Tea Party leader expels racist Mark Williams

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won't denounce him. Plus: "What if the Tea Party was black?"

Published July 18, 2010 9:19PM (EDT)

Credit where it's due: Just days after insisting there are no racists in the Tea Party movement, Tea Party Federation leader David Webb told CBS's "Face the Nation" today that Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express had been expelled from the group. Last seen trying to start a sponsors' boycott of MSNBC's "Hardball" because of Chris Matthews's tough reporting on the Tea Party, Webb was apparently appalled by Williams's blatantly racist Letter to President Lincoln from "Colored People" signed by "Precious Ben Jealous," asking Lincoln to repeal emancipation because "coloreds" had it better under slavery, not having to look for a job and such. Webb called the letter "offensive."

You know what's sad, though? On CNN, also this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn't even muster the judgment that Webb showed. "I am not interested in getting into that debate," McConnell told Candy Crowley. What a wuss. Remember that the next time someone tries to tell you the GOP is the party of Lincoln.

Also on Sunday, Sarah Palin on Twitter asked "peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" plans for a Ground Zero mosque. In her next Tweet, she changed that to "refute." No mention of Williams. Also on Twitter, I made an offer to Palin: I will refudiate (or refute or denounce or call them icky) the New Black Panther Party, if she will do the same to Williams. No word yet.

Finally, I sent this video around Friday night. You may already have seen it. A lot of people, including author Tim Wise, have asked the interesting question: What if the Tea Party was black? At minimum, it's pretty clear that its gun-toting and violent rhetoric against the president would probably not be going over terribly well, especially with law enforcement (think the Old Black Panthers carrying guns into the State Capitol in Sacramento). It's an interesting argument, but this video puts images and music behind it, and, well, I think it's powerful. Probably not going to change the minds of hardened Tea Partiers or Obama haters, but it should find a wider audience:


By Joan Walsh

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Race Tea Parties