Jason Capehart: A Scary Tea Party Looks Like Right-Wing Extremists in the 1990s





Republicans looking to harness the grassroots energy of the Tea Party movement are playing with a raging fire....

We've been down this road before. In the 1990s, there was lots of talk about the excesses of government power, a U.N.-run New World Order and black helicopters on which the federal government would swoop in to take away Americans' freedom and money. Two deadly confrontations with federal authorities -- in Ruby Ridge, Idaho (1992) with white supremacist Randy Weaver and in Waco, Texas (1993) -- stoked the conspiracy theories that fueled the animus within the militia movement. The distrust and seething hatred of the federal government took murderous form on April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh with an assist from Terry Nichols used the Waco anniversary to detonate a 4,800-pound truck bomb, destroying the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and killing 168 people and injuring 500 others....

"What we're seeing is tremendously similar to what we saw in the 1990's," said Mark Potok of the SPLC when I spoke with him yesterday. "The movement is shot through with the conspiracy theories and fears of the militia movement." He was quick to note that not everyone in the Tea Party movement subscribed to the radical and extremist views espoused by some of the groups in that decentralized coalition. But, Potok said, "There is no question that ideas from the Patriot movement have been adopted by the Tea Party movement."...

Republican leaders winked and nodded at the anti-government paranoia of the militia movement back then. They must not repeat that mistake this time. There are legitimate concerns being expressed by many in the Tea Party movement. But the GOP should not let its quest for returning to the majority stop them from forcefully condemning the radical forces taking hold on its right flank.



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LB Samms - 3/26/2010

Here is a someone who hasn't a clue who the people are who attend tea party rallies, because he has never attended one, never talked with those who do, and lets the media think for him. His conservative sterotypes are hateful nonsense.

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