July 21, 2010

AND YOU BETTER BELIEVE THEY KNOW THEIR STAR TREK:

Revolt Inside the Tea Party: The dumping of a Tea Partier who made racially charged remarks was about more than just political correctness. Zachary Roth on the deep split that could blow the movement apart. (Zachary Roth, 7/21/10, Daily Beast)

In setting itself up as the Tea Party’s internal race cop, the Federation may have overplayed its hand—and provoked a more-or-less open rebellion against its bid, launched in April, to unify the famously fractious movement. The controversy over Williams has helped reignite a major internecine power struggle among Tea Partiers that could make it harder to operate effectively come November.

Last week, outraged by an NAACP resolution condemning Tea Party racism, Williams posted on his blog a “satirical” letter, since removed, which was written in the voice of an NAACP official and praised slavery for offering blacks “three squares, room and board.” In response, a spokesman for the National Tea Party Federation, an umbrella organization of Tea Party groups, announced Sunday on Face The Nation that Williams and Tea Party Express, the group for which he has been acting as a paid spokesman and public speaker, had been expelled from the Federation, calling the letter “clearly offensive.”

But in a statement to reporters released Monday, Joe Wierzbicki, a spokesman and organizer for Tea Party Express, declined to criticize Williams, a conservative talk radio host with a history of incendiary racial comments. Instead, Wierzbicki called the Federation’s decision to oust Williams and the Express “arrogant and preposterous,” and downplayed the impact the expulsion will have on his group—which in January gave a major boost to Scott Brown’s Senate campaign in Massachusetts. “The Tea Party Express, with over 400,000 members, is far larger than the Tea Party Federation’s entire membership,” said Wierzbicki.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 21, 2010 5:05 PM
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