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Florida’s Grayson likens tea party to KKK in new fundraising push

By   /   October 22, 2013  /   News  /   No Comments

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

TALLAHASSEE – Rep. Alan Grayson just can’t help himself.

The Democratic Florida congressman boasts  a sordid history of reprehensible political attacks against his opponents, but his latest may just take the cake.

In a recent fundraising email, Grayson compares the tea party to the Klu Klux Klan. As if that weren’t enough, the wealthy lawyer turned Central Florida lawmaker included a picture of a burning cross – an image conjuring the worst racial intonations imaginable.

KLAN COMMENTS: Rep. Alan Grayson has a knack for incendiary comments. But this time he may have gone too far.

KLAN COMMENTS: Rep. Alan Grayson has a knack for incendiary comments. But this time he may have gone too far.

The email included a transcript of a conversation Grayson had with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Does the President have the Tea Party on the Ropes?” Sharpton asked.

“I think so. I think ordinary Americans are appalled at the Tea Party’s tactics,” Grayson said in reference to the government shutdown.

“At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.”

In 2010, Grayson called his opponent U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., a “draft-dodger” even though Webster was medically unfit for duty.

Not to be outdone, the progressive congressman ran an ad calling Webster “Taliban Dan,” and warned the electorate that “religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in Afghanistan, in Iran and right here in Central Florida.”

Grayson is also known for referring to Federal Reserve lobbyist Linda Robertson as a “whore.” On a 2009 radio program, Grayson said, “And here I am the only member of Congress who actually worked as an economist.”

“This lobbyist, this K-Street whore, is trying to teach me about economics,” he said.

Orlando Tea Party organizer Cheryl Machett told Florida Watchdog that she isn’t surprised.

“He’s always been like this. It’s normal, even expected,” she said.

“My reaction is the same as when President Obama called us extortionists, or when people call us terrorists or waging jihad,” Machett said. “All I can say is I’m not surprised. The best thing to do is to ignore it.”

Update

Former Florida Congressman Allen West, a black Republican and self-identifying tea party member, told U.S. News and World Report that Grayson’s fundraising appeal was “beyond disgusting, especially considering what my parents endured.”

“I grew up in Atlanta, Ga., and remember the Klan burning crosses atop Stone Mountain. The constitutional conservative grassroots movement known as ‘The TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party’ focuses on fiscal spending and government growth issues as well as individual liberty and free market principles. Mr. Grayson should probably crack open a history book, in between his histrionics, and learn that it was the Democrat Party that created the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate black voters. Voters such as those who elected the first black Republican member of the House of Representatives from Florida, Josiah T. Walls. Same party, same tactics, some things just never change.”

Update

There will be no apology.

In a statement released Tuesday, Grayson said, “Regarding the image that the campaign circulated, the Tea Party has engaged in relentless racist attacks against our African-American President.”

“Tea Party members also have persisted in falsely characterizing the President as Kenyan and Moslem, despite all evidence, in order to disparage him,” Grayson said.

After listing several disturbing examples of alleged tea party racism, Grasyon said in the release, “One could go on and on, because there is overwhelming evidence the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation.”

Contact William Patrick at [email protected]

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William Patrick is Watchdog.org’s Florida reporter. His work has been featured by Fox News, the Drudge Report, and Townhall.com, as well as other national news and opinion websites. He’s also been cited and reposted by numerous state news organizations, including Florida Trend, Sunshine State News and the Miami Herald, and is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Florida Press Association. William’s work has impacted discussions on education, privacy, criminal justice reform, and government and corporate accountability. Prior to joining Watchdog, William worked for the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, Fla. There, he launched a legislative news website covering state economic issues. After leaving New York City in 2010, William worked for the Florida Attorney General’s Office where he assisted state attorneys general in prosecuting Medicaid Fraud. William graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College, City University of New York. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife and three young children.