WASHINGTON - As expected, the new report that the NAACP is touting as proof of the radicalism of the tea party movement is rife with innuendo, hearsay and conjecture. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are highly critical of a study obviously devised with pre-ordained conclusions and crafted to be a weapon to bring disrepute upon grassroots activism against the liberal big-government policies of the Obama White House and the current congressional leadership.
"Looking at the research that comprises this report, I find it interesting that it appears not a single leader of the mentioned tea party groups was asked for its background,” noted Project 21 member Coby Dillard, a co-founder of the Hampton Roads Tea Party in Virginia. “Had this research been conducted, the facts would show that two of the mentioned groups are simply capitalizing from the tea party movement and that two others are for-profit enterprises. I fail to see, just as I did this summer when their resolution was voted on, how this report ‘advances’ black Americans or those of any color. The longer the NAACP stays on this path, the more they show themselves unable to provide solutions to the issues most Americans care about."
In his foreword to “Tea Party Nationalism,” which was created by the little-known Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and is being distributed by the NAACP, NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous says the report “exposes the links between certain Tea Party factions and acknowledged racist hate groups in the United States.” The first direct allegation of such radicalism made by Jealous, however, is the still-unconfirmed report that a racial epithet was used against Representative John Lewis (D-GA) during the health care debate last March.
In further examples of the report’s ideological agenda, it says the slogan “take our country back” — which has been used in various forms by liberals such as former presidential candidate Howard Dean, current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel — is “explicitly nationalist” when used by tea party activists. As for tenuous linkages in the report, Tea Party Express is tied to the John Birch Society simply because they both played roles in the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (as did the homosexual rights group GOProud, but that was not mentioned). The report also tries to tie the Tea Party Express to Dale Robertson — who was repudiated by tea party organizations long ago — by reporting “Dale Robertson noted that members of his group traveled to Nevada for the kickoff rallies of the third Tea Party Express” (the event was open to the public).
“This is gotcha politics, plain and simple. They are using tall tales and hearsay to obscure real concern about the state of our nation. I've read fairy tales with more credibility,” said Project 21 chairman Mychal Massie, who has spoken at many tea party events. “To drop down to their level, one could cite former NAACP executive director Ben Chavis as a link between the NAACP and the racial extremism of the Nation of Islam. The same could be done regarding IREHR board member Gina Chiala due to her years advocating for a pardon of Leonard Peltier, the radical Indian-rights activist who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents. I’m sure they wouldn’t think that’s fair game — even though both have or held leadership positions — but they’ll play that way when it comes to the tea parties.”
“This report is as credible as the recently-discredited U.N. report on climate change,” added Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. “This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to mobilize support for their policies through fear. Even though Obama's policies are harmful to the black community, tragically, they seek to manufacture blind loyalty to the President by scaring them about the opposition. As a frequent speaker at tea party rallies nationwide, I know the movement has nothing to do with race and everything to do with toxic liberal policies.”
“As a black man, I scorn and resent this never-ending assault on the morals of all black people by the NAACP,” said Project 21 member Oscar Murdock, who took part in the Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. “In spite of being an organization that was correctly established to procure and preserve rights for a people to whom rights and dignity were being denied, the NAACP has descended into a group that is a disgrace to the humanity of the very people it was created to elevate. It is now only a bigoted and politically biased blight among organizations.”
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research.