The Tea Party might be losing some of its numbers (a recent poll found membership in group among likely voters at a mere 8 percent, a drop from 24 percent in 2010). But no matter how few its supporters or how weak its influence, we're pretty sure we'll always be able to count on those involved in the movement to be enthusiastic about one thing: tacky political t-shirts. Bonus points if they involve President Obama. Guaranteed hit if they invoke racist imagery, too.
As recently as this weekend, a T-shirt featuring Barack Obama dressed as a "witch doctor" — complete with a bone through the president's nose — was reportedly quite the hit at the South Carolina Tea Party convention in Myrtle Beach, according to its creator, Bob Kramer. "Some people tell me it's racist, but it's not racist — it's political," Cramer told the Palmetto Public Record (as if it can't be both):
Cramer said he also makes window decals of the image using President Obama's face, which he sells for eight dollars apiece. Cramer said his initial run of 100 decals was gone in a couple months, and that people are constantly asking him to make more.
Of course, Cramer's racially-tinged image is by no means original, having been circulating the Internet since the Obamacare fight in 2009. In October, a New Jersey store owner sparked outrage by posting the picture in his window. While the New Jersey man said his business suffered because of the display, Cramer says the reaction in South Carolina has been almost entirely positive.
"I've had people chase me down at gas stations asking me where they can buy one, and give me thumbs up on the highway," he said. "Nobody's tried to mess with my truck, even when I've been in black neighborhoods and other places."
Hmm. The fact that Cramer finds it remarkable that the imagery he's selling survived around people of color without being vandalized suggests that he just might understand his T-shirt's real message a little better than he's letting on.
Read more at the Palmetto Public Record.