Beltway pundit: Frothing anti-Obama protesters are just like populist, non-partisan Perot supporters from the 1990s.

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

It's so depressing the watch 'serious' Beltway pundits, like the Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, go out of their way to whitewash the right-wing's Obama hatred that's been on display all summer long. It's depressing to not only watch Seib play dumb, on a sweeping scale, about the dangerous and radical undercurrents at play, but to watch him actually prop up the GOP mini-mobs as something more important, genuine and serious than unhinged partisans.

Here's Seib, writing under the headline "Populist Vein Resurfaces in Protests":

These Tea Party Patriots and like-minded brethren represent the latest resurfacing of a vein that has always been there and that simply goes below ground from time to time...The last big appearance came when Ross Perot tapped into it in the 1990s. Mr. Perot, who ran for the presidency in 1992, when he got 19% of the vote, and in 1996, didn't create the movement then, any more than Fox News broadcaster Glenn Beck has created it now. He simply gave voice to it.

Maybe my memory's bad, but did Perot supporters in 1996 spend an entire season forming wide-eyed mini-mobs in order to make sure that Americans could not discuss the day's important topics at town hall forums? Did they show up at rallies with loaded handguns? Did they routinely refer to the President of the United States as Adolf Hitler and parade around with Swastika posters? Did they form mobs around members of Congress and follow them to their cars in parking lots.

Seib must be recalling a different Perot movement from the 1990s, because I sure don't remember one that was built around unvarnished hatred, the way today's tea party movement is. Either that, or Seib is wildly downplaying what's really going on today, which, of course, is what I think is really going on.

And how about this clunker, as the columnist marries tea party hysteria with Perot's mild-mannered third party run:

These aren't partisan movements.

Read that one again for a good laugh. The 70,000 people who gathered in D.C. over the weekend and took their rally marching orders from Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, who worship at the feet of Glenn Beck, and most of whom could not physically contain their naked hatred for Obama and his "socialist/" "communist" agenda, are definitely part of a non-partisan movement.

Whatever you say Gerald. But honestly, if you whitewash the tea parties any more strenuously, all the color's going to come right off them.

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