Wausau Tea Party organizer Meg Ellefson really should have at least Googled John Eidsmoe, the right-wing speaker with a history of white supremacist statements and affiliations, before inviting him to speak at the local rally next week.Help me out here, willya: I cannot locate one "white supremacist statement," nor any "white supremacist affiliations," save the Southern Poverty Law Center's assertion, repeated uncritically by the Associated Press, that Eidsmoe once spoke to the League of the South (speaking engagements are how Eidsmoe makes his living).
While I certainly understand what legitimate concerns that such "statements" and "affiliations" would raise, this affair appears more of a fallacious guilt-by-association witch hunt than anything else.
In fact the views described by the Associated Press and other actors who picked up on the story were not connected to Eidsmoe himself, who, as far as I can tell, is a fairly standard-issue, right-wing paleo-constitutionalist with a Biblical bent (he's on YouTube — go watch).
And recall it was Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick who initiated this hubbub when he reportedly objected to John Eidsmoe's alleged opinion that Jefferson Davis understood the U.S. Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln. Whoop-de-do.
Jefferson Davis: Not David Duke nor even Nathan Bedford Forrest.
While more open-minded students of the founding documents might find this speculative claim intriguing and wish to hear enunciated Eidsmoe's unique vision of federalism, Koschnick, presumably more mindful of his own political ambitions, chose instead to raise a fuss.
At, it seems to me, John Eidsmoe's considerable expense.
Yesterday in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, columnist Eugene Kane suggested that John Eidsmoe was a racist: "these folks," seemingly counting Eidsmoe among them. Kane offered no evidence either.
WXOW-19, the ABC affiliate in La Crosse, WI, also called Eidsmoe a white supremacist, complete with an additional false attribution.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin asserted that Eidsmoe is a "[member of] a group that believes slavery was ordained by God" (without any supporting documentation whatsoever) and one blogger went so far as to describe Eidsmoe as a "proponent of slavery."
That is simply outrageous and there has been presented not the slightest shred of evidence in furtherance of such an accusation, which clearly should not be made lightly and without solid proof.
Somebody feel free to prove me wrong. Certainly Col. Eidsmoe is entitled to unpopular and even bizarre legal and historical opinions without getting tarred a "white supremacist" in the responsible press.
This may not be the confederacy, but it's still America. By the ghost of George B. McClellan, I enjoy the occasional flight of whimsy on the account of the Tea Party as much as the next person, but come on.
Maybe I'll hook up with a few of my pals at FreeRepublic.com and procure a speaking engagement for Col. Eidsmoe in Milwaukee.