Obama and Sadam Hussein
The recent gaffe by Vice President Joe Biden, who told a NAACP audience that Mitt Romney’s economic plans to “unchain Wall Street” will “put y’all back in chains,” sparked rounds of righteous media condemnation.
And rightly so. It was a foolish, insensitive and poisonous statement, even if said partially in jest.
But for more than two years, the nation’s media have largely ignored far more hateful rhetoric spewed by the most vocal organ of the Tea Party movement, TeaParty.org, headed by former Minuteman Project leaders Stephen Eichler and Tim Bueler.
Typical of their daily online blitz are statements like the one Eichler posted on Aug. 4:
“I WILL NOT OBEY. The Obama regime demands our guns, wallets and freedom. His majesty believes the American people will quietly submit to government intrusion, sit by silently and watch fellow citizens assassinated in the name of the greater good for the greatest number. To add injury to insult, the I.R.S. will grab our medical records, tax records and T.S.A. records–all under the watchful eye of the greatest criminal in the 21st Century, Barack Hussein Obama. To that I say: HELL NO. I RESIST!”
We receive between five and 10 of these emailed missives every day of the week, which is one reason we feel compelled to respond.
The National Tea Party Federation (NTPF), a membership organization with 85 affiliated Tea Party groups, kicked out TeaParty.org when they refused to temper their language and retract racist statements. NTPF says it rejects racial discrimination, hate speech and violence, and does not accept membership from so-called “Birthers,” or “9/11 Truthers.”
But that hasn’t stopped TeaParty.org from continuing with its outrageous message, a core element of which is that President Obama is a not-so-secret socialist intent on a bloodless coup to take over the country.
The Obama-as-socialist rhetoric resonates throughout Tea Party literature, which defines socialism in ways that would surprise the Socialist Party USA, an anachronistic organization that still hopes America will someday be ruled by worker collectives in which every one lives in perfect social and economic equality.
Obama is no more a socialist than he is the political savior some thought he would become in 2008. But the polarizing rhetoric the socialist tag feeds on serves to obscure the real issues in this election which have everything to do with the proper size and role of government in our lives, and whether or not an unfettered free market, with no government oversight, can best restore a healthy economy.
There are real arguments on both sides of the issue, but they are lost in the absurd allegations that the president is a foreign-born, secret-socialist intent on destroying the nation.
And it is long since time that the conservative right rejected language like this TeaParty.org pronouncement:
“Obama plans second term, calling for an ‘Assault on America.’ The longer Obama sits in the Oval Office the more dangerous he becomes and the more at-risk we become. We do not know his exact master plan but we do know this: should he be reelected, his plans for the next four years are shocking ... Fear them like you would have feared Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini or even Saddam Hussein.”