"TOCQUEVILLEAN ACTIVISM" -- IS THAT WHAT THE KIDS ARE CALLING CROSS-BURNINGS THESE DAYS?
At the Huffington Post, Geoffrey Dunn notes that TeamSarah.org -- a pro-Sarah Palin Web site that's meant to be (or at least seem like) the hub of a grassroots movement -- has hosted some pretty nasty stuff, including racist discussions.
I'm not surprised. Back in October I found TeamSarah hosting this bit of Photoshop:
Dunn cites a prediction of riots "in urban/Obama areas," which brings this response: "Well niggers will occasionally chimp out like this, am I right?" He also cites this exchange:
Wendell: I just can't wait to see the Inaugeral ball... I heard the Presidential Waltz will be replaced by Barack and Michelle "Crumpin".
tami I am sure michelle will dance like a horse
Wendell: followed by the new cabinet break dancing...
Christopher: Not trying to get too racial, but I have never met a black woman who could not dance.
tommykb3grz: the 4th of july watermellon roll on the south lawn
Wendell: a 4-inch diameter Presidential Seal in gold hanging from Obama's neck
(This exchange goes on for a bit. Dunn found it at the Alaska Dispatch, which has a fuller version, if you really want to read it.)
In response to this, The American Spectator's Robert Stacy McCain harrumphs on his blog:
Naturally, a HuffPo blogger finds a reason to scream "racism" at Team Sarah.
Yeah, those silly liberals -- always screaming "racism" when there are actual racists around.
McCain thinks TeamSarah is the bee's knees -- "the sort of spontaneous Tocquevillean activism that the conservative movement has been woefully lacking lately." He cites a deceitful L.A. Times article that makes the whole thing seem like the work of a few ordinary Moms:
Across Shannon McGinley's hometown of Bedford, N.H., this fall, women were talking about politics.
At school gatherings and Bible study groups, women who had never followed political affairs were talking about a woman like them -- a conservative mother trying to balance family and career.
It started when the Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate....
TeamSarah.org -- boasting more than 60,000 members and hoping to top 100,000 by Inauguration Day -- was started in part by a mother of five, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an antiabortion group that promotes the involvement of women in politics. She and Jane Abraham, chairwoman of the group's board, started the site as a place for followers to network and promote Palin.
The website grew quickly, the organizers said, with membership increasing after each burst of critical news coverage of the controversial Republican running mate from Alaska. On the site, members created profiles, browsed blog postings, found volunteer activities and met other supporters....
I think the response is genuine and spontaneous (I actually agree with R.S. McCain that no one else in the GOP inspires voters the way Palin does, if, um, "inspires" is the right word) -- but, no, the organization isn't. As I noted back in October, TeamSarah is an offshoot of a right-wing group called the Susan B. Anthony List, which is extremely well connected. Here's Mitt Romney raising $100,000 for the group back in June, at a fundraiser attended by
more than 100 people, including Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Jean Schmidt, Virginia Foxx, Marilyn Musgrave, Steve Roskam, Gary Bauer, Liz Cheney, Mary Cheney and Will Ritter.
The co-chair of the SBA List's executive committee is Barbara Comstock, who led the Scooter Libby defense fund and, prior to that,
served as "chief investigator" for Rep. Dan Burton, the wigged-out Indiana congressman who once executed a watermelon to demonstrate his sinister theory concerning the fate of Vince Foster, the White House counsel who committed suicide in 1993. During those glory years, she joined David Brock and the rest of the Republican pack in the hunting of Bill and Hillary Clinton. In his memoir, "Blinded by the Right," Brock described Comstock as almost unhinged in her passion to bring down the Clintons.
Comstock calmed down enough to serve as director of public affairs in John Ashcroft's Justice Department, to run opposition research for the Republican National Committee and, ultimately, after leaving government, to join the powerhouse lobbying firm of Blank Rome, best known for its huge contributions to the Republican Party, its close association with former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and other Bush appointees, and its lucky clientele of DHS contractors.
And the executive committee includes Bill Kristol and a lot of GOP congressmen's wives. (A few of the names: Istook, Pence, Bunning, and Tiahrt.)
As I said in October, you'd think a slick operation like this could do a better job of policing the worst of the knuckle-draggers on the site.