MSNBC's Ratigan: Tea Party Includes 'Birthers,' 'Open Racists,' and 'Outright Nazis'
Published: 2/11/2010 3:52 PM ET
To justify his outrageous smear of the political movement, Ratigan cited one woman who attended the weekend tea party convention in Nashville, Tennessee: "I just couldn't sit down anymore and not do anything. Because it reminded me of what happened during the rein of Hitler." Ratigan then went on to describe Sarah Palin writing notes on her hand during her convention appearance as futher evidence of the movement's "integrity problem": "Even Palin being caught a little less than honest...saying she wouldn't use a teleprompter at the event, but she didn't rule out scribbling notes on her hand during a scripted Q & A."
The supposed point of Ratigan's rambling at the beginning of the show was to condemn both Republicans and Democrats for playing "political football" instead of dealing with issues. However, he decided to just bash conservatives and the GOP: "After eight years of dropping the ball, voters decided they didn't want the elephants picking it up again for a while.... After a crushing defeat of the elephants last November in a huge game, America thought true change was on the way and that points were going to be scored for this country, finally."
Ratigan then lamented how: "President Obama and Congress, well, they fumbled the ball right off the kickoff. The banks, a walk. Health care, a debacle. Jobs, nothing. And they haven't been able to get possession of the ball back since." Ratigan concluded: "The tea partiers have the right idea about the need for change. They see the problems on some level. But where are they taking it? And is there a better place? As far as I can tell, we need to harness the vigilant voters that are the history of this country, not irrational and angry."
Here is a full transcript of the segment:
4:00PM EST- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.
DYLAN RATIGAN: As America recovers from last night's big Super Bowl game, we here at The Dylan Ratigan Show are talking about another type of football. But in this game, the ball, as we all know, has been fumbled and the American people are looking for someone to pick it up and run with it. The question is, who will that be? Let's take a look at the match ups. Historically, we've had the donkeys versus the elephants. What's become a tedious game of political football with each team desperately trying to keep its players on the field at basically any cost. Trying to advance their own agenda instead of trying to score any points for the American people. We know the story. Which is likely why there are some new players. The tea partiers coming together in Nashville this past weekend for their first-ever national convention. The problem they have is, they have neither a coach, a game plan, really a leader. As former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says, that's how they want it.
SARAH PALIN: This is about the people. This is about the people and it's bigger than any king or queen of a tea party. And it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter.
RATIGAN: Hmm. Except Palin has, in fact, become their de facto leader. And while she says she doesn't want to be, she thinks the Republicans would be wise to start calling the plays for them.
PALIN: The Republican Party would be really smart to start trying to absorb as much of the tea party movement as possible.
RATIGAN: Which will be a challenge. The tea partiers have harnessed the anger - [holds up football with the word 'Anger' on it] yes see, that's fun, right? - in America, but they have not been able to harness this anger. As you can see when we asked convention goers why they were there.
TEA PARTY CONVENTION GOER: The Constitution is a restrictive document. If you don't treat it as a restrictive document, you go from mandates on seat belts to mandates on health care, to them deciding on euthanasia.
RATIGAN: So, no coach, no game plan, and did we mention, the tea party has a bit of an integrity problem, as everybody from birthers, to open racists, to outright Nazis are actually on the team. And no one involved, including its leadership, seems to mind that fact.
TEA PARTY CONVENTION GOER: I just couldn't sit down anymore and not do anything. Because it reminded me of what happened during the rein of Hitler.
RATIGAN: Hmm. Even Palin - fear mongering anyone - even Palin being caught a little less than honest, shall we say, saying she wouldn't use a teleprompter at the event, but she didn't rule out scribbling notes on her hand during a scripted Q & A. Anyway, after their huddle this weekend, partiers say they indeed will have a game plan. They're forming a political action committee that will meet in July and come up with a platform for this anger. A true play, a true list, a true platform for tea partiers. But how will the game end? That's one we're going to have to watch to find out. But meanwhile, the elephants, Republicans, trying to pick the ball up themselves as President Obama fumbled it so long ago now. The problem is the elephants have their own problems. After eight years of dropping the ball, voters decided they didn't want the elephants picking it up again for a while. Even our so-called bipartisan president calling for the elephants, or calling out the elephants, I should say, for playing the same old games.
JEB HENSARLING: Your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next ten years.
BARACK OBAMA: I've just got to take this last question as an example of how it's very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we're going to do.
RATIGAN: The deficit, you probably know, came before the President. He has perpetuated and expanded it, politically expedient, but didn't create it. Anyway, on to the donkeys, believe me they've got their own problems. After a crushing defeat of the elephants last November in a huge game, America thought true change was on the way and that points were going to be scored for this country, finally. But President Obama and Congress, well, they fumbled the ball right off the kickoff. The banks, a walk. Health care, a debacle. Jobs, nothing. And they haven't been able to get possession of the ball back since. Now the President trying to recruit some of the top elephants to his side. Perhaps he's thinking, if you can't beat them, join them. Or get them to join you. This weekend, even saying he's willing to talk bipartisan health care.
OBAMA: I want to come back and have a large meeting with Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.
RATIGAN: And whether Republicans come to his side or not, we still have the problem that it's the same game. A game run by special interests against America and Americans, at least if you pay taxes. Who can forget the record lobbying money spent in '09? The year of the lobbyist. What - it was an amazing year for them, total control of the government. High five, high five. And then of course, the banks gambling with some $24 trillion, or at least the use of it, in free money. Not only coming out of your pocket, but coming out of all the future pockets of all the children whose names you don't know. But I forget the politicians aren't much for people whose names they don't know. How do we change this game, though? How do we do it? The tea partiers have the right idea about the need for change. They see the problems on some level. But where are they taking it? And is there a better place? As far as I can tell, we need to harness the vigilant voters that are the history of this country, not irrational and angry. Vigilant and honest. And together, put players on the field who will seek to score not for themselves or even their little team to take down the other guy, but actually for the American people and America and the American ideal of democracy and fairness.
It's possible. It's happened before. And while the tea partiers may or may not be the team to do it, Americans at this point just want a team to join that will. And in just a few minutes we're going to talk about who should be that team. Lefties, Righties, progressives, libertarians, it's there. It just doesn't really have a form yet. But I suspect it's coming.