When you’ve lost MSNBC’s Martin Bashir because even he deems your anti-tea party gesture to be too nonsensical, it might be time to consider another tactic.
On his Friday MSNBC program, Bashir challenged Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson for a fundraising email his campaign sent out with an image likening the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan. The email showed two Klansmen in the background with a burning cross used as the “t” in “tea party.”
“We have some sympathy for your analysis, given that over the last five years, we have witnessed plenty of instances of racial hatred toward the president, whether it’s the revolting Rush Limbaugh, the imbecile Sarah Palin or tea party supporters spewing their hate at various rallies,” Bashir said. “But I have to ask you, how can you possibly compare racist epithets with racist actions of the KKK, which actually led to racist murders?”
Grayson stuck to the claim that violence from the tea party could still be a possibility.
“Well today Martin, the home of discrimination and bigotry in our country and our political system is the tea party in the same way that the home of bigotry and discrimination generations ago was the Ku Klux Klan,” Grayson replied. “I’m pleased that we haven’t gone so far as to see those murders. But the analogy holds to that degree. In fact, we saw it on your own show last week when Larry Klayman exhibited gross racism. We saw it last week when a Confederate flag was waived in front of the White House by tea party fanatics.”
Bashir pushed back against Grayson’s response, reminding him of a real instance of Ku Klux Klan violence and noting that the tea party hasn’t even come close to replicating it.
“I accept what you’re saying, sir,” Bashir said. “But on the night of June 21, 1964, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were lynched by the KKK near Philadelphia, Miss. How many young black and white civil rights workers has the tea party lynched?”
The two continued to debate the merits of Grayson’s fundraising mailer, but at the end of the segment Grayson accused Bashir of collaborating with the tea party for not seeing it the same way that he had.
“The point I’m making to you Martin is if you don’t speak out against it, then in effect, you’re collaborating with it,” Grayson said. “And, in fact, if you give someone like me a hard time for speaking out against it, then maybe you’re collaborating with it.”
Bashir denied he was collaborating with the Klan-obsessed congressman’s completely hypothetical racism.