The Tea Party Is Not Racist

Since the Tea Party exploded onto the political scene a few years ago, critics have derided it as a movement full of racists. This is a bizarre notion, since the Tea Party originally began in response to the bank bailouts of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). As you might remember, this bill was passed under President George W. Bush, not President Barack Obama.

Still, the claim is repeated often enough and fervently enough that many Americans believe it to be true. I frequent a lot of liberal and leftist message boards, and whenever the topic of the Tea Party comes up, the most common label given to it is “racist.” It’s a simple, convenient way to “otherize” conservatives. If they’re all a bunch of racists, why should we bother listening to their political philosophy and policy ideas? Modern Americans consider racism a moral failing of the worst kind, and understandably so.

Of course, the fundamental problem with this labeling is that it’s false. The Tea Party isn’t racist. To understand why that’s the case, you have to understand what the Tea Party is, and what it isn’t. The Tea Party is a movement unified on exactly two issues: fiscal conservatism and constitutionally limited government. Are there social conservatives in the movement? Sure. What about libertarians? Absolutely. Racists? Unfortunately, yes.

The Tea Party isn’t a political party, and it doesn’t have an all-encompassing platform. The movement isn’t unified on social issues, foreign policy, or race-related issues.  It’s a movement of Americans with widely diverging views on every topic other than fiscal policy and the Constitution. So, are there racists in the Tea Party? Yes. Is the Tea Party racist? No.

As I mentioned before, the initial outrage that sparked the Tea Party came under President Bush, not President Obama, so there’s no reason to believe that race played a role in the early protests. Later on, liberal critics of the movement gleefully highlighted posters that started to appear at Tea Party protests depicting President Obama with a Hitler mustache, or worse. What those critics failed to acknowledge was that the vast majority of those posters were carried by Lyndon LaRouche fanatics, not tea partiers.

If you’re unfamiliar with LaRouche, be glad. A long-time political activist and conspiracy theorist, he ran for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination seven times, and the U.S. Labor Party’s presidential nomination once. A convicted felon, his political career began in the 1970s and continues today. Over time, a strange sort of political cult has sprung up around him, one that’s centered around his personal charisma, conspiracy theories, and bizarre policy solutions.

While the LaRouche movement has never been very large, it has been active for decades. Some of his followers tried to co-opt Tea Party protests and events in order to win new converts and to garner free media attention for their movement.  Although LaRouche’s followers mostly failed on both accounts, they did succeed in associating the Obama/Hitler posters with the Tea Party in the public eye. This is an unfair association, and it resulted in many of the accusations of racism against the Tea Party.

With that said, some of the liberal critics of the Tea Party have acknowledged that overt racists comprise a tiny fraction of tea partiers. However, they insist that the Tea Party’s fiscal conservatism itself is a means of subtle racism. Since heavy spending cuts will require government to lower welfare spending and significantly change entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, critics believe that tea partiers want to balance the federal government’s budget on the backs of the poor, particularly African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Instead, they would rather slash the defense budget and enact something along the lines of the Buffett rule to raise taxes on the wealthy.

However, these “solutions” aren’t really practical means of reining in the deficit and debt. The Buffett rule would raise less than $50 billion over the next decade, which is a drop in the bucket compared to our annual trillion-dollar deficits. As for the defense budget, it’s indeed very large. Many tea partiers believe that there’s ample room to cut the defense budget, but defense cuts alone won’t make up for annual trillion-dollar deficits, either.

Besides, the defense budget has remained relatively stable over time, particularly as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. The coming debt crisis is a result of enormous growth in entitlement spending, particularly Medicare and Medicaid. In order to seriously address the deficit and debt, we must focus on reforming entitlement programs.

Consider this from another angle: If we don’t reform entitlements and bring the deficit and debt under control now, then the federal government will go bankrupt before long. Think about the harsh austerity Greece is undergoing today, and that’s with bailouts by the European Union. If the United States goes bankrupt, who bails us out? Who could, and who would? It’s better for us to accept painful cuts now than devastating cuts later.

And what if we tried to use the printing press to escape the debt crisis? Massive money printing would rapidly lead to serious inflation, if not hyperinflation. Inflation is a de facto hidden tax on the poor, and it would cause widespread economic devastation as well, which would harm the poor and the middle-class more than the wealthy. Taxes on the rich, defense cuts, and money printing will do little to help us avert national bankruptcy. Only serious spending cuts and entitlement reform can prevent it, and the Tea Party understand that.

