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On a Monday afternoon “conservative coalition” conference call with Tea Partiers from around the country, Rep. Dave Camp (R- MI 4th District) joined Rep. Tom Price (R-GA 6th District) to discuss the aftermath of the previous night’s important health care vote.

In addition to Price and Camp, participants on the call included members of ResistNet; the Constitutional Tea Party of Virginia; the Tea Party in Arizona; the 912 Tea Party Project – Pinal County, Arizona; the Jersey Shore Tea Party; Ensuring Liberty of California;  and the 9-12 project from Sullivan, Missouri.

Dr. David McKalip, the Florida neurosurgeon best known for sending out an email featuring a racist caricature of president Obama to fellow Tea Partiers last July, warned that he’s “had to tamp down many references to violence in the last two weeks.” McKalip, who was condemned by the Florida Medical Association for his actions last year, also encouraged Price and Camp to repeal the “pay for performance” elements of the health care bill.

Another Tea Partier used the call to push for a Constitutional Convention. Stephen Kohut of the 912 Tea Party Project of Pinal County, told callers “I would encourage everyone to recommend to the states that they do what they almost did to repeal prohibition, which is we came within a hairs breath of a Constitutional Convention and invoking Article 5 of the Constitution. That is the states ultimate check on a run amok federal government. We’ve got attorneys generals filing lawsuits, but that puts it in the courts, people. The states have an ultimate check, the question is do they have the backbone to use it. I think healthcare is just a little bit more important than prohibition.”

Instead of pushing back on the caller’s radical proposition (or changing the subject), Camp encouraged the caller, “I appreciate the comment. That’s why these calls are good. I’m gonna have to look in and study that aspect. I’ve been so involved in the details of the bill that I haven’t really stepped back, and I wanna take a look at that. But I think it’s a good idea to consider.”

Conspiracies about communist indoctrination got reinforced on the call, too. Susan Goodchild, representing ResistNet and the Tea Party in Arizona asked “What can we do about this school loan thing, too, which seems to be hidden to everybody? Because I think they want to take control of all of our schools, not just the college end of it, but everything. How do we stop that? They’re programming our kids to be communists or socialists.”

Rep. Camp supported Goodchild’s wild assertions, “Well, Susan, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the Senate is where we have to really direct our efforts on that now.”

Calls like this are merely the beginning of the discussion that Tea Partiers will be having in the coming weeks about the direction their movement will take in the future. IREHR will be watching those developments closely.


Devin Burghart is vice president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.



Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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