As part of their ongoing “vetting” process of both President Barack Obama and the “mainstream” media, Breitbart.com brings us the following photo:
Photo courtesy Breitbart.com
Wait -- what is that?
That, dear reader, is a 1997 photo of a young Sen. Barack Obama dressed in a regimental coat and carrying a tricorn hat. And yes, that is a Gadsden flag (“Don’t Tread on Me!”) to the right of the freshly-elected senator.
That’s odd. Didn’t several members of the mainstream media mercilessly ridicule the Tea Party for adopting colonial imagery? Yes they did.
During a segment titled "Insanitea" (get it?), MSNBC's Rachel Maddow couldn't help but join in the "teabagging" fun. The left-leaning Talking Points Memo portrayed colonial-garbed Tea Party member as "weirdos," as Breitbart's John Sexton puts it. And let's not forget the time Bill Maher decided that wearing a teabag-dangling tricorn hat was really, really funny.
In fact, if we recall correctly, the NAACP even warned of the insidious implications of Tea Party imagery:
The Revolutionary War-era costumes, the yellow “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags from the same era, the earnest recitals of the pledge of allegiance, the over-stated veneration of the Constitution, and the defense of “American exceptionalism” in a world turned towards transnational economies and global institutions: all are signs of the over-arching nationalism that helps define the Tea Party movement.
So where did the Breitbart team find this photo?
“[T]he forgotten photograph has been in plain view for fifteen years. It appeared on the front page of Chicago's Hyde Park Herald on July 9th, 1997,” Sexton writes. The caption below the picture, as it appeared, reads:
Hey, look over here! Something catches the attention of Sen. Barack Obama (13th), Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (25th), Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Stephanie Franklin as they lead the annual "4th on 53rd" parade.
“In 1997, Obama was beginning his first term as a state senator in Illinois. He and his fellow politicians were asked to lead the ‘4th on 53rd’ parade, which is Hyde Park's 4th of July celebration,” he adds.
“All the politicians who attended were expected to dress the part. The Herald even published a story the week before, on July 2nd, confirming in advance that Obama would be ‘wearing colonial attire.’”
Does this mean that by wearing colonial gear, the senator from Illinois was somehow encouraging nationalism? Or does the NAACP’s analysis only count when it's the Tea Party?
By the way, to read a fun take on Glenn Beck's stance on Tea Party costume-wearing, click here.