Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Soledad O'Brien Calls Out Tea Party Dog Whistle


While sitting in the doctor's office this morning holding a fistful of insurance forms (ironically), I happened to see this smackdown of Tea Party fanatic Amy Kremer by Soledad O'Brien. Kremer had no explanation for why she thinks Obama doesn't love his country, beyond the fact that she doesn't like him, and that he is a black man in the White House.

My husband thought heard Kremer say something about the Tea Party only talking about fiscal responsibility, not social issues. Yeah, well tell that to Paul Ryan, Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann and every other doofus backed by Tea Party money.

It is a social issue to talk about cutting off Medicaid and Medicare and letting people drift away without a safety net. Or when someone thinks they have the right to say who "loves their country" and who doesn't. Are they going to segregate us all based on that? To them, no Democrat loves their country, so it's a bogus argument.

But props to Soledad O'Brian for calling it a dog whistle! Indeed!

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody.

Our team this morning: Dana Bash is with us. She's CNN senior congressional correspondent.

Mayor Michael Nutter joins. He's the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia.

Amy Kremer is with us. She's the Chair of the Tea Party Express. It's nice to see you, Amy. Thanks for being with us.

Ryan Lizza is a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
. . . [*snip*] . . .
O'BRIEN: Amy, let me ask you a question. Because someone sent to me this tweet -- I swear to God I can't see anything anymore -- that you sent out at the end of August at 10:55 p.m. "Huge difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is that Mitt loves America. We need a president that loves this country." I think that's from -- I missed this one, but someone forwarded it to me.

Do you think that President Obama doesn't love this country? What does that mean?

KREMER: I think that he is more about a global -- being a global -- oh, what's the word? Being more one world, global, with you know other countries and it's not about the shining city on the hill, the greatness that has always been America that our founding fathers were about. I do believe that. I -- I mean, I absolutely believe it. I'm not going to run from that.

Look, I mean, President Obama, and I know I'm going to take a lot of heat for this, but he's never run anything. Mitt Romney, you asked me what is the case for Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney time and time again has taken companies that are failing and turned them around to make them successful.

I mean, he turned the Salt Lake City Olympics around. He ran the state of Massachusetts. Because what I'm saying is we are -- we are failing. We are about to go off this fiscal cliff. And we need somebody that can turn it around.

President Obama has not turned it around. I'm sorry he hasn't --


NUTTER: But the Governor has also -- but the Governor has also taken over companies and put people out of work. At the expense of losing jobs and making money for himself and for his investors. If you're going to tell one side of the story, tell the other side.

KREMER: I mean and you know and President Obama's energy policy, if it's -- and in President Obama's energy policy if it's implemented, it's going to cost -- I mean let me see. I have the numbers right here because I'm not very good with numbers. But it's going to cost us 7.3 million jobs by 2020. And $1 trillion in compliance costs between 2020 and 2030.


O'BRIEN: I just never understand what any of that has to do with loving the nation. I mean, I honestly, I always feel like that's a code word for something else.


KREMER: I just I mean, I don't feel like he is --

NUTTER: What is the basis for questioning the President's love for this country? How can you say that?

KREMER: I just I don't believe that he loves America the way that we do.

NUTTER: Based on what? We who?

KREMER: He is more about one world -- I mean more about --

NUTTER: What does that mean?

KREMER: I just explained it to you.

NUTTER: Well, clearly, I'm not understanding.

KREMER: Well, I mean, don't know how else to explain it.

LIZZA: His foreign policy -- his foreign policy that you look at it and say, oh that's Obama wants America to be gone and he wants one world?

KREMER: I mean we are not leading. We're waiting on others to tell us what to do. That's never been the American way.


 LIZZA: What specifically? What specifically?

KREMER: I believe it was Syria. Was it Syria that or one of the conflicts where we -- the French told us we could go and do what we needed to do. Were -- that's -- that's not the American way. We need to lead.

NUTTER: Well, maybe this is America now.

KREMER: But this is the thing the foreign policy -- it's not about foreign policy we're never all going to agree on foreign policy. But why the Tea Party Movement has been so successful is because of the fiscal responsibility.

LIZZA: I think what you're saying is leading from behind, right?


LIZZA: So I was the journalist that actually reported that quote. So the leading from behind is something that was told to me. And actually, what it refers to is the strategy in the UN, the U.S. led a coalition in the UN to get military authorization to topple Gadhafi.

So the quote actually is the opposite of what you're saying. It actually refers to the strategy that Obama used in the UN to get all of the nations to support the U.S.'s use of force resolution because after the Bush years, it was really hard for the U.S. to go to the UN and get support because Bush was really, really unpopular.

O'BRIEN: But people didn't care about foreign policy. I guess my question is, when I hear somebody say that someone doesn't love the country, and you know I'm very susceptible to the dog whistle thing.

KREMER: The what?

O'BRIEN: That dog whistle that there is a message in that. When someone says that somebody doesn't love the country and you're talking about the President I just find that to be a very odd comment.

KREMER: I don't believe -- I mean look, we're sitting -- I mean we're sitting here, is our goal really in this administration to be the leader that we always have been, to be that shining city on the hill?


O'BRIEN: What does that have to do with love for your country? Mitt loves his country and President Obama doesn't?

KREMER: If you love this country and you want to restore our heritage and that sort of thing, you go out there and you lead. You don't wait on others to tell you what to do. And you take those bold steps. I mean, I don't think that that's what the objective of this administration is.  

                         O'BRIEN: So I'm going to stop you there. Mr. Mayor, stop. Because I have had so many people screaming in my ear that we have so gone over. I thank you for this conversation. We've got to take a break. We're back on the other side. 

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