As it's grown in influence and power, the Tea Party movement is increasingly being attacked by fearful liberals looking for ways to paint it as racist. One of their favorite lines of late is that the desire to "take the country back" is actually veiled bigotry, even a call to return to institutionalized racism. Considering how many liberals used this phrase during the Bush 43 administration, however, this is yet another case of media liberals throwing stones from a glass house.
"We're talking about the extreme portions of the tea party movement and they're overwhelmingly white. Those are the folks that are saying I want my country back," Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart said on today's "Morning Joe". "And it does have that tinge of I want my country back from them." The word racism was never mentioned, but check out the video below the fold. The implication was clear.
No word yet on whether Capehart and every other media personality to parrot this line of attack also think racism animates Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, James Carville, Paul Begala, Nation editor in chief Katrina vanden Heuvel, and libtalker Thom Hartmann. All have used the phrase "take our country back" or some form of it in electoral rallying cries (see details below the fold).
And that is almost always the context in which the "take our country back" line is used: as an attempt to rally political supporters in the run-up to an election.
But Capehart is not the first to make the accusation of racism. Newsweek approvingly parroted the claim in an April screed headlined "Are Tea Partiers Racist?"
Another WaPo columnist, Richard Cohen, recently decried "all this talk about 'taking back America' (from whom?)."
A Huffington Post columnist claimed that "The idea perpetuated by the Tea Party movement to 'Take back our country!' from [insert non-white male here] is no more than racism in drag."
Even "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm managed to expose the racist "secret agenda" of the Tea Party, represented in "the whole idea we need to take back America."
So we have the standard: saying you want to take the country back is racist, because…well…I'm not really sure why. Let's ask some liberals, shall we? After all, they were particularly fond of the phrase during the Bush administration.
In declaring his run for the presidency, Howard Dean told a crowd in Burlington, Vermont, "You have the power to take our county back!" A little more than half a year later, when Dean was ousted from the Democratic primary, he said the same thing once again. Nine days later, he again said "I'll be doing everything that I can to make sure that John Kerry and John Edwards take this country back."
In fact, Howard Dean was such a fan of the phrase, he even wrote two books incorporating it into their titles: "You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy in America" and "Winning Back America". From whom? He doesn't say. But clearly he's a racist.
As is Hillary Clinton. In a stunning show of racial bigotry, Clinton opened her 2008 run for president by declaring the she would "take our country back."
Chuck Schumer: also a racist. After the 2006 midterms, he stated: "We really care about taking our country back… So far, sooo good."
Prominent Democratic strategists James Carville and Paul Begala are also racists. They coauthored a book in the run-up to the last presidential election titled "Take It Back: A Battle Plan for Democratic Victory."
And how about the racist Katrina vanden Hevuel, editor of the far-left, near-bankrupt magazine The Nation. She's also a racist for penning a book titled "Taking Back America".
Liberal talk show host Thom Hartmann also cannot restrain his racist views. The title of his book, "We the People: A Call to Take Back America" is clearly rooted in bigotry.
So why are the same liberal commentators bloviating about Tea Party racism not also condemning the racists in their own ranks? For one of two reasons: dishonesty, or bias. Either they are simply grabbing at straws in an attempt to smear an entire political movement, or the "take our country back" meme confirms their already-held biases about the movement.
Liberals already believe that the Tea Party is a racist movement - or at least that contains prominent racist elements. So the "take our country back" line fits perfect with a view of the movement that already suspects it is a fan of racial discrimination. Liberals, on the other hand, are not racists, the argument goes, so their use of the term doesn't demonstrate racism.
And so we arrive at the circular, nonsensical nature of the argument: since the Tea Party is racist, their insistence that they "take the country back" is really a call for a return to institutionalized racism. But how do you know they are racist? Because they want to "take the country back." But liberals have said they want to take the country back, why isn't that also indicative of racism? Because liberals aren't racists.
It makes no sense.
But then media liberals rarely mind their massive glass houses while they toss stones at the Tea Party. Remember the aforementioned examples the next time a reporter cries foul at Tea Party calls to take the country back.