Bad optics

My experience with Confederate Yankee (who deletes dissenting comments but only when the commenter has a point) has prompted me to read more conservative blogs in an effort to avoid my own epistemic closure.

As a result, I’ve read an eyeful about the Tea Party’s tax day demonstrations, which by all accounts (even those outside the conservative media) went pretty well. The movement has become a little more mainstream, and the crazies have been reined in. Which has led conservatives to blog feverishly about how the mainstream media is still trying to push the story that Tea Party members are racist nuts. I’m not sure that charge is true, but it’s at least arguably true. The point remains: the Tea Party wants to be judged fairly, as a whole, and not by their worst elements. I can get behind that.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore reports like this one, wherein Colorado embarrassment and former congressman Tom Tancredo wants to send Obama back to Kenya among other madness. Ok, yes — most tea partiers are not hateful lunatics. But isn’t this kind of embarrassment the price you pay for billing yourselves as a grassroots, populist movement? If you don’t want to take the rap for craziness, then you have to marginalize the crazies in your movement, yes?

Because at the very least, including unrepentant xenophobes and homophobes and many other types of phobes is “bad optics”. This is a concept that conservative bloggers like Instapundit and Confederate Yankee understand at least as far as it concerns Obama.

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