The text’s not online yet but it sounds like they scaled back the accusation from the entire movement to simply certain unspecified people within it. Which is the safe route, of course. Smearing everyone would go too far even by the standards of some liberals, including The One. (Remember when he distinguished between a “core group” of crank-ish tea partiers and more principled members who have legitimate ideological differences?) Focusing on an unnamed number of racists and then demanding that the rest of the tea party formally denounce them — as though TP leaders, some of them minorities themselves, haven’t done that whenever the media’s chased them down for a quote when working on stories in this vein — is much shrewder politically, as it lets lefties continue to play the “six degrees of Heinrich Himmler” guilt-by-association game whenever some moron with a racist sign pops up at a tea-party rally. Mission accomplished:
Late this afternoon the NAACP passed a resolution calling on all people — including tea party leaders — to condemn racism within the tea party movement.
Passed on the fourth day of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s annual convention in Kansas City, the resolution also urged people to oppose what it said was the tea party’s drive “to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era.”…
Delegates said they wanted to make it clear, however, that the resolution wasn’t indicting the entire tea party movement as racist.
Unless it’s a nod to the Rand Paul kerfuffle over the 1964 Civil Rights Act — which Paul has since repeatedly said he’d have voted for — I’m not sure which tea-party policies that boldfaced bit is aimed at. Maybe spending cuts qualify as racist now too? In any case, Philip Klein of AmSpec was watching the debate over the resolution on the NAACP’s website and managed to jot down a few excerpts from the working draft — before the transmission was suddenly cut. Apparently the process was supposed to be closed to the media but someone forgot to turn off the cameras; thank goodness they managed to shut out the public before someone saw something politically inconvenient. Klein did catch a line from the draft accusing tea partiers of being a “threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all,” but no word yet if that made it into the final resolution.
Rather than give you the clip of Chris Matthews interviewing the NAACP’s president tonight on “Hardball,” which was as predictable as you’d expect, here’s the slightly less predictable tete-a-tete this afternoon on Fox between an NAACP chapter head and a leader of the Dallas tea party. Shelton wants to hear denunciations of malign infiltrators, but go read the St. Louis tea party resolution passed this morning. Two can play at that game.