHS? Oh right, it didn’t count then, but now it’s too big. Let’s shut down that part of the government and kick all of those folks out of work, right tea baggers? You know, through all of the tea bagger rhetoric, they can’t prove or back up NOT ONE argument that they pose against President Obama. NOT ONE. Opinions don’t count. Find numbers to back up your……”facts”. In other words, no matter what facts and truths that you present, they are hell bent on looking for the President’s failure. What true Americans!

    • October 2, 2011 11:08 pm

      A few years ago I’d have to pay someone for this ifnaormtion.

  4. freddy permalink
    July 22, 2010 12:11 pm

    What a load of lefty crap you have here!!!

  5. brnormand permalink
    July 22, 2010 11:29 am

    Just because the last three rep. Presidents did it does not mean it is right. Is what you are saying that this gives Obama the right to do it as well only much faster and grabbing every scrap of power that he can along the way. And its not just him Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Carey,Leiberman, McCain, Snow, the list goes on and on. The Good thing about Obama is that he is the catalyst that woke every one up, Hopefully not too late. We need term limits on all elected officials. There is no reason some one should enter the senate at 35 and die @ 90 in office. You think its possible senility might just affect their judgement. That goes for Repubs or dems ind libretarians etc. Its not that hard to grasp.

  6. wOOt permalink
    July 22, 2010 9:58 am

    Nazis weren’t “socialist” in any way more than the DDR wasn’t “democratic”, although both terms are found in the acronym. Historical analysis involves more, much more, than cherrypicking a term out of an abbreviation.

    Actually, in practice, Nazism is far-right ideology. Nazi, as contracted from NAtional SoZIalismus, had a counterpart: Sozi, for Socialismus.

    In recent history (Say five years ago), due a disinformation campaign by Fox News and Holocaust revisionists such as Jonah Goldberg, it was attempted to redefine Nazism as a left wing ideology, contrary to 60 years of mainstream consensus by recognized historians and academics on the matter.

    Let me clarify: the key term in National Socialism is “National”. That specifically, distinguishes National Socialism from Socialism, because Hitler wanted to offer a right-wing nationalist alternative for socialism, to appeal to the working class.

    In Europe, none of this is in dispute. Only in America, where ill-tempered rhetoric by disgruntled rightists with an identity crisis who get their knowledge from apocryphal sources rules the internet, talk radio, television and televised demonstrations, is this sort of near delinquent, and incredibly offense stupidity possible. And to make it worse, ignorance is going viral.

  7. Buford permalink
    July 22, 2010 2:56 am

    Why do people keep bringing up Clinton, Bush? They were evil as hell and should have been arrested and locked up. This entire war was created by them. Clinton Bush, Daddy Bush, and now Obama. Arrest all of them for stealing our money and future. BTW is the oil spill over now because the media no longer speaks of it. I guess Obama got rid of the first admendment. Way to go you communist bastard. Go arrest some peaceful G20 Protestors again and treat them like hell. You Nazi lover. Nazi = Socialism

  8. Buford permalink
    July 22, 2010 2:53 am

    Big difference between then and now. WE had jobs and we were creating jobs something Obama has not done while the economy is sinking. Keep up the race baiting. It helps nothing.

  9. July 21, 2010 5:03 pm

    It didn’t take the trolls long to screw up this discussion, did it?

  10. Lizz permalink
    July 21, 2010 3:16 pm

    Oh I understand perfectly. To Obama supporters, anyone who disagrees with him or his policies is de facto racist, right? Simply because he is black. Now WHO is being racist here? Who is making an issue of the color of his skin? Not the Tea Partiers – who stand for less government (of any color) and fair taxation. I don’t see where Keith called anyone any sort of name – only made the point that the progressive liberal policies of this and previous administrations are at the root of the economic disaster we now face.

    Playing the race card is racist in and of itself. You should be ashamed. You point at obvious plants that show up at Tea Party gatherings, who are quickly denounced and driven out, yet you gloss over the inherent racism and bigotry of the progressive liberal social agenda that you support.

    You only wish the Tea Party was about race, so you can dismiss them without debating the facts.

    • July 21, 2010 3:28 pm

      “…only made the point that the progressive liberal policies of this and previous administrations are at the root of the economic disaster we now face…”

      OK, does this mean you consider Bush/Cheney a ‘liberal’ administration since they own 99% of the current economic and federal budgetary crisis? If so, then I gotta tell ya that a lot of people will have to re-assess their political orientation, and fast!

  11. muchmaligned permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:09 pm

    @ Keith, You are one of the least-intelligent posters I have encountered. You are totally delusional. Anyone having any contact with you, no matter how minimal, must come away a complete dullard. You should be stripped of your right to vote. You Tea Baggers are nothing more than fodder for entertainment. Nothing more. You will end up being a footnote to a great Presidency.

    Everything looks like crap to you because you have your head up your ass.

