The Smear Continues

You’d think the Lamestream Media would give it up, but no: they are determined to push the absurd claim that Tea Partiers are “racists.” Never mind that the issues driving the Tea Parties–the constitutional role of the federal government, bailouts and government takeovers, spiraling deficits and out of control spending–self-evidently have nothing to do with race. The smear is the only kind of argument most liberals know, so they press on doggedly.
This time it’s Newsweek, carrying out its new mission as a limited-circulation journal of liberal opinion. (“Limited circulation” isn’t a strategy, of course, it’s an admission of failure.) Newsweek’s headline reads, “Are Tea Partiers Racist?” Note the impeccable logic with which the piece begins:

Ever since the Tea Party phenomenon gathered steam last spring, it has been plagued by charges of racism. Placards at rallies have depicted President Barack Obama as a witch doctor, denounced his supposed plans for “white slavery,” and likened Congress to a slave owner and the taxpayer to a “n—-r.” Opponents have seized on these examples as proof that Tea Partiers are angry white folks who can’t abide having a black president. Supporters, on the other hand, claim that the hateful signs are the work of a small fringe and that they unfairly malign a movement that simply seeks to rein in big government. In the absence of empirical evidence to support either characterization, the debate has essentially deadlocked.

Is the author of the Newsweek piece a child molester? In the absence of empirical evidence either way, apparently it’s 50-50. But don’t worry: the epistemological puzzle has been solved:

Until now, that is. A new survey by the University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality offers fresh insight into the racial attitudes of Tea Party sympathizers. “The data suggests that people who are Tea Party supporters have a higher probability”–25 percent, to be exact–“of being racially resentful than those who are not Tea Party supporters,” says Christopher Parker, who directed the study. “The Tea Party is not just about politics and size of government. The data suggests it may also be about race.”

The Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality is exactly what you think it is. Its “study” is here. It measured whether a respondent was “racially resentful” by whether he agreed or disagreed with propositions like these:
• “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without special favors.”
• “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.”
• “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.”
• “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.”
Tea Partiers were more likely than the general population to agree with propositions 1 and 4 and to disagree with 2 and 3. James Taranto points out some of the obvious problems with the Institute’s reasoning. Most fundamentally, what is proved here is that Tea Partiers are more likely to agree with politically conservative statements than with politically liberal ones. Now, there’s a shock! You could do the same thing, no doubt, with foreign policy.
I would add this: only one of the four statements above is actually “racially resentful.” That is number three, “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.” Yet disagreeing with this statement was scored as racially resentful by the Institute.
This stuff is so transparently silly that it seems like a waste of time to deconstruct it. How long will the liberals continue to beat their heads against this particular wall? Until they think of something more plausible, I suppose.
UPDATE: Roger Simon contemplates the reasons why liberals are driven obsessively to accuse Tea Partiers of “racism.” It has to do with the fact that “contemporary American-style liberalism is in rigor mortis.” Which is to say, it’s dead.

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