Tea Party leaders say a series of reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attempting to connect the Tea Party movement with domestic terrorists in the militia movement shows how desperate the left has become trying to stop the political juggernaut.
The group says individuals such as Glenn Beck, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — all regulars at major Tea Party gatherings — have given widespread visibility for ideas espoused by the militia movement, or the “Patriot movement” as SPLC calls it.
According to SPLC, the Patriot movement — largely comprised of white supremacists — was animated in the 1990s by a shared view of the federal government as the enemy and a belief the Federal Emergency Management Agency secretly runs concentration camps.
“The ‘tea parties’ and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism,” Mark Potok, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, wrote in a piece titled “Rage On The Right: The Year In Hate And Extremism” from the group’s Spring 2010 edition of its Intelligence Report.Yes, indeed. There's even photographic evidence of some of those hate-filled bigots and potential terrorists plotting violent revolution at one of their insidious rallies: