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Why has wild man Mark Williams become a top leader of the Tea Party movement?

13 June 2010

Summary:  How has Mark Williams become one of the top leaders of the Tea Party movement while being despised by many of its leaders?  My guess:  because many or most of the TP supporters share his views. 

  1. Tea Party Hates Tea Party Leader“, Alex Brant-Zawadzki, Huffington Post, 5 May 2010
  2. Take a Ride on the Tea Party Express“, Chris Good, blog of The Atlantic, 8 June 2010

Excerpts

(1)  Tea Party Hates Tea Party Leader“, Alex Brant-Zawadzki, Huffington Post, 5 May 2010 — Excerpt:

Mark Williams has a problem.

Williams is chairman of Tea Party Express, a leading organization in the Tea Party movement. The Express is operated by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, which is run out of the offices of Russo Marsh & Rogers, a Republican-affiliated strategy firm. Sal Russo, OCBD’s chief strategist, has been a Republican strategist since Ronald Reagan’s 1966 gubernatorial campaign. Even though other Tea Party groups consider the Express an Astroturf organzation, implying that it has corporate backers and lacks grass-roots support, it has organized three successful cross-country bus tours to oppose the policies of the Obama administration.

These tours garnered heavy media attention from Fox News and, eventually, CNN, and its most recent tour featured two appearances by Sarah Palin, one of which was dubbed the Conservative Woodstock. Sounds good. So what’s the problem?

The problem, according to the rest of the Tea Party movement, is Mark Williams.

Williams has referred to President Obama as a Nazi, a half-white racist, a half-black racist and an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare fraud. In turn, much of the Tea Party movement has referred to Williams as a racist, a bigot, amoral, lacking any semblance of a conscience, deceitful, selfish, conniving, the Michael Steele of the Tea Party and, perhaps worst of all, a liberal.

Williams hasn’t done much to help his image. Far from it. In May of 1997, he told an Idaho newspaper that his job in talk radio was “to make people listen so the ad people can charge advertisers a lot of money so I won’t have to kill my own food or lift anything heavy.”

The very next month he told the Albany Times Union, “What I do better than most is figure out which way the parade is marching, dash to the front and say, ‘Follow me.’ Nobody wants to listen to me rant and rave, they want to hear some kind of conflict.” …

(2)  Take a Ride on the Tea Party Express“, Chris Good, blog of The Atlantic, 8 June 2010 — Excerpt:

On a Saturday in late March, 8,000 Tea Partiers gathered as wind whipped across the open Nevada desert, milling around their RVs, sitting in camping chairs and waving signs.  They had assembled in Searchlight, the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to voice their displeasure with the new Democratic regime in Washington and to receive some encouragement from Sarah Palin, who would rally the crowd, her speech notes flapping in the wind.

The Searchlight rally would mark a turning point in the burgeoning Tea Party movement. It would be Palin’s second-ever appearance at a Tea Party event, an appearance for which she would not be paid, despite her rumored speaking fee of $100,000 (discounted to $75,000 if held on the West Coast).  And it would mark the true ascension of a rising political group–the California-based Tea Party Express–which put on the rally to launch its third Tea Party-themed bus tour, a trip that would take it across 28 states, from the southwest desert through the great plains and up along the Great Lakes to New England, then down the eastern seaboard to Washington, DC for a rally on Tax Day, April 15.

By the end of the tour, Tea Party Express would generate valuable coverage on Fox News and other cable outlets, and it would cement its position as one of the most influential organizations attached to the Tea Party movement–a conduit for energy, money, and support that can make or break candidates for federal office. 

Coincidentally, it is Sarah Palin’s Tea Party group of choice. To date, the former governor has spoken at only three events organized by national Tea Party groups: two Tea Party Express rallies and the Nashville convention put on in February by a group called Tea Party Nation. While Palin charges everyone else for her speaking appearances, she does not charge Tea Party Express.

… When Nevada Republicans go to the polls today, it is likely they will choose Angle as the Republican Party’s candidate to unseat the vulnerable Reid, whose seat they have been drooling over for at least a year.  If they do, Angle will largely have Tea Party Express to thank, and the group will have proven that it is a serious contender in electoral politics–the contender, when money is concerned, to emerge from the Tea Party movement. Simply put, it will have made a Senate candidate. It will be a legitimate player, not just in the Tea Party, but in the broader political scene.

It’s worth getting to know this group as it ascends on the national scene. And there’s plenty to know. … For instance: its chairman, Mark Williams, does not like Muslims. At all.

Williams is a Sacramento-based talk radio host, having hosted shows in Sacramento and San Diego, and while he does not appear to be working as such at the moment, he maintains a website with a blog and radio clips.  In a post to that blog in May, Williams responded to news that the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative planed to build a community center and mosque near the former World Trade Center. His commentary was…well, it was a blanket indictment of Muslims, in the most graphic and explicit terms: …

The animals of allah for whom any day is a great day for a massacre are drooling over the positive response that they are getting from New York City officials over a proposal to build a 13 story monument to the 9/11 Muslims who hijacked those 4 airliners.  The monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of their monkey-god and a “cultural center” for to propagandize for the extermination of all things not approved by their cult.

He also posted this image, along with a photo of a genital-mutilation victim … The post was briefly password-protected–it could only be viewed by purchasers of Williams’ book, “Taking Back America One Tea Party at a Time” — but it is currently viewable here. …

The rest of the Tea Party movement does not like Mark Williams, and, as a result, some Tea Party leaders refuse to associate with Tea Party Express. Amy Kremer, a former board member of Tea Party Patriots, was forced out of that group because she wanted to continue her relationship with Tea Party Express, which has paid her a few thousand dollars in consulting fees since 2009.

“We stand absolutely in opposition to that kind of behavior, and I think that the great majority of the Tea Party movement would too,” said Mark Meckler, a national co-chairman of Tea Party Patriots, a broad coalition of affiliated local Tea Party groups that says it has 15 million activists under its umbrella. “We want people to understand that that’s not us.”

Posts on the FM website about the Tea Party Movement

  1. Are the new “tea party” protests a grass roots rebellion or agitprop?, 1 March 2009
  2. Our ruling elites scamper and play while our world burns, 11 March 2009
  3. The weak link in America’s political regime, 16 September 2009
  4. More examples of Americans waking up – should we rejoice?, 10 October 2009
  5. Does the Tea Party movement remind you of the movie “Meet John Doe”?, 27 January 2010
  6. Listen to the crowds cheering Sarah Palin, hear the hammerblows of another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 8 February 2010
  7. The Tea Party movement develops a platform. It’s the Underpants Gnomes Business Plan!, 8 March 2010
  8. About the Tea Party Movement: who they are and what they believe, 19 March 2010
  9. The Tea Party Movement disproves my recommendation for the path to reforming America, 20 April 2010
  10. At last we see a Tea Party political platform, 13 May 2010
  11. Kinsley – “My Country, Tis of Me – There’s nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots”, 15 May 2010
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