    • Lizz permalink
      July 21, 2010 1:40 pm


      Thank you for demonstrating EXACTLY what Keith and so many others have been saying about the left. You can’t engage in rational debate of the facts, you can only call names and behave generally like a spoiled brat 3 year old. Now go back and try to speak to the substance of what Keith said, not that you think he is a smelly butt poopy head. We get that, OK? Facts … not name-calling. Try it, if you can.

      • Jason permalink
        July 21, 2010 2:56 pm


        Keith didn’t have anything of substance to say Lizz. His comment, like my comment, and your comment are nothing but calling the TP out on racism and TP members calling us racist for pointing at the picture of TP members holding signs that say nigger.
        Own it, or condemn it. You’re little pitty party has about 2 minutes of fame left. You can scwander them on calling us names for pointing at your racist ways, or you can use them to get your point across. So far, the only point I’ve been seeing is that your members have no idea how the patriotism of dessent works. And a complete misunderstanding of race relations and racial sensativity.

  12. Keith Lehman permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:18 pm

    The issue is what is wrong with government and Obama – not Reagan. He became President when the recession had already begun … read his speeches at the time.
    Obama knew what he was in for, just as GW Bush should have known what Clinton left for him; but it doesn’t justify what he has done … government control of private enterprise, bailing out businesses that should clean their act or go bankrupt without tax payer dollars, and during such an economic time boost social programs and the national debt beyond the limit.
    Funny how you left that part out.
    So what you are saying is the American people should pay exorbitant taxes to pay for the runaway economy and spending? What you are saying it is okay to increase social programs when the ones already in place are draining America? What you are saying is you believe in the Hope and Change of Mr. Obama?
    Race has nothing to do with it.
    You have overdrawn on your race card.

    • Dogsbody permalink
      July 21, 2010 10:01 pm

      That’s a mighty big plank you’ve got there in your eye, Keith.

  13. Keith Lehman permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:14 pm

    Reagan may have been president – but the Democrats held power in Congress … What does that tell you?

    • July 21, 2010 11:31 am

      You forget that for six of the eight years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the REPUBLICANS controlled the Senate, not the Democrats.

  14. Keith Lehman permalink
    July 20, 2010 4:12 pm

    These few incidences does not contribute to the overall membership of the Tea Party unit … Why are you not portraying the racism and violence of the progressives? Anti-war, anti-everything, especially American tradition and freedom … Pink Code nut cases are not scrutinized nor does the Black Panther Party (“new”) that not only is violent, but extremely racist – and stands outside voting places in 2008 intimidating voters.
    Grow up and get a life. The overall Tea Party movement has purpose, has reason and its goal is to return America back to being a Jeffersonian republic and not an American left model of Stalingrad.
    Anyone calling the kid with the sign saying monkey see, monkey spend racist is a PC moron.
    How hypocritical of the progressives after depictions of BW Bush as Hitler, baby killer and Lord knows what. Strange how that is okay as long as one is acknowledging the illegitimacy and falseness if the DNC. Both political clubs need reform and quit holding monopoly at the voting booths and election circuits – but the Democratic socialists have corruption as their main theme.
    Tea Party racist? One of its main members who attends many and is a musician is an African descendant American. I guess your one of those who think Abraham Lincoln was a racist.
    The Democrats have a long history of racism and kept a senator in Congress for the longest time in its history who was a full fledged member of the KKK and at his eulogy it was said he was just trying to get elected. Huh?
    Tea Parties are not what is wrong with the country, it is the element it protests against – but you can’t see that past your brainwashed mind who parrots the progressive propaganda.
    What trash.

    • Jason permalink
      July 21, 2010 2:47 pm

      It seems to me that you didn’t read, or you didn’t understand the article. So, very simply I’ll ask you this question; Where were you when the Presidents listed in this article were running up deficits for worse than any of the Democrats?

      I agree with the article, I think the underlying theme of the Tea Party is racism. Sadly, I don’t think Tea Party members even know how racist they sound when they’re trying not to sound racist. First off, you can’t call someone racist when they point a statement or sign out that is racist. You can’t “over play” the “race card”. I will never stop calling people out on their racist behavior until they stop making racist statements. Lastly, and I really want TP members to understand this… Until you perge the racist elements from your group, you all will be considered racists. And regardless of your personal beliefs, as a member of an organization that has mounting evidence of racism, you are racist by association. This is America, you can be racist if you want. It’s your right. But you guys need to own it, or condemn it. You can’t have it both ways. I understand that many groups, even the NAACP, may have racist members. Unfortunatly for you, the NAACP has established itself as huge help to PoC throughout the history of this country and so by default has been a huge help to equality and the nation as a whole. You’re group has not established anything aside from hatred for everything this president, and this president alone, has done.


  1. William K. Wolfrum’s Morning – July 21, 2010 « Blogaround « William K. Wolfrum Chronicles

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