Ellison: Tea Party Has 'Destroyed the Republican Party and Use It Only in Name'
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) unleashed on the Tea Party while promoting his new book, saying the movement has "destroyed the Republican Party and use it only in name."
"It's often said this is not your father's or grandfather's Republican Party. It's not even the Republican Party of five years ago. These folks have gone Tea Party over the edge and they're obsessive. They're extremists," Ellison said on MSNBC, blaming the Tea Party wing for a "do-nothing" session of Congress.
"We've only passed about 60 bills. Most of them are suspensions, post office namings and a few of them have been bills to simply reopen the government after they shut it down," he said. "Skip things like immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, unemployment insurance. Those critical issues, they're not going anywhere near them."
On the minimum wage, Ellison predicted, "We may end up getting them to capitulate and agree to do what's right for the American people."
"Here's the thing. If you talk to Republicans on the sidelines, in the different places that we can talk informally, many of them are not all the way for this extremism. Now, I'm not saying that they're ready to join the Progressive Caucus or anything, but the fact is that, you know, there is a hard core ideological crew that other people get swept away with because they fear a primary from their right," he continued.
"That is one of the problems. I'm waiting on those Republicans who, you know, remember Eisenhower, who remember Dole, who remember people like even Reagan and Bush. I'm looking for those guys to reassert themselves. They have been buffaloed and corralled by the extreme. And that's a sad thing."
Ellison's new book, My Country 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, My Future, talks about being the first Muslim elected to Congress.
He was asked about Dave Agema, a Michigan member of the Republican National Committee who reposted a comment asking, "Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?"
"Well, you know, my 19-year-old son is active duty, a member of the United States military. We're very proud of that. He's a Muslim. He loves his country. And I think Mr. Agema owes him and about 6,000 other Muslims serving in our armed forces an apology," Ellison said. "...In the book, I talk about Salman Hamdani, who was a first responder who ran into the towers site when other Americans were trying to escape the flames of the burning towers because he so loved his fellow countrymen and women. So I mean it's a -- Mr. Agema just doesn't have the facts. He's wrong. But he wants to divide us. He's trying to create scapegoats."
"And he is exactly what's wrong with the modern Republican Party. They need to denounce this guy and reject him. And if they want to talk about conservative ideas on politics and taxes and spending, fine. But this hate stuff has got to go. Herman Cain tried it. Others tried it. They tried to make it part of the Republican brand. Thank God it's -- you know, there are people who, in Dearborn, who are saying no to it."