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WOLF: Staying true to the Tea Party

Glenn Beck dishonors Gingrich supporters

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If you like Glenn Beck, you probably hate women. Sounds outlandish, I know, but if you apply Mr. Beck's own twisted logic, it follows. Glenn Beck recently accused millions of Tea Partyers of racism. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has also accused Tea Partyers of racism. Ergo, if you like him but not her, you hate women.

This is ridiculous, of course, but no more ridiculous than Glenn Beck's accusations against conservatives in the Tea Party who support Newt Gingrich.

Quite admirably, Mr. Beck has helped to launch a renaissance of constitutional self-education in America. His passion for the Founding Fathers has helped define the Tea Party movement and reshape conservatism. It is within this framework that Mr. Beck has declared he cannot support Newt Gingrich, presumably even in a general election against Barack Obama.

That Mr. Beck disapproves of Mr. Gingrich's proclivity to embrace big government is certainly his right. In fact, I agree with this assessment and have advocated that the Tea Party should deploy a strategy that rewards Mr. Gingrich (and every candidate) for embracing the Tea Party principles of limited government. That Mr. Beck can see no difference between Mr. Gingrich and President Obama reveals astonishingly flawed analytical skills.

Mr. Obama has set America on a path to socialized medicine; Mr. Gingrich helped defeat this once before in the form of Hillarycare and vows to repeal Obamacare now. Mr. Obama never met a tax increase on job producers he didn't like; Mr. Gingrich would eliminate the capital gains tax and slash both income and corporate taxes to lower levels than those under President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Obama has become the food stamp president; Mr. Gingrich reformed welfare. Mr. Obama added $4 trillion to the national debt; Mr. Gingrich was the last speaker of the House to balance the budget. Mr. Obama embraced the anarchist thugs of the Occupy Wall Street protests; Mr. Gingrich told them to take a bath and get a job.

Still, the only difference Mr. Beck can see between Mr. Obama and Mr. Gingrich is the color of their skin.

"If you have a big-government progressive [in Mr. Gingrich], or a big-government progressive in Obama, ask yourself this, Tea Party: Is it about Obama's race? Because that's what it appears to be to me," effused Mr. Beck in a recent interview with Fox News' Judge Andrew P. Napolitano. "If you're against him [Mr. Obama] but you're for this guy [Mr. Gingrich], it must be about race. I mean, what else is it? It's the policies that matter."

Mr. Beck went further. Not only did he accuse Tea Partyers who support Mr. Gingrich of racism, he also accused them of being dupes who take their marching orders from the Republican establishment. How does Mr. Beck explain the former speaker's surge in the polls, one that includes support from millions of Tea Partyers? "Big-government GOP machinery." Not only is that insulting to Tea Partyers, it's factually incorrect. Establishment Washington insiders have cast their lot with Mitt Romney, not Mr. Gingrich.

How dare you, Glenn Beck. How dare you. Mrs. Pelosi was dead wrong for accusing the Tea Party of racism and so are you. If you can see no difference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Gingrich other than the color of their skin, then that says far more about your warped fixation on race than it does about those two men. That you would publicly accuse anyone of racism for preferring Mr. Gingrich over Mr. Obama reveals your profoundly flawed judgment.

I am one of those Tea Partyers, Mr. Beck, and I'm also Barack Obama's cousin. I'm enormously proud that America has elected a black president and I'm also enormously proud to call this president family. Still, I have profound differences in opinion with Mr. Obama. Tragically, he misunderstands the greatness of America and believes it is found in our bloated bureaucracies and government regulations. He believes America suffers because our government is too small. I believe our greatness is found in our free people and a free market. I believe America suffers precisely because government has grown too bloated and intrusive. Given the alternative, I choose Mr. Gingrich's vision for America, particularly one made answerable to the Tea Party, over Mr. Obama's. Are you calling me a racist, Mr. Beck?

If we are to achieve a post-racial society, false charges of racism must be condemned, whether they arise from the left or the right, because they can be every bit as harmful as racism itself. You have discredited yourself, Mr. Beck, and I believe you have done yourself irreparable harm. Of course, that is your choice. But your shameless use of repulsive, two-bit race-hustler tactics threatens to discredit the limited-government movement Tea Partyers embrace - those Tea Partyers who, unlike you, are not strangely fixated on race.

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama's cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

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