Jim Leach, the Republican chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, kicked off his civility tour in New York on March 4 with a speech condemning “divisive tendencies.” Among those singled out for special treatment were Tea Partiers:
This afternoon I visited the New York Historical Society. At its wondrous, NEH-supported exhibition on “Lincoln in New York” I was mesmerized by a portrayal of several citizen movements. Pictured was a 30,000 strong rally of New Yorkers calling themselves “Brooklyn Soporifics” who objected to Lincoln and his anti-slavery stance. Next to it was a picture of a group of like-dressed, brown-suited torch bearers called “Wide Awakes” who were marching the streets of the city in support of Lincoln during the same 1860 campaign.
“It would be unfair to make philosophical analogies to the tea and coffee parties a century and a half later,” Leach says next, essentially making a philosophical analogy.