The Tea Party isn’t a racist movement. It’s time for the media and for the left to acknowledge that and to stop using the label of “racism” as a crutch to dismiss opposing views.  It’s time for them to deal with the political philosophy and the ideas of conservatives and the Tea Party movement on their own merits.

About Daniel Anderson

I am a 21 year old Michigan native completing the final year of my undergraduate education at Hillsdale College. I tend to categorize my political philosophy as "constitutional conservatism." I also advocate free-market economics.
This entry was posted in Deficit and Debt, Politics, Social Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Tea Party Is Not Racist

  1. Pechorin says:

    When the rich pursue their political interests it’s called “lobbying.”
    When non-whites pursue their political interests it’s called “civil rights.”
    When the white working and middle classes pursue their political interests (as in the tea party) it’s called “white supremacy.”

    The people who say they are “anti-racist” are really just anti-white. Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

    • danjanderson says:

      I strongly disagree. There ARE actual racists out there and they ARE wrong. Being anti-racist isn’t being “anti-white.” I don’t believe in any form of racial supremacy or racism, and neither does the vast, vast majority of the Tea Party. The Tea Party is more than “the white working and middle classes.”

      • Pechorin says:

        It’s a statement about how words are used in the real world. Being anti-racist might not mean being anti-white, but the people who organize themselves under the label “anti-racist” certainly are anti-white. That’s why I say it’s a codeword. Anti-racist doesn’t literally mean anti white, but it’s used by people who are anti-white as a a euphimistic codeword.

        They expect whites and only whites to refrain from promoting their interests (imagine what they’d say to an NAAWP), while every other racial group is encouraged to promote theirs. They expect white countries and only white countries to accept mass non-white immigration (and call anyone who objects a racist), while they never complain about how asian countries or black countries don’t allow this kind of immigration. This is a formula for white genocide – of course it’s anti-white.

        Caring about your race isn’t “racial supremacy or racism,” it’s ordinary and accepted behavior – for everyone EXCEPT whites.

  2. Kevpatriot007 says:

    I hoped to see thousands of responces about alot of topics . While i am glad there are places like Freedom Works concerning America . There are not nearly enough people up and about there countries business . This explains the condition our country is in today . It truly is sad to see America fade away . Do i believe Tea Pary as “white people being racist” No i do not , This is just a label our Government uses to surpress them .
    There not just white,black,yelow or brown.There Americans who see our Nation being torn to shreads by buerocrats and corrupt people in ALL Judicial Branches of Government .
    The immigration flood gates remain open to further disolve the American cornerstone .The very laws and bills they pass are proof of this .We are to believe that finacially our country is in dire straits(terrible, awful, appalling, dreadful, abysmal, frightful) . Yet there solution is to inject more people that do not speak english , no nothing about America , have no intrest in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (cant read it anyway) .Allow ethnic religious groups that dispise America take over cities and towns .All this to improve our country ! Any American can see this as detrimental(can you see it ?do you know that it is in fact happening!) and it will show itself as a Beast in do time . All this done by OUR Government.
    There is only one way for America to pull out of this suicide course brought to you by U.S.Government and that is to clean all the Crooked Politicians in all branches of Government out.
    From your Local Town,State and Federal Level up and to the Supreme Court .Those who do not uphold and Inforce the laws of our land Documented and True.”For All to see “Including immigration laws are Treasonist acts and should be treated as such .
    America its time to rebuild your States , vote out these traitors.America Its time to rebuild DC , vote out these traitors.Do you here them speaking for America ? I do not ! Is there none loyal to this Country ? Then Stand and be counted !

    • danjanderson says:

      Just to address one of your points, I don’t have a problem with immigration. I believe that we ought to do what we feasibly can to reduce illegal immigration (since it’s, y’know, illegal), but we should continue to encourage legal immigration to America. Immigrants are an essential part of America.

  3. kevpatriot007 says:

    I to do not apose immigration . The standards that are in place are for a reason .You not only create an unstable community who know nothing about being American much less speak english.
    Those americans who went through our immigration process durring my early years worked hard and learned of our country they are a credit to its cause.And they pledged allegiance to it and the Constitution of the United States .I know of these people i grew up with these people . They are Americans .Even today they will tell me of the dangers they see building in our Nation and they are LEGAL Americans .Yet our flood gates remain open to every form of corrupt people hell bent on destroying it .If you fail to see that , you are as blind as your government wants you to be . Our Government is the cause of it . “A Nation Divided Can Not Stand ” yet it is being divided as we speak .A simple quote the speaks very loud .
    Have you seen or heard the warning sighns? You will not see it on Your regular TV stations .
    Go to Dearborn Michigan and speak freely of the Constitution and Bill of Rights .

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