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Carrying the pale forward, and going beyond it again.

Mark Williams, a radio personality, talking head, and tea-partyist, had made what may charitably be characterized as 'controversial' statements before stepping into the realm of satire on July 14.  After the NAACP passed a resolution condemning racist elements and acceptance of them within the Tea Party movement, Williams complained about the organization's supposed hypocrisy on NPR, CNN, and finally his own website, where he produced a gleefully racist letter purportedly written by NAACP President, Ben Jealous, to Abe Lincoln.  Among other things, it demanded the withdrawal of the 13th and 14th Amendments, and the return of slavery.  Within two days, it was taken down, and replaced by a non-apology denouncing racism, declaring the NAACP's title racist, saying his earlier satire was only condemned for its use of the term 'colored people', and, of course, calling for a healthy and open discourse on such matters.  Because Mark's such a good guy, he even offered to buy Ben Jealous a couple beers.

These sorts of antics can be seen to have worked out well for the tea party, so long as you believe 'no press is bad press'--which, in their case, it might not be.  In the age of infotainment, the media is happy to have jesters, and the Tea Party is often pleased to entertain.  What's more, those outlets which wish to retain some credibility as offering disinterested journalism are pressured by the right to avoid really going after these types, lest they be characterized as liberal and biased--or, worse, pressed to no longer rely on commentary from crazy talking heads like Mark.  Thus criticism of the really fringe-like actions of right wingers comes largely from the left, and therefore seems more liberal and "out of the mainstream".

Williams' original screed garnered him attention.  In a clever bait-and-switch, the present entry (at the same location) almost seems reasonable, and even cordial.  Having staked out new ground, Mark has found a way to make it look far less troubling than it actually is, and has thus paved the way for going yet further along that crazy road so often trod by American racists and bigots.

Go, man, go!

 Addendum July19

Apparently, the bait-and-switch wasn't clever enough for some, or maybe the pressure brought by the NAACP is having some effect.  Yesterday, Mark was expelled from the Tea Party Federation "because of the letter he wrote."  However, he remains a part of the Tea Party Express.  There are a lot of tea parties.


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