In what promises to be yet another attempt to play the race card against the tea party movement, the NAACP teamed up with the little-known Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights on a yet-to-be released study that alleges tea party ties to hate groups. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network who are also involved in tea party activism expect this new report will be long on claims and short on facts.
“Every other attack against the tea parties failed, so it’s back to square one for the NAACP,” said Project 21’s Kevin Martin, a tea party activist in the Washington, D.C. area. “Their convention resolution blew up in their face. Their ‘Tea Party Tracker’ web site fizzled. If this study follows the trend, don’t expect much. Has anyone told NAACP president Ben Jealous that it’s three strikes and you’re out?”
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Politico reports the NAACP claims its report will address “various associations between tea party organizations and acknowledged hate groups in the United States.” It is said to claim tea party groups are “permeated with concerns about race and national identity” and have “given platforms to anti-Semites, racists and bigots.”
“Based on their past allegations about the tea parties, I expect the NAACP’s newest attack will once again be riddled with stupid and baseless accusations. They are continuing to be the ‘squeaky wheel’ that demands attention and hopes that enough screaming will make their myths into fact,” said Project 21’s Emery McClendon, a tea party organizer in northern Indiana. “I hope the NAACP’s ‘research’ receives the scrutiny it deserves.”
Leaks of the unreleased report’s allegations already are meeting bipartisan skepticism. On “Meet the Press” this past Sunday, anchor David Gregory brought up the allegations made by the report during an interview with incumbent Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D) and his Republican challenger, Ken Buck. Buck said: “I’ve been to over 800 events in Colorado in, in the last 20 months. I have not seen that. And, and I find it offensive that folks would try to label the tea party in that way.” Senator Bennet concurred, adding, “I haven’t seen a lot of that either.”
“The NAACP’s feigned concern about hate groups infiltrating the tea party movement is a plain, simple and pathetic attempt at gotcha politics,” said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie, who has spoken at tea party events in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. “This study serves only one purpose: to discredit and demonize their opposition and preserve their tenuous grip on power.”