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Early Morning Swim: Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Racism and the Tea Party Movement

Not a whiff of racism among those Teabaggers.

Almost 30 years ago, Tony Stewart, a civil-rights activist, co-founded the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations in Coeur d’Alene. The task force has campaigned to rid north Idaho of its reputation as a haven for anti-government extremists. Its tactics brought many successes, including a $6.3 million civil judgment that effectively bankrupted Richard Butler’s Aryan Nations.

When the Tea Party uprising gathered force last spring, Stewart saw painfully familiar cultural and rhetorical overtones. Stewart viewed the questions about Obama’s birthplace as a proxy for racism, and he was bothered by the “common message of intolerance for the opposition.”

Branding Obama a tyrant, Stewart said, constructs a logic that could be used to rationalize violence. “When people start wearing guns to rallies, what’s the next thing that happens?” Stewart asked.

The Teabaggers will no doubt whine about this Olbermann segment, but you didn’t hear boos when Tancredo and Farah gave their racist speeches in Nashville — you heard thunderous applause. Why is that?

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