April 5, 2010

Apparently the Memphis Tea Party founder and chairman Mark A. Skoda isn't too happy with Rep. Steve Cohen for calling the Teabaggers out for their racism and bigotry.

From The Young Turks -- Tea Party Outraged Over Rep. Steve Cohen TYT Interview:

This interview has outraged some Tea Party leaders, accoridng to this AP story. [...] Cenk Uygur and Michael Shure interviewed Rep. Steve Cohen about Tea Party craziness and if any Republican will step up to move the party in a sane direction.

Transcript via TYT.

Michael Shure: Hi, Congressman, how are you?

Steve Cohen: I'm great. I'm sorry I'm late.

Shure: No, it's OK. We've just got you for a couple of minutes, and you know, I think we'd like to just talk to you a little bit in the immediate about sort of the pervasive feeling in Washington right now, all this vitriol, all this hate. What is being done in America about this now?

Cohen: Well, I'm not sure what's being done. The Tea Party people are kind of, without robes and hoods, they have really shown a very hardcore angry side of America that is against any type of diversity. And we saw opposition to African Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn't just, you know, a clone of George Wallace's fan club. And I'm afraid they've taken over the Republican Party.

Cenk Uygur: So you don't think that this has anything to do with health care reform, you think it's cultural, and... first, is that accurate?

Cohen: I think it's cultural and these people are ready to be led by the nose and they're being led, and it's just to be against Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel and the different people, the diversity that's exhibited in this present White House. And it could've been any issue, it could be immigration, it could be cap and trade, whatever it is that could get them off. And they'll push them to, whatever levers it is, and they just, their world is changing, and they can't understand it. They don't like it.

Uygur: Representative Cohen, do you think your colleagues in the House, the Republicans there, are egging these people on, and do you think they have some responsibility to somehow rein this in and they're not exercising that responsibility?

Cohen: Unquestionably they are. They got out on the balconies, I was on the balcony kind of looking at the people and I thought, this is really a very sad scene on America, a commentary on America and a scary scene. And they went out there and provoked them with signs, you know, "No, no, no," and then signs that were nasty about Nancy Pelosi and about Barack Obama. And I came in off the balcony, off the Speaker's Lobby, came in, Dana Milbank was there, and I said to a Senator, "These people are about to incite a riot!" And then one Republican kind of came and rudely said to me, "Look, we're not supposed to go out there and exercise our First Amendment rights?" I said just look at the guys, oh my God, it was like mob rule. I was just trying to exercise a bit of rationality into what was about to become, and could've become... Because I've seen it, when I was in Nashville, we had an issue about this income tax in Tennessee, and the crowd went nuts and threw rocks at the Capitol and broke windows. And I could've seen this. It was the verge of Kristallnacht.

Shure: And Congressman, quickly just because we don't really have much time, do you see anything curative? Is there one person on that side? When is there a breakthrough? When does that happen?

Cohen: You mean a breakthrough with the Tea Party?

Shure: Yeah, with somebody, a reasonable Republican coming and saying, "This is ridiculous," you know, or...

Cohen: You know, I don't see it. I think they're afraid of it. When I saw John McCain stand behind Sarah Palin, he looked more like a captured soldier in North Vietnam than he did a United States Senator. It was very sad, and I tell you, his wife, Cindy, she was about ready to just drop dead. I mean, Sarah Palin dressed like Elvis in the comeback event in Hawaii.

Shure: Yeah.

Cohen: And John McCain's standing there as the second, it was surreal, but it just happened.

Shure: Congressman, promise you'll come back and see us again. We're at the end of our hour, but we'd love to have you back on the show.

Cohen: At least we're not at the end of our rope. Take care.

Shure: Congressman Steve Cohen.

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