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TribBlog: The Dallas Tea Party's Olbermann Invite

Will the MSNBC host accept?

Screen shot of the Dallas Tea Party's video challenging Keith Olbermann.

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is learning the hard way: If you're going to mess with the Dallas Tea Party, you'd better be prepared for the consequences — in this case, a friendly invitation to come to Dallas for a Feb. 27 rally against government encroachment.

The Dallas Tea Party released a web video on Monday extending the invitation and providing a little context for the motivation behind it. It begins with a clip of Olbermann saying, "Let me ask all of you who attend these things, how many black faces do you see at these events?" A Tea Party voiceover notes that there are at least more than are in MSNBC's lily white lineup of program hosts. Olbermann again: "How many Hispanics, Asians, gays? Where are these people?" A Benetton-worthy line-up of Tea Partiers respond: "Right here!" one of them says. (There is one confounding moment. A Hispanic woman asks "Que eres Keith Olbermann, estúpido?" while text appears below her that looks like subtitles — but it must not be, because it reads, "Of course Hispanics are upset about the auto industry takeover!")   

Katrina Pierson of the Dallas Tea Party steering committee addresses a safe assumption to Olbermann. "Something tells me you've never been to a tea party," she says. Fellow steering committee member Phillip Dennis appears on screen, channeling Ben Affleck's imitation of Olbermann from Saturday Night Live. "If you don't show," Dennis says to Olbermann after inviting him to come check out the scence for himself this weekend, "have you no shame, sir?!"

Here's the video:

A recent CNN poll found that Tea Party participants "tend to be male, rural, upscale, and overwhelmingly conservative." In that poll, 80 percent of respondents that identified themselves as Tea Party activists were white.

I recently spoke with Michael Openshaw of the The North Texas Tea Party (not affiliated with the Dallas Tea Party). "It's appalling that people call us racist!" he said. "Nothing could be further from the truth." On the NTTP website, there is a picture from the night they celebrated helping Cathy Fang get into a run-off in a special election to fill a vacancy at the Plano City Council.  Here's an excerpt from the write-up:

"This picture from election night says it all: Chinese, Southeast Asians, Hispanics, Tea Partiers, GOP regulars, and others: all interested in fiscal responsibility, all coalescing around a simple CPA running as a citizen’s candidate. This is how politics should be."

Only time will tell what kind of crowd greets Olbermann as he touches down in Dallas — if he accepts the invitation.

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