David Webb emceed the event.
Webb said the idea for the rally pre-dated the Shirley Sherrod debacle:
It’s not a reaction to the recent news cycle. It’s a proactive move conceived by the idea that we need to show what the Tea Party is all about...This movement has blown up.
UNI-TEA attracted roughly 300 people. Like most conservative events, there were nearly as many African Americans on the stage as in the crowd.
During an appearance on Fox News’ “Geraldo At Large,” Webb said it was not about the numbers:
I didn’t realize there was a minimum number of black people to legitimize it.
I interviewed several of the black tea partiers. They share Webb’s commitment to “limited, efficient and effective government.” They were there to “send a message to America that this is [their] movement.”
The NAACP’s resolution was on people’s minds. While noting he doesn’t want to belabor the issue, Webb added:
We must address the issues where they stand. We must defend an American movement.
The blogger at the center of the latest racial dust-up, Andrew Breitbart, was one of the speakers.
During an interview with Newsweek , Breitbart said he would like to speak with Sherrod in private. I caught up with Breitbart in the middle of a media scrum.
I asked Breitbart what he would say to Sherrod if she were here. His response, “I’m not talking about that today.”
Breitbart had a lot to say about the allegation that members of the Congressional Black Caucus were called the n-word:
These people were there to provoke a YouTube moment. And when the good people of the Tea Party, 40,000 strong, did not provide them with that moment, something really rotten happened. They made it up.
Breitbart blasted the mainstream media:
These people overplayed their hands in our new media world. Why do we have a new media world? To a great extent because we don’t trust the mainstream media. So we are armed with cameras and we are on the lookout for their lies…They would have gotten away with it 10 years ago. They would have gotten away with it 15 years ago…We are watching you. We are the mainstream media now because we don’t trust you.
A number of speakers, including Breitbart, read verbatim Dr. Mary Frances Berry’s post to Politico:
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
Tea partiers feel vindicated by Berry’s truth-telling, as well as recent reports that liberal journalists were prepared to play the race card in 2008 to help then-candidate Barack Obama survive the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy.
As this sign from an earlier rally makes clear, tea partiers fully intend to push back against accusations of racism.
So playing the race card is as inconsequential as throwing water on a duck’s back.
Tea partiers’ anger is boiling over, but the true measure of the movement will be whether their candidates win in November.