Big lie from Brandeis
By Michael Graham
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The folks at Brandeis assure me it's all just a big misunderstanding.
When they compare the Tea Party movement to neo-Nazis, they mean it
in a nice way.
And so, if all goes as scheduled, Brandeis will host a symposium
tomorrow on "The New Right-Wing Radicalism." It starts with a
discussion of rising neo-Nazism in Europe (2:30 p.m. - "Mein Kampf: A
Book Of The Past In The Present") and ends with an analysis of the
Tea Parties in America (4:30 p.m. - "From Tea Parties to Armed Militia").
To make sure everyone got the message, the promotional posters
featured swastikas. And to make sure we knew who these "right-wing
radicals" were, those swastikas were on the Brandeis Web page right
above a link to the "Tea Party Express in Boston Commons (sic)."
That's the Tea Party event I personally helped promote.
Now, as a conservative, if I haven't been compared to Hitler a dozen
times before lunch, I'm not doing my job.
But the typical Americans who identify with the Tea Parties aren't so
blase. Host a seminar comparing them to Nazis and they might think
you're trying to say something negative about them.
Not at all, insisted Brandeis flack Andrew Gully. After the story of
their symposium spread - and complaints came pouring in from outraged
alums, among others - Brandeis took down the swastikas, removed the
link to the Boston Tea Party and apologized.
"Unfortunately, this logo created an impression that Brandeis and the
conference organizers equated a range of organizations, including the
Tea Party in the United States, with extremist groups on both
continents . . . Brandeis regrets the unintended association and pain
"Unintended"? I asked Gully how they could say it was "unintended"
when Brandeis starts the conversation with Goebbels and ends it with Palin?
"I think you're making a leap - don't jump to easy conclusions,"
Gully warned me. "The symposium is covering a range from Tea Parties
to militias . . . and they're not necessarily linked."
Meanwhile, even as the swastikas come down, the seminar Web site
features a document called "Ranging the Right." This political
schematic ranks the alleged bigotry of various ideologies, including
a group it calls "Sarah Palin Republicans." It labels these Americans
as "conspiracists," "theocrats" and "white supremacists."
Other than that, Tea Partiers, Brandeis thinks you're the cat's meow!
I confess I'm no expert on contemporary European fascism. But I
wonder if anyone at Brandeis has noticed the most significant fact
about the right's "violence" on this side of the Atlantic - namely,
that there hasn't been any.
That there was more violence in Arizona this weekend by opponents of
immigration enforcement than there has been nationwide in the entire
"Year Of The Angry Tea Partier."
Then there's Brandeis' own (ahem) "unfortunate" connection to
political violence. In 1970, when for the first time three women made
the FBI's "Most Wanted" list simultaneously, all three were Brandeis
women. All were engaged in politically-motivated violence. Ah, but
Katherine Power, Susan Saxe and Angela Davis were left-wing radicals,
Is Brandeis hosting a seminar on the dangers of the left? No. But
last year they hosted unrepentant terrorist William Ayers - the man
who inspired two of the Brandeis students to stage a bank robbery in
which a cop was killed.
At Brandeis, the actual violence of the radical left isn't as
problematic as the possibility of potential violence one day in the
future by tea bagging nuts like you.
They just don't want you to take it personally.
Tea Party movement: What's Happening Here?
By HOPPY KERCHEVAL
"There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."
From the song "What it's Worth" by Stephen Stills, 1967.
MORGANTOWN -- The political punditry is working overtime trying to
define the Tea Party movement. Much of the analysis reflects the
perspective of the pundit as opposed to the true nature of the campaign.
Many on the left dismiss the Tea Partiers as bigoted bumpkins, or
worse. One example: Author Rick Perlstein wrote in the New York Times
Thursday, "They are the same angry, ill-informed, overwhelmingly
white, crypto-corporate paranoiacs that accompany every ascendancy of
liberalism within the U.S. government."
And that's the polite stuff.
A New York Times/CBS News poll finds that people who identify with
the Tea Party movement tend to be white, male Republicans over 45.
Most send their children to public schools and describe as "fair" the
amount of taxes they paid this year.
Sarah Palin is not their overwhelming choice for President and,
according to the Times/CBS Poll, they are not for getting rid of
Social Security or Medicare.
So, what's all the anger about?
The poll found-and the Times could have learned this by listening to
the Tea Partiers-that they believe the country is headed in the wrong
direction. At the top of the list of grievances are government
spending and the debt.
Tea Partiers are at the forefront of the growing concern in America
that the country is on a fiscally unsustainable path. They're plenty
angry at Obama and the current Congress, but many are also furious
with former President Bush and previous Congresses for the profligate spending.
Yes, the Tea Party movement has its unhinged fringe, but so do all
movements. The anti-war effort during Vietnam included Timothy Leary
whose solution to the tumult was for everyone to take LSD.
His mantra to "Tune in, turn on and drop out" caught plenty of media
attention, but it wasn't the spine of the movement. Eventually
housewives, businessmen, preachers and presidential candidates joined
with their sons and daughters in opposing the war.
It had been easy in the early days of the Vietnam War to categorize
the protesters as pot-smoking-draft-dodging hippies. This dismissal,
which turned into denial by some in power, was a critical misjudgment.
By 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson finally realized what everyone
was so angry about it was too late. His presidency was in tatters and
the country was so bitterly divided it would take years to repair.
Vietnam War protests lasted nearly a decade. The Tea Party movement
has only been around about a year. It may eventually cool, but I
don't think so.
I suspect more Americans are going to get mad and start asking why
Washington is spending us into a perpetual and insurmountable debt
that will cause the country to be less than what we have promised our children.
What's happening here ain't exactly clear, but something is happening.