Sarah Palin gave a rousing speech at the Tea Party convention, raking and mocking President Obama with zingers like "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff workin' out for ya?" The crowd enthused, having paid $350 to hear the speech live, and the left’s commentators tut-tutted over Palin’s writing notes on her hand to help her remember her key points. All in good fun.
But there was a truly ugly side of the convention. Tea Partiers can no longer pass off the birthers as a tiny group of nuts that aren’t representative of true Tea Partiers. Not after the crowd’s wild enthusiasm for Tom Tancredo’s keynote speech. Ex-congressman Tancredo (R-CO) explained that “Barack Hussein Obama” was only elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote." [Wild cheers]
"People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House." [More wild cheers]
I’m not sure who he was referring to. Perhaps it was Latinos and African-Americans who couldn’t have voted had there been a literacy test—like in the good old days when blacks were turned away from polls all over the South, no matter how literate they were, because the point of the tests was to turn them away.
I’m pretty sure, however, what the crowd was cheering. It was that Obama voters were others, a different species, not even entitled to be part of the American system. The crowd responded to hate speech with cheers.