I’ve attended tea party events.  I am a constitutional conservative.  I believe that the Obama administration is pushing a socialist agenda, along with 55% of Americans so I’m not alone.

I don’t think signs like the one on the left are helpful however.  More than that I think they are counterproductive.   The AP reports:

A billboard created by an Iowa tea party group comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is being condemned by other tea party activists.

The North Iowa Tea Party began displaying the sign in Mason City last week.

The sign includes photos of Obama, Nazi leader Hitler and communist leader Lenin with the statement: “Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.”

North Iowa Tea Party co-founder Bob Johnson says the sign highlights what the group argues is Obama’s support for socialism. He says the pictures might be overwhelming the intended message.

Shelby Blakely, a spokeswoman for the national Tea Party Patriots, says the sign isn’t appropriate. She says her group opposes any comparisons of Obama to Hitler or Lenin.

While both Hitler and Lenin were socialist, that isn’t the image that comes to mind.   They think instead – concentration camps, holocaust, Red Terror, gulags, and mass murder.  I think it would also be a mistake, as I’m sure some will be prone to do to call this race driven.  No, this is about policies, not race.

I’m glad the AP was on top of this just as I’m glad they covered displays like the ones below when President George W. Bush was in office.

image image image

Oh wait, I guess they never did cover these tolerant people at left-wing rallies.  This must have been ok since the media overlooked it.  Thanks to Liberty Pundits for helping me stroll down memory lane.

The fact that there is a media bias and inequity in reporting doesn’t excuse the billboard.  This hurts, not helps, the tea party cause for tax cuts, smaller government, and fiscal responsibility.  It distorts the message and gives the opposition ammunition.  Let’s do better than this.

HT: Memeorandum

Update 7/14/10: The billboard was papered over today:

The phrase “radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive” had been plastered at the bottom of the billboard yesterday.  Ryan Rhodes, chairman of the Iowa Tea Party movement, says the billboard was counterproductive.

“It’d be great to have a billboard that’s really actually helpful, that’s not demonstrating fear but demonstrating freedom and that we have solutions and goals,” Rhodes says.

The North Iowa Tea Party paid to put up the billboard in downtown Mason City, drawing criticism — including criticism from others in the Tea Party movement.  Rhodes, the chairman of the Iowa Tea Party, hopes the new blank slate that’s now in that spot could be put to better use.

“It’s got to be more than just the initial shock/fear value,” Rhodes says.  “What we need is something that accomplishes our goals because our goals are about helping people understand and educating them about our nation’s founding and the path bath to American exceptionalism.”

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  1. The irony of this billboard posting this message: Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.

    Naah, I must be reading too much into it. Any fear produced in the naive as a result of this juxtaposition of images must be mere coincidence.

    Good post, Shane. Thanks for pointing out how counterproductive this kind of thing can be.

  2. It is unfortunate the media will have this image to tout as an example of so called “tea party looniness”.

    That being said, as I watch media coments on TV, it will be interesting to see which the Liberals are more offended by…being compaired to Hitler, or the word “naive”. I guarentee you, the idea of a Tea Party person DARING to call them unintelligent, or at least suggesting Tea Party is more intelligent than they are, will drive many of them absolutely insane!!! Be prepaired for media to only show the pictures, editing out the caption on the bottom.

  3. The photo is an eye opener for those who think that things will just go away after Osoma Obama’s time is over.
    “In my opinion” (legal term) I would say that the one we have to watch out for is his radical wife. If you don’t believe that then check out her radical college papers and her views about “the honkey crackers” and her lifetime position on “always being black” and what her lifetime cause will be.
    As a life long Democrat I didn’t buy into the ” change ” pitch and as a result I never vote for any Democrat with the views of Osoma Obama,Pelosi,Reed and sweet lips Barney.

  4. Well, they’re certainly within their First Amendment rights to post such a billboard. Apparently not all Tea Partiers are as thoughtful about it as you are, Shane, because for whatever reason it’s the comparison they want to make. It’s an idiotic message, but they are within their rights. You say they can do better than this, but I’m not so sure.

  5. Ridiculous on a number of levels. And I agree, it was ridiculous when the left did it during Bush, and I REALLY dislike Bush. (The President! Get your mind out of the gutter people!) Politics are so funny, because I wonder how many righties see this billboard, agree with it, but got bent out of shape when the left did this with Bush? Likewise, how many lefties does this apply to? I’d like to think not a lot, but sometimes team cynic wins inside of me.

    First and most importantly, it is quite demeaning and belittling to the people who suffered through those two repressive regimes, that killed millions of their own, to make those comparisons.

    Second. How can Obama be both a Nazi and a Communist? National Socialism and Communist Russia were fundamentally and idealogically opposed to one another. They quite literally fought a war over it. I’m thinking these people forgot about WWII, at least the part that doesn’t glorify the US. Also, to my understanding, The Nazi’s used the term Socialism not so much because they themselves were Socialists, (as they were definitely no Marxists) but because they knew the term would appeal to German working class Socialists and would get them in the fight with them.

    Third. It’s just plain stupid to call a biracial man a Nazi.

    Now some man named Jim White (I don’t know who that is) said everything Obama has done has been lock and step with what Hitler did? Based on what? Health Care Reform?

    Of course, I get it now! Obama has been secretly using private medical records to find all the Jews in the US and round them up, for those FEMA camps Glenn Beck warned us about. Since Obama has always been a secret Muslim, and therefore hates Jews, he used his time in office to craft a Universal Health Care Bill that will allow him and his secret police (The Black Panthers) to round up all the Jews and exterminate them, just like Hitler did!

  6. Oh and I forgot to add after reading the above posters comment. I fully believe in free speech and fully believe in both sides right to say what they feel and display it on a billboard, protest sign, etc.

    Of course, that should go without saying.

  7. shut the hell up that idiot obama is far from being a socialist, liberals and us REAL SOCIALISTS are two totally different things… but you stupid right wingers wouldnt know anything about that just because ya’ll cant openly call him a NIGGAH ya subsitute the word with “COMMUNIST” or “SOCIALIST”

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