The whole problem with online writers pulling the ‘The Tea Party isn’t racist, Democrats are racists for calling us racist!” routine is that Tea Partiers love to get out there and represent themselves in the blog comments.
And then there’s the real world:
MIAMI — Islam and tea party activism clashed at a raucous meeting Monday night when a group of Broward County Republicans blocked a Muslim activist as a member of the party’s executive committee.
Republicans, who changed their rules to publicly vet Nezar Hamze and then vote on his application by secret ballot, said they didn’t oppose him because he was a Muslim – but because he is associated with the Center for American-Islamic Relations, whose Washington-area affiliate was an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal terrorism indictment.
Hamze, CAIR’s South Florida director, said his local group had nothing to do with the suspect activities in Washington. He said CAIR advocates for civil rights for Muslims, who have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11.
“I’m aligned with Republican values. And I want to serve the party,” Hamze said, who earlier told a reporter that any effort to block him was the result of anti-Islamic “bigotry.”
At times, when he addressed the packed room at the Sheraton Suites in Fort Lauderdale, a few members shouted out among the crowd of about 300.
“Terrorist!” said one man.
This being Republicans, efforts to make things up were quickly instituted:
Aside from questioning his motives, there was also a dispute about how long he had been a Republican. Party Vice Chair Collen Stolberg said Hamze became a registered Republican only since August and that before then he was registered with no party affiliation.
Hamze said that wasn’t true. He said he changed his address in August, but has been a registered Republican for about a decade.
Of the 11 applicants for the party, only Hamze was rejected – the first time anyone in the room could recall that happening in a county where Republicans complain about how outnumbered they are by Democrats.
Prior to deciding the new-member applications, a Republican successfully moved to change party rules and require that applicants say how long they’ve been a Republican and to take five minutes worth of questions for the crowd.
Hamze called it “The Hamze rule.”
How’d he do? “In the end, the Broward Republican Executive Committee voted 11-158 to block him from committee membership.”
Now one could make the point that this is religious discrimination that just happens to be directed at non-whites (which requires ignoring the implications of the Bush torture regime), but it underscores a larger point easily seen when one adds in immigration or gays: discrimination, exclusion, and vilification of the “other” is at the very core of who the modern Republican party is.
As for those Republicans who would like to avoid getting entangled with racist Republicans, maybe they should spend some time confronting and condemning racist Republicans instead of whining and fueling the white resentment further?