Protesters Clash at the RNC

April 2nd, 2010 at 1:08 pm | 11 Comments |

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Yesterday afternoon, approximately forty protesters assembled in front of the Republican National Committee offices in Washington to ask Republican leadership to denounce the “bigotry and hatred that have been ongoing and significant characteristics of the Tea Party.”

The demonstration was crashed by two Young Americans for Freedom counter-protesters, who interrupted the press conference several times, and tried to push their way into the area behind the speaker.

Speaking at the rally, ColorofChange spokesperson Dani McClain laid out the goals of the protest:

“We’re here to ask Republican leadership to tell those who embrace these divisive and un-American beliefs that they have no place in the Republican Party… We also ask that these leaders make it clear that the fear-mongering and coded appeals to racism that have stoked this atmosphere will not be tolerated.”

McClain pointed out several cases of what she termed “fear-mongering and violent rhetoric,” including when Sarah Palin told reporters that the Tea Partiers shouldn’t “retreat, [but] instead reload”; and when Chairman Steele said that conservatives should “start getting Nancy [Pelosi] ready for the firing line this November.”

“This rhetoric has real effects, and it destroys the possible for rational debate and disagreement; and it can lead to violence,” said McClain.

Asked by FrumForum whether she’s taking Tea Party rhetoric too literally, McClain replied:

“We saw real violence happening this week. We saw death threats made against Louise Slaughter’s children; I heard some of the death threats left on Representative Bart Stupak’s office; bricks thrown through windows… it’s not just words, it’s not just hyperbole [or something] where we can give it a pass. It has a real impact.”

Doug Heyes, a Republican National Committee spokesman, told FrumForum that “voters have a right to be angry. Unfortunately, some have chosen to engage in language and actions that go too far,” pointing out that RNC Chairman Michael Steele has denounced overheated rhetoric several times before, including this statement on March 25:

“Americans across the country are understandably angered and disappointed that Democrats put politics above the interest of their constituents and the economy. But resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message.”

The rally, organized by Moveon.org and ColorofChange, was interrupted several times by a counter-protester from Young Americans for Freedom, Jordan Marks. Marks attempted to wedge his way onto the backdrop behind the speaker, and interrupted the speaker with heckles several times.

Afterwards, FrumForum asked the counter-demonstrators why they were protesting. “When you use race to politicize an issue to make a group … look bad, you are racist yourself,” said Jordan Marks who is the Executive Director of Young Americans for Freedom.


WATCH: Counter-protester Jordan Marks try to explain his sign, which reads ‘Race-Baiting = Racism. Be Ashamed!’


The Young Americans for Freedom protesters were a caricature of everything that we hope is untrue of Tea Party protesters: the two YAF representatives were disruptive, angry and insolent.

Asked if the rhetoric on both sides had gotten overheated, Marks said: “I think it has, but I don’t think the Republican Congressmen at those [tea party] rallies got out and race-baited.”


WATCH: Counter-protester Jordan Marks yell over ColorofChange spokesperson Dani McClain.


“They’re misinterpreting what we’re saying,” said MoveOn.org volunteer Patrick Robinson. “We’re against violence and racism of any kind. We’re not saying that Tea Partiers don’t have the right to assemble… we are here because there has been a lot more violence and racism coming from the Tea Parties.”

“He was really rude for being so disrespectful, in my opinion. He shouldn’t have come between the press conference like he did… I believe he does represent the right. Why do you think he interrupted a speech like this?” said Thomas White, an organizer for MoveOn.org, as if being disruptive was a defining feature of the conservative movement.

Sadly, reporters paid far more attention to those who interrupted the rally than those who were staging it. Soon after the YAF counter-protester tried to crash the stage, he found a willing audience in six reporters and cameramen who left the press conference to speak with him on the side.

Does Young Americans for Freedom represent the conservative movement? No. But when those who cover these events pay attention only to the most dissonant and disrespectful, and conservatives themselves can’t find the courage to self-reflect and self-criticize, one can’t help but forgive people like Thomas White for thinking that, just maybe, we’re all that way.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • rbottoms

    Clearly Republicans have a handle putting a reasonable face on their opposition to Obama’s health care initiatives.

    MIAMI — Doctors take the Hippocratic oath promising to do no harm, but once that requirement is fulfilled do they have a right to choose patients based on politics?

    One Republican urologist outside Orlando has stirred up a tempest by suggesting exactly that. A sign hanging this week in the office of Dr. Jack Cassell, 56, clearly states a preference for patients who agree with his opposition to the president, and the recently passed health care overhaul.

    “If you voted for Obama,” says the taped-up sign, “seek urologic care elsewhere. Changes to your healthcare begin right now. Not in four years.”

    Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the partisan rancor surrounding health care found its way into patient care. Civil rights law prevents discrimination based on sex, gender, or religion, but experts say that political differences are not specifically protected — consider it a pre-existing condition that can still be used for patient filtering.

    The logic for some, especially here in contentious swing states like Florida, seems to be simple: Stand up and stay separated. If states, counties or towns can be red and blue, Republican and Democratic, why not everyplace else within those areas? Why not make sure that even in doctors’ offices people can feel secure in knowing they are sharing space with those who are share their views?

    Dr. Cassell, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, insisted that he would not turn anyone away. “That would be unethical,” he said. But he added that he would not mind if Democrats saw the sign and found another doctor. His wife is a Republican candidate for the local county commission, so perhaps his efforts are an example of strong spousal support and smart politics.

    I think Mrs. Cassell will be putting Mr. Cassell on couch for a few weeks.

    Way to go GOP.

