Jackson Says Tea Partiers ‘Not Very Well-Informed’

Posted March 21, 2010 at 9:23pm

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Sunday dismissed the anti-government message of tea party protesters as “not very well-informed” since many are recipients of government health care.

Jackson, who was walking the halls of the House in the hours leading up to the vote on health care reform, said he was greeted at the Capitol by protesters “screaming unkind remarks” about people in support of reform. He said they seemed to be operating along “blind ideological lines” since they were shouting about opposing what they called a government takeover of health care.

“Many of them have Medicare. Many of them have Medicaid,” said the civil rights icon. “Some of those who protested the most vehemently will be the first beneficiaries.”

Jackson said the protesters’ recent use of racial and homophobic slurs against Members of Congress reminded him of the “very ugly setbacks” of the civil rights movement, but said they are reminders that the country is caught in “a tug of war between hope and fear. And in my lifetime, hope is winning.”

On Saturday, tea party protesters spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and shouted a racial slur at Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); both are African-American. Another protester shouted a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is gay.