Debating Daily Kos: Is the Tea Party Violent?

Last week, thanks to a last minute shuffle I found myself debating Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, aka Kos of Daily Kos, on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show. WNYC has posted the debate here. I encourage everyone to listen to it. It gives listeners a useful look into the mind behind the hivemind that's leading the left's so-called Netroots. They're the online activists who have to a great extent been pulling the Democratic Party farther and farther to the left over the past few years.

Kos, it turns out, is a spectacularly ill-informed individual. Either that, or he's just a bald-faced liar. For now, I'll go with "spectacularly ill-informed." In his pre-show post, Kos badly misplaces the incident in which a deranged man flew a plane into an IRS building by a long shot, moving it from Austin (where it really happened) to Dallas. He's only off by about 195 miles.  And Kos also mistakes the man for a righty Tea Party activist. Wrong again.

In the debate, Kos went with a theme that the Tea Party is violent but being more or less tamed by going mainstream. As evidence, Kos proffered the aforementioned Austin plane crasher, whom he didn't bother to name let alone attempt to describe factually or fairly. Kos also offered grand, sweeping statements about folks stocking up on ammo and committing unnamed acts of violence against unnamed non-Tea Party individuals.

So let's get the Austin plane crasher out of the way. His name was Joseph Andrew Stack, and his manifesto shows that he was a very frustrated individual who wasn't purely on the political right or left. He was slightly to the left but mostly just crazy. He was anti-tax, but also anti-Catholic Church and anti-big business, and had evidently gotten himself into legal trouble here and there.  To hold him out as an example of a Tea Partier as Kos does shows either rank dishonesty or a lack of familiarity with the facts.

Likewise, Kos' sweeping statements that the Tea Party carries with it an undercurrent of violence just don't hold up. He cites a Time magazine story and touts the Obama administration's misguided and controversial monitoring of Tea Partiers and returning veterans, but otherwise offers no specifics.  I'll offer some, but they don't agree with his premise.