  • fiddystorms

    Once the press starts doing their job, this will all be over. This was so simple to link together, even a race baiting neo-comm could put this together. When these Communists apologize for the only verifiable acts of violence and racism, then we’ll consider an apology for the 1st time that we act violently. Until then, enjoy the disingenuous, self righteous, hypocrisy of the neo-comms.

    On 8/6/09 5:11 PM EST as reported by Politico, headline:

    White House to Democrats: ‘Punch back twice as hard’

    Hours later, Kenneth Gladney, a black man, was beaten by 3 Democrats. SEIU members incited by the Obama administration. Mr. Gladney, a diabetic, was beaten until his injuries caused his hospitalization. While they beat him, they screamed the N word at him repeatedly. Google it, you can watch the video.

    Why? Because he was black and Democrats have a very long history of racism. In fact, the Democrat party slogan was “This is a white man’s country: Let white men rule” for a time. They are disgusted when they see a black American independent of their legislated slavery through entitlement programs.

    Why did the media ignore it? Because he is part of the tea party and that doesn’t fit their agenda. This is as basic as it gets.

    If you do not have the intellectual curiosity to question why this isn’t played over and over and over again, and at the same time question the administration why they are inciting people to violence against a peaceful movement, then you are depraved and devoid of fair-mindedness. We all know this is nothing more than a tactic, a game to you. These organizations and those who support their Socialist cause truly do not believe any such events transpired, but you are willing to accuse they did.

    There is no lower form of life. You are the equal of a child molester and you betray the spirit of humanity you so espouse to be the very essence of. Your cause is the enslavement of men, just as it was from the beginning of this Country. Republicans and conservatives of all stripes will lead the way once again to abolish your collectivist dreams of total dependence on an all powerful central government. The needs of the recipient do not outweigh the rights of the provider.

  • mpolito

    I condemn racism and violence, let me make that clear. But this is such a tiny number of people that I shall not permit the implication these Democrats and liberals want to come to fruition.

    Dissent stopped being patriotic as soon as Obama became President. I do not approve of calling anti-war protestors unpatriotic or anti-America; I would only call someone unpatriotic or anti-American if they clearly acted in such a way (e.g. Noam Chomsky, who disparages the Constitution). But the Democrats are doing this intentionally in order to dismiss all Republican opposition to Obama as racist. This is a tool of political correctness that is designed to squash speech. The Democrats also have a short memory. The hatred for George W. Bush was so comprehensive and extraordinary, and so much more pervasive, that the double-standard is appalling.

  • mymy

    Why did you waste your time going to a protest that had 40 people?

  • DFL

    It’s not like Weimar Germany, circa 1930, when roving bands of communists and nazis assaulted each other in the streets. Perhaps when implosion hits in 2030.

  • TerryF98

    fiddystorms // Apr 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Great parody mate, kudos to you on a superb job. Well done. I enjoyed it.

  • TerryF98

    “mymy // Apr 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Why did you waste your time going to a protest that had 40 people?”

    If this had been a teabagger protest, Jesus would have turned them into 40,000 according to Fox.

  • Go Dog Go!

    The current rhetorical violence in the “Tea Party” is a serious problem: The common criticism of Muslim societies in the middle east, is that they do they not protest or voice opposition to the terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam.

    Why, then, do *thinking* conservatives not voice their disgust at the behavior permeating the Republican Party? The excuse-making for the threats? The blame-shifting for spitting on black Congressmen? Our own Representatives are yelling and goading on protesters IN the House Chambers itself?

    Moderate conservatives MUST denounce this behavior totally, and return this party to its senses and its sensibilities.

  • jummy2

    the videographer really wants and answer to his question of how any one could perceive a racial angle being asserted by a group who’s NAME is “COLOR of change”.

    in fact, the question, stupid on it’s face, is issued with the purpose of race-baiting the protester, by making it seem as if he has race on the brain appropos of nothing.

    it is offered in the same “when did you stop beating your wife” vein as the display organized by color of change itself.

  • jummy2

    let’s make this clear:

    1) it was alleged that tea party activists berated black lawmakers with racial and homophobic epithets. video documentation has been produced which demonstrate that this allegation is false. it didn’t happen.

    2) it was alleged that a tea party activists spit on a black lawmaker and was arrested for assault. again in this case, video documentation has been produced which demonstrates that this allegation is false. it didn’t happen.

    3) there has been no single instance of violence at a tea party demonstration. to this i must add the caveat that there have been instances of progressive counter-protesters being violent. for instance, in the case of the mob beating of kenneth gladstone by union thugs who were mobilized from the office of the president’s chief of staff.

    i would love to let this be a forum to hash this issue out. i would invite people like go dog go and tim mak to dispute what i’ve written above and offer their own examples for me to respond to.

    in closing, i applaud jordan marks for answering a crass display of plurium interrogationum with means which were more direct and honest than moveon.org or colorofchange seem capable of.

    and watch this fun video to see just how selective and phony this pageantry of affected outrage is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0UIUdDMbeU

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/loadques.html

  • Oomingmuk-Alaska

    40 people? I’ve had more than 40 tourists come thru my dog lot looking for a lost trail! What seems to be the missing point is that although the Patriots we call the Founding Fathers did not want violance initially, it came to them. The conservative thinker in todays America is not “all about violence” and doesn’t want it to come to him. Those that have displayed violence at least to this point, have been some fringe nut jobs.
    I’m having a lot of trouble understanding why:
    1) The Color of Change went to the RNC.
    2)The RNC would do or say anything to control or “denounce” the Tea Party.
    3)The Color of Change thinks that the Tea Party has a central organization that can, or would want to “control it’s members.”
    Don’t wait on the mainstream media to point any of this out…but if someone throws a right hook, maybe they would besmerch the RNC, or “Tea Party,” Astro turf or what ever they are.
    40 people, wow.