Is the Klan the Tea Party's Distant Cousin?

While Tea Partiers aren't Klansmen, the movement draws from similar threads in American life, Jamelle Bouie writes in a blog entry at the Nation.

Tea Party rally

In a blog entry at the Nation, Jamelle Bouie checks in on the debate surrounding historian Kevin Boyle's New York Times reviews of two books on the Ku Klux Klan. Contrary to claims by critics, Bouie argues that Boyle doesn't call Tea Partiers Klansmen; he merely states that they are motivated by the same reactionary forces.

Writing at the New York Times, historian Kevin Boyle has created something of a stir with his review of two recent books on the Ku Klux Klan. Here is the lede of the piece, which also doubles as the offending passage:

Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.

No, not that movement.

Naturally, this inspired a torrent of criticism from right-wing blogs and pundits. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg attacks the review as “lame” and complains that Boyle failed to mention the Klan’s ties to Democrats and Progressives (as if either group was the same in the 1920s), while the right-wing Media Research Center described the review as offensive. The Weekly Standard takes Goldberg’s approach, and points its readers toward proof that Democrats and Progressives were the real allies of the Klan.

Read Jamelle Bouie's entire blog entry at the Nation.

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