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.
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.”
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.”
